Patrick Clair is a bright star in the television industry. He has garnered accolades from around the world for his innovative and influential motion graphics, including an Emmy for his brooding title sequence to HBO’s cult hit, True Detective. Despite this stratospheric rise in the world of TV and broadcast, his success can be traced back to an online hit earlier in his career.
‘Stuxnet, Anatomy of a Computer Virus’, an animated infographic, exploded online in 2011 (view at the end of the article), and set a new cinematic standard in the genre. The piece soon became a huge influencer in the design world, but Patrick initially used momentum from other online communities to propel ‘Stuxnet‘ on its course. After the piece aired on The ABC, Australia’s public broadcaster, Patrick dedicated days to sending the clip to all the usual design blogs, but crucially also to niche geek and techy sites. It was their interest that helped it reach a few hundred thousand views in a few days, eventually building to a whopping 1.6million Vimeo views. Clair was immediately inundated with offers of work, including a that hallowed call from Hollywood.
Courted by LA, Patrick signed up to one if its leading agencies, and has now relocating there with his family. Since Stuxnet, Patrick has built an impressive and varied body of work for high profile clients, including Adidas’s post World Cup celebration and Ubisoft’s high concept viral for Tom Clancy. With such success plus an Emmy on the shelf, using the web to build his profile seems less important these days. But does he think the hard graft and shrewd approach to online promotion is the key to a young directors success?
Advice & tips for online success
“Ultimately, I think a lot of online success comes down to luck. I mean, there’s whole industries devoted to building brands and views – but really the web is a wild and unpredictable place.
Certainly, though, getting views helps to spread content and build your career as a filmmaker. Not only that, it’s just satisfying to know that the work you’ve made is reaching people – that’s why we make it right? So that it can been seen and tell people stories.
The main thing to keep in mind is that people watch things they want to watch. What I mean is… people won’t neccessarily watch something cause it’s pretty, or cause it’s polished and high quality. The content that spreads most is content that is interesting. One thing to take from that is that you should identify the audiences that will respond well to your content. ‘Stuxnet’, my story about a computer virus, gained a lot of momentum by views from computer security blogs. Those viewers aren’t directly related to my work as a design director, but the views they added helped to give my video the momentum it needed to reach more people in the design community. Those viewers that have ultimately become clients or collaborators in the creative industries.
One thing worth noting – the web is run by algorithms, and those algorithms want to figure out what’s interesting right now. That means, more hits in a shorter time span is the most powerful way to snowball views. 100K thousand views over a week won’t get you very far, but a 100K views in a day will rocket you along – and that might increase your final audience by a magnification of 10 or 100. On the web, popularity works exponentially.
So, for me, the best plan when releasing content is… identify niche audiences that want to watch your stuff. When you launch… chase them, shamelessly but politely. Invest the effort to email everyone at once, and let them know the content is there and ready for them. Don’t pester people, but do contact bloggers and editors and let them know you’ve made something cool you’d like them to watch. After that, it’s all up to the crowd.
Elastic, my representatives, are my favorite people – they care for me, they protect me, they find cool projects for me. They are my partners in all my work, and I rely on them hugely. That said, you’re the best person to get your own work going – and the best way to get good representation is to spend time building your own career. If you invest the time yourself early on, chances are that you’ll land with a quality agent in the long run.”
You can view more of Patrick’s work at the following sites:
- Patrick ’s own site Antibody:: http://www.antibody.tv/projects.html
- Patrick’s agency Elastic: http://www.elastic.tv
- Titles for True Detective, & an interview with Patrick: http://www.artofthetitle.com/title/true-detective/
- Stuxnet on Vimeo:
You can view the other “How To Boost Your Online Presence” articles here:
- #1 Animation Company, Blue Zoo – BAFTA winning creators of TV series and commercials
- #2 Animation Director, Patrick Clair – Emmy winner for True Detective Titles Sequence
- #3 Illustrator, Andrew Rae – Founding member of Peepshow Collective and creator of Moon Head
- #4 Digital Journalist, Rob Munday – Film reviewer and curator at Short Of The Week
- #5 Film Festival Consultant, Christopher Holland – Writer of ‘Film Festival Secrets’ & curator at Atlanta Film Festival