Articles on this Page
- 07/26/15--13:57: _Snoop Dogg document...
- 07/27/15--03:44: _Creator and star of...
- 07/27/15--09:37: _This NYC comedian f...
- 07/27/15--09:56: _Here's what's leavi...
- 07/27/15--11:52: _Here are the 79 tit...
- 07/27/15--13:07: _Glowstick air-drumm...
- 07/27/15--13:15: _Who has the largest...
- 07/27/15--16:47: _Did Conan O'Brien s...
- 07/28/15--05:00: _Of content and cont...
- 07/28/15--07:35: _Tom Cruise and Jimm...
- 07/28/15--08:22: _Hank Green on the f...
- 07/28/15--12:13: _'Business Time' web...
- 07/28/15--13:21: _NFL says Tom Brady ...
- 07/28/15--14:41: _Sherman Hemsley's d...
- 07/28/15--14:48: _Netflix unveils pla...
- 07/29/15--05:00: _8 must-listen podca...
- 07/29/15--05:45: _'Daily Show' corres...
- 07/29/15--07:28: _Can this Spotify pl...
- 07/29/15--07:30: _Meet the queen of ‘...
- 07/29/15--08:46: _Pastel hair was the...
- 07/27/15--09:56: Here's what's leaving Netflix in August
- 07/27/15--11:52: Here are the 79 titles coming to Netflix this August
- 07/27/15--13:07: Glowstick air-drummer at Rush show nails Neil Peart's part
- 07/27/15--13:15: Who has the largest vocabulary in music?
- 07/27/15--16:47: Did Conan O'Brien steal this comedy writer's tweets?
- 07/28/15--05:00: Of content and controversy at VidCon 2015
- 07/28/15--08:22: Hank Green on the future of VidCon and his own creative goals
- 07/28/15--12:13: 'Business Time' webseries skewers corporate culture with comedy
- 07/28/15--14:41: Sherman Hemsley's death goes viral 3 years too late
- 07/29/15--05:00: 8 must-listen podcasts about your favorite TV shows
- 07/29/15--07:28: Can this Spotify playlist make you a better employee?
- 07/29/15--08:46: Pastel hair was the literal highlight of VidCon 2015
On Saturday, the rapper was stopped by police after performing in Uppsala, Sweden, and after he was pulled over he started filming to document what was happening as well as express his thoughts. He was not happy about it.“Police carrying out roadside control noticed that Snoop Dogg [whose car was pulled over] seemed to be under the influence of narcotics," Daniel Nilsson, a central Uppsala region police spokesman, told the Guardian. "He was arrested and taken to the police station to take a urine test.”
Shortly after, Snoop found himself in the back of a police car “for nothing,” according to an Instagram video. He vowed to never come back to Sweden again, because of how he was treated by the police.After he arrived at the police station, Snoop accused the Swedish police of racial profiling. He took a urine test and left the police station soon after, Nilsson said. The entire thing took several minutes and the test results weren’t immediately available.
A few hours passed before Snoop updated his fans on the situation. He was no longer in police custody and a lot calmer—although he’s still not happy about how he was treated by Swedish police.
“They took me down there, made me pee in a cup, didn’t find shit,” Snoop said. “No case, no nothing.”H/T Uproxx | Photo via Jason Persse/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
It might surprise you to learn that, in the past year, more teddy bears have held lead roles in Hollywood films than plus-size actresses. But it’s true. While Paddington and Ted 2 feature pleasantly plump ursine leads, Spy is the only feature of 2015 that dared to feature a female lead with a less conventional body type.
The production company Second Star NYC wants to change that strange reality. After several months of producing 7-day video challenges, Second Star’s team is gearing up to create their inaugural project: Working Title, a 6-episode webseries featuring a diverse cast and a body-positive leading lady, a plucky production assistant named Mandy, played by actor and production-team member Knilo Solei.After passing 70% of their fundraising goal, and with just a week left in their Indiegogo campaign for Working Title, Solei and Second Star founder Matthew Willings shared their excitement with The Daily Dot.
The series is largely based on the team's own approach to collaboration. In their ongoing monthly 7-day film challenges, the team takes its cues from Facebook fans' suggestions and recruits a fresh group of collaborators each month, with an emphasis on women and people of color.
“Unlike some film challenges where the team is assembled and they all work at once and decide what the product will be, in our model first the writer works on the script, then it gets passed on to the directors, then the editors work on it," said Solei," so at each step a new person or team is adding to the work in a way the supports the integrity of the initial idea."
“It’s been a real exercise collaboration and trust,” said Willings.
Working Title is the team's first foray into longform content. Willings and his collaborators Theresa Basile and Dan De Jesus had worked with Solei as a guest, and they wrote the script with her in mind.
“As an actor I get relegated to best friend roles or I get the sassy secretary," Solei said. "But, I want to be the person who jumps in front of a car and does a silly dance to save the day—that person who can be goofy and gross but also a girl-next-door—and [usually] it’s acceptable because actually that girl is really hot and she’s played by Emma Stone. [So] I was excited when I read the script. It’s really refreshing to get a role where I don’t have to sit on the sidelines.”
While Working Title does feature a body-positive lead, the story places little to no emphasis on Solei’s body type. Willings explained, “I love that our show isn’t about that, yet still highlights someone who is a body-positive role model. The series is about 6 people who are working on an independent film together, and Knilo’s character is really the one who brings everyone together.”
Amidst a slew of advertising and modeling campaigns eager to tout their own body-positive status, the decision not to underscore Solei’s body type may be the most revolutionary thing about this project.
“Women get a lot of pressure about body image in film," Willings said. "And men don’t get it the same way, but you’re one type for a guy or you’re another type. But in Working Title these are just people trying to make a film as they are.”
