Articles on this Page
- 04/12/16--06:00: _How 'Master of None...
- 04/12/16--09:41: _The NFL won't lives...
- 04/12/16--13:11: _Why record labels a...
- 04/12/16--17:12: _Peabody finalists i...
- 04/13/16--05:05: _Honest trailer for ...
- 04/13/16--06:07: _Dr. Shini Somara ma...
- 04/13/16--12:27: _Celebrate Kobe Brya...
- 04/13/16--13:01: _Drake reportedly ha...
- 04/14/16--05:10: _Jimmy Kimmel invest...
- 04/14/16--05:46: _'Game of Thrones' a...
- 04/14/16--09:45: _This reel of first ...
- 04/14/16--14:28: _Unreel pledges $1 m...
- 04/14/16--15:02: _'Horace and Pete' a...
- 04/14/16--15:17: _Michigan football c...
- 04/14/16--15:50: _This Snapchat horro...
- 04/15/16--05:00: _Emoji variations ma...
- 04/15/16--07:50: _John Kasich explain...
- 04/15/16--09:45: _AMC realizes textin...
- 04/15/16--10:38: _What 'Unbreakable K...
- 04/15/16--13:31: _Kimmy Schmidt is co...
- 04/12/16--06:00: How 'Master of None' and 'Love' approach dating and texting
- 04/12/16--09:41: The NFL won't livestream any of its overseas games in 2016
- 04/12/16--13:11: Why record labels are peeved with YouTube
- 04/12/16--17:12: Peabody finalists include streaming giants from Netflix, Amazon, HBO
- 04/13/16--06:07: Dr. Shini Somara makes learning physics fun in 'Crash Course'
- 04/13/16--12:27: Celebrate Kobe Bryant's retirement with these 8 unforgettable videos
- 04/13/16--13:01: Drake reportedly has a secret Snapchat account
- 04/14/16--05:46: 'Game of Thrones' actors struggle to recognize their co-stars' butts
- 04/14/16--15:02: 'Horace and Pete' and the limitations of the curiosity gap
- 04/14/16--15:17: Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh dabs onstage with Migos
- 04/14/16--15:50: This Snapchat horror film is terrifying
- 04/15/16--09:45: AMC realizes texting in theaters is a dumb idea after all
- 04/15/16--10:38: What 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' gets right (and wrong) in season 2
- 04/15/16--13:31: Kimmy Schmidt is coming for your Chrome and Netflix experiences
Don’t sweat that text reply from the person you’re crushing on. If we’ve learned anything from these four streaming TV shows, it’s that if the cutie is interested, they’ll text back.
Sometimes it feels like the days of being unavailable or unreachable are over, but in the dating world, that’s simply not true. People are constantly checking their phones, and reply when they feel like it. Texts offer information about a person—mainly if they are a good communicator—and how much they are willing to share via text. There’s something sensational about getting a text just as you’re thinking of a crush—there’s a sense that human connection does transcend technology’s cold interface.
Texting as it relates to dating and romance has been explored via streaming shows like Netflix’s Love, Master of None, and House of Cards, and HBO’s Hello Ladies. These shows look at the emotional vulnerability of texting in the early phases of dating; as two people get to know each other, there’s less focus on the screen and more on the tension between them as people.
That’s what these series get right about texting: how scary it is to date, be vulnerable with someone, and not place much emphasis on the sending and receiving of texts.
In the new Netflix show Love, texting is used to show viewers what’s really happening behind the scenes in characters’ lives and build tension while they get to know each other. Show creators Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, and Paul Rust tease out this tension, especially when it comes to showing how people edit themselves via text.
In the first episode, two 30-somethings named Gus (Rust) and Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) find each other after experiencing bad breakups. The first texting moment happens as Mickey is trying to get wasted and pass out, but she gets a text from an ex-boyfriend asking her to meet him at a place called Bliss House. A more rational person would not have immediately responded and maybe called a friend first, but that’s not Mickey’s character.
In episode 2, Mickey and Gus serendipitously meet at the gas station, and by the end of the episode they’ve spent the whole day together. He texts her the next morning in episode 3, but it takes him a few tries. He edits himself hard, deciding that the first text is overly sentimental, and the second is too cheesy. He eventually sends a very low-stakes text that simply reads: “Hey it’s Gus. Sup?”
He sent the cool guy edited text way too soon. At that point in the show, Mickey is still a total stranger even though they previously spent the whole day together. Mickey is playing the “chill girl” in this scenario, which actually means she is anything but “chill.”
More is revealed about their characters when Mickey doesn’t text Gus back until much later. She has a shit day at work, though on the surface she just appears “chill” for not texting back. It’s easy to create a narrative for someone else when we don’t hear from them, but are thinking about them. The lack of reply gives Gus so much anxiety that he ends up confessing to a co-worker about his nervous texting habits of the past: “I end up texting so much that I end up sending a fucking book.” His friend replies: “That’s not good. Nothing dries up a vagina more than a paragraph.” Gus finally does get a text back later that evening: “Nothing. Sup with you?” He’s elated. He doesn’t write back, though. Gus just experiences the feeling of receiving that text as the episode ends.
