Articles on this Page
- 10/07/14--06:18: _'SNL' allegedly sto...
- 10/07/14--07:00: _Code reveals hidden...
- 10/07/14--07:37: _Meet the guy who ma...
- 10/07/14--08:05: _Jimmy Fallon's teen...
- 10/07/14--10:15: _Edgar Wright direct...
- 10/07/14--10:19: _What the heck is go...
- 10/07/14--10:29: _Tyler Oakley throws...
- 10/07/14--10:49: _Netflix special 'Ug...
- 10/07/14--11:20: _Rumors of PewDiePie...
- 10/07/14--13:17: _John Cusack wants t...
- 10/08/14--04:00: _You can watch Showt...
- 10/08/14--04:30: _Nickelodeon histori...
- 10/08/14--06:00: _My failed first eff...
- 10/08/14--06:15: _If this 'Turn Down ...
- 10/08/14--06:41: _Jimmy Fallon remind...
- 10/08/14--07:14: _I got gay-married o...
- 10/08/14--08:00: _After 4 long years,...
- 10/08/14--08:25: _Sam Smith proves he...
- 10/08/14--09:03: _Groundbreaking vide...
- 10/08/14--11:14: _Stephen Collins has...
- 10/07/14--06:18: 'SNL' allegedly stole a sketch from the Groundlings comic troupe
- 10/07/14--07:00: Code reveals hidden track in the new Childish Gambino mixtape
- 10/07/14--07:37: Meet the guy who made a Slayer banjo cover go viral
- 10/07/14--10:15: Edgar Wright directed a weird music video for Pharrell and Daft Punk
- 10/07/14--10:19: What the heck is going on in Jaden Smith's new video?
- 10/07/14--10:29: Tyler Oakley throws a Midwestern sleepover-themed show for his fans
- 10/07/14--11:20: Rumors of PewDiePie's studio departure have been greatly exaggerated
- 10/08/14--04:00: You can watch Showtime's 'The Affair' on YouTube right now
- 10/08/14--04:30: Nickelodeon historian slams network for its diversity
- 10/08/14--06:00: My failed first effort as a YouTube vlogger
- 10/08/14--06:41: Jimmy Fallon reminds us that Vanilla Ice had a board game
- 10/08/14--07:14: I got gay-married on Kim Kardashian: Hollywood
- 10/08/14--08:00: After 4 long years, 'Viral Video Film School' returns to the Web
- 10/08/14--08:25: Sam Smith proves he has no idea how Twitter works
- 10/08/14--09:03: Groundbreaking video game Myst is coming to television
- 10/08/14--11:14: Stephen Collins has been messaging young female fans for years
Saturday Night Live has a storied relationship with Los Angeles improv institution the Groundlings. While the show has recruited some of its most successful talent from the comedy troupe, including Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig, it looks as if they might have taken an original sketch as well.
On last weekend’s episode, host Sarah Silverman took a turn alongside cast members Cecily Strong and Sasheer Zamata for a sketch in which the threesome played entertainers on a Nebraska river cruise. Outfitted in red dressed and Tina Turner wigs, the River Sisters shared their real life tales of strife during an upsetting medley of “Proud Mary.”
After it aired, the only people who weren’t laughing were Groundlings comedians Kimberly Condict and Vanessa Ragland, who had performed an alarmingly similar sketch back at a Groundlings show on September 21st. On Sunday, Ragland was quick to post footage of their original bit online, allowing viewers to judge for themselves whether they preferred SNL’s take or the “OG version” she wrote and performed with Condict.
An awesome backstage pic from our Sept 21st show! pic.twitter.com/v19cXNxFJv— Kimberly Condict (@KimberlyCondict) October 6, 2014
Quickly, other comedians chimed in to lend their support to the duo who allege that Saturday Night Live has lifted their sketch.
Gawker's Defamer got ahold of a Facebook post from Groundlings teacher Ian Gary. In a lengthy post, Gary rants about SNL's intellectual property theft, which have been occurring for longer than most are aware, he alleges.
But, over the years I have seen MANY, MANY sketches flat out stolen from my friends by Saturday Night Live. Nearly verbatim. Word for word... And everyone in our community goes "Oh man. That sucks." and nobody says anything because I guess SNL is still some dream for some people or they don't want to get involved, or a million other reasonable things that stop people from standing up for each other when things are blatantly wrong.
While footage of the sketch isn't available on streaming outlets like Hulu or Yahoo, the folks over at the A.V. Club received comment from an anonymous insider, who brushes aside the plagiarism accusations, saying that the "similarities represent parallel thinking in the comedy world." The publication also managed to track down a clip of it online. Watch and judge for yourself if it's all a coincidence, or the sketch is too similar for comfort. Saturday Night Live has not issued a statement regarding the alleged plagiarism.
H/T Entertainment Weekly | Screenshot via NBC
One technically savvy Donald Glover fan has uncovered the long-teased, hidden Childish Gambino song. Way back in December, the rapper/actor teased the track, and fans remained stumped for most of the year. His latest release, the KAUAI EP, dropped over the weekend and proved to be the missing link in the search.
kauai is out on itunes and spotify and it leaked and yeah. the 3005 remix should help with the secret track— childish gambino (@donaldglover) October 4, 2014
The track referenced, “3005 (Beach Picnic Version),” is an instrumental. Reddit user peepsie112 found the hidden connection, snagged the acappella audio, and posted it along with his methodology.
new audioObject("30059","12zzQ809",234) is a line of code used to play 3005 on the because the internet script, "12zzQ809" is the song id or file name, so instead of using "12zzQ809", I just replaced it with lemongrab because above the secret track section it says "[LEMONGRAB: UNNACCEPTABLE!]", nothing too special really
User zealotsofstock took the vocals, synced them with the “3005” instrumental, and then posted a perfectly in sync final version. Listen to the secret song below.
