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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Netflix just released the trailer for Tina Fey’s new series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and it’s as adorable and plucky as you hoped. Ellie Kemper, best known as the spacey but lovable Erin from The Office, plays Kimmy Schmidt, a former apocalyptic cult member who is rescued from her underground bunker and plopped into the hustle and bustle of New York City.

    Kemper is adorably wide-eyed, armed with a small backpack and a smile as she takes on the big city. The trailer also gives us a peek at Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) as an Upper East Side socialite who employs Kimmy as a nanny, and Tituss Burgess as Kimmy’s roommate Titus, who teaches her that “dancing is about butts now.”

    The show premieres March 6. Mark your calendars.

    Screengrab via YouTube


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    Tired of Tumblr posts dedicated to the splendor of being an introvert? Comic relief is on the way. A hilarious new YouTube video sends up the sillier side of taking your introversion far too seriously. The video will have you giggling to yourself while you share a warm embrace with your laptop.

    Akilah Hughes, who created the video, is herself a frequent blogger who identifies as both an introvert and an extrovert. She told the Daily Dot that she couldn't believe how many “blogs glorif[y] agoraphobia, because they misunderstand that introversion is on a sliding spectrum of personality traits we all have.”

    Don't take it too seriously, folks. Pour yourself a cup of tea and hit play.

    You can check out more of Hughes’ hilarious videos on her YouTube channel.

    Screengrab via Smoothiefreak/YouTube


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    Is Vimeo trying to take over the world?

    By announcing distribution partnerships with The Atlantic, CBS Interactive sites, and properties owned by the the Enthusiast Network, Vimeo is attempting to extend its brand and reach beyond its current subscribers who visit its website or use its application on a number of platforms such as Amazon Fire and iOs.

    The IAC-owned video portal claims more than 50,000 wide-ranging titles available for free or pay-per-view through its on-demand platform with creators setting their own prices. The logic behind adding new distribution partners is a simple math exercise: More outlets means the opportunity to reach new and diverse audiences. The Atlantic, for example, likely reaches a different demographic than CBS Interactive's TV Guide or Enthusiast's TransWorld Skateboarding. By developing an audience with varied tastes, Vimeo can hope to build a reputation among video creators as a network that reaches a broad audience and offers a favorable revenue sharing in which creators keep 90 percent of money earned. With a growing list of competitors—from YouTube to the newly launched Vessel—the race is on to grow both the supply of videos as well as cultivate large audiences that cut across a number of demographics.

    According to Vimeo, its partners will decide what content they feature on their own sites and can select the content themselves or opt to have their channel curated by Vimeo. Publishers in the network also will have access to several exclusive titles each month. One issue that is not clear is whether its new partners will continue to develop their own content (which they would own) or simply cede that category to Vimeo. 

    The network approach is nothing new to the Internet, but it's one that was never properly executed for video. Those in the network operate as affiliates, offering Vimeo’s platform in some form, generally as a cobranded video destination. As with most affiliate schemes, the partner retains some percentage of revenue, which scales depending on the traffic it brings to the network. Vimeo has not announced the revenue-sharing deals with its new partners.

    By building a network, Vimeo has greater appeal to advertisers. Instead of offering traffic numbers solely based on its own reach, the site can add up the cumulative total of the visitors from all its distribution partners’ video offerings and present that to agencies and clients. There will likely be some sort of revenue split of ad dollars with its new network partners, but those details have not been released.

    This could be the breakout year for Vimeo, long considered a prime destination for indie video and webseries creators. The company quietly has been expanded its investments in original content (such as High Maintenance) in an attempt to cover all the bases in building an end-to-end ecosystem for delivering premium streaming content.

    Should YouTube, Vessel, and others be scared? You bet.

    Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III


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    Freddie Wong has already dominated the YouTube world withVideo Game High School, now he's jumping over to on demand programming. Hulu recently announced the pick up of a new project from Wong's RocketJump company and Lionsgate. 