Texting is used as a way to potentially share secret information in episode 5, when Mickey’s roommate Bertie and Gus go out on a date, per Mickey’s setup. The date goes terribly, and mid-way through Bertie hits the bathroom and decides to send a text to Mickey about the date, but accidentally sends it to Gus: “He’s nice, but def no second date. Thank ya Micks :)” Gus screengrabs it and sends it to Mickey, who loves being there with them in a voyeuristic way because she loves drama. She tells Bertie what’s going on—that Gus got that message meant for her—and then screengrabs that and texts it to Bertie. So it goes until the date ends and they both admit that they’ve been texting Mickey. Gus drops Bertie off, finally admits to Mickey that he’s into her, and leaves. Being the impulsive character that she is, Mickey rushes out onto the street, runs in front of Gus’s car, leans into his window, and kisses him.
In episode 6, we learn more about their personalities through text conversations, but texting ceases to be such an important part of dialogue a few episodes in, after they start hanging out in person and get to know each other face-to-face. In the build-up to their relationship, texting is used as a way to edit, revealing more about these characters, their motivations, and how even if neither of them receive the texts they want when they want them, it’s still clear that they have a connection.
2) Master of None
Master of None focuses on the anxiety of blowing people off or being unresponsive during early dating phases. Aziz Ansari’s character Dev expresses sadness over ghosting, the heightened emotions one experiences when receiving texts from someone, and the embarrassing realities of not editing oneself enough via text. This show gets texting and dating right, mostly in regards to what happens when one person is hopeful, and the other is delaying a response or trying to craft the perfect breakup text.
The best example goes down in the third episode, when Dev starts fearing romantic rejection. When it’s been two days and he hasn’t gotten a text back from a hot bartender named Alice, whom he’s hoping to take to a concert, he starts to freak out. His friend Denise (Lena Waithe) says the answer is clear: She’s not into him. Dev is feeling idealistic, instead thinking that maybe she’s scared to write back. He says he’ll follow up with a question mark, which Denise explains looks “needy and sad.” We’ve all received or sent these texts—they’re nudges to someone who hasn’t responded as quickly as we want them to, and we can’t stop ourselves from wondering. Usually, this extra nudge comes off as annoying, entitled, or even disrespectful.
Things get more tense one day later, when she still hasn’t written back. Dev’s co-worker Benjamin (H. Jon Benjamin) tells him: “Fuck that person, she seems so rude.” Dev agrees: “It’s totally rude. But that’s just how people act these days.” After he expresses his feelings to Benjamin, the hot bartender writes back: “Sorry, days have been really crazy! Don’t think I can make it tomorrow. Thanks anyway! Xoxox.” Benjamin is hopeful, but Dev explains that in this context, it means “Go fuck yourself.”
Here we see Dev’s interpretation of a blow-off text, citing the ways people end casual dating or send rejections via text, which he reads as people treating others as less than human. These moments show the coldness of texts, but also don’t consider the reality of how much worse it could be to get blown off in a short phone call or voicemail.
Later in the episode, Dev is ranting about the rude ways people avoid communication through text, shouting to friends: “I’m a person, not just a bubble in a phone. Let’s be nice!” But in a desperate attempt to find a woman to go to the concert with him, Dev does the exact thing that pisses him off. He decides to text three ladies at once with the same question about the concert. One of them is bartender Alice (Nina Arianda), who now says she’s free. When Denise tells him he’s just treating ladies like bubbles in his phone, he agrees—he’s become the thing that he hates.
Master of None goes further into the dehumanizing effects of texting. We’re all sitting safely in our homes, texting people emotionally vulnerable questions, and then realizing we’ll be forced to stare at our screens, waiting for a response, or we’ll have to accept that it’s best to stop thinking about it all together.Master of None highlights the ways texting is used to show heightened emotions and drive romantic plotlines. Texting in this show demonstrates that once the initial stages of wondering are over, there’s no need to focus on texts as ways to drive relationship development.
3) Hello Ladies
In the TV show Hello Ladies, texting is used to show serious insecurity, overthinking, and neurosis that will absolutely ruin any chances of getting a date. These texts are painful to watch; they’re the kind we all hope we will never receive or send, and prove that in romance, you actually can ruin everything by texting too much.
The show centers around an awfully nerdy single guy named Stuart Pritchard (Stephen Merchant), who does everything you shouldn’t in the early stages of dating. In season 1, episode 3, he tries to show off his “strong texting game” to dude friends. He picks up Annie (Lindsay Broad), a juice bar worker at his gym. Later, he’s hanging out with his buddy Rory (Kyle Mooney) when he decides to explain “the rules of texting” to him. “Rule 1: You gotta seem like you’re too busy to call. Text only,” says Stuart. So he writes out a cheeky text: “Annie, when you’re done squeezing orange juice, could you squeeze me in for dinner at Vonwar? Toodle-loo!”
“Now, she probably won’t reply for a few hours,” he tells Rory. “You just gotta relax.” She responds immediately and agrees to the date, and they make a plan.