Added Solei, “Growing up I always wanted to be James Bond. I just want to make content that someone growing up can use as a visual cue that says I’m okay, I’m in the right body.”
Second Star NYC’s Working Title Indiegogo campaign ends on August 3rd, 2015.
Photo via Irisism Photography
Complaining about season 2 of True Detective has become the Internet’s favorite Monday morning hobby. But one man has taken his frustration offline.
NYC comedian Jason Saenz decided to make his loss of interest in the show something more tactile than a tweet or comment. He actually made a poster in an effort to crowdsource ideas about why season 2 is so confounding. The phone number, he told the Hollywood Reporter, “goes to a dead line, which is symbolic of the current state of the show.”The poster has been divisive, of course. He told THR: “I was such a fan of the first season. I want this season to be just as good, too. I created this sign to voice my frustration in a silly way. I had no idea people would latch onto it so quickly.”
This isn’t his only poster: Saenz has an Instagram account devoted to equally ridiculous #saenzsigns.Of course, if you’re going to attempt to enjoy or understand the new True Detective, it’s probably helpful to forget season 1 ever existed and stop pining for it. The second season comes to an end in a couple weeks, but at least we have someone out there to voice our frustrations.
All you really need to know about what’s leaving Netflix in August is that you only have a week to watch Face/Off.
Here’s the whole rundown of what you need to queue up before the cruelest month slides in.
Bad Girl Island
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Digimon Adventure: Seasons 1-3
Driving Miss Daisy
Fools Rush In
Gangsters: Faces of the Underworld: Season 1
Kiss the Girls
The Pitch: Season 1
The Fifth Element
The Longest Day
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
We’re No Angels
Explorers: Adventures of the Century: Season 1 & 2
Family Ties: Seasons 1-7
Immortalized: Season 1
The Forsyte Saga: Series 1-2
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
My Fair Wedding: Season 5
LEGO: Hero Factory: Breakout
LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu: King of Shadows
LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu: Way of the Ninja
The Moth Diaries
Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends: Seasons 1-3
Illustration by Max Fleishman
With the newest season of Doctor Who, childhood favorite Reading Rainbow, even more Inspector Gadget, and the premiere of Narcos—which stars Game of Thrones fan favorite Pedro Pascal—there’s something for everyone.
Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein
Back in Time / Cong Cong Na Nian
Beneath the Helmet
Breakup Buddies / Xin Hua Lau Fang
Bride and Prejudice
Dancing on the Edge: Season 1
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Season 2
Dogs on the Inside
Enemy at the Gates
Flex is Kings
Lost and Love / Shi Gu
Masha and the Bear: Season 1
Odd Squad: Season 1
Pants on Fire
Reading Rainbow: Volume 1
Russell Brand: End the Drugs War
Somewhere Only We Know / You yi ge di fang zhi you wo men zhi dao
The Code: Season 1
The Golden Era / Huang Jin Shi Dai
The Hurt Locker
The Mind of a Chef: Season 3
Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns
Utopia: Season 1
Vexed: Seasons 1-2
Chronic-Con, Episode 420: A New Dope
Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead
Kill Me Three Times
My Amityville Horror
The Look of Love
Welcome to Me
Club de Cuervos: Season 1
HitRECord on TV: Season 1
Motivation 2: The Chris Cole Story
Transporter: The Series: Season 2
Doctor Who: Season 8
Fred: The Movie
Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred
Fred 3: Camp Fred
Two Days, One Night
For a Good Time, Call...
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
Demetri Martin: Live (At The Time)
Ever After High Way too Wonderland: Season 3
Ship of Theseus
Alex of Venice
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Lord of War
Real Husbands of Hollywood: Season 3
30 for 30: Angry Sky
As Cool As I Am
Strange Empire: Season 1
Grantham & Rose
Girl Meets World: Season 1
Inspector Gadget: Season 2
Once Upon a Time: Season 4
Revenge: Season 4
Muffin Top: A Love Story
Photo via Rob Bertholf/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman
Rush is nearing the end of a nationwide tour that celebrates the prog-rock band's four decades in music. But for at least one talented fan in Las Vegas last weekend, he or she proved that bassist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart weren't the only talented musicians in the house.
Check out the air drummer in the audience at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night. No, check out the air drummer with the light-up sticks that drums along perfectly with Peart during "Subdivisions."
According to Eric Swannie's description on YouTube, "This guy did this the ENTIRE concert and seemed to be very accurate." So, kudos to the guy or girl who must have impressed/annoyed everyone around him or her with this production of percussion.
Obviously, this video would have been even cooler if we had a closeup on the person playing a show within a show—at least to see if he or she also was donning Peart's cap.
But there's also something really nice about two lonely glowsticks moving so in tune with Peart's beat. As one of video commenters beautifully wrote, "The drummer is our tiny lonely existence, a speck among the billions of billions of stars in the whole wide ever expanding universe, moving vibrantly with life only to be gone like tears in the rain."
Photo via Josh Tidsbury/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)
Will the musician with the largest vocabulary please stand up?
Lyrics resource Musixmatch was apparently so inspired by last year’s hip-hop vocabulary study, which showed Wu-Tang Clan ruled everything around them, that it sought to find out who had the largest vocabulary in music.
Researchers Varun Jewalikar and Nishant Verma sorted 93 of the best-selling artists by genre: pop, rock, hard rock, R&B, country, hip-hop, funk, pop rock, progressive, Latin, soul, reggae, punk rock, etc. Artists were then judged on vocabulary size, lyrical density, and new word interval (NWI), and vocabularies were “compared across the 100 densest songs (by total number of words) that they have released.” Eminem came out on top with 8,818 words, followed by Jay Z.Earlier this year, a Ph.D. student created an algorithm to find the best rapper, using patterns and rhymes as a foundation. Eminem didn’t break the top 10 or even the top 20, but here, the sheer number of words he manages to fit into his bars puts him 2,000 words ahead of Jay Z. He also uses a new word not previously used (NWI) every 11 words. Eminem’s record for most words in a single (“Rap God”) was allegedly broken last month, however, by a rapper from the U.K.