    The series will depart from the fictional narratives and instead give a behind-the-scenes, semi-scripted look at the production of the effects-heavy content produced by RocketJump. So far the series remains untitled, and it will be RocketJump's first-ever longform series and first series to premiere off the YouTube platform.

    The project is also the third original series from Lionsgate ordered by Hulu. The company produces Deadbeat and Casual for Hulu.

    “We are so excited to bring Rocket Jump and their incredible fan following to Hulu. With so many great content creators in the media landscape today and so many new platforms to find them on—from film, to television, to YouTube—Freddie Wong and the Rocket Jump team undoubtedly bring their own brand of creativity and a new wave of talent to Hulu,” Hulu said in a blog post.

    No premiere date has been set.

    Screengrab via RocketJump/YouTube


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    There’s a special place in our hearts for emojis. They help us emote, punctuate, and jazz up our texts. Above Average is taking the love of emojis to a new level.

    Above Average director Tim Bierbaum is using Emoji.ink, a Web app, to recreate well-known masterpieces such as Edvard Munch’s The Scream and Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, with nothing but emojis as his palette.

    Check out his ode to Starry Night, and his surrealist emoji-homage to Magritte. Keep your eye on Above Average for more to come.

    Photo via Above Average


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    If you haven't watched Transparent yet, cancel your weekend plans. Amazon is streaming the whole series for free on Saturday, but just for 24 hours. It's cold, it's the end of January, and it's binge-watching time.

    Transparent won two Golden Globes this year, an unprecedented achievement for an Internet-based TV show, never mind something as offbeat as a comedy/drama about a transgender retiree. The series is one of Amazon's first genuinely successful attempts at original programming, and it's clearly hoping to capitalize on that buzz over the weekend.

    You ordinarily have to pay an Amazon Prime subscription fee to watch Transparent, so this is a good deal if you're not interested in Amazon's other programming. However, you should be aware that this may be a frustratingly efficient ad for the service, because once you've watched the first season, you'll probably want to pay for season 2 when it comes out. You have been warned.

    Photo via Transparent/YouTube


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    Issa Rae of Awkward Black Girl fame released the first episode of her new webseries The Legend of Human Black Guy WednesdayRae spoke to the Daily Dot about her inspiration for the series in December. The new series features Rae’s real-life brother enimaL, as the titular human whose color often gets in the way of everyday tasks, like having a job.

    You can follow the series, and check out more of Rae’s work on her YouTube channel.

    Screengrab via Issa Rae/YouTube


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    These Bad Lip Reading clips are just about bulletproof. 

    When you weld a strong gimmick (dubbing zany sentences into dialogue) with an enormously popular American addiction like the NFL, the hits will work. Especially because the offbeat one-liners continue to impress: From Cam Newton's monologue about Syrian princes and Jim Caldwell's stone-faced paranoia, to Case Keenum pointing out the bad guys and whomever dubbed white quarterback Andrew Luck taking on a mildly racist white-guy-doing-a-ghetto-patois and saying, "we gon' ball," this supercut is the gift that keeps on giving.

    But "I once got a rake and killed a snowman" is good no matter how you look at it.

    Screengrab via Bad Lip Reading/YouTube


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    Close the curtains, pour yourself a glass of wine, and put on your finest waistcoat. The trailer for the third season of Hannibal is finally here, and it's as atmospheric and emotionally traumatizing as you might expect.

    Season 2 ended on the mother of all cliffhangers, with Hannibal and Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) on the run while everyone else tried to recover from the bloodbath Hannibal left behind. This trailer proves that Will Graham is (obviously) alive and well, but everything else is rather more obscure. As it should be, since season 3 won't air until this summer.

    "I forgive you," Will, really? Why? What does it mean?

    We won't understand details like that until the season actually airs, but there's definitely other information to be gleaned from this trailer. Hannibal and Bedelia are shown in what appears to be Florence, which would fit with elements from the original novels. Showrunner Bryan Fuller has already explained that this season will mash up various ideas from the books Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, saying, "It's going to be fun to bastardize two novels into one sort of Frankenstein season."