She later texts to say she had a good time. It’s a straightforward message, but rather than write back immediately and say something sweet, he writes something clever and saves it as a draft because he wants to “make her wait,” and also make her wonder if he’s interested. When she doesn’t text back by that evening, he freaks out and follows up three times to “make sure” that she got the first text. She never texts back. It’s been a few days. Panic ensues. He almost texts but calls it off, and in that moment she writes back: “Sorry for late reply. Some personal stuff came up. Mini-golf Friday?”When they do eventually meet up, she’s distracted by her phone and he panics that it’s because she’s seeing another guy named Alex. We learn that that guy is her brother, Alex, and the personal stuff was about him. When she leaves her phone on the counter, he leans over and reads her texts, which is another sign of distrust and insecurity on his part—something that becomes a part of his character. Stuart creates a crazy storyline about who he thinks she is or is not based on a few simple texts. Naturally, the date does not end well.
In this show, Stuart’s paranoia around texts is used as evidence to show more about his character, specifically how he behaves in romantic relationships.
4) House of Cards
In House of Cards, texting is one of the few ways in which otherwise vile characters are somewhat humanized. Texting is experienced differently in this show. The focus isn’t on the phone screen—the text conversations become part of the drama by popping up on the TV screen.
In that way, the characters’ texts become a part of the broader psychological landscape of the show. Rather than taking away from the action on-screen and being seen as a distraction, they add to it. This serves to further convey a sense of secrecy and privacy through texting, which is much more similar to real life. Often times, texts serve as private conversations to someone else who is “off-screen” in our everyday lives.
We all remember Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and Zoe Barnes’ (Kate Mara) text-heavy relationship in season 1—before he kills her at the beginning of season 2. Since Zoe is a millennial and Frank is, um, not, she obviously had an iPhone and was a killer blogger, and he was an older politician with a CrackBerry. Rather than focus on the phone screen, making texting scenes as boring as watching your own, we instead see little bubbles pop up on the sides of the screen. Frank is feeding Zoe information, which she then writes about for the Washington Herald, where she’s becoming more of a public persona through her prolific blogging.The texting conversation works to somewhat humanize Frank, showing that he can be thoughtful in the ways he responds. Rather than his usual super-calculated responses to all people around him, his texts show a level of vulnerability with another person, a side of him that we rarely see, even though he is still being true to his character in the rest of his fictional life. It makes us wonder if he has feelings, and maybe even liked Zoe.
The initial emotional vulnerability extends to sexual vulnerability in season 1, episode 3, when Zoe is particularly focused on obtaining information, and starts flirting with Frank. It’s at this time we ask ourselves: Who wouldn’t want to receive lusty texts like this? Even though their affair ended up being brief, creepy, and manipulative, their texting is almost sweet, and Frank’s directness is somehow charming.
The NFL tried a grand experiment in Week 7 of its 2015 season. With the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars set to play in London, the league broadcast that regular-season game exclusively on Yahoo, meaning the only way to watch it in the United States outside of those teams' local markets was to to log into Yahoo and livestream it.
But this year, things are different. Though the NFL and Twitter announced last week that the social-media site would livestream 10 Thursday-night games in 2016, the three games taking place in the United Kingdom will not be part of that deal.
"When we discussed potential streaming packages with interested parties, there were many options on the table, including the London games," an NFL spokesman told Reuters. "Ultimately the package we agreed on with Twitter involved ten of our Thursday night games which we felt was the best option at that point."
The NFL chose Twitter as its livestreaming partner over other companies like Facebook, Verizon Wireless, and Amazon. Although Yahoo reportedly paid $20 million to stream the one Bills–Jaguars game last year, Re/code reported that the 10-game 2016 slate cost Twitter less than $10 million.
Aside from some buffering hiccups, the 2015 Bills–Jaguars livestreaming experiment was considered a success, with about 34 million people spending at least some time watching the game and with 460 million total minutes consumed. (Those numbers, though, were probably inflated, because the game automatically began playing whenever someone logged into the Yahoo page.)
Perhaps most exciting for the NFL: Yahoo said that more than 33 percent of viewers were watching from outside the United States, specifically from more than 185 different countries.
The NFL's decision to use Twitter for 2016 livestreaming makes sense, because the site boasts 800 million users internationally and because many sports fans already watch sports and tweet at the same time.
Given that the NFL is intent on growing the sport for potential fans all over the world, the league is likely to return to livestreaming international contests in the future.
H/T Awful Announcing
With streaming revenues rising 45.2 percent in music industry revenue for 2016, labels are taking issue with how much YouTube is paying for their content. In the U.S., the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a big part of the problem, labels say.
Last year digital became the primary revenue stream for music, but the IFPI, the global trade group for record labels, complains that there's a "value gap" in compensation for labels and creators.
"This should be great news for music creators, investors and consumers," wrote IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore in a statement. "But there is good reason why the celebrations are muted: it is simply that the revenues, vital in funding future investment, are not being fairly returned to rights holders."
In the U.S., the Recording Industry of America is taking issue with the DMCA and the limitations it puts on labels to receive revenue from streams, especially in comparison to other streaming outlets. In an interview with Re/code, RIAA CEO Cary Sherman said that in addition to piracy, under-monetization thanks to DMCA limitations is the biggest problem with YouTube. He said the deals in place with streaming services like Spotify—where the RIAA is able to freely negotiate without the DMCA—eclipsed the value of negotiations under the DMCA "safe harbor" provisions, which protects services like YouTube from liability if they unknowingly house user-uploaded infringing content.