Back in May, Rob Scallon released a cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood” on the banjo. It racked up more than 3 million views.
Scallon’s fond of covering of metal songs on unlikely instruments: He’s also done System of a Down’s “Chop Suey” on the cello, and Cannibal Corpse’s “Frantic Disembowelment” on the ukulele. His most recent cover was another Slayer song, “Angel of Death,” on the banjo. It debuted Oct. 3 and has more than 250,000 views. On his YouTube page, Scallon simply says, “I play guitar for the Internet.”
Billboard recently interviewed Scallon about how he makes money from YouTube, specifically in relation to his covers:
I'm partnered with Google so that revenue is split between YouTube and I. And in the case of the covers -- this is actually pretty new, you weren’t able to do this prior -- there's a three-way rev-split that makes monetizing covers possible. So with these Slayer covers, for example, the revenue from those ads is split between Google, Slayer's management, and myself. So everyone's happy.
The last "Raining Blood" cover had Slayer trending on Facebook, which I was really happy about. They make money, I make money, YouTube makes money. And there's also the song sales, which are kind of a new thing. I don't really know how that's gonna turn out yet because it's really delayed, but for that I go through a company... they handle all the legal stuff so Slayer gets their proper royalties and then I can also sell the cover on iTunes.
Scallon currently plays in a band with VlogBrother Hank Green, as well as another band, Driftless Pony Club, that’s also made up of YouTubers. But he tells Billboard he’s not that interested in being in a “legitimate band.” He’s just happy playing guitar for the Internet.
Screengrab via Rob Scallon/YouTube
It’s incredible that Fallon’s teenager character Sara’s catchphrase of “Ew!” hasn’t been made part of a video before now, but of course that was before she had her friend Will.i.am (or rather, Mir.i.am) join her down in the basement. The video is complete with way too much Auto-Tune, plenty of costume changes, and a list of just some of the things that are “Ew” for the teen girls. If you haven’t seen Sara go at it before, it’s quite a lot.
People will either love it or hate it, but it’s just catchy enough that it could possibly end up on the radio.
We may not get the charmingly oddball Ant-Man film adaptation he worked on for years, but Edgar Wright’s latest project ought to appeal to his geeky fanbase: It’s a video for Pharrell’s “Gust of Wind,” featuring Daft Punk as flying, autotune-voiced robot heads made of stone.
There are also some gravity-defying backup dancers, a colorful autumn landscape, and the catchy tune itself, only partially overshadowed by the nagging matter of what the hell that thing dangling from Pharrell’s sweater is supposed to be. Knowing Wright’s proclivity for hiding easter eggs in movies like Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, it’s probably an inside joke we’ll never understand. (Or that someone will explain in the YouTube comments.)
Is there some reason my nature hikes never turn out like this? I think I need to try some new trails.
Is this song about the dangers of speeding? Is it about his rumored girlfriend Kylie Jenner, who is apparently not very good at driving? Did he make the video specifically so he could tweet at her? Why is he rolling around on the floor of a parking garage?
His flow's pretty good, though.
The song is less than two minutes long, and leaves so many questions unanswered. Jaden, you’ve done it again!
The song joins a string of recent releases from Smith, including a seven-minute song about a blow dealer at Coachella, and “Trophy V6,” which has a pretty solid beat. Is he teasing the followup to his 2012 mixtape, the impeccably titled The Cool Cafe: Cool Tape Vol. 1? Only time will tell, but thankfully Smith is back to spnning Twitter gold:
Once All 100% Is Neglected You Have A Citizen. A Walking Zombie Who Criticizes Every Thing They See. Have Fun Its A Really Awesome Place.— Jaden Smith (@officialjaden) October 7, 2014
Photo by NEC Corporation of America/Flickr (CC By 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III
While the YouTube star has played host or guest at other events, his own Sleepover Tour was 100 percent Oakley, with a set modeled on his own apartment and the show following the casual-yet-intimate nature of Oakley’s videos that fans have come to love. Fans at both stops came prepared for the theme in animal onesies and other pajama attire, and they shared pictures and stories from their experiences on Tumblr and Twitter.
Oakley took the stage in a dinosaur onesie, and during the show he answered fans questions in a relaxed setting, telling new tales and expanding stories that he’s shared before, including one about a Grindr date in Hawaii that lead to the discovery of a dead body on the beach just days before meeting Barack Obama.
Oakley shared the spotlight with his longtime friend and collaborator Korey Kuhl, his cohost on newly launched webseries Psychobabble. He also brought his mother, Jackie, who has appeared in multiple videos, on stage at the Michigan show, revealing that he’d bought her a new stove, which prompted a resounding "aww" from the audience.
One of my favorite parts of tour is friends & family coming, seeing you all, and FINALLY getting it. Not sure it that makes sense? But yeah.— Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakley) October 6, 2014
One enterprising fan uploaded the entire set from Chicago to YouTube, although it won’t be long before Oakley shares clips himself. Until then, fan-captured moments will have to suffice.
i dont want a boyfriend i want VIP tyler oakley tour tickets— may//THANK YOU TROYE (@troyesflannel) October 5, 2014
people who livetweet tyler oakley's tour events are the kinds of people who go to heaven— may//THANK YOU TROYE (@troyesflannel) October 5, 2014
No additional dates have been announced at this time.
