Ian Padgham: The Vine Superstar in Hot Demand by Brands [Interview]

Ian Padgham: The Vine Superstar in Hot Demand by Brands [Interview]

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Brands are increasingly turning to short-form video platforms like Vine as part of their video marketing strategy. And that makes sense; there can be a relatively quick turn around and amazing results can be achieved on a very reasonable budget. Of course, any good Vine is only as great as its content, and its creator. In the latest of our profile of Vine rock stars, we interview Ian Padgham, one of the leading creative lights since day one. As well as the filming and the production of his own Vines, Ian has worked with Ford, Budweiser, Disney, Nokia and Twitter on their video campaigns and continues to be one of the most innovative and exciting artists in the genre.

 Ian Padgham: Vineographer

ReelSEO: You left a pretty sought after job as an in-house video producer for Twitter to go full time on Vine – you must have had a lot of confidence in the platform to do that?

Ha, there have been a couple of articles about me leaving right before the IPO (Buzzfeed even had a, “Meet the man who quit his job to make Vines” article). I guess everyone loves a juicy headline, but the truth is actually a lot less dramatic. The fact is that I still go to Twitter a lot (had lunch there yesterday) and we do a ton of work together. I love all my friends back at HQ and the remote offices – it’s an amazing company and I got incredibly lucky in that it’s almost like I never left. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I got to have my cake and eat it, too. By leaving I was able to take on a lot of exciting outside projects while also keeping a strong connection to the company that means so much to me. It also helps that, YES, I think Vine is amazing and I am amazed by how much it has shifted trends in storytelling, marketing, and video production in just 1 year. Incredible.

ReelSEO: You’ve worked with Xbox, Sony, Nokia, Budweiser, Mercedes, Disney and Twitter. What constraints do you have working with brands and agencies as opposed to making your own Vines?

Hmmm, I think what’s great about Vine is that when a Vine is done right, it doesn’t feel like a commercial or something that has been constrained. And I have been very fortunate in that almost all of the brands I have worked with totally get that. There are occasionally legal reasons why something needs to be reshot, but for the most part brands that have approached me have done so because they liked what I was doing and just wanted me to keep on doing it.

ReelSEO: Are you finding yourself more in demand as brands and marketing teams come to understand the value of Vine?

Yes, definitely. We’re in a fascinating moment right now where brands are seeing strong results from short form social video. It’s faster and cheaper than traditional video, the value return is high, and content feels free and refreshing compared to a lot of the more polished/big budget marketing out there. It’s also interesting that brands aren’t trying to just copy the trend by tossing memes into their commercials. Instead they are reaching out to regular people who have had success on the platform and trusting them with the keys to the company car. It makes sense; the cost of hiring a Viner or Instagrammer is still incredibly low compared to professional video producers and the chance of getting something that does well is high. Who knows how long this will continue – we could wake up tomorrow and something totally different will have come along. But for right now it is very exciting and many brands are eager to dip their toes in the stream.

ReelSEO: Do you use any Easter Eggs or other consistent “themes” in your work? Like #Woodman for instance.

If I told you then what would be the fun in looking for them? :)

ReelSEO: What’s the absolute favourite Vine you’ve worked on?

Hanging out with Pinot in London while I made my Big Ben vine.

ReelSEO: Pinot talked very highly of you – who do you admire?

Pinot. And so many others. It’s astounding how many funny, talented, quirky, innovative people there are. I don’t know that there exists another app/website/platform that has amassed such a rich community of creatively brilliant people in such a short amount of time. It’s insane. YouTube is obviously the closest but I think there was still a barrier of entry (you had to edit, upload, etc). Vine is like an open mic for talent, I love it.

ReelSEO: What tools do you use? Apart from the Gorilla tripod and iPhone ;-)

Does whiskey count?

ReelSEO: What’s your creative process? How spontaneous can you be or do you plan/storyboard everything?

If it’s for a brand I will storyboard it out so they know what I’m doing. If it’s for me I usually don’t know what I’m making until I’m a third of the way in.

ReelSEO: How long does it take for you to create an average Vine?

I would guestimate 30 minutes. But some take 30 seconds and others take weeks.

ReelSEO: You shot the video for Leanne Rimes’ “Gasoline & Matches” in stop-motion – on an iphone. How did that that project work, technically and professionally?

Working with LeAnn Rimes was a dream come true. She and Darrell Brown (the spirit animal of the entire project) came with one very strict guideline for the video: I had to be myself and do whatever the hell I thought would be cool. They liked the idea of making something Vine-like so I met up with LeAnn in Dublin and showed her my storyboards about a little matchbox lady and a gas pump cowboy. SO I recorded her singing in her hotel room and filmed Rob Thomas (also an amazing human being) in New York on my way back home. Then I proceeded to take 9000 photos on my iPhone in my living room. It’s amazing to say it like that but I think that it was one of those projects where I was so inspired by the people I was working with that the movie just kind of made itself.

ReelSEO: You are very consistent in releasing new Vine projects. How much of your day goes into that process, including promotion and social media?

Wait, are you implying that people have parts of the day that aren’t dedicated to vining? I don’t understand.

ReelSEO: In this Independent post, you suggest that brands can pay up to $10,000 for a quality Vine from a top Vineographer. Does that even cover the work that goes into creating them?

A gentleman never discusses business at the dinner table. And I’m eating a sandwich while typing.

ReelSEO: How active do you try to be within the Vine community?

Argh, I try to be good but I feel so out of touch! I’m super jealous because I see people making Vines together and doing awesome projects or chatting back and forth but I always feel out of the loop. I think I’m just a socially awkward dude. PLEASE BE MY FRIEND!

ReelSEO: Can you give us your top 3 tips for creating exciting Vines?

  • I mentioned whiskey above, so that’s 1.
  • Partial nudity if you want something exciting. That’s 2.
  • Oh, and don’t overthink it. Just post stuff!

ReelSEO: What are your predictions for short-form video content in 2014?

Crushing it.

ReelSEO: Tell us about your background in video? How did you end up at Twitter? 

I have a degree from Berkeley in Medieval French Art History. I lived in Paris for a few years as a starving artist, married a Parisian painter, we moved back here, I worked in construction, retail, made art, then landed a job as a ticket taker at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. People were scalping museum tickets on this thing called Twitter so we set up an account and I became the first Digital Engagement Associate (oooh, fancy). That lead to a job at Twitter where I was drawing people’s portraits on whiteboards and so they brought me on to a creative/video team. There were only three of us so I taught myself After Effects and Premiere and started making movies. And then this thing called Vine came out…

I’m 6th generation Californian, but me and Frenchie are about to add a 7th generation in August :) w0000000t.

A huge thanks to Ian for his time. You can follow him on Twitter, at Origiful, and, of course, via his Vine account.


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