    Clarice Starling, heroine of the books Hannibal and The Silence of the Lambs, will probably not show up in the TV series because MGM still owns the rights to the character. However, several other familiar characters are still fair game, including serial killer Francis Dolarhyde, who will be played by The Hobbit's Richard Armitage. We're still rooting for Bryan Fuller's ultimate dream casting to happen, though: David Bowie as Hannibal's uncle, Count Robert Lecter. Can you even imagine?

    Photo via NBC/Hannibal


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    The Super Bowl halftime roster is getting crowded, as the number of competitors to Katy Perry’s mid-game pop explosion continues to mount.

    In addition to Harley Morenstein's YouTube halftime show of epic proportions, there’s Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl and National Geographic’s Fish Bowl (this year featuring clown fish) that will serve as counterprogramming to the overhyped dancing and singing midway through Super Bowl XLIX. Add to that growing list actor and comedian Craig Robinson who—with the assistance (and dollars) of Comedy Central and Pepsi—will try to fulfill his dream of performing at the lengthy break between halves.

    The details of this promotion are slightly strange, so follow along. Robinson will provide the actual halftime entertainment for Key and Peele’s Super Bowl special on Comedy Central, but that show airs on Jan. 30, two days before the big game. Prior to his performance on the pre-pregame special, Robinson will be featured in a three-part webseries special that centers around the former star of The Office, Pineapple Express, and Hot Tub Time Machine getting his band, Craig Robinson & The Nasty Delicious, back together in time for halftime of the big game.

    The first of the series, available on the Comedy Central and Pepsi YouTube sites, sets the wheels in motion with Robinson telling his friend (who later becomes his fairy godmother) that it’s always been his dream to perform at the yearly NFL championship game. Segments two and three will air online next week as well as through the network and soft drink’s social channels.

    Robinson’s musical prowess is no act. During his days as a standup comedian, part of his shtick was built around him playing and singing (often way-off-color) ditties that would lead to great laughter. He also has showed off his keyboard skills on a number of episodes of The Office as well as with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show.

    Screengrab via Pepsi/YouTube


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    While Sony Pictures Entertainment may have given a cold shoulder to BitTorrent Bundle's offer to distribute The Interview, it would appear that the offer did succeed in getting the attention of its independent film division. Sony Pictures Classics will release a PR Bundle for its upcoming documentary Red Army.

    "This is our first Bundle in partnership with a major studio," a BitTorrent representative told The Daily Dot via email. 

    It's not in the form of a feature film from Classics (yet), but it's a clear indication that studios' fears of the technology are slowly turning into interest. The news comes on the heels of FilmBuff partnering with BitTorrent Bundle to release a series of packaged documentaries later this month, and the announcement that David Cross's feature film debut, Hits, will be released via Bundle in February.

    As the film is described on BitTorrent Blog:

    Red Army (Sony Pictures Classics) documents the rise and fall of the Soviet Union and the most successful dynasty in sports history: the Red Army hockey team. Told from the perspective of its captain Slava Fetisov, the story portrays his transformation from national hero to political enemy. 

    The bundle includes trailers, clips, posters, and behind-the-scenes footage of the Red Army, and be downloaded here. The film will be theatrically released in New York and Los Angeles on Jan. 23, and will roll out across the U.S. throughout February and March. 

    H/T BitTorrent Blog|Photo via William Hook/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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    During his 21 (non-consecutive) years as host of The Tonight Show, Jay Leno earned a reputation as a middle-of-the-road comic. While other late-night hosts like Jon Stewart took hard satiric jabs at their targets, Leno always kept the kid gloves on so as not to alienate his broad, populist base.

    So it should tell you something when even the former king of late night isn't afraid to speak out in condemnation of Bill Cosby for the dozens of alleged sexual assaults committed by the former standup comedian over the past four decades.

    Leno became the latest figure in the entertainment industry to publicly denounce Cosby while speaking at the National Association of Television Program Executives on Wednesday.