Photo via Gage Skidmore (CC BY SA 2.0)
It’s taken me a while, but I think I finally get Chelsea Handler.
Mind you, I get her and can appreciate her singular comedic style, but I wouldn’t consider myself a fan nor would I fork over hard-earned money to see a live performance. Handler’s nothing-sacred approach to humor is on full boil in her new Netflix stand-up special, Chelsea Handler: Uganda Be Kidding Me Live. The 70-minute performance, taped at Chicago’s Harris Theater, is based on her No. 1 New York Times best seller of the same name.
The book and show delve into the comedian’s trip to Uganda, the purpose of which remains somewhat vague. To put a finer point on it, the Netflix special reveals how Handler pokes at her personal demons to fuel observations on life which are—to put it bluntly—cynical, jaded, crude, and often funny. The humor comes from a familiarity that resides at the intersection of our own personal foibles and Handler’s hyperbolic tales of self-indulgence and anger. Some of her yarns, such as having an uncontrollable fit of “the trots” while alone on the beach, appear sadly genuine. They create a tight bond with her audience, who can relate to her ability to get in rather bizarre-yet-commonplace predicaments.
I get Handler’s approach and appreciate her bravado and willingness to follow the path of such previous comic trailblazers as Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, and even the late Joan Rivers. These folks were all about boundaries—finding them, testing them, and seeing how hard and how far they could push them. In the case of Bruce and Carlin, testing limits came with a huge price. Handler’s masterful, high-wire, without-a-net series of witty stories (laced with a steady stream of F-bombs) and quips serves a serio-comedic microcosm of our current hyperactive culture. At 39, the talk show host is young enough to be cool and relevant to young audiences yet appealing to older viewers (who like to think they are hip).
What I don’t like is Handler’s inability to structure her bits in a classic setup, tell the tale, punchline manner, which is the standard for all successful comedy. Her narcissism tends to show in her storytelling which sometimes has difficulty getting from Point A to B without multiple diversions. This is especially true in her final segment where the space between setup and punchline seems interminable. In our business, we’d say she needs a good editor.
Not that it’s keeping Handler up at night, but I’m not sure if I’d be waiting breathlessly for her new Netflix talk show. I wrestle with an important question when I watch Handler perform: Does she want us laughing with her or at her?
Last week, an interview with the most subscribed-to YouTuber in history in Icon Magazine was translated and quoted to imply that PewDiePie, a.k.a. Felix Kjellberg, was unhappy with Maker Studios, the MCN to which he belongs, and that he was interested in starting his own network after his contract expires in December. The original translation comes via The Wall Street Journal, and Kjellberg took to Twitter to set the record straight.
I feel like I was misquoted in the WSJ and I'm really happy with the work that Maker has been doing for me.— Felix Kjellberg (@pewdiepie) October 4, 2014
The Icon article that the WSJ translated and quoted does have Kjellberg saying that he and Maker have limited contact and that Disney's purchase of Maker last spring has no relevance on his channel. It goes on to say he’s eager to get his own network up and running, and that other YouTube networks have been run poorly in the past. The WSJ report tied these two together as cause and effect, as the Icon article positions them together, but at no point does Kjellberg state that he’s set to leave Maker and create his own network as a direct result.
In fact, Kjellberg was just in Los Angeles for a Grand Prix event sponsored by Maker where he faced off against other YouTubers in a game. It could have been a case of saving face, but come December when the contract is up we’ll know if Kjellberg, who reportedly made $4 million last year before giving Maker its cut, is really happy with his multichannel network situation.
Yesterday, news broke that NBC had closed a deal for a script commitment for a Say Anything TV series. The show would be the result of a partnership between NBC and 20th Century Fox TV, with Aaron Kaplan (the U.S. remake of The Inbetweeners, Terra Nova) executive producing and Justin Adler (Better Off Ted) writing. The show would pick up the original story 10 years later, after Diane Court, who has dumped Lloyd Dobler, returns home and Dobler attempts to win her heart again.
"Would" is the key word in that last sentence, as the project is likely scarred beyond repair at this point after writer/director of the 1989 film, Cameron Crowe, took to Twitter in response to the news:
John Cusack, who played Lloyd Dobler in the film, also used the medium to express his feelings on the project:
According to Deadline, 20th Century Fox TV attempted to reach out to Crowe prior to the announcement, but a bungling in communication resulted in him discovering the deal at the same time as the rest of the Internet. Seeing as how we live in the age of Skype, Yo, and a half dozen standalone Facebook apps, it seems like it’d have been prudent for 20th Century to have attempted a few more calls or texts before closing a deal to script the series; it’s not smart to squarely slap in the face the person whose public opinion could scare NBC away from the deal entirely, which is likely what will happen here.
Crowe is currently executive producing, along with J.J. Abrams, a pilot for a series titled Roadies for Showtime, which he also wrote and is directing. With Crowe dabbling in the arena of television, it would be incredibly unwise for NBC to move forward with something he considers an insult. It certainly can, if it wants to, as 20th Century TV owns the rights to the Say Anything name and property and can legally do whatever it wants with it, but it all boils down to one question: Does NBC want to air a show that uses the Say Anything name to attract viewers, or would it be better to keep the possibility open, in the future, of developing something with Cameron Crowe and attracting viewers with that name instead? With fans of the film foaming at the mouth over the possibility of a TV show happening without its original talent involved, it doesn’t seem like too promising of a project to alienate Crowe over.