The biggest change the RIAA wants to see is "notice and stay down, instead of notice and take down."
"There are 100 copies of a song," explained Sherman. "We can’t just say to YouTube 'we didn’t license this Pharrell song, take it down.' They will not just take down all 100 copies. They’ll take down only the one file that we’ve identified. We have to find every one of them, and notice them, and then they’re taken down, and then immediately put right back up. You can never get all the songs off the system."
All three big labels—Universal Music Group, Sony, and Warner Music Group—are up for contract renegotiations with YouTube, but Sherman said that those negotiations are "not real," citing when Warner tried to pull out of the system, spent a year fighting copyright claims while getting no income from violators on YouTube, and eventually folded and accepted licensing terms. Sherman accused YouTube of taking the safe harbor benefits intended for "passive, neutral intermediaries" that don't make money off content on their platform like YouTube does.
That money trickles down to the other side of the DMCA issue that hits YouTube-based creators, who say they are getting hit with copyright claims that are violations of fair use and severely impacting their ability to generate ad-supported income. What Sherman and the RIAA are suggesting would clearly make it more difficult for creators to fight for their protections, leaving YouTube stuck between the two sides of the content issue. Last month Google released a statement in response to the RIAA criticism:
To date, Google has paid out over $3 billion to the music industry—and that number is growing year on year. This revenue is generated despite the fact that YouTube goes way beyond music to include popular categories such as news, gaming, how-to, sports and entertainment. And with the recent launch of the YouTube Music app, we recently launched a new, dedicated music experience with the goal to deliver even more revenue to both artists and the music industry more broadly. Past comparisons to other audio-only, subscription music services are apples to oranges.
For Sherman, the fight is about making streaming not just work for the Katy Perrys, who've lobbied on the industry's behalf, but for all musicians.
"The reality is that the industry is more stratified than ever," he said. "There are some people who have done really well. But it’s harder and harder for more musicians to make a living. Because the revenue that they’re getting from streaming isn’t keeping pace with the revenue that they used to be able to earn. We’re trying to get to a point where the streaming ecosystem works for everybody."
Netflix, HBO, and Amazon were represented among the 60 Peabody finalists announced Tuesday. Nominees include Jessica Jones; The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst; Transparent; What Happened, Miss Simone?; Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief; and Beasts of No Nation.
The Peabody Awards board will condense the list down to a set number of winning programs, known as the Peabody 30, and announce by category starting April 19. Categories range from news, radio/podcast, public service, and Web winners.
The awards recognize American radio, TV, and Web programming that provides a public service. This year's ceremony will be hosted by Keegan-Michael Key.
The 75th annual Peabody Awards will air June 6 on Pivot at 8pm ET.
The complete list of finalists can be found at the Peabody website.
With the upcoming release of the live-action Jungle Book film, which has been praised by critics, Screen Junkies looked back at the original Disney movie and discovered that sometimes the movies you loved as kids aren’t as good as you remember—even Disney movies.
While it features many of the characters you grew up with, a look back reveals just how poorly it holds up. It has a thin plot, songs you barely remember, and more than one scene of recycled footage. And that’s if you can stay up long enough to see Mowgli leave the animals who raised him to follow a girl into the local village.But as long as we have “Bear Necessities,” it’s not all bad, right?
Against all odds, this new show is going to make you love physics.
After the Green brothers ended their much-beloved Crash Course Astronomy series in January, fans wondered what subject the duo would unveil next. With shows on government, literature, history, economics, philosophy, psychology, and more, the Crash Course curriculum now includes physics.Crash Course Physics, now in its third week, is hosted by Dr. Shini Somara—a new face to many YouTube fans, but a veteran in the world of science education. Somara has been in love with science her whole life, and she graduated with her doctorate in mechanical engineering from London’s Brunel University at just 24 years old. Since then, she has split her time between hosting science shows for television and working as a science and technology reporter for BBC World, BBC America, Sky, and Discovery.
In all of her work, Somara is passionate about making science accessible and fun for young viewers—a mission inspired by her dad. That unabashed love of learning makes her the perfect candidate to join the Crash Course family. And while Hank and John will always always hold a special place in fans’ heart, early commenters are clearly inspired seeing a female doctor hosting a show about physics.But inevitably, other commenters mansplained and shared sexist messages about Somara’s looks instead of her lessons. While it would be easy to turn a blind eye, women in STEM are choosing to do just the opposite. For creators like Emily Graslie and Vanessa Hill, sexism is something that needs to be fought against as a community, and that starts with people speaking up and staying passionate about STEM. By just being herself, Dr. Somara is breaking long-held gender-stereotypes around STEM, and her fans can’t get enough.
Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest players in NBA history, will participate in the final professional basketball game of his career on Wednesday when his Lakers take on the Jazz at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Ever since Bryant announced his retirement following this, his 20th, season, tribute videos have popped up everywhere with Los Angeles opponents paying homage to the third-most-prolific scorer in league history and with fans saying goodbye to one of the NBA’s greatest talents.
