In a brief video that performs on a loop, Robert E. Blackmon drags a trash bag marked “2020” down a driveway and right into a trash can.
The video resonated with viewers—sufficient to garner over 360 million views in 2020 and turn into a one of the seen GIF of the yr.
Blackmon, a Hollywood actor and life-style coach turned prolific GIF creator, has now racked up 10.5 billion complete views of his movies posted to the net GIF database and search engine GIPHY.
“If there is a state of affairs, there is a GIF,” Blackmon stated. “Extra probably, I created it.”
Initially from Detroit, Mich., Blackmon now shoots video on his iPhone at his residence in Spencerville, Ontario, about 45 minutes south of downtown Ottawa. Blackmon moved to Spencerville as a result of his husband is from the realm.
A staple of social media posts and textual content messages, GIFs are animated messages that play on a loop. It’s often despatched as a response, or to specific emotion.
Blackmon has its personal interpretation of the desk. He described it as a six-second silent film, although he added that almost all GIFs today are solely about two seconds lengthy.
“It expresses all types of feelings that emoji cannot,” he stated. “Relying on the kind of GIF or meme you select, [it] Will inform your story. “
Blackmon shot his first GIF earlier than he knew what a GIF was.
His supervisor, advertising and marketing marketing consultant Amanda Cee, urged him to make a movie. After a couple of yr of defiance, he lastly gave in.
He began by merely experimenting with roles — one thing that got here naturally to Blackmon, who calls himself “Mr. Dressup and Mr. Tickled Trunk.”
Sporting a wide range of wigs, Blackmon tried out numerous roles. Earlier than releasing his first GIF to the world, his supervisor shot lots of footage.
“In about three months, it exploded,” he stated.
His first work was seen tens of millions of instances. Alternative and money shortly adopted.
Blackmon started receiving invites to movie festivals, commissions for customized GIFs, and requests from businesses seeking to license his creations for promoting campaigns.
“Now, I am an establishment — or ought to be institutionalized,” he joked.
‘much less is extra’
Since then, Blackmon has turned his knack for brief, participating movies into TikTok with 1.8 million followers.
However the outcome, he stated, was a wierd type of fame. Whereas he’s typically acknowledged, folks not often acknowledge his face.
“You will have acquired an image of me, or you’ll have despatched an image of me,” he stated. “The puzzle [people] Sure they may have seen me, however I is likely to be sporting a blonde wig or a church hat. “
Regardless of the wardrobe’s delicacy, Blackmon says the key to GIF’s success is simplicity.
“Much less is extra. Shoot and go away,” he stated. “Folks like natural meals, and natural meals is what actually attracts folks to it.”