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NKU Junior Goes Viral, Wins International Video Competition

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (NKU) -- Douglas Gautraud knew he'd made something special, something with deep themes that could resonate with others. He didn't know his short film would earn nearly 1.53 million views on YouTube (so far) and become winner of the Peoples' Choice Prize in the Rode Microphones My Rode Reel international film contest.

"I didn't think it would be this popular," said the 24-year-old video producer from California, Ky. "The inspiration came from the events that actually happened in my life."

Gautraud, a junior marketing major at Northern Kentucky University, created a five-minute movie titled My Mom's Motorcycle. In it he describes his feelings after his grandfathers died, and how their possessions symbolized who they were. Gautraud then tells how he was inspired to buy a motorcycle, which his mother loathed.

By the end of the film, he realized why he was so inspired by his elders.

"I love and respected them for what they gave to others," he said. On a deeper level, the movie says much about our current "false realities," and the culture in which we live.

The short film contest was sponsored by the Australian company Rode Microphones, and after Gautraud's entry went viral, he was able to garner the most votes in the People's Choice category, voted on by the public. That brought him a prize of more than $20,000 worth of film gear. The rules for the competition were only that the video be between one and five minutes long. And the only direction, Gautraud says, was to tell a good story.

More than 1,100 entries came in from 76 countries.

"I wanted the viewer to follow my entire train of thought " from my reasons for buying the bike all the way to my reasons for selling it," he said. "I knew the lesson I had learned was of great importance to me and I believed it would resonate with others. I also wanted to share with others the wonderful lives of my grandfathers. I had a lot to communicate and because the time limit was five minutes the final video ended up being very fast-paced."

Gautraud said the entire process was life-changing.

"It took over a year for me to feel the need to buy a bike after my grandfathers passed and it took me another six months to decide to sell it," he said. "A year went by before I really started to write the story. This long process has changed my outlook on many things such as legacy, greatness, sacrifice, love leadership, family, and motorcycles."

And how does he feel now, as a winner?

"I am thankful for all the support and am deeply humbled by it," he said. "I believe truth is one of the most powerful ways to resonate with people no matter what the medium is. I am passionate about producing videos that will resonate with others; I believe winning this competition will enable me to do more of that."

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Information supplied by Northern Kentucky University.

ONLINE: http://www.nku.edu/features/2014/june/gautraud.html

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