    "I don't know why it's so hard to believe women. I mean, you go to Saudi Arabia and you need two women to testify against a man; here you need 25," Leno said, drawing laughter and applause from the audience."

    In recent months more than 30 women have come forward accusing Cosby of sexually assaulting them, many telling similar stories about Cosby drugging them. In fact, one of the accusers claims Cosby actually assaulted her backstage at The Tonight Show in 1971, decades before Leno went on to host the program. According to IMDb, Cosby appeared on Leno's Tonight Show a total of 18 times.

    Leno also praised comedian Hannibal Buress for helping to bring the allegations against Cosby into the public consciousness. Though public allegations were first made against Cosby a decade ago, it wasn't until last October that they became widely known and talked about, thanks to a bootleg video of one of Buress's performances where he blatantly called-out Cosby for his hypocrisy.

    "[Buress] made a flat-out statement that reverberated around the world," Leno said. "On any other media that would have been edited. People are getting news unfiltered now."

    Leno is not the only famous name in the comedy world to come out against Cosby. Director and producer Judd Apatow has been consistently speaking out against Cosby on Twitter. During an appearance last week on the podcast WTF with Marc MaronApatow said it was important for him to keep speaking out against Cosby.

    "The reason to say, 'Bill Cosby is a terrible man and I believe these women' is so women aren't hiding in their homes in shame when people commit violent crimes against them," Apatow said. "That's why everybody has to say, 'I just want to go on record, I believe these women.' But you're not seeing important people say that. It is dead silent out there. And I find it very, very troubling."

    But as Cosby continues to tour the U.S. and Canada, glibly dismissing protesters, more and more figures in the comedy community seem willing to call out a man who for decades has been held up as one of the greatest standup comedians of all time.

    On Tuesday, Larry Wilmore devoted the entire second episode his new Comedy Central series, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, to discussing the Cosby allegations. And he didn't hold anything back.

    "We're talking Cosby! We'll answer the question 'Did he do it?' The answer will be 'Yes!'" Wilmore said at the top of the show, adding, "There's no statute of limitations on my opinion, and I'm telling you that motherf****r did it!"

    H/T Variety | Photo by Alan Light/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    If you think a TV host is unpredictable now, just wait until you see him live.

    The same could be said for any kind of live event. Sporting events, concerts, and stand-up comedy shows are all unique experiences, but they also have one core factor in common: the crowd cheering or booing along. When it’s the first week of a brand new show still trying to iron out the details, anything can happen. So when my colleague Marisa Kabas offered the Daily Dot New York office tickets to a taping of The Nightly Show, I jumped at the chance.

    So far, critics have largely praised Larry Wilmore for what he’s accomplished in his first few episodes. He’s the only black late-night host in a sea of middle-aged white men. He’s not afraid to make his audience or his panelists uncomfortable, but he also pays it forward with a potentially uncomfortable question from Twitter every night.

    Marisa, Miles Klee, and I took off for the Jan. 21 taping of The Nightly Show. I had gone to a Colbert Report taping in September (which, coincidentally enough, is located at the same place where The Nightly Show tapes on West 54th Street) while Miles had gone to both Colbert and The Daily Show. It was Marisa’s first taping.

    But what does that entail, aside from a shorter work day? With various degrees of expertise, we dove straight in, gathering these helpful hints to ensure viewers of all experience levels can have a great time.

    1) Get there early

    The Nightly Show suggests arriving at the studio to check in between 3 and 4pm, but you might want to play it safe and get there even earlier—for a couple reasons.

    For one, the show is brand new, and people are excited and curious about it, so at least while the buzz from the early show brings them in, there’s going to be a lot of people. Unlike The Daily Show, the panelists aren’t listed on the website ahead of time. The Nightly Show’s Twitter account might not even post the guest list until after the show’s done taping.

    And just because you have an email confirmation for a taping doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get in. These shows purposely give out more tickets than there are seats to make sure that the audience is full.

    We got there around 3:07pm, and we barely made it into the taping.

