I’ve been absent from the blog for a while, but that’s pretty normal these days. However, I’ve still been getting in the studio, but this last week has been particularly unusual.
I think I’m viral.
No! Wait! Don’t leave! I’m not contagious!
You see, on November 29th, while I was sitting on the couch eating breakfast (yes, I eat on the couch and not at a table, I’m a heathen), my wife walked in from her office and glanced out the window towards the back yard. She saw a bobcat sneaking around. We watched him for a while, and I even managed to get a decent photo of him through a pair of binoculars.
Pretty amazing, right? I love me some nature, so I thought this was very cool.
Then November 30th happened. Almost exact same scenario: I was eating breakfast on the couch, wife walks in and looks out the window, sees the bobcat. This time, he was a bit closer to the house, hunkered down near the stone wall outside our garden, staring intently at our excessive squirrel population. I saw his hindquarters start to twitch, so I started filming. It was an amazing spectacle of nature to behold, which fortunately I watched with my own eyes and not the screen of my phone (hence the poor tracking of the action). I posted the video on Face Book, which obviously drew the attention of my friends and family. I had one friend request I make the post public so that he could share it with a NH wildlife page, so I did.
By the end of the night, it had 2000 views. 24 hours later it had 8,600 views. 48 hours after posting, it had 63,400. A few scant hours later, it had over 122,000. As of right now (approximately 3:25 pm, December 7-almost exactly one week since posting), the video has 693,444 views.
I’m blown away.
The day after this amazing bit of nature, as the view count was just beginning to grow, I decided I really ought to edit the video a bit and post it on my YouTube channel, figuring I might steal a few eyeballs and gain a new subscriber or two, so that’s exactly what I did. I felt a little corny adding my standard intro and “ads”, but I wanted to be consistent with the other videos I posted, and people can always skip them. I took the exciting bit and added it in slow motion, too, which really shows off how spectacularly athletic the bobcat was.
I suppose I should share the YouTube link for, what we’ve taken to calling him in the house, the Parkour Bobcat.
So, with this much attention directed generally my way, I felt the need to attempt to capitalize on the moment. I thought I had my 15 minutes of fame when I made it on American Ninja Warrior in 2012 (I enter every year, but haven’t been called back again. Yet. Which reminds me, I have to work on this year’s submission…), and I was neither successful enough nor in a position to use that experience to gain some attention for my art. This time I’m in a good spot to make use of this crazy luck, but it feels wrong and weird trying to financially benefit from sheer luck. It was all the bobcat, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Despite that, the experience did inspire some t-shirt ideas, which I’ve been hammering away at all week, but I’ve still been struggling with the idea of trying to make money off of this attention. I think it might turn a lot of people off, and I can’t afford that! What I’ve come up with to ease my discomfort is that for every shirt sold, I’m donating 28% of the profit (yeah, it’s a weird number, but my profit margin is a weird number) to The Big Cat Rescue. They are a wonderful organization and they are very highly rated in terms of their ethics and the money actually going to their cause, rather than overhead and salaries.
Anyway, you can purchase the shirts (there are currently 4, and I have 2 more in the works, but will take a while longer to finish up) at my Etsy shop, Plunger Monkey Designs. Here’s a look at what you could decorate your torso with and help save big cats across the globe at the same time.
As I said, I have two more in the works. One will tie into the other elemental theme shirts I’ve been brainstorming (the ones that will have distinct, elemental related circular borders. The Fu Dog shirt would fall into that line), the other is all vectors and will have a team logo vibe going on (that one has been fun so far. I’m using Affinity Designer on my iPad Pro. There’s a bit of a learning curve for me, and the work flow and layering are different, so it’s been slow going). Hopefully those will be done by the end of next week, but I do have a lot of other projects in the works, most of which need to be wrapped up before the holiday.
Anywhat, there you have it. That’s been my excitement and focus for the week. With any luck, this whole experience will give my career a much needed boost. If not, I’m perfectly happy to have experienced what it’s like to have a “viral” video and see all those view and share numbers continue to grow, but I’m even more excited I got to see nature in action.