Hip-hop leads the Musixmatch study as the genre with the highest number of words, with smooth jazz coming in last and Kenny G landing at No. 93 on the artist list, though they still counted 809 words (his sax does speak to people, to be honest). Amazingly, Celine Dion came in at No. 10, with 3,954 words; Bob Dylan came in at No. 5, with 4,883.Eminem, who executive produced the soundtrack for new movie Southpaw, recently showed off that vocabulary when he leveled freestyle jabs at Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, and Caitlin Jenner in a six-minute rap on Sway in the Morning. After backtracking a bit for a transphobic Jenner line, Eminem told Sway at the end of the freestyle, “I just say shit to say it.”
H/T Detroit News | Illustration by Max Fleishman
A man is alleging that Conan O'Brien stole four of his jokes from Twitter and reworked them for late-night TV. But the comedy legend's team isn't taking this lying down.
A San Diego comedy writer named Robert Kaseberg filed a lawsuit against O'Brien, TBS, and Late Night With Conan O'Brien writers in a California federal court on July 22, claiming that the late-night host used his jokes about Tom Brady, the Washington Monument, Delta, and Caitlin Jenner in monologues.
The lawsuit claims that between January and June, four jokes Kaseberg posted on Twitter and his blog appeared on O'Brien's show in some form. The lawsuit alleges Kaseberg posted this joke to his blog on or around Jan. 14: "A Delta flight this week took off from Cleveland to New York with just two passengers. And they fought over control of the armrest the entire flight." The joke appeared slightly reworded on the show the same day. Same with a Feb. 17 joke about the Washington Monument. The lawsuit also alleges Kaseberg filed copyright applications for the four jokes.
The purpose of my call was not to cause trouble, but to suggest that if I was writing jokes so similar (in fact the exact same) to theirs, I should be contributing jokes to the show.
He claims that instead, Sweeney got defensive.
For what seemed like 15 agonizing minutes, Mike Sweeney, the head writer of Conan, angrily and loudly denied those were my jokes. He was furious that I was accusing them of stealing jokes, but most of all he was incensed that I would suggest his writers would have anything to do with my pathetic blog and it’s author, me, a no-name failure.
In response to the suit, O'Brien's production company said, "We at Conaco firmly believe there is no merit to this lawsuit." His co-host, Andy Richter, pointed out that it's possible more than one person thinks of the same joke on something topical at the same time.This is coming on the heels of a freelance writer filing a DMCA takedown with Twitter, over allegedly lifted or aggregated jokes. But that doesn't necessarily mean Twitter is going to start a full-scale inquiry into stolen jokes. And litigating editable blog posts and deletable tweets isn't the easiest legal ground to tread.
According to the lawsuit, Kaseberg is demanding a trial by jury and hundreds of thousands in damages.
At VidCon, no one will ever judge you for taking a selfie.
Content creation is king for the 20,000 digital video enthusiasts who descended on the Anaheim Convention Center looking to uncover the future of digital entertainment (or simply get a picture with their favorite star and capture a unique moment). With YouTube is now in its 10th year and VidCon having just marked its sixth, the convention feels like it has matured in line with the digital space itself, which is pushing itself into the mainstream as the stars of its platform begin to command the kind of attention normally reserved for Hollywood stars.
On the industry side, platform diversity took center stage for the conference. While YouTube is still the primary focus of the majority of the event’s featured creators and of the sessions in general, speakers from a variety of platforms held court on the Industry and Creator stages and set up booths to attract the attention of con attendees. The event featured keynotes from representatives from Twitter, Vessel, and GoPro, and Victorious founder Bing Chen demoed that app for Industry insiders, while YouNow made a play on the Creator floor to attract interested content creators into engaging with the platform. Vine and Instagram set up flashy displays in the expo hall to attract attendees, and Meerkat sponsored a VIP lounge in the Hilton offering juices, makeovers, and a candy buffet to woo potential live broadcasters. Despite the variety of choices for where to make digital content, the focus wasn’t on which option was “better,” but rather on the idea of letting a multitude of options create a robust world of content for each individual creator.
“It’s not about which platform I am going to choose; it’s about [how] I have a diversity of options,” said VidCon co-founder Hank Green during the Creator track closing ceremonies. “I can pick one or two or three, and these are going to be the ways that I build my audience.”
Green cited the fact that YouTube remains the only content platform sharing revenue with the creators who populate it, humorously calling out places like Facebook where creators actually have to pay to reach their own audiences. However, he also noted that Facebook is now the second platform with a pilot program for sharing money with content creators, even if that change is coming long after YouTube made the leap in 2009. For Green, the importance of platform diversity is that it makes an even playing field for independent creators to figure out how to use each platform in inventive ways, building their own audiences in the same way the veterans of YouTube did in the 2007-2010 era before its mainstream explosion.
“Platform diversity creates a diversity of creators, and that is a force against the consolidation that media has tended toward for the last 100 years,” said Green. “Because it’s sort of inevitable [that] the person with the most subscribers gets the most subscribers, so when you have a new platform where things start out level, that’s where independent creators can get discovered. I’m glad to be a part of it, and I’m glad to see it here at VidCon.”
Brands and their influence over the creator community were still up for discussion as well, with John Green, Hank’s brother and fellow VidCon co-founder, speaking to the importance of brands worrying less about immediately quantifiable results and more about fostering communities authentically.
“The real opportunity for brands online is to help creators build and foster better communities, so that those communities can bring better and more interesting stuff into the world,” said the elder Green during his opening speech to the Industry track. “If brands interacted with those communities authentically and they didn’t impose their values or messaging on them, they would win over the passionate or engaged communities. Not for a quarter or a campaign, but for a lifetime.”