But that’s not why we’re here today. No, we’re here to watch the best Bryant videos the Internet has to offer—as long as they’re not Bryant highlights. Those are easy to find. They’re all over YouTube, and there are a multitude from which to choose.
Instead, let’s explore the best Bryant videos that take place away from the court—the ones where he’s trying to act or to tell a good story or being unknowingly pretentious.
Videos of Kobe Bryant playing basketball are boring. Let’s find the ones that show us another side or two of the man who was so good at basketball that not even Michael Jordan—or Crying Jordan, for that matter—was sure he could beat him. Let’s find Bryant's humanity.
1) Joe “Jellybean” Bryant
Yes, this is a basketball highlight, but this was long before Kobe Bryant began his professional career, so chill out for a second. This is Joe “Jellybean” Bryant—who played in the NBA from 1975-’83 and who happened to be Kobe Bryant’s father. It’s easy to see where Kobe gets his athleticism.
Bryant and Brandy made big news in 1996 when she attended prom with him at Lower Merion High School outside of Philadelphia. This is the closest thing we have to a video of their evening: a Bryant guest appearance on Moesha in which he tries to convince Brandy’s character to take the SAT for him. Revel in the Hoop Dreams and The Usual Suspects references.
3) Man and Woman
Apparently, Kobe, as a child, had friends—a brother and sister combo—named Man and Woman. He says this is true.
4) “Don’t you know who I am?”
Sometimes, new friends who are living in a new city can bond over a beer run and a quick game of “Don't you know who I am?”
5) Nike ad
This was a Nike ad that aired in China. It’s unclear if Bryant’s self-importance translates from English into different languages. As For the Win writes, “This is the worst tribute video. It’s a terrible ad. Bryant takes himself so seriously that instead of being poignant, it’s actually hilarious.”
6) Nike athletes
If you need to find out the impact Bryant has made during his 20-year career, you ask people like Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Richard Sherman, and Russell Wilson.
7) Dancing with Shaq
Bryant and former teammate Shaquille O’Neal haven’t always gotten along. But man, they look great dancing together.
8) The time Kobe Bryant asked a 10-year-old girl for life advice
And perhaps the best non-basketball Bryant video I've ever seen or heard. Maybe some of the details are incorrect, but what a great story nonetheless.
9) We lied
OK, here's one Bryant highlight video.
If you're a Drake fan with a Snapchat account, there's a mystery you're going to want solved. The rapper has apparently had a secret Snapchat account for a few months, and he's using it to tease his new album Views from the Six. The saga started back in January, when the Champagne Papi himself appeared on Snapchat king DJ Khaled's story for a "special cloth alert."
For anyone out there thinking, "Hey, maybe these videos are from his friends' accounts or something," DJ Khaled confirmed the fact that Drake has a personal Snapchat account in a recent radio interview. But again, no username:
Fans have understandably been freaking out trying to solve the mystery, but no one seems to have a clue:
Until Drake is ready to debut his account, we'll probably be left in the dark on these grade-A snaps—unless someone in-the-know is willing to spill. C'mon DJ Khaled.
Comic book movies are everywhere nowadays, but just how much have people been paying attention?
Jimmy Kimmel decided to find out by dispatching a camera crew to ask people on the streets of Los Angeles how many Avengers and how many presidents they knew. Even if we just considered the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are still more presidents they could name.
The results were unsurprising, although some of them ended up naming members of the Justice League instead of Avengers.Most people stop learning about the presidents after their last U.S. history class, whereas they soak in information about Avengers nonstop thanks to the power of the Disney marketing machine. Kimmel, of course, is as guilty as any other part of the PR machine, with his super-packed Marvel week that’s pretty much all Avengers all the time.
For those who may want to learn more about the presidents, there’s a song to get all of them (up to Bill Clinton, anyway) back in your memories.
The actors on Game of Thrones may know the show inside and out, but how well do they know the naked truth?
At the show's season 6 premiere, PopSugar asked several actors to identify the character or actor from a shot of their backside, and it’s a lot harder than it looks. With poor lighting, ambiguity, and difficult character names to remember, many of them struggled to guess the butts of their costars. In the case of one actor, he was unable to identify his own butt, which is at least understandable since he rarely sees it.Whose butt will get to sit on the iron throne? That’s a question for another time—but chances are we might have already seen it.
Lost, J.J. Abrams’ thoughtful symbolism proves he knew exactly how it would end all along—even if millions of fans couldn’t have seen it coming.
The whole thing will give you chills.
Online video startup Unreel Entertainment announced today that it has launched its streaming and distribution platform Unreel.me, designed to help creators and publishers establish their own branded homepages and video networks.
The company also announced the creation of its Creator Appreciation Fund, which will allow early adopters of Unreel.me to keep 100 percent of the first $1 million in revenue generated by paywalls and merchandise sales on the platform. After the creator fund expires, they will get an 85/15 split on revenues from video-on-demand transactions and merchandise sales, paid on a monthly basis.
