Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Six-second videos on Vine have some thinking big time

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TORONTO -- Jason Raymundo hopes he'll soon be making hundreds or even thousands of dollars in just six seconds.

He's part of a growing community of Internet users hooked on Vine, Twitter's short-form video-streaming platform that limits each audiovisual post to just half a dozen seconds.

It doesn't sound like a lot of time to work with and it's not, but some of the more creative users like Raymundo have created a new art form out of crafting fully contained stories in a quick six-second clip.

And the ones that are really good at it are looking to make a living off Vine.

Toronto native Raymundo, who recently caught a big break when his work was featured on the popular website Buzzfeed under the headline, "The Best Vine Video In the World," performs so-called "mirror magic" in most of his videos.

He uses creative editing to make it appear that he can throw objects and people through mirrors and make himself disappear. The video featured on Buzzfeed racked up 95,000 likes and 141,000 revines, the equivalent of Twitter's retweet function.

The strength of that video helped get the 32-year-old content creator a deal with London-based Viral Spiral Group, which has worked with brands such as Coca-Cola, Google and Samsung to license viral videos for ads. The company has sold the rights for the famous "Charlie bit my finger" YouTube video, which now has nearly 550-million views, as well the Canadian "Emerson, Mommy's nose is scary!" clip, that's nearing 50-million views.

Raymundo has a day job but isn't ruling out the idea of one day quitting to make videos full time.

"Growing up I always wanted to become an actor or something in showbiz or entertainment, behind the scenes or on the screen, so to be able to do this and have people appreciate it kind of makes me happy," says Raymundo, who uses the moniker JehReh on Vine.

"I wouldn't mind doing this full time, but how long it'll last, that I don't know."

Raymundo has 70,000 followers but still has a long way to go before catching up with some of the most followed Canadian users on Vine. Christian Delgrosso has more than 437,000 followers, Ray Ligaya has more than 361,000, MiikeyV has more than 303,000 and Piques has more than 213,000.

Ligaya of Windsor, Ont., has already cashed a few cheques for promotional work he's done with his Vine account, including a video for the recently released feature film The To Do List, starring Aubrey Plaza, Rachel Bilson and Bill Hader.

He hopes producing videos might become viable as a full-time job by sometime next year, if his popularity keeps growing.

"I'm hoping once I hit a million I'll be set, then I can go up to any company and tell them, 'Hey, I have one million people that watch my stuff, I can put out a six-second thing about your company and boom, one million people will see it.'"

But he's aware of the possible backlash that comes with taking on too many advertising gigs. Some Vine users aren't impressed they're starting to see more promotional material pop up in their feeds.

"I see comments saying, 'Sell out,' and this and that, but there will always be more fans than haters," Ligaya says.

"If I have a chance to make money off Vine, I'm doing it."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 9, 2013 D3

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