    2) Dress for the weather—and pack light

    Sure, you’re ultimately going to be sitting in a studio, but first you’ll have to wait for a few hours—and you’ll be standing for a good portion of it, so wear comfortable shoes, and if possible, leave that laptop bag at the office or stop home first.

    I had initially debated about leaving my scarf in the office, but almost as soon as I got in line I was glad that I didn’t. Even then, I could barely feel my feet by the time the staff let us in. When in doubt, wear that extra layer. At the risk of sounding like my parents, you can take the coat off in warmer weather, but you can’t pull something out of thin air for when you’re too cold.

    3) Bring friends and/or entertainment (or make new friends!)

    Because you’re probably going to be in line for an hour or two before you move anywhere, things will get dull pretty quickly. If you’re alone, you’re surrounded by people with whom you have at least one thing in common: You’re probably all fans of the show you’re about to see.

    You have to turn off your phones when you enter the studio, but before then, the staff is all for you photographing and posting your pictures and selfies with Wilmore (courtesy of large photographs in the lobby). You can spread the word about the show and the taping while showing everyone at home what they’re missing.

    Once you enter the studio, you’ll probably want to have a book on hand if you get separated from everyone in your party. You can always try to observe the different details of the set, too: Wilmore’s clocks tell time counter-clockwise.

    4) You’ll still get to see the show if they run out of seats

    There may be a chance that after all that waiting you still might not get to sit in the audience. It’s unfortunate, but the staff will try accommodating you with a seat in the lobby so you can watch the show being taped on the TVs out there. Sometimes they may even offer you a guaranteed ticket to a future taping.

    5) The warm-up comedian may be terrible, but he's important

    Along with telling a few jokes to get the audience warmed up, this person’s here to explain how the show works. The audience has to bring it, which basically means that when you find something funny or clap, you have to do it a lot louder than you normally would at home. This is so that the microphones above studio will pick up the sound and broadcast it to the TV viewers back home.

    Yes, that’s real laughter you’re hearing.

    In between relevant information, the comedian will often pick people out of the audience and make jokes that may not always hit the mark. During Wednesday’s taping, he happened to pick out someone whose name people might not recognize despite being very familiar with his website: Craig Newmark, the “Craig” of Craigslist.

    6) Come prepared with some questions

    After the warm-up act, Wilmore comes out to talk to the audience and ask some questions, much like Jon Stewart does during his tapings and Stephen Colbert did on his show. It’s a chance to ask him something completely silly or even learn something—like how the panel part of his show was Stewart’s idea—and you get to see Wilmore's personality shine through.

    The show is still working out some of the kinks, but he’s ever appreciative to have the opportunity.

    “It’s been a special week,” Wilmore told the audience. “I still can’t believe I’m doing this.”

    7) You might have to cheer for something you don’t agree with

    During Wilmore’s “Keep It 100” segment, the audience gets to judge whether a panelist was “real” when asked a direct question by Wilmore or it was “weak”; they’ll either get a sticker or a bag of weak tea from him.

    Wednesday’s show was about President Obama’s State of the Union speech, and Wilmore asked the Blaze’s Amy Holmes if, as a woman, she would’ve stayed seated with her fellow Republicans when Obama called for equal pay for women. The audience didn’t like her answer, but she reminded them that she kept it real and should’ve been applauded. Wilmore agreed.

    8) They probably won’t get everything right the first time

    It might not be as funny the second time around, but when the crew needs to shoot something again, you have to laugh or clap just as hard and pretend you hadn’t heard the joke. Your taping might be longer because of it, but the staff likely wants to put out the best show for the audience, both at home and in-studio. Once the audience leaves, the staff has only a few hours to put out the show to air for the rest of the country.

    And that’ll be something worth watching.

    Screengrab via Comedy Central/YouTube


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    Half of an airplane is full of extras dressed in ’60s attire, miming their way through a flight as the camera focuses on two individuals, a nervous woman and a suspicious looking man, engaging in a conversation. Joe Penna, also known as MysteryGuitarMan on YouTube, sits in the director’s chair, intermittently pressing a switch that signals a line of crew members to create turbulence on the airplane using large pieces of wood. Penna might be having too much fun with this newfound power, but it is his story and his chance to shine with Beyond, a new short film that explores time travel and immortality, shot on location at YouTube Space L.A.

