The Caine Effect Inspires -- Well, Everybody

by , Apr 13, 2012, 12:31 PM
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It’s only been four days, but by now, you’ve probably seen the Caine’s Arcade video. If you haven’t, I give you my personal guarantee that this mini-documentary -- about a 9-year-old’s DIY cardboard arcade getting flashmobbed -- will rank up there for the best 10 minutes you spend this year.

The reaction to this video as mind-bogglingly, heart-singingly awesome seems to be about as universal as anything on the Internet ever gets. It is making hearts everywhere grow three sizes, like that of Judas Peckerwood, who commented on Boing Boing: “You know, just when I've reached the point of irreversibly hating humanity, you have to throw this at me. Not fair, not fair.”

Caine is an amazing kid. It is a wonderful story, beautifully told. But its awesomeness goes beyond the video itself, into the impact it’s having on Caine and on those who watch the video.

First, a brief timeline: the flashmob itself took place Oct. 2, 2011, but the video premiered online just this week. It’s been seen on YouTube more than 1.3 million times; on Vimeo, almost 2 million (probably more than 2 million by the time you read this). Viewers of the movie have donated more than $130,000 toward Caine’s scholarship fund -- everyone wants to see what this kid is gonna be like with an engineering education under his belt.

But the outcome isn’t just about Caine. It’s also about the social proof the movie is providing to other kids. Check out 10-year-old Jojo’s bubble gum machine, and think about the millions of other kids who are also going to watch Caine and think, “I can do that, too!”

It’s about the social proof the movie is providing to parents, like Tony Deifell, who commented on Vimeo: “God, this made me cry. My wife and I are having a baby boy in a month. I hope he turns out like Caine.”

It’s about the social proof the movie is providing to random grownups being pitched to by children in auto parts stores everywhere, summed up by Sarah Cunningham: “Beautifully told, shot, and shared. But what I love most is that you bought the Fun Pass. I will never pass by a lemonade stand or any other roadside business venture without stopping to check it out. Thank you for the reminder.”

And it’s about the social proof the movie is providing to fledgling filmmakers, noticed and appreciated by people like Beverley Woodworth: “As cute a [sic] Caine is, I was made even more happy by the editing and shooting of this video. Looks like it was low budget on DSLR but editing skills like these are rarely seen anymore outside of broadcast tv with a substantial budget: little details like lots of l-cuts with audio leading the way before the next visual, stacked sound with layered music, vo, and nat sound fx (loved the stapler and cash register), lots of music tempo changes to engage the emotions and keep viewer interest high, perfect music choices that probably took forever to find (not to mention write and record!!), and more.”

It’s about inspiring every single demographic that watches this video. But most of all, it’s about awesome. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go buy my Fun Pass.

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