In some ways brands were out in full force at VidCon, with Kia Motors sponsoring not only a booth on the floor, but the main stage as well, which meant YouTubers gave talks while inexplicably seated next to a car all weekend. Air Optix hosted a booth with free makeovers from Hollywood artist Scott Barnes to match multicolored contact lenses. But overall, the event still hasn’t succumbed to the overwhelming commercialism of places like San Diego Comic Con, and most of the promotional efforts directly supported either creators or the tools and platforms they use to gain attention.
On the convention floor
For those on the Community track, who made up the overwhelming majority of attendees, which platform or brand was there was less of a concern than which digital star they were looking to bump into over the three-day event. One of VidCon’s major improvements over last year was their management of signings, which had led to teens camping out all day in hopes of meeting stars, thus missing other events available to them at the conference. This year introduced a pre-event lottery system for signings, with attendees given wristbands corresponding with their arrival times for each event, leaving them open to enjoy the conference in the meantime. Of course, this didn’t completely deconstruct the tendency for some attendees to roam areas day and night in hopes of meeting a favorite creator, with many fans following a chosen favorite from event to event or plotting ways to casually come upon that creator in the hotel lobby or hallway. However, the new system allowed more freedom in people’s schedules to achieve a coveted photo and autograph without sacrificing their time with rest of the events.
In turn, there were fewer mobs and stampedes caused by fans spotting a creator and rushing after them in the main areas than in years previous, but those weren’t totally eradicated. While most creators aimed to avoid crowds and potentially dangerous situations, others courted it. In particular, Vine user Matthew Espinosa baited his fans into intentionally causing a scene on the floor when he appeared in alleged blackface as a character he called “Papa Squat,” surrounded by bodyguards and a large camera crew. Teens bolted in waves as they saw him, and the crowd around him moved haphazardly through the convention floor, with many fans tagging along without any idea of who was in the center of the mob.
“Going forward, we’re going to be more strict about creators who endanger their fans, whether that’s through manipulation online or by intentionally creating mob scenes at VidCon or other similar events,” Hank Green wrote on his Tumblr after the event. “We will communicate to them that they are not welcome and will arrest them if they attempt to create a mob. Two of our security officers were injured this year in a mob caused intentionally by a creator who did the exact same thing last year, and we simply cannot allow that in the future.”
“It’s interesting because I’ve never been that fanatic about anyone,” said vlogger Mamrie Hart. “But then I think if I was 11 and Jonathan Taylor Thomas was 20 yards in front of me, I can’t say I wouldn’t have screamed, especially if everyone else was. It’s mob mentality.”
Overall, the event was far more organized than years previous, with a strict structure of Community attendees having run over the first floor of the convention center, with stages, signing halls and an expo floor, and Industry and Creator tracks sharing the top two levels for more in-depth breakout sessions. Featured creators, those who previously drew mobs or crowds when they had to walk through common spaces to get from event to event, were moved to back passageways for everyone’s safety.
“This conference is one that I simultaneously look forward to and dread every single year,” explained Andrew Graham, a manager at Big Frame who represents top talent like Connor Franta and Ricky Dillon. “This is the epicenter of our industry, but also it is also known for getting mobbed.” Graham noted that the 2015 event was way more organized and mature, both in terms of the type of topics up for discussion and the ease of talent navigating the space. “If you are a talent here, you can see loading dock to loading dock all weekend.”
“Going forward, we’re going to be more strict about creators who endanger their fans.” —Hank Green
That may seem antithetical to the spirit of VidCon and the idea of a community of creators and fans sharing the same space, but it’s also a symptom of the success of the platforms, now that some of these digital talents have surpassed traditional Hollywood stars in the minds of millennials.
“When you get more into the Tyler Oakley or Connor Franta range [of fame], these conferences are about coming, spending a little bit of time with your fans, making your announcements, and going back to work,” said Graham. “It is about the community, but it’s a little more industry-focused.”
Introducing the Creator track
There’s also now a middle ground, for attendees who feel they are neither mere voyeurs in the space nor at the level (or with the disposable income) of an Industry badge. The Creator track bridged that gap for the first time in 2015, with sessions focused on building a channel, storytelling techniques, and how and when to engage with multichannel networks (MCNs), agents, and managers. While the track wasn’t perfect in its first iteration, it’s a welcome step forward for VidCon to find ways to foster new creators in a sea of established stars. At the closing event for the track, a rapid-fire session in the main ballroom that welcomed a variety of speakers on stage to say their piece about content and the conference, vlogger Hartbeat called out one of the most evident issues with the VidCon lineup: lack of diversity.
“YouTube gives you the power to look at the creator of VidCon in the eye and tell them something that you’re really passionate about, look them in the eye and tell them, ‘You need to bring more featured black creators to VidCon,’” said an emotional Hartbeat. “Everyone deserves the equal opportunity to be great.” She was visibly nervous to be calling out the convention that had invited her to speak, but she had no need to be: The crowd cheered her on, and Green praised her challenge as in the spirit of VidCon on both his Twitter and Tumblr. Diversity as a topic fared better than in years past, with panels like Women in YouTube and Race and Representation on YouTube both slated for the main stage instead of smaller rooms that quickly filled to capacity in years past.
Controversy and concern
While there was a seemingly endless supply of stars afoot, some were less welcome than others. Carter Reynolds, who recently came under fire after a sex tape leaked which featured him pressuring his then-girlfriend Maggie Lindemann to perform oral sex on him, attended the event despite not being an invited guest. When VidCon got word of his appearance, they banned him, and the Hilton Anaheim and Marriott both removed him from their hotels. But before the people in charge got involved, teens at the event were making their disapproval of Reynolds heard loud and clear.
