Exactly 10 years after the making of my 8-hour long Warhol remake, Sleep, it gained unexpected traction. For reasons unknown to me, YouTube algorithm decided to suggest this movie (from my dormant secondary channel) to hundreds of thousands of viewers.
Before long this abandoned channel was alive again. It was getting hundreds of followers and comments and thousands of views every day. From the comments it seemed like especially the members of gay subculture, “bears” were interested in the channel. Sleep was the champion, but my other films started also getting views – especially those where I’m naked or almost naked.
This all seems to connect with trending of sleepstreams – people live streaming their sleeping. Sleep was not really a stream, but somehow it was fitting this trend. Of course I decided to ride the wave. I’m not interested in streaming, but I figured, that somehow I need to feed the YouTube algorithm and deliver content to my new fans.
I took my camera from the closet and started shooting myself sleeping again. I did not want to make live streams. Instead I wanted to improve the concept of original Sleep – to have interesting images of a sleeping man. I used my vintage Soviet lens, sat down in my Design armchair and let the camera roll. When I woke up, I moved the camera and did it again, and again and again, until I had about an hour of material. Then I quickly edited it, applied some sounds, grain and heavy color grading and uploaded it to YouTube. The “premiere” event in YouTube gained some live fans chatting with me. Soon the video had over 5000 views. We needed more and better sleep.
I made another one when I sleep on a small sofa. I added more scenes and faster cut. It become 1½ hours long. I set it premiere in a couple of days time (Saturday 21. January) so that possible fans can make the time to watch it.
Next night I set my camera up again. This time I decided to sleep on an old Persian rug. This time I graded it differently. I did not desaturate the colors that much. Just enough to catch the night atmosphere and vintage feeling. I can not wait longer, so I set it to premiere on Sunday a day after the sofa movie.
Let’s see what happens with the premieres and how long I have the interest in filming myself sleeping. Maybe when I have 8 hours of footage, I can edit Sleep 2023 – a sequel, to celebrate the 10th anniversary.
My main focus now is the World Premiere of Natura in IFFR Rotterdam next week. Therefore I decided to harness the success of my sleep to promote Natura. It has worked quite well. The Natura trailer in IFFR YouTube channel has already 1000 new views now. You should watch it and comment it NOW! (Or even better come to the world premiere in Rotterdam 29th January 2023)