Similar to Victorious, a platform launched last year by former YouTube exec Bing Chen and TripUp's Sam Rogoway, Unreel.me enables users to aggregate videos from social accounts, upload exclusive content, and monetize their videos through advertising, paywalls, subscriptions, and merchandise sales. It also provides a socially driven destination where fans can comment within scenes, make highlight reels, and create GIFs.
“The idea is to give the ultimate flexibility to content creators and owners, while providing opportunities to maximize revenues directly,” said Dan Goikhman, co-founder and CEO of Unreel.me, in a statement. “Until now, there’s been a surprising lack of platforms solely dedicated to empowering creators and their fans that’s also focused on increasing engagement, revenue, and leverage for the people creating the content which keeps us all entertained.”
Unreel was founded in early 2015 with the goal of uncovering trending moments in video for multi-channel networks, publishers, and content creators. In January, Unreel announced it had raised $1 million in seed funding led by Digital Ignition, a multimedia content and technology fund backed by private equity firm Steel Pier Capital. Poise Ventures and angel investors Adam Yarnold, Gordon Whitener, and Jackson Huynh also contributed to the round. Its clients include Malka Media, car video network GTChannel, SurrealVR, and MMA League World Series of Fighting.
When Louis C.K. announced his new webseries Horace and Pete back in January, it wasn't through a public relations company. He simply sent out a low-key email to subscribers on a Saturday. If you wanted to watch, he was asking a measly $5. For later episodes, the price was lowered to $3. It was a quiet experiment that elbowed out the middle man.
Ten episodes later, C.K. says funding and producing the webseries on his own landed him millions of dollars in debt. C.K told Howard Stern on Monday that producing just one episode cost $500,000, and that he hasn't made money back (though he could recoup that money by going on the road, which is a big part of what he does for a living). He also hasn't gone to backers, and didn't do much in the way of promotion, both part of C.K.'s strategy.
In an email to fans in February, he related that "as a TV watcher I’m always delighted when I can see a thing without knowing anything about it because of the promotion. So making this show and just posting it out of the blue gave me the rare opportunity to give you that experience of discovery."
Indeed, that was part of the show's charm. The series itself is melancholy and obtuse, and part of the draw for fans was figuring Horace and Pete out—and figuring out that it wasn't Louie. In an era of five-minutes-or-less webseries, C.K.'s episodes stretched out over 40 minutes to an hour, and waning attention spans just aren't going to latch on to that sprawl, or, apparently, shell out $31 for 10 episodes.
The New York Times' Jason Zinoman suggests that C.K.'s debt highlights just how far creative freedom can go, even for a big name like C.K. Would Horace and Pete have done better on FX, home to Louie and Baskets? Netflix? Did it need a "soulless network suit" to be successful?
Horace and Pete is an interesting parallel to lower budget webseries, and what it takes to keep fans engaged. The creators of The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy found critical success with their crowdfunded season 1, but for season 3, they had a hard time keeping up momentum, and had to go back to begging for funds. Last fall, PJ Liguori, the creator of Oscar's Hotel, had to address fans who didn't want to pay $10 for a download after supporting his work on YouTube. "If I was to make it free, everything you want from Oscar's Hotel wouldn't exist," he said.
Horace and Pete didn't grow its fanbase on YouTube or Vimeo, where many webseries do. C.K. went in reverse for this experiment, but fans didn't buy in, and there wasn't much buzz past the first few episodes. Horace and Pete was already a challenging watch, and its "Hey, here's this thing"-style promotion didn't help build interest. This stands in contrast to Kanye West's promotion for The Life of Pablo, which mainly happened on Twitter, in real time. He kept up momentum, however frenzied, and the album is now heading to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart without ever having a physical release.
Was the experiment worth it?
"Worth," in this case, is relative. C.K. could be testing the waters to see if the show would fly on TV, and losing money on a show isn't uncommon. But the series hinged on what fans thought the show was worth, and what the lack of revenue revealed is that when it comes to TV in 2016, we want to be a bigger part of it. It's a social act, and the social aspect of Horace and Pete was lacking.
Eventually, C.K. told Stern, he'll sell the series to a studio or streaming platform, but he was excited that this is "a new avenue for making this stuff." When online viewing is in flux and streaming giants like Netflix are rebooting nostalgia to keep people interested, that's worth something.
You wouldn't necessarily expect to find one of the best-known college football coaches in the country at a Migos concert. But Michigan's Jim Harbaugh isn't like most other college football coaches.
He hasn't been afraid of ripping the NCAA for what he deems hypocrisy, he's instituted interesting recruiting methods (like, ahem, sleeping over at a potential Wolverines player's house to convince him to accept a scholarship to Michigan), and he's built the most romantic, platonic love affair with Judge Judy.
And apparently he loves a certain rap group from Atlanta. Which is apparently why he attended the Migos show in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Wednesday. Wearing his best-known outfit—khaki pants, sweatshirt, ballcap—Harbaugh was filmed onstage dabbing and strutting around like he owned the joint.Harbaugh also hung out backstage where he was photographed wearing some impressive jewelry. All of which means that Harbaugh remains perhaps the most interesting coach in the NCAA, and even though he seems to court controversy wherever he goes, one thing remains clear. H/T Complex
A haunted Snapchat account may not sound too creepy, but you haven't seen this girl's inbox.