“I’m waiting to drag Carter,” said 14-year-old attendee Simone J., who then began posing next to a garbage can, joking that she was getting a selfie with the Vine star. Several other attendees pulled the same joke on Twitter, as well as others who took pictures with the actual Reynolds, only to throw him the middle finger during their snap. Fans even chanted “fuck you, Carter” as he posed with fans.In response to the wave of sexual abuse and misconduct allegations in the community over the past year, one unassuming booth on the convention floor aimed to address the issue head on. Uplift, a nonprofit “dedicated to combatting sexual abuse in online communities through education and advocacy,” passed out information, sold buttons to raise money, and served as a safe space for discussion.
VidCon even attracted religious protesters, which the convention staff repeatedly urged attendees to ignore via the official app. However, throughout each day attendees were often spotted debating or discussing with the protesters. The community thrives on speaking their minds, so they didn’t shy away from a chance to open a dialogue or engage in protest moments of their own, including kiss-ins in front of the signs about sin.Beyond the cat video
In the end, it’s all about the content. Kevin Allocca, YouTube’s head of culture and trends, gave the crowd a rundown of the history of content on the site. Specifically, he called out a surprising a historical parallel between YouTube and the film industry: the cat video. One of the first things ever put to film by Thomas Edison in 1984 was two cats, boxing.“This is not just the first cat video ever recorded, this is also the first pieces of film ever recorded,” explained Allocca at the closing event. “The film industry made 100 billion dollars last year, and one of the first moving pictures before Chaplin, before Orson Welles, was a cat video. YouTube’s earliest creators were kind of like the Thomas Edisons of their time, paving the way for everyone in this room to essentially reinvent media on a new type of platform with a new type of audience.”
Cat videos may be the stereotype, but YouTube’s most searched term is “minecraft,” and now beauty and education content outpace pets on the platform. As the world of digital video enters its 11th year and VidCon eyes its seventh, the reinvention clearly continues.
Illustration by Max Fleishman
While NBC's Lip Sync Battle delights crowds on a weekly basis, it’s been quite some time since Fallon brought it back to his own stage. Both Cruise and Fallon have their work cut out for them as they move their mouths to the tunes of “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Undercover of the Night,” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.”
Fallon might have had the edge over Cruise, while the actor might have been better off using the “Old Time Rock and Roll” advantage, but this contest has no winner except the audience after the contestants end it all with a throwback to Top Gun.Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube
It would be easy to think of Hank Green as the face of the YouTube generation. He’s one half of seminal web video duo the Vlog Brothers, the producer of hit web series such as“The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” the mastermind of the educational video series “Crash Course” and “Sci Show” and the founder of both fan funding platform subbable and the world’s largest online video conference, VidCon. There are few people better able to evaluate progress of online video both as a medium for creators and as the foundation of a growing industry.
We caught up with Green at VidCon to talk about the growth of the conference and its challenges, as well as the the future of the online video space as a whole, and where he thinks his own creative ambitions will lead.
It seems like the scale [of Vidcon] is growing every year. Given the way the business is scaling today, where do you see Vidcon in 2016?
It seems like there’s definitely room for growth. Last year we were working out some kinks before we could grow substantially again, and I feel like we have. The reports are good, and there are times when I feel like we could have more people. There’s not enough, it’s not fun enough, there’s not enough crazy. Last year, I felt like we had enough crazy.
I feel that shift, as well. Last year, the energy was palpable. This year, it feels a little lower energy and it feels like there are a lot bigger brands here. Do you feel like that’s impacted the fan feeling?
For us, the number one concern is making sure everybody is safe and there were a few times last year where it was like “this is not safe.”
For the creators?
For the fans. If 30 people are running in a direction and one of them falls, that’s not a good thing. I think that the overall experience for the fans has been head and shoulders above what we’ve had previously. The enthusiasm is there. Maybe it’s that the content system is maturing a little bit, maybe it’s that those people are a year older. Maybe it’s that there’s just more to do so people aren’t sitting around waiting for something to happen. It’s all good to me. I feel very positive about that. As for the influence [of] having more brands involved, having more platforms, it isn’t substantially different from last year in terms of the sponsorship situation.
Read the full interview on VideoInk’s website.
Illustration by Max Fleishman
Business-speak and those who sup the corporate Kool-Aid are intolerable. But they exist in the corners and cubicles of offices worldwide, and their antics are finally seeing appropriately comedic treatment in new webseries Business Time.
One day when worked in a giant skyscraper in the city, I remember watching two besuited men leaving the elevator, one old and one young, deep in conversation.
The older one—who indicated with his blustering body language that he considered himself some sort of financial sensei—was uploading some of his acumen into his acolyte: “Now you listen to me, young man,” ordered Buffet-lite as he shifted his briefcase from his right to left hand so as to allow him to put his arm around the other’s shoulder, “There’s one secret to business, and it’s this..."
To my eternal shame, it was at this crucial point that my eavesdropping stopped, as I had to take their lift up to the 26th floor. But it didn’t really matter. If there is one secret to business, it is unlikely that some nobody trying to impress kids would know it.
Yet he did have one thing that I didn’t. It isn't particularly rare—it is something you will see in certain people if you ever have the misfortune of working in an office—but it might be advantageous. You could see it in his mannerisms, how his eyes shone as he looked at his protégé, in the way he had willingly become ensconced within the language and essence of commerce.
In short, you could see that he loved business. Goddamn, he loved business. Talking about deals, offering advice, making moves. I bet there were dog-eared copies of Who Moved My Cheese? and CliffsNotes of The Prince in that briefcase. I’m not even sure he was that interested in money. But generic business? That was his jam. And this is the type of person that the comedy webseries Business Time is about.