It probably won’t be long before NBC announces the project has been shelved, and the world will be spared from the blasphemy of a recast John Cusack, Ione Skye, and John Mahoney (whose James Court, a white-collar criminal, would certainly be long out of prison by this point in the timeline).
The Affair, a multifocal POV saga, looks at the broad impact of an extramarital affair as seen through the eyes of its leads, creating a tension that may become habit-forming. In hopes of drawing some social buzz going into the Oct. 12 debut episode, Showtime is offering a free preview via YouTube as well as through its various streaming apps. The YouTube version is sanitized of unsavory language and nudity.
The Affair accomplishes its mission in no small way by bringing some talented actors to the project; it's led by Dominic West, Maura Tierney and Ruth Wilson, the chilling, complex, cool-blooded killer from BBC’s award-winning Luther. West, married to the always spot-on Tierney, is a school teacher trying to savor the success of his first published book as he and his family venture off on a summer vacation to the lavish home of Tierney’s character's overbearing father. John Doman, whom astute folks will recognize as Carmine Falcone in the new Fox series, Gotham, is superbly unctuous as the narcissistic, nouveau riche father-in-law.
At the heart of The Affair is the amour fou relationship between West and Wilson, the waitress at a diner West’s family stops at en route to the summer destination. It is that meeting which becomes the pilot’s central narrative and which introduces us to the various plot threads that will play out over the course of the subsequent nine scheduled episodes. West, one of the stars from HBO’s The Wire, exhibits that rare acting gift of being able to express emotion with a minimum of scene-chewing histrionics. His subtle mannerisms and penetrating gaze lend power to this pivotal performance.
Showtime, which has taken a backseat to HBO in the megahit department, is looking for a True Detective sort of drama in which the power of script and acting captures goes beyond standard pay TV melodrama. With Homeland as a lead-in and a focus on promotion, Showtime is hoping to give The Affair a strong launch pad.
Screengrab via Hulu
Nickelodeon nostalgia is rampant. It’s easier than ever to look back fondly on our favorite Nick shows and characters. There are Twitter accounts dedicated to Clarissa Darling and Hey Arnold!, and Tumblrs filled entirely with GIFs from Pete and Pete. There’s even a free online channel called Nick Reboot that airs Nickelodeon shows from the ‘90s and early 2000s all day, every day. But one Nick historian and author has put forth a controversial opinion.
Flavorwire recently published an in-depth interview with Mathew Klickstein, the author of Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age. The book looks at the history of Nickelodeon from its start in the ‘70s to its “glory days” in the early ‘90s. But according to Klickstein, who’s also hosting a Nickelodeon Nostalgia Night in New York this week, one thing killed those glory days: forced diversity.
“To just shove [diversity] in there because, ‘Uh-oh, we need diversity,’ is silly and a little disgusting,” Klickstein said in the Flavorwire interview. “It needs to be the best people working on the best shows. They happen to be white, that’s a shame. They happen to be guys, that’s a shame.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Mathew Klickstein, but he cancelled the interview and declined to comment.
Klickstein claimed in the interview that most of Nickelodeon’s best nostalgic shows happened to be ones largely created by or starring white men, like Ren and Stimpy and The Adventures of Pete & Pete. He said the network’s quality changed once they started adding diverse characters for the sake of diversity, which was because “[Nickelodeon president] Cyma Zarghami and the women who run Nickelodeon now are very obsessed with diversity.”
He even criticized some of the programs that were popular during his proclaimed “Golden Age,” mainly Clarissa Explains It All. He said its enduring popularity is based on the fact that Melissa Joan Hart is still famous, as well as the fact that more women are online writing about it, but he called the show more “contrived” than Pete & Pete, Hey Dude, and other similar programs.
“She was a girl, and many of the people who are writing these blogs and editing these pieces are women—which is fine, it’s just the way that it is, and a lot of the publishing world is women,” Klickstein said.
This is the most insane/sexist/racist interview about Nickelodeon I've ever read. Also he's wrong about Clarissa. http://t.co/q5rs0J06Q9— Meredith Woerner (@MdellW) October 7, 2014
The interview has sparked criticism regarding the role of diversity in television, especially when it comes to the nostalgic shows today’s adults grew up with as children. BuzzFeed contributor Daniel José Older said he’s not necessarily nostalgic about older Nickelodeon shows, but he’s all too familiar with the challenges minorities face when looking back on childhood favorites.
“There’s a point a lot of us go through … to understand you’ve been systematically excluded from the various television shows and artforms you’ve grown up on,” Older told the Daily Dot. “I still love plenty of stuff I liked when I was a kid, I still watch it, it’s just how do you find a way to do that while you’re still cringing inside.
Diversity in TV programming is still relatively low, with between 72 and 83 percent of characters on major networks being white. According to Think Progress, if demographics modeled what was seen on television, than half of America’s population would be white men, instead of about 30 percent. There are also other diversity issues beyond race or gender, including the presence of LGBT characters and people with disabilities.
“We’re still struggling to see ourselves in television,” Older said.
Nickelodeon itself has had a long, interesting relationship with diversity. While some of its earlier shows from the ‘90s featured mostly white, middle-class people, there has since been a push to increase diversity among its programming and staff.