    “We were going to rent the plane out ourselves,” Penna says, “but we mentioned it to someone at YouTube Space and they were like, ‘Oh, that’s something we’ve been trying to do! Get a plane!’ So, if we set up the context, they were willing to do the research. We were the ones who were able to pick the plane. For example, we didn’t need a cockpit, but we needed a bathroom. They were gracious enough to let us be the first ones to use it.”

    All of the interiors for the film were shot at the YouTube Space, minus one shot at Penna’s own home.

    “It’s been tough,” Penna said. “Especially with the budget that we have. We had basically 12 entire sets that we had to design and build from scratch here in the Space. Plus we had a bunch of location shoots. It’s a time-travel thing. It’s an immortality thing. So it’s important that we show all these eras. The ’50s, the ’60s, the ’70s… the 500s! We found a couple locations, but if we couldn’t find them, we had to build them.”

    Suffice it to say, Beyond is definitely science fiction, even if the airplane set feels very real-world. The short follows the journey of an immortal man as he travels through time, from as far back as A.D. 500. Time travel and immortality are topics of particular interest to Penna, who is both writer and director on the project.

    “People see vampires as these sexy beings, but if you think about what a vampire’s life would be like, everyone would be dying around them,” he explained. “They can’t sustain meaningful relationships and would probably become very anti-people for long periods of time. You could ask them, ‘What did you do for the last 10 years?’ and they could say, ‘Stayed in bed.’ At least that’s how I feel. I wanted to get a little more ground and explore those ideas of time travel and immortality.”

    This is not Penna’s first time at the short film rodeo. His last ambitious short film project, Instant Getaway, imagined a futuristic setting where goods and people could be teleported across space—and the consequences that could arise when the wrong things end up making the journey.

    Instant Getaway was interesting because we had half the time to shoot it, and a much lower budget,” Penna explained. “We were getting the cheapest locations we could find, and there were a lot of creative concessions we had to make. It’s been interesting trying to still get enough footage to convey the emotion that I want to convey or the right coverage or do enough rehearsals; that’s the biggest challenge.”

    The end result is a slightly longer production than Instant Getaway, but not by much. That allowed Penna to spend more time and money on getting exactly what he wanted out of it. The increased budget allowed the team to keep the family of creators that helped on Instant Getaway stay on for Beyond—at higher rates. Penna also relies on the power of his 2.8 million-strong fanbase to help him achieve his goals, asking them to help him complete tasks that save him time or money and foster a connectivity between creator and viewer.

    “For example … I asked my fans who speak French to do a French translation and then had people vote on which one is the best,” he said. “I always send out my scripts before to my fans to see what they think. I send out my rough cuts sometimes to the superfans and get some anonymous responses back. Doing that kind of thing is good; I can take them into account if I want them to. I feel like a lot of my fans are filmmakers or interested in the craft.”

    Fans have reacted in new ways to Penna’s short film work, as opposed to his other YouTube fare.

    “In the end, with Instant Getaway, people were saying they are connecting with the characters,” Penna explained. “That’s not the kind of reaction I get with my poppy visual effects kind of stuff. At the end of the day, it’s about connecting with your fans. The way I do that with my YouTube channel is by shooting whatever is in my head and giving it to them. I’ve done videos with product integration before, and had viewers say, ‘That doesn’t really feel like you.’ There’s just so much creative freedom. My channel’s up there and I can self-finance these projects. For me, that’s even better than going theatrical and going through a focus group.”

    Just because Penna is becoming a master of the YouTube craft, doesn’t mean he’ll be abandoning the digital space for the multiplexes any time soon.