Gene (creator Alex Herrald) and Gene (Curran Connor) are of this ilk; two cubicalized 40-somethings trapped exactly where they want to be—in some sort of odd vortex of an office (like a display home for partitioning) where nothing gets achieved other than the musing about how things could or should theoretically be done.
And while Business Time is comedic, it is right on point. An environment where people spend as much time creating illusions perpetuating the necessity of their employment as actually working is one where business-speak, interminable HR meetings, and team “fun” days flourish. Do plumbers have to do this stuff? Of course not. But show up at a workplace where you realize on day one that your degree is worthless and your computer is doing everything anyway, and most of day two will be dealing with the person in charge of proper workplace set-up and desk posture.
The lazy touchstone for the series—which surprisingly filmed almost all of its seven episodes in one day—is Tim & Eric, the go-to comparison for any comedy that cannot immediately be categorized. But whereas T&E is a cavalcade of nonsense impossibly held together by some sort of divine, intangible genius, Business Time is well-rooted in reality, underpinned by characterizations that (although amplified to the nth degree) are grounded in reality.
And it’s this realness that appeals. The very idea that someone finds their involvement in the systems and frameworks of some humdrum business not just rewarding but worthwhile in the broadest sense is as humorous as it is worrying. But it can also interestingly inspire envy in those who cannot find enjoyment in something so mundane.
People like Gene and Gene really exist, and you may wonder where they come from. But they are always around; it’s just the workplace is probably the first time in your life that you'll ever have to interact daily with people whom you haven’t chosen personally: Consider the middle-management type who had introduced an edict that if somebody had a good suggestion in a meeting they were to be rewarded with a standing ovation. Of course, realizing the brilliance of his own idea, he rose to his feet so as to applaud himself.
Screengrab via Business Time/YouTube
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Tom Brady's four-game suspension for #DeflateGate on Tuesday, and one major reason is because the NFL has claimed Brady destroyed his cell phone before investigators could examine it.
After it was alleged earlier this year that the New England Patriots quarterback, in conjunction with other team officials, conspired to deflate the footballs that were used by New England in the 2015 AFC title game vs. the Indianapolis Colts—thereby making them easier for Brady to throw—investigators asked for access to Brady's phone to check his emails and text messages.
He declined to do so, and according to the league, it was revealed on June 18, four months after investigators asked for it, that Brady's cell phone had been destroyed.
Expect this issue to move to the court system, as Brady, one of the greatest quarterbacks in history, attempts to protect his reputation and keep himself on the field for New England as it tries to defend last year's Super Bowl title.
There had been reports leading to Tuesday's release that the NFL and the player's union were negotiating a reduced punishment for Brady. But an agreement obviously didn't happen.
Here's the NFL's explanation of the loss of potential evidence from Brady.
At the hearing, Mr. Brady testified that it is his practice to destroy (or to give to his assistant to destroy) his cellphone and SIM cards when he gets a new cellphone. Mr. Brady also testified that, based on his typical practice, he would have asked to have the existing cellphone destroyed at or about the same time that he began using his new cellphone. According to records provided by Mr. Brady, he began using a new cellphone—and based on what Mr. Brady and his counsel described as his ordinary practice, gave his old cellphone to his assistant to be destroyed — on or about March 6, 2015, the very day that he met with Mr. Wells and his team to be questioned about the tampering allegations.
Even though the prior request for his text messages was discussed during that interview, neither Mr. Brady nor his counsel ever advised Mr. Wells that the cellphone that Mr. Brady had used during the key time period had been destroyed. During the four months that Mr. Brady used that cellphone, he exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages with a wide range of individuals. Following the appeal hearing, Mr. Brady's representatives provided a letter from his cellphone carrier confirming that the text messages sent from or received by the destroyed cellphone couldno [sic] longer be recovered.
The record contains much more information bearing on this matter. It includes text messages between Mr. [John] Jastremski and Mr. [Jim] McNally in which Mr. McNally refers to himself as 'the deflator"; that expressly refer to inflation and deflation of footballs and "needles" in the context of deflating footballs; and that reflect Mr. McNally's requests for cash, shoes, clothing and items autographed by Mr. Brady.
It should also be noted that the union declined to make Jastremski, New England's former equipment assistant, and McNally, the game officials' locker room attendant for the Patriots, available for interviews with investigators.
Not everybody on Twitter was in agreement on the issue of Goodell upholding the punishment.
Yes, all of this will affect the court system, the Patriots season, New England's roster, and (probably) your fantasy football team.
But here's the worst news of all: It looks like this couple won't get to go on their honeymoon after all.
Photo via Keith Allison/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
“Sherman Hemsley is moving on up… to heaven” is what I would have said if he died today. But he didn’t die today. He died three years ago.
The fact that the late actor, known for playing George Jefferson in the TV series The Jeffersons, passed away in July 2012 didn’t stop Facebook and Twitter from killing him one more time.
On Monday, a BET article announcing Hemsley’s death made the rounds on Facebook, breaking the hearts of fans first hearing the story.The story continued to show up on Twitter on Tuesday. Folks who took a second to either read the date on the article—or, you know, remember—didn’t waste any time debunking their gullible social media counterparts. The Jeffersons star is only the most recent in a long line of celebrities with Second Facebook Death Syndrome, including Rue McClanahan, Joe Cocker, and Dennis Hopper.
Hemsley was found dead in his El Paso, Texas, home on July 24, 2012, after succumbing to lung cancer. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Hemsley had named his business manager and “beloved partner” Flora Enchinton Bernal as sole beneficiary of his estate a month before his death. However, the medical examiner located Richard Thornton, who claimed to have the same father as the actor. This resulted in a four-month legal dispute between Bernal and Thornton over where to bury Hemsley’s remains. The courts ruled in favor of Bernal, and Hemsley was ultimately buried in El Paso.
Sherman Hemsley is at rest, and he has been for three years. But when you read about Richard Attenborough’s death next month, remember it happened last year.