In 3 Seconds, a self-proclaimed "Snapchat horror short film," one user finds herself wondering if she's dealing with a prankster—or something a little more sinister.
As filmmaker Alex J. Mann told the Daily Dot via email: "I asked myself, 'What's the scariest possible thing that could happen on Snapchat?' A few things came to mind: 1.) Receiving a Snapchat from yourself, or someone impersonating you. 2.) Receiving a Snapchat from a dead person, but I've already covered that in Green Dot. 3.) Receiving a Snapchat of you sleeping. Number 3 felt like the most applicable for a film.""Did i wake u? :)" just might be 2016's "The call is coming from inside the house."
Can people tell what you're saying when you only speak in emoji? Well, it depends on what you’re sending.
The depiction of emoji differ slightly from smartphone to smartphone, and a study recently explored the kind of miscommunication that can occur. Instead of comparing different emoji between devices, Jimmy Kimmel sent out his staff with several emoji and asked the people of Los Angeles what the symbols meant to them.In this case? Most of them are on the same page.
Ohio Gov. John Kasichcampaigned in New York City with his stomach, but the Republican presidential candidate is still defending how he ate one of those meals nearly two weeks after the infamous incident.
Eating pizza with a fork and knife is sacrilege for many New Yorkers, but Kasich told Seth Meyers on Thursday night that he had a pretty good reason for it: The pizza was too hot, and he was too impatient to just wait a few minutes for it to cool down.
“When I was in college I had 15 roommates,” he explained. “You think we waited for the pizza to cool? I mean, there’d be no pizza left.”Kasich no longer lives with 15 roommates—and we’re not sure the pizza was always scorching by the time it arrived—but he might be glad he’s getting heat for his pizza-eating habits instead of his record on LGBTQ and women's rights and other issues that might matter to undecided voters.
After flirting with the idea, AMC Theatres announced on Twitter today that it has changed its stance on texting during movies: It's a no-go—at least for now.
Earlier this week, AMC’s new CEO Adam Aron told Variety that the company was considering introducing “texting-friendly” auditoriums to some of their cinemas:
You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life. At the same time, though, we’re going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn’t disturb today’s audiences.
Some in the media agreed, with Amber Jamieson writing in The Guardian:
Going to the movie theater doesn’t have to be like a visit to a holy temple. Maybe you want to search IMDB to figure out who that actress is.… Maybe you want to Shazam an excellent song from the soundtrack, or you want to give mini reviews on Twitter in real-time.
Others weren't so enthusiastic: An Australian critic described the idea as “worse than the zombie apocalypse,” and numerous Twitter users urged AMC to reconsider. Shortly after the interview was released, AMC reassured its customers via Twitter that it was just an idea:
However, today the company went one step further, tweeting an open letter that said the idea had been “sent to the cutting room floor.”
In a letter to AMC customers, Aron writes:
Unlike the many AMC advancements that you have applauded, we have heard loud and clear that this is a concept our audience does not want. In this age of social media, we get feedback from you almost instantaneously.…with your advice in hand, there will be NO TEXTING ALLOWED in any of the auditoriums at AMC Theatres. Not today, not tomorrow and not in the foreseeable future.
Twitter's response fell mostly along these lines:AMC has yet to address burning question, though:
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is struggling to leave the bunker. In its second season, Netflix’s girl-escape-cult-moves-to-big-city comedy remains one of TV’s most spirited screwball creations, so densely packed with off-kilter jokes that viewers often only have to wait seconds between laugh-out-loud punchlines. The show’s sophomore effort is both immensely charming and incredibly frustrating, often marred by its own worst tendencies. Recent episodes appear to be exploring how each of us is trapped in a shelter of our own creation: whether it’s the struggle to come out or reclaiming your identity after leaving a bad marriage. But Kimmy Schmidt has yet to learn its own lessons.
This season opens after our plucky heroine, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), ends things with Dong (Ki-Hong Lee), the Vietnamese student in a green-card marriage with a much older classmate (Suzan Perry). To give herself a sense of purpose, Kimmy wins a job in a year-round Christmas store after begging a male elf she mistakes for a woman to help “get her life back on track.” “I’m like a lollipop with a question mark on its wrapper,” she says. “I don’t know what’s going on inside.”
Those existential dilemmas seem to frame the season itself. Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) also finds herself at a crossroads of identity: Now divorced from her husband, she moves back home to be with her Lakota family, who quickly grow tired of her presence. Jacqueline is clueless about her Native American heritage, mistaking the phrase “white idiot” for a sacred call. She repeatedly sets their grain on fire. (“Two silo explosions, how?” her father asks. “If I knew, it wouldn’t have happened twice?”) Her family urges her to go back to New York to her real tribe, but Jacqueline finds it hard to reacclimate to high society after how little she got in the divorce (just $12 million!). She laments her lowly status as a “dozennaire.”
Tituss Burgess—playing Kimmy’s queer force-of-nature of a roommate, Titus Andromedon—remains a walking Emmy reel.