I can say that as a devoted fan of MANY Nick programs of the 90s the diversity angle was important to me & something I noticed even as a kid— raanve (@raanve) October 7, 2014
Shows like All That!, Hey Arnold!, and The Legend of Korra have been critically praised for including a diverse cast of heroes and protagonists, and Dora the Explorer has been cited by the American Sociological Association for its role in educating children about bilingualism, diversity, and Hispanic culture. Klickstein criticized some of these shows, saying quality should be more important than diversity.
“Some of these other shows—My Brother and Me, Diego, and Legend of Korra—it’s great that they’re bringing diversity into it now. Fantastic,” Klickstein said. “But you know those shows are not nearly as good as Ren and Stimpy, which was made by all white people. Or Pete & Pete, which was all white people. I’m not saying white people are better at it or anything, I’m just saying that part of it doesn’t matter. What matters is how good it is and does it hold the test of time?”
He said including diversity for the sake of diversity is “exploitative and predatory.” His biggest example was the character of Sanjay from Sanjay and Craig, which also has a large following on Tumblr. Klickstein said there was no reason for Sanjay to be Indian-American other than the fact that Nickelodeon wanted an Indian-American character.
“You’re saying, ‘If it doesn’t matter, then why not let them be Indian?’ I’m saying, ‘If it doesn’t matter, why make them Indian?’” Klickstein said.
“It matters because we need to see ourselves in television. I don’t even feel like we should have to say that,” Older responded. “I think if [Klickstein] grew up in a world where there weren’t people who looked like him, he would feel like it matters quite a bit.”
Older, who also wrote the upcoming book Half-Resurrection Blues, said it’s important to encourage more diversity with media and its characters. He said children and young adults of all genders, races, sexual orientations, and other factors should have relatable TV icons.
“It fuels my drive and passion as a writer, because I don’t want my kids or the next generation to grow up with that,” Older said. “I want folks to have clear models they can look up to.”
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the surname of Daniel José Older.
Illustration by Jason Reed
YouTube boasts more than 1 million content creators uploading 100 hours of video every minute. But how did it get there? How do those creators get started? How do they get from an idea and a webcam to a half million subscribers? Turns out it's not as easy as it looks.
Step 1: Scheming
When I returned from my first ever VidCon, the annual celebration of all things Internet-video, I was inspired. There’s a wide breadth of video content available on the Internet, from comedy to education and everything in between, but I was most taken with the vloggers, a mixed bag of creators who primarily use the medium to share their lives and viewpoints through a digital lens. I walked away thinking that at its very base, it was a very democratic point of entry into entertainment: Point, shoot, and upload. What makes a good vlog, I quickly learned, is way more than that, but the promise of turning on a camera and finding an audience is what seduced me, and thousands of other YouTubers, to give it a shot.
Vlogging as a medium gained traction in 2005, the year YouTube was founded. Finally, people had a medium to share video without it needing to be downloaded from their own servers, plus a built-in community for feedback and discussion. Over the past nine years, the platform has changed, but the general directive of sharing content has not, and users have built empires on their Internet personalities. The myth of just pointing and shooting and achieving success is gone, replaced by creators who are talented video editors beyond their skills as talking heads.
As the genre shifts from simply a pastime to a career, some vlogs look impossibly polished, leaving me paralyzed in awe and afraid to take the step from romanticizing the vlog life to actually seeing if I could do it.
Step 2: Filming
One lazy evening I found myself watching YouTube videos, thinking: "I should just do it. I should rip off the bandage of a first YouTube video and create some content." An oversized tub of sour cream was also on my mind. I had purchased it optimistic about days of tacos and nachos, but the speed at which I was consuming Mexican food and the sell-by date were not lining up, and I was set to be left with a whole lot of excess. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone, swiftly Googled “sour cream face masks,” and went to work filming myself in my kitchen.
I’d seen so many YouTubers with their arms outstretched in front of them, talking to their cameras as they walked around the Anaheim Convention Center a week before. How hard could it be? I threw caution to the wind and started filming myself prepping and smearing the lemon, sour cream, and honey mixture on my face. I tried to make it comedic but honest. I didn’t script anything, but I was definitely aware that I was talking to a camera. In that awkwardness, I think I played up an attempt to be witty and to conform to YouTube tropes like asking for subscribers and pointing at the bottom of my screen to implore my imaginary fans to leave a comment.
My first lesson, though? Sour cream masks are ridiculous. Don’t put sour cream on your face; it makes no sense.
Step 3: Denial
Face clean, I clicked off the camera. Then I ignored my footage for weeks. I didn’t even want to rewatch it, but I also didn’t want to reshoot because I felt like the integrity of my “first time” would be compromised if I did it over.
Step 4: Reshoots and editing
Finally, a month later, I rewatched my attempt. I quickly realized I had not sufficiently set up the clip as a vlog; instead it just looks like an insane person in a muumuu, wandering around a kitchen. So I clicked on my Photobooth and filmed myself at my desk, introducing the video and signing off. Then, instead of letting the cold feet settle again, I embarked on the even scarier task of editing my video.