    “I think that, for me, what’s nice about the digital space is that you can dictate the length of things you want to do,” Penna said. “I don’t have to make a show that’s 20 minutes long, and I don’t have to edit for time. I’m not hindered by constraints. Look at House of Cards, a couple episodes were 53 minutes, a couple episodes were 44. Who cares? Just tell a good story. YouTube is the best way to do that. I’d love to do a feature film that goes up on YouTube or somewhere else in the digital space. If that’s not possible, then I’ll leave it up to the suits to figure out. I like to figure out what’s the best for each story.”

    For Penna, everything is practice. His MysteryGuitarMan videos prepared him for short films, which he says he sees as practice for longer, feature films. That, he says, might in turn be practice for something bigger, although he doesn't have a particular end goal in site. He is, however, finding news ways to use the digital medium to tell his story. For Beyond, that means easter eggs hidden within the video that send viewers off on more immersive experiences.

    “We’re going to be hiding annotations all over the video that, when they find these hidden annotations they can go to the digital graphic novel where it expands on the story, some things that were too expensive to shoot,” Penna explained.

    Beyond hits YouTube on Thursday, Feb. 5.

    Photos courtesy of Joe Penna


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    The YouTube comment section can be a hellish place, though if you look close enough, sometimes you can find a glimmer of humanity. Who better to give garbage comments a human touch than the Decemberists? 

    The band appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night to promote its new album, which Kimmel claims is completely fashioned out of YouTube comments. They touch on Justin BieberKim Kardashian's plastic surgery, the scourge of "FIRST," and the most Decemberists-esque video on YouTube, "horrible boat crashes #1." 

    The group really does have a new album out, though not of YouTube comments. It's called What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, and that just about sums YouTube up. 

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube 


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    Fans of My Drunk Kitchen, meet your new best gal pals. In Beauty ShotsCaroline Cotter, Claire Downs, and Anna Roisman are throwing back shots and tackling beauty tutorials, and the results are delightfully messy.

    Episode 1 debuted this week on the trio’s YouTube channel. The first tutorial features the smoky eye and shots of Fireball Whisky, the series’ sponsor. The ladies—alumnae of Upright Citizens Brigade, MTV, IFC, and other comedy staples—select three unique inspirations for their looks, attempt them step-by-step on camera, and mostly just revel in the drunkenness.

    Downs describes the premise of the series in simple terms: "We got drunk… really drunk… like actually drunk on camera, and did makeup tutorials."

    According to the trailer, future episodes will include contouring, so stay tuned.

    Screengrab via Beauty Shots/YouTube


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    Yesterday, three popular YouTube stars got a chance to interviewPresident Obama as part of the #YouTubeAsksObama event. Hank Green, Bethany Mota, and GloZell Green all sat down post-State of the Union address and asked solid questions. This apparently surprised a lot of mainstream media outlets that had no idea who these creators were or why they would get to interview the president. 

    Author John Green, Hank’s brother, pointed out the irony.

    The coverage leading up to the event was embarrassing, but it really showed the divide between new media and old. Fox News couldn't believe how "bizarre" this interview concept was. 

    The language used to describe Mota and GloZell in particular was interesting. Outlets diminished GloZell’s accomplishments by zeroing in on her 2012 cereal challenge. Elsewhere on social media, their qualifications were called into question, their selfies highlighted.

    Mota, one of YouTube's most successful creators, has more than 8 million subscribers. She’s also one of the creators YouTube has pushed the hardest to make mainstream, and her fashion and beauty blogs are extremely popular with teenage girls, a key YouTube demographic. She has her own clothing line for Aéropostale, and last year’s mall tour drew thousands of fans at each stop. She's a brand. And yet, she was often referred to as a teen fashion blogger, and her questions were called dumb. GloZell was the cereal woman, even though her past videos are actually quite political. (Even the First Lady had to deal with outlets dissecting what she wore the night of the address, rather than her accomplishments.) 

