MINNEAPOLIS - Ben Garvin, a photojournalist at the Pioneer Press, has been taking pictures professionally for years.
But it was the 2,457 shots he took a few weeks ago that is garnering attention from millions all over the world.
"If I am going to go viral for something, I feel like this is good. I'm really proud to go viral for something that is bringing so much silly joy to people," Garvin said of his YouTube Video sensation, Magic Beard.
Garvin had a beard, a big beard, and his wife said it had to go. So, Garvin decided to shed it in style.
"I realized I could push it up and it would stay in position, and I realized the comic potential there so I started thinking about how to make a video," Garvin said.
Using a $5 iPhone app called Stop Motion Studio Pro and a tripod carefully constructed using a birdhouse, scotch tape and building blocks, Garvin made a 2-minute video that as of Friday night had been viewed more than 2.2 million times.
What makes that more impressive is he only uploaded it three days prior.
"Just when I had that idea I laughed out loud because I knew how fun that would be," Garvin said.
He knew it would be funny, but he was also savvy about when he would upload it and what he would do if it went viral.
Due to the possibility of the latter, he decided to do what is referred to as "monetizing" the clip on YouTube.
What that means, essentially, is Garvin keeps the rights to his footage and agrees to allow an ad to run before the video when a viewer clicks to watch it.
YouTube will not disclose the dollars and cents involved in that, but in a recent Bloomberg Business week article a research director from TubeMogul cited the value of a video at $6.33 per 1,000 views.
If you do the math for 2.2 million views, that amounts to $13,926.
Not a number Garvin was aware of when we met.
"I honestly would just put it in the kids college account. We have four small kids, and we don't have much saved up at all right now," Garvin said.
He also said if he really does see that much money he and his wife would be giving a good chunk to charity as well.
Pretty good, for a late night whim that whimsically went viral.
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