Photo via CBS/Wikipedia (PD) | Remix by Jason Reed
Netflix announced on Tuesday that it has big plans for Marvel. Ambitious, borderline-unsustainable plans sure to delight fans everywhere—especially for anyone who binged the streaming power's Daredevil.
According to Variety's Laura Prudom, Netflix's head of content acquisition Ted Sarandos said he wanted a new Marvel series every six months. They would build on the Defenders universe kickstarted by Daredevil.
To jumpstart the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Sarandos confirmed without giving a release date that Jessica Jones, Marvel's first female-led superhero adaptation for the small screen, would debut in the fourth quarter of 2015. Attendees were treated to a brief and uneventful glimpse of Krysten Ritter as the title character. But far more fascinating is the timeline Marvel and Netflix seem to have that universe on.So far the Defenders arc encompasses five shows all occurring within the same world, which is also the same ongoing world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If Marvel is true to its word, then in addition to Daredevil and Jessica Jones, we can expect to see both Luke Cage and Iron Fist out next year, with the ensemble show, Defenders, following in mid-2017.
In addition to whatever new shows Marvel has planned—assuming it doesn't strangle Fox out of the rights to X-Men and then flood us with mutants forevermore—it will also selectively air additional seasons of some of the five shows they have in the works. Daredevil, of course, is already filming season 2, and adding two new characters, Elektra and the Punisher, who could each easily have their own spinoffs as well.
And after that—who knows?
Photo via minglemediatv/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
With interesting and critically insightful podcasts out there for every brand of fan, you’re missing out if you aren’t interacting with at least one. But there are just so many to choose from, so let us walk you through a cross-section of the best TV-talk available.
Whether you want to hear academic conversations about structure and character development or snarky commentary on the best-of-the-worst reality shows, there’s something for you on this list.
1) Talking TV With Ryan and Ryan
Even though this is the most academic of all the podcasts on the list, Talking TV never feels esoteric or finger-waggy (they adore the CW, for heaven’s sake). It’s this balance that ensures you never feel schooled by hosts Maureen Ryan and Ryan McGhee. They have a relaxed knowledge about the shows they cover, and listeners can tell they really know their stuff.
Mo and Ryan aren’t always fans of the shows they discuss—you can tell when they hate something, for sure—but every conversation is a critical discussion laced with quirky insights and accessible jokes. It kind of seems like you’re talking TV with a really cool professor in a bar.
Our favorite episode: “Jinxing the Bloodline”
2) The Vulture Podcast
Matt Zoller Seitz, a rock star among TV critics, heads up this Vulture-sponsored podcast with the help of Margaret Lyons and Giselle Emami. Theirs is a motley combination of opinions, dislikes, and favorites, and their crackling chemistry makes for a delightfully diverse conversation about television.
One minute Matt is waxing philosophical about the “David Lynch Effect” on a show, and the next Margaret is threatening to murder him for his disparaging remarks about The West Wing. One of the best things about this podcast is the way the hosts toggle between intellectual musings and just regular ol’ talk… proving you can say really smart stuff and still use the F-word and say “like”… a lot.
Our favorite episode: “Shows About Washed-Up Stars, Plus the Emmys”
3) Go Bayside!
April Richardson is a giant Saved by the Bell fan. Huge. Her encyclopedic knowledge of the show, her willingness to call out some of its more dated features, and our cultural nostalgia for all things ’90s make this podcast extremely endearing. Her Saved by the Bell joy is contagious, even if you’ve (somehow) never seen one episode.
The podcast consists of Richardson and her friends, usually a fellow comedian, sitting in her Hollywood apartment, dissecting and analyzing an episode of Saved by the Bell. Stay with me.
Even if you don’t care that much about the Saturday morning show that ran from 1989 to 1993, like recent guest Chris Hardwick, you can’t deny the charm of Richardson’s enthusiasm. She’s a fangirl for sure, but one with a biting wit and self-awareness about her kooky SBTB geekiness.
Our favorite episode: “Earthquake”
4) Very Good TVPodcast
The staff at IndieWire knows a lot about TV, but in their aptly named Very Good TV Podcast, Liz Shannon Miller and Ben Travers take water cooler talk to a whole new level.
Listening to the Very Good TV Podcast feels like I’m eavesdropping on two folks debating the merits of a show that one of them really, really likes and the other doesn’t much care for (while I secretly root for one over the other).
A few minutes into their True Detective coverage, you’ll get the gist. Miller and Travers chat like classmates in a TV-studies class, but not in gross way.
Our favorite episode: “‘True Detective’ and ‘Sense8’!”
5) Here to Make Friends
This Huffington Post podcast is an exercise in oxymoronic discourse. That is to say that hostesses Clare Fallon and Emma Gray conduct a super-relevant feminist discussion of ABC’s The Bachelorette—and it is brilliant.
Fallon, culture writer for HuffPo, and Gray, senior women’s editor, talk so expertly and cleverly about the franchise it’s evident they are fans, and they make no apologies for it. In fact, they are so enamored with this batch of contestants that they even said they would allow one hunky bachelor to “murder them in the woods” (a direct quote).
The Bachelorette seems like the least likely inspiration for a culturally specific dialogue on contemporary feminism in America, but damn if these women don’t pull it off every week.
Our favorite episode: “Men Tell All”
6) Holler Back
Justified may have aired its final episode in April, but the Harlan County spirit lives on through Ryan McGee and Joanna Robinson. Both are fans and admirers of the show and their devotion expertly telegraphs into their exchange. They treat the show like you would treat your favorite book you’ve read a million times: gingerly and with great respect.
This podcast works best if you listen in real time—that is, listen to each episode directly following watching the corresponding Justified episode. (Justified airs on Amazon Instant video. Just saying.)