I have no formal training in video editing, but I asked a friend if something like iMovie would be intuitive enough for me to create a passable video. I’ll happily report it was, and within an hour, I had imported and linked together the seven clips that make up my piece, even adding rudimentary transition graphics and text overlays. The editing process, for me, was the most soothing experience of this whole experiment. Given time, I think I could learn editing, and that’s definitely one of the hallmarks of a true YouTuber. They do their own editing, owning as many aspects of the creative process as possible. Of course, this newfound confidence didn’t stop me from delaying the actual publishing of my vlog to the world.
Step 5: Channel maintenance
I may be a newbie to vlogging, but I am not a newbie to YouTube. My account, blurintofocus, was created in 2006, and I started uploading videos shortly thereafter. At that time, I was an avid concert attendee, specifically obsessed with the band Panic! at the Disco and many of their labelmates. I had a solid Sony point-and-shoot from my father and a penchant for getting front-row spots at shows, so my videos received solid traffic, even from the band itself. Some still get comments each month from new or die-hard fans reliving the glory days of 2006. As a result, my videos have racked up over 1 million views, and I had a small band of 523 subscribers from that time, even though my last upload was some video I shot of an interview back in 2012.
However, I’d sorely neglected making any changes to my channel since I started it, even as YouTube itself went through cosmetic and channel status changes over the years. I logged back in to realize I’d qualified for the Partner Program, meaning I could monetize my original content right away—a nice bonus for a newbie YouTuber. But first I'd need a header image, so I tapped my friend Corey Lubowich, a professional graphic designer, to make me look like a real vlogger and not just someone taking a wild stab at the world. However, all good stalling tactics had to come to an end, and it was time to upload.
Step 6: Uploading and waiting
Once my video loaded into the system and I added some tags (“facemask,” “tutorial,” DIY,” “nomakeup,” etc.), I hit publish and then tried to distract myself in any way possible.
I helplessly refreshed the video page waiting for new views, then realized my own views were inflating the count, so I opened my Channel Dashboard and lived there for the rest of the day. When my first non-me view occurred, I did a dance in my living room. I waited patiently, but no one gave me an upvote or a comment. I went to sleep and tried not to think about my failing popularity too much.
Step 7: Reception
I have decent-sized social media presences on other platforms, enough that I’ve seen numbers on articles I write uptick when I tweet about them, but I didn’t want to give any extra social push to my YouTube video. I felt like my subscriber base was enough extra bonus that most newbie bloggers wouldn’t even have, and I wanted to see what the tides of YouTube could bring me in terms of viewers.
The next morning I woke up to my first ever comment. It was from my designer friend, with the witty retort of “First!”
As quickly as the first comment came, a second appeared. Perhaps I was picking up steam in this vlog world. Alas, it was a suspected spam comment disguised as praise from another vlogger trying to build his own brand. Not only that, but he was a child—not a teenager or a witty college student, but an actual child who isn’t even in middle school yet. He had lots of vlogs already, and seemed to be very in command of his brand on the platform. All his videos had way more views than mine. I was a virtual infant in the world of YouTube.
My grand total, after a week of letting my vlog peacefully exist on the platform, was 18 views (two of which were mine), three comments (one mine), and no upvotes or downvotes. However, the most disappointing statistic was my subscriber count, which dropped by one during my vlogging experiment. I don’t know who gave up on me, or why, and that’s the most disappointing thing of all. Sure, they likely subscribed for concert footage that I haven’t provided in five years, but I had hoped they’d at least be unoffended enough by my humble vlog attempts to stick around at least for version 2.0.
Step 8: Wash, rinse, repeat?
If I want to keep my remaining 522 subscribers, or perhaps even grow that number, I’ve got some changes to make before the next vlog debuts.
My biggest lessons from this experiment are to not be so cavalier about the filming and staging of a vlog. What appears to be simple is in fact exactly the opposite. There’s lighting, first of all. My video fluctuates in quality thanks to natural lighting, which is extremely distracting. I also have cluttered backgrounds behind me. Sure, it makes me look “real,” but it’s also distracting. Finally, even when putting on a face mask for camera, perhaps I should put on some makeup first. Now the world totally knows what I look like sans glasses, makeup, hair styling, and even proper clothes.
Still, the experience surprisingly hasn’t set me running for the hills, never to show my face on camera again. My years of blogging on platforms like LiveJournal or Tumblr and oversharing on Twitter—not to mention my time as a journalist—has always given me a sense of worth about not only my words, but my views and opinions too. YouTube is just another way to share those views, and despite my discomfort with some parts of the process, I spent the week thinking of new video topics I could address and better ways to visualize stories and moments. I’ve taken some footage out in the wild of my everyday life that could possibly be used for fodder in future videos too. I’m not sure where I’m going with my new vlogging career, but I’m not as terrified as I once was about showing my face to the world.
That said, having earned a whopping six cents in my week of monetized vlogging, I should probably stick to my day job.
Illustration by Jason Reed
In a new video, Lil Jon and a list of other celebrities encourage citizens to dance and show up to vote for midterm elections this year.
Non-partisan organization, Rock The Vote, recruited music producer Lil Jon to remix his hit “Turn Down For What” party track into an unofficial midterm election anthem. The final product, “Turn Out For What,” is a song just as danceable as the original, and it comes packaged with a star-studded video that’s about as fun as voter mobilization tactics get.
Lena Dunham, Fred Armisen, and others sashay and boogie across your screen while sharing the issues that are motivating them to vote in this election—issues like marriage equality, prison reform, race equality, and legalization of marijuana.
If you still haven’t registered to vote, visit www.RockTheVote.com and help make “Turn Down For What” as successful as it is catchy.