    This YouTube-Obama angle isn’t new; the White House has actively tried to elevate major YouTube stars like Tyler Oakley in its attempt to reach younger people and change the conversation on issues like healthcare. Oakley interviewed Michelle Obama last year, and while many people have no idea who he is or why he’s popular, the generation raised on YouTube does, and they're an increasingly influential mass, one mainstream media should be embracing if they want to stay the least bit relevant. 

    More importantly, these creators were asking questions mainstream media won't. Score one for #TeamInternet

    Photo via YouTube/Twitter 


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    Alien did a lot of things space films hadn't done before. It combined the Apple Store aesthetics of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the worn-in feel of Star Warsto provide a new look to spaceships. It featured a strong female protagonist that ultimately saved the day (more or less). And it featured a creature that reproduced via a human's mouth. 

    It's that last item that led to Alien's achievement that still shocks audiences the most, regardless of how many times they've seen it: the famous chest-bursting scene. Yes, outer space had been scary before on film, but it had never been anywhere close to being this brutal and blood-soaked. The historical context and technical mastery of the scene is extraordinarily rich: Did you know the cast had no idea what the baby xenomorph looked like or how the scene would play out? Did you know that a lot of the creative team behind Alien wouldn't have been involved if Jodorowsky's ill-fated Dune adaptation hadn't been canned? Luckily, CineFix has released a video that explains all of this, and much more, in just under nine minutes:

    The craziest takeaway from the video might be that screenwriter/film legend Dan O'Bannon was inspired to pen the scene after some fast food made him sick. So, the next time somebody chastises you for eating Jack in the Box, just tell them you're doing it for inspiration. 

    Screengrab via CineFix/YouTube


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    When mumblecore pioneers Jay and Mark Duplass took their first feature film, The Puffy Chair, onto the festival circuit in 2005, audiences loved it. All the major studios loved it, too, so—in the tradition of major studios—they unanimously passed on it. 

    In fact, it may have never had a theatrical release at all if a big new player in the DVD rental game hadn't just gotten into the business of acquiring original content. That player was Netflix, and it teamed with Roadside Attractions to not only put their film in theaters, but was even kind enough to give them a nonexclusive DVD deal that allowed it to hit Blockbuster shelves, as well (long ago, Blockbuster was a nationwide chain of brick-and-mortar store that rented DVDs).

    Back then, Netflix had five million subscribers, and the Duplass brothers were thrilled to have a distributor hook them up with a limited release. Fast forward 1o years to the present—where Netflix has over 57 million subscribers, and the Duplass brothers' future films have been distributed by divisions of nearly every major studio—and the two are teaming up again for four Netflix-exclusive films. Mark Duplass seems fairly excited about the deal:

    According to the Hollywood Reporter, the films will be low-budget productions, which sounds just about perfect to any Duplass brothers fan. While films like Cyrus and Jeff, Who Lives at Home may have had their detractors, it's unlikely that any of them disliked the movies for the size of their budgets. Also, those detractors were all wrong: Those are fantastic movies.

    The brothers are running the series Togetherness to rave reviews on HBO, but the show's fans shouldn't worry about their Netflix deal interfering with its production—their deal reportedly has no specific timetable, so the brothers are free to make the four films at their own convenience. Here's to hoping that at least one of them has a part for John C. Reilly.

    H/T The Hollywood Reporter|Photo via Michael Galpert/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    Detroit superstar rappers Eminem, Big Sean, Danny Brown, Dej Loaf, Royce da 5'9", and Trick Trick collectively appear on 2014 track "Detroit Vs. Everybody." The song wound up on Eminem's Shady XV compilation, and it's fireworks-after-ballpark-homer heated. Friday, the jarring black and white music video hit the Web.   

    Truth told, I didn't listen to the song when it was making the rounds late last year. These sort of occasion-oriented collaborations have a self-importance that can be unpleasant—especially when we're dealing with a lot of wordy, alpha dudes that like to posture and rap about rapping. But the video is a convincing, magnificent toast to the Motor City. Save for Royce and Em, the rest of the artists rarely collaborate and seeing the lot look past contracts and ride for the city inspires.

    Screengrab via Eminem VEVO/YouTube

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