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How A Clip Goes Viral

So, a funny story happened to me this week. Over the weekend, I realized it had been a year since I had checked up on people using my big bang image without permission. A high resolution version of the image that I used to have on the site got featured as Google’s #1 result for “big bang” in the image search and since then it turns up all sorts of places.

I generally don’t when people use it but give an image credit and link to the film. But when people that use it without any credit, I typically email and ask them to add a credit and link. So, I did a quick search on Sunday and sure enough, it’s still there. The first page was on, so I dropped them a line, grateful they had emails listed.

I ended up having a very nice email exchange with Editor-in-Chief Annalee Newitz and she mentioned she would like to profile the film on Sounded good to me but I foolishly did not think much about it as the film has been profiled a number of times before.

The next morning (Monday) I had forgotten about this. My inbox was filled with messages from Vimeo where my new footage clip is hosted. And it’s gone crazy from there – from it’s been picked up all over the world – Australia, Russia, Spain, Italy, France and many, many more.Turns out is well-read site that I was just ignorant of – and have now enjoyed reading it via RSS.

The clip has over 200,000 hits and 100,000+ views. The comments, tweets and posts have been incredible to read to see how the beautiful images in motion have moved people who have watched them. Plus, it’s fun to see coverage in various parts of the world and realize how poetic it sounds to here the clip described in Spanish, Italian, French and more.

And despite the fact I’m an unknown person in the world (I’ve found people generally only donate to people or organizations they are familiar with), donations have also come in – three new Team 11s and a number of small donations. Obviously not enough to fully fund the film but still great start to my spring fund-raising campaign – but the donations are not the big point here.

The really huge thing that has come out of this is validation for my art. I’ve poured so much into trying to get Outside In made – and have so much more work still to do. But sometimes I wonder “is anyone really interested in this?”, “do people really connect with these images the way I do” and “does this project have universal, global appeal?”.

Unlike many artists and filmmakers who never get the chance to know until after finishing and sending their work out, today I have that answer as a giant, resounding “yes!”. Thank you Annalee, and everyone out there that has linked, posted and tweeted. This really means more to me than you can ever know.

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