Kimmy Schmidt continues to succeed for many of the same reasons it became such a massive cult hit to begin with: The cast does truly extraordinary work. Tituss Burgess—playing Kimmy’s queer force-of-nature of a roommate, Titus Andromedon (aka “Flidian Garro”)—remains a walking Emmy reel. He effortlessly owns material that in lesser hands might be cringeworthy. In one scene, Titus performs a number from his “Helen Keller–inspired but unauthorized musical,” titled Feels Like Love.
A particularly welcome presence is Carol Kane, who is given greater screentime as Kimmy’s landlord, Lillian Kaushtupper. With giant, frazzled hair she compares to “big beautiful spaghetti” and a voice like a rusted porch swing, Lillian vaguely resembles a Manson groupie who never received an invite to the party. This season, Lillian rails against gentrification in her neighborhood by spraying graffiti on a new development and strikes up a romance with a childhood friend, Robert Durst. Lillian waxes nostalgic about growing up together on Roosevelt Island, commenting that “Bobby” was her “first crush.” She recalls, “Literally, he tried to crush me.”
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s trademark non-sequitur humor, a staple of Tina Fey-produced comedies from 30 Rock to Mean Girls, is paired with a surprising amount of visual invention for a TV sitcom. (Comedy isn’t known as a cinematographer's genre.) The show routinely contrasts the cotton-candy palette of Kimmy’s buoyant universe with the urban reality of New York. That’s beautifully underscored in a scene where Lillian and Titus duet on a discarded piano with “bedbugs!” written on the side.
But while UnbreakableKimmy Schmidt dazzles on a pure moment-by-moment basis, its sophomore outing often lacks direction. Its first season provided Kimmy with a compelling antagonist that gave the show a clear focus and drive: Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm), the cult leader Kimmy fled to New York to escape. Lacking his heir apparent, the show has a tendency to narratively wander—doubling down on many of its worst ideas in the interim. In addition to the still-awkward Native American storyline, Kimmy Schmidt throws in a subplot involving Murasani, a geisha Titus believes himself to be in his past life. He decides to stage her life as a one-man show, Kimono You Don’t.
This plotline totally derails the season’s third episode, “Kimmy Goes to a Play!,” which serves as a callout of the show’s critics so thinly veiled it may as well be made out of cling wrap: Titus makes the mistake of Googling his upcoming play, only to find out that Asian-American groups are trashing it online as “offensive.” Kimmy Schmidt, however, dismisses them as nothing but overly sensitive and uninformed. When Titus attempts to assuage their concerns by telling a group of protesters that it’s “about a past life I actually lived,” they shut him down: “I don’t want to hear the end of anything anyone has to say!”
You might wince, but you can’t say you didn’t also laugh really, really hard.
The exchange is intended to be vindication for Fey and her co-producer, Robert Carlock: In 2015, Kimmy Schmidt was widely criticized online for casting Jane Krakowski as a woman of Lakota descent. (This practice is often referred to as “whitewashing.”) It’s clear that the producers have learned little about cultural appropriation in the past year, and their response comes off as defensive and tone-deaf as Fey and Carlock accuse their detractors of being. Of course, Titus’ show must go on, if only to prove him right: At the end of the episode, the Asian protesters actually apologize.
Here’s the thing about political correctness in comedy: If you’re going toe the line of being problematic, your material has to be on point. There’s a line in the second episode that nearly killed me. While scheming about how to make her ex-husband jealous, Jacqueline exclaims, “Time to get more D’s than a kid with undiagnosed dyslexia!” You might wince, but you can’t say you didn’t also laugh really, really hard.
What’s so galling is that, when Kimmy Schmidt isn’t penning its own apologia, the show actually offers some penetrating insights on the subject of race. When Kimmy registers for the GED, she explains to the receptionist, a black woman, that Kimmy and Dong were like the “Roz and Frasier” of their class, a clear nod to the ’90s sitcom. “I get it,” the receptionist responds. “I kind of have a Kyle and Maxine thing with my boss.” Kimmy doesn’t get the reference. The woman groans, “Oh, you don’t know Living Single, but I’m supposed to know everything about Frasier?” It’s such a hilarious critique of white privilege and cultural assumptions that it’s a shame that Fey and Carlock couldn’t apply it to their own writing more often.
If you liked the first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (I did), the second is more of the same. It’s good; it just could be better. It’s up to you, however, to decide if that’s a sucker you’re interested in unwrapping.
Unless you are a mole person, you know that the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was released last night. To celebrate the new season, Netflix has given us two great ways to Kimmy-fy our sad lives and make them more hashbrown awesome.
1) Kimmy-fy your Netflix queue:
This only works if you are viewing Netflix from your computer, but it is so worth it. Login to Netflix, go to the Kimmy Schmidt page, and hit the “Kimmy-fy” button. Your drab screen will be transformed into the happiest spot on the Internet that will make your kissing hole smile. To un-Kimmy-fy yourself, just hit the button again.
2) Kimmy-fy your Web browsing
Netflix created a Google Chrome extension that will take any naughty words and turn them into positive messages! The extension is available for several languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Dutch.
Say you are on a page that has some foul language on it. The extension will highlight the word (in pink!) and turn into something totally unbe-fudging-lievable!
Grab your laptop, sip some
peeno pinot noir and and find out what wild adventures the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will get into this season!