Screenshot via YouTube
We remember some of our favorite board games from childhood fondly, but let’s face it, most of them are terrible. Variety game enthusiast Jimmy Fallon is set on reminding all of us what we were lucky enough to miss out on.
His debut "do not game" list features defunct, real board games. They're offensive, overly complicated, and just plain strange. He’s ever the good sport, so he tests them out and shows off their features, even though he can barely figure out what to do and gets too annoyed at the historic inaccuracies.
Just remember, someone thought this was a good idea, had it designed, boxed, and sold to the masses. And in one notable case, that someone was Vanilla Ice.
Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube
Thanks to a game update last week, the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood universe joined 26 proud states and the District of Columbia in the legal recognition of gay marriage. Yes, civil rights pioneer Kim Kardashian, who was ruthlessly scorned for her 72-day union to Kris Humphries, made her contribution to furthering the cause of same sex marriage with an expansion of her popular game last week.
Last Wednesday, developer Glu Mobile officially unveiled a 2.0 version of its $200 million gameKim Kardashian: Hollywood. With the update, users can play on Facebook, travel to Florence, Italy, and most importantly, betroth themselves to their beloved. While the update’s release was given the standard press coverage, the true story was lurking on Kim’s Instagram.
You can now get married 👬#KimKardashianGame
On Monday, Kardashian posted an animated version of herself posing alongside a gay couple with dangerously high cheekbones. The momentous stride for civil rights was simply captioned with an emoji of two men holding hands, and the words “You can now get married #KimKardashianGame.” So, as a gay man who wrote the definitive guide to hacking Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, what else was I to do but tie the virtual knot, for the sake of both civil rights and journalism?
Finding Mr. Right
Not unlike a Taylor Swift song, my love story began with a quick Google search of “How to get married in the Kim Kardashian game.” My digging over at ChapterCheats.com revealed that after completing a string of successful dates, the L-word would be spoken, proposals would be made, and wedding bells would be ringing. Equipped with that sage guidance, my journey to the altar would be complete in only half an hour.
I had to ditch my current squeeze, EJ, in favor of a silver fox named Luis King who I had met at some club or launch party. Despite the fact that the occupational therapist was only a C-list celebrity, Luis’s thick mane of silver hair implied he was at an age where he’d like to settle down—or at the very least, share my A-list healthcare benefits.
Though we had only been dating for five minutes, we were already swapping “I love you”s like high school sweethearts. What some called a whirlwind courtship, we called destiny, and after completing three more dates, a screen appeared that allowed me to pop the question. After tapping the “Propose” button on my iPad, I waited with bated breath. The seconds passed like hours as he contemplated if he would like to join me in becoming Mr. and Mr. George Glass, but thankfully, the answer was a resounding yes.
News of my engagement spread through the Kardashian Kosmos faster than leaked celebrity nudes, and soon I was at Kim’s palatial Beverly Hills mansion to share the exciting news. After forcing me to swear “Bible” on my engagement, Kim dispensed with her wisdom of love and acceptance in the age of celebrity. “Marrying the person you love—gay, straight, or whatever!—is all that matters,” she opined in a bust-flattering black crop top and zebra skirt.
With Kim’s blessing, I departed to Italy to commence with the courtship. But what’s a gay wedding without drama? No sooner had I arrived in Florence than a bidding war broke out for the wedding venue with a rival celebrity couple. After producing the $7,500 deposit, wedding planner Rupert Ambrose ensured me I made the right choice by touting Florence as the hottest wedding destination. “Ever since Kim Kardashian West’s wedding, Florence seems to be the IT place to get married,” he bragged, as I realized my vows would forever be shadowed by hers.
Resigned to that chilling fact, I began decorating for the occasion by adorning the venue with a flower wall reminiscent of the one at Kimye’s nuptials, when disaster struck again. This time, it was rumors of a cheating fiancé that required a string of three successive dates to dispel. With the circus surrounding Luis’s and my pending matrimony was growing only larger by the minute, it seemed like gay marriage might be more of a hassle than it’s worth.
Yet, that brief lapse in judgment was soon eclipsed by the joy that came with lovingly pressing the “I do” button on my screen. And just like that, quicker than a ride through the drive-thru wedding chapel in Vegas, we were hitched. Luis didn’t even bother to change out of his burnt umber button down for the occasion, but that’s only because love doesn’t have a dress code. Or perhaps the game engineers designed him to be passé about love as 21st-century construct of ownership.
Ultimately, there are no great civil rights revelations to be unlocked in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. If that was the case, I would fear more the future of humanity than I would for the future of same-sex marriage. If anything, playing the game is more of a cautionary tale against celebrity weddings than homosexuality.
Between battling over wedding venues with rival celebrity couples, dispelling rumors of cheating, and picking which magazine will run your wedding photos, the entire process is as exhaustive as watching Kris Jenner try to act normal at a Forever 21. While gay marriage in a video game is exciting, the fact that Kim legitimized same sex marriage before the U.S. is a fact we should be ashamed of, rather than flaunt. Yet, while we wait for the scales to tip in favor of acceptance, let’s enjoy the frivolity of gay video game marriage while we can.
Back before “viral” was an oversaturated and gross marketing word, one man made it his mission to bring a little cohesion to your obsessive video tendencies with Viral Video Film School.