Our favorite episode: “The Promise”
7) AfterBuzz TV’s coverage of Real Housewives of New York City
This podcast is structurally more like a recap, but it feels more like brunch with your girlfriends the morning after a juicy episode.
Lyndsey Wegner, Fern Ronay, Megan Stecher, and Ashley Daniels all have strong voices and differing perspectives on the New York shenanigans, but it doesn’t feel crowded or overwrought. After one episode, you’re part of the clique.
Often, the ladies invite the Real Housewives on as guests, and there is inevitably lots of juicy, behind-the-scenes talk about production, rumors, and editing. It’s high entertainment for fans of the Housewives franchise, and anybody who cares an ounce about reality TV, which—let’s face it—is all of us.
Our favorite episode: “Awfully Charitable”
8) Rotten Tomatoes Podcast
Yeah, yeah, it’s great when folks talk about how much they love a show, but there is a certain amount of satisfaction in hearing critics talk about how awful it is too.
The Rotten Tomatoes Podcast spreads its fair share of love around, but Matt Atchity and Grae Drake aren’t afraid to show their intense disdain for something either (looking at you, Game of Thrones).
Sometimes joined by Sara Ryan, and often referred to as Velvet Smog, the Rotten Tomatoes gang is pretty informal in their chats, and it’s nothing for a discussion to veer far, far off the original strand.
They are so animated and enthusiastic that you don’t even mind listening to a lengthy conversation about Sarah’s Comic-Con costume.
Our favorite episode: “What YOU Are Watching”
Illustration by Max Fleishman
As far as interrogation-room situations go, this one is pretty low-key. Twitter users ask Stewart about his favorite guest, the cities that appear in the show’s intro, and just what he’s doodling on those blue cards. But he doesn't want to answer, so Klepper and Minhaj, having known Stewart for years now, try torture instead.
Cruel and unusual? Oh yes. Extreme? Maybe, although we’re not sure if it’s worse for him or the audience (and we’ll never think about Arby’s the same way again). But some of the answers actually leave us with even more questions—and we don’t even want to think about what it would take to get them out of Stewart.Screengrab via The Daily Show
For all of the high-energy party playlists rotting away on our phones, arranging a useful office-hours soundtrack continues to elude mankind. Music for when you're chained to a desk is a beautiful proposition, but spinning your favorite artists can prove cancerous to productivity.
In fact, new research suggests that our music-related work habits are impairing our cognitive focus. Not only does drowning out noisy chatter with Ke$ha bury you in log-jamming distractions, reaching for noise-cancellation headphones isn't the answer either.
For a corner-turning edge at work, you should be listening to chirping birds and babbling brooks.
A study conducted at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute tested subjects in an open-office floor plan—communal benches, Silicon Valley-esque bright spaces—and had them work to either white noise, sounds of nature, or in complete silence. Overwhelmingly, listening to greatest hits by the great outdoors proved to be the most palatable path to productivity.
The study only worked with 12 subjects, but having spent the last several hours jamming out to waterfalls I can vouch for the practice: It's simultaneously relaxing but just disjointed enough to not let you get swept away by the sonically pleasing beats. It keeps you alert, maybe because there's some repressed instinct that wants to make sure a bear isn't around the corner.
H/T The Ferenstein Wire | Illustration by Max Fleishman
Alisa Stern and Doctor Puppet—her channel solely dedicated to creating Doctor Who–themed stop-motion animation. Truth is, I’ve yet to become hooked on the Doctor Whoniverse, but there is something about Stern’s fervent love, coupled with her cartoon’s nostalgic aesthetic reminiscent of Gumby and Frosty the Snowman, that keep me watching and always wanting more.
Right out of the gate, Stern’s channel was a hit with her first video, “How the Doctor Puppet Saved Christmas”—which not only gained 200,000 views, but was so beloved by Nerdist that the company asked to repost Stern’s work on its own channel several months later. Since then, Stern has grown her channel and her production team (now 10 people), to create detailed and charming spinoffs and tributes every few months to the 12 doctors and their 52 years of adventures. Classics include “The Conjunction of Eleven” and “The Doctor in the Garden.”
Due to the growing popularity of her YouTube channel, which in less than three years has collected over 2 million views, Doctor Puppet animator Erin Natal was given the chance to animate a 20-second scene of BBC’s documentary Doctor Who: Earth Conquest documentary. In addition, Stern will premiere her Doctor Puppet content at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this coming weekend.Outside of her own YouTube channel, Stern is a motion graphics animator at Mashable, where she premiered the first episode of her webseries WTF History about the only documented female soldier in the American Revolution. YouTube has given Stern the power to not only embrace a fanship, but the space to make content that expands its universe in a truly visual way. Last year, Stern raised over $16,000 from 500-odd fans in 30 different countries to produce her annual Christmas special. Her channel is a shining example of YouTube at its best—a showcase of the platform’s ability to provide a home for fans to collaborate and connect with other communities.
Correction 2:32pm, July 29: An earlier version of this article misstated which animator created the clip for the BBC and which Brooklyn institute was hosting Stern’s screening this weekend. Those are Erin Natal and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, respectively.
Screengrab via Doctor Puppet/YouTube
“This is my first VidCon and I feel very old, and I’m going to go home and dye my hair blue,” joked Yahoo anchor Katie Couric in an interview with BuzzFeed’s Ze Frank on the first day of VidCon. “Did you notice that everyone here has blue hair?”
She wasn't far off. The hottest hair accessory at VidCon 2015 was a dye job, and most likely one in a pastel hue. It’s a trend that links back to the site’s most popular creators (Tyler Oakley, patron saint of a dye job, had relatively demure blond tresses this year) but has been taken to the next level by fans. We rounded up some examples of the best pastel-haired (and brightly hued) attendees from VidCon 2015.
Photo via Maria Morri/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)