The series is the brainchild of Brett Erlich, who helmed it as a segment of infoMania, Current TV’s half-hour long satirical news show that ran from 2007 to 2011. When infoMania went off the air and Current TV subsequently became Al Jazeera America, the site wiped all of the clips, although some enterprising fans illegally reuploaded a few (Erlich’s take on bears is a Web classic.)
The series jumped to a YouTube account in 2010, but then went dormant until last week, when vintage episodes were moved from private to public on the channel. Erlich then returned with an all new episode, “Kids Falling Asleep,” today.
In the years since Viral Video Film School’s inception, the world of viral videos has progressed to a celebration of singular videos that generate millions upon millions of views and get dissected both around the water cooler and on daytime TV. Erlich’s film school celebrates not the big hits, but the weird and lurking themes that pop up across video uploading site. In the newest take, it’s kids that fall asleep in the darndest places, from ski slopes to on top of luggage. Of course, he caps off the video by throwing some shade at adults who fall asleep in perhaps the most embarrassing place—on the toilet. If the Internet knows what's good for it, Viral Video Film School will finally become the YouTube hit it deserved to be since contemporary memes were just a glimmer in your computer screen.
Screengrab via Viral Video Film School/YouTube
It’s a good thing he can sing, because Sam Smith would make a terrible social media manager: The British R&B star tweeted last night that he didn’t feel well enough to stick around and greet fans after a concert—then posted four hours later from a karaoke bar.
Oh, well. It’s not like he ended his night out on the town by trying to reinforce the impression that he was, in fact, a bit under the weather. Wait, what? He did? OK, I give up.
All these posts are still standing, perhaps because Smith is sleeping one off, but the response from his devotees was mostly lighthearted and sympathetic, if occasionally disapproving.
@samsmithworld you said you wanted to sleep hahahaha— sam is king (@w0wsamsmith) October 8, 2014
@samsmithworld thought you couldn't sign autographs because you needed sleep. now you're out in the middle of the night?— Mathias Miles (@mathiasmiles) October 8, 2014
@samsmithworld please rest sammy:(— noemikz (@noeyikz) October 8, 2014
@samsmithworld bit of a contradiction 👀— Molly (@mynamemolly_) October 8, 2014
@samsmithworld what happened to not feeling 100% lmao ok— ! maz (@louvetowers) October 8, 2014
His real faux pas, of course, was not cutting back on the kisses while he was supposedly sick.
Goodnight all. Nashville, I love you. Thank you xxxx— SAM SMITH (@samsmithworld) October 8, 2014
Legendary Entertainment, the film production company behind Christopher Nolan’sBatman trilogy and the film adaptation of Frank Miller’s 300, has announced a deal to make a television series out of the groundbreaking video game Myst. The developers of Myst, Rand and Robyn Miller, are also discussing creating a companion video game for the series.
Myst is a puzzle game about opening a book and, through its pages, being whisked off to a mysterious island. By solving puzzles that require interaction with the environment, the player finds other books, which are portals to other places, and discovers the story of Atrus, the architect of these mysterious worlds.
The world of Myst offered almost no backstory, involved recursive puzzles like requiring players to travel through one world to move an object that solved a puzzle in another, completely different world, and had one of the trippiest endings of any video game at the time.
The game had no points system, no guns, and no complex mechanics of any kind. You pointed at where you wanted to go and manipulated objects—that was it. The game was brilliant, one of the true landmarks in the development of video games as an art form.
Myst is also one of two games—the other being Wing Commander III—that had a huge influence on adoption of the CD-ROM game format. Myst offered such a rich world, with the closest thing to photorealism at the time, that traditional methods of software delivery simply could not handle what it had to offer.
The game is ripe for a film/television adaptation, even more so than Dead Rising, Warcraft, and Mass Effect, which are three other video game IPs for which Legendary Entertainment is developing projects. Myst might offer the most creative freedom as far as adaptation is concerned.
Legendary Entertainment has not announced a timeline for the Myst television series, nor have they announced whether it will be distributed digitally or through more traditional platforms.
As the star of one of the most popular TV shows of the ’90s, Stephen Collins, who portrayed Reverend Eric Camden on 7thHeaven, predictably has lots of fans who came of age during the social media era, and it's not that surprising that he’d interact with his fans on Twitter. But in light of the actor’s recent hidden audiotape confession that he’d molested at least three underage girls, Collins’s interactions with fans are starting to look a little shady.
According to a Daily Dot tipster, the actor, who has been on Twitter since 2009 and has more than 34,000 followers, has been sending DMs to young female fans for years. Although one user the Daily Dot reached out to said the actor told her he didn’t follow fans on Twitter, a quick glimpse at the list of users he’s following indicates that many are younger girls. (If their bios didn't indicate whether or not they were of age, we blurred some of the names and photos associated with the accounts.)
Oh, this? This is just THE Stephen Collins personally responding to my marriage proposal via DM.
Remember that one time I said I was DTF the Rev. Camden? I take that back... pic.twitter.com/2nKLwTuxjl— April McLean (@april_mclean) October 7, 2014
To be fair to Collins, it seems like he’s generally pretty interactive with his fans on Twitter, and his habit of sending DMs to fans isn’t restricted to teenage girls. Furthermore, from what I could tell from the few women I got in touch with, most of the messages he sent to them were relatively innocuous. (In fact, the one asking what “DTF” means is positively quaint.) But given the amount of evidence stockpiling against him, including one victim who recently came forward alleging that Collins molested her when she was 10 years old and living in his apartment, sending private messages on social media to young female fans might not be the wisest move right now.