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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Candace Payne, aka Chewbacca Mom, is living her best life. Last week, she posted a video of her unboxing a Chewbacca mask that she bought for herself at Kohl's. Her joy was so contagious that you could not open Facebook without seeing it all over your feed. 

    A day later, Kohl's reached out to Candace, paid her a visit, and made sure her whole family was outfitted with Chewie masks, and this week, Candace has woken up the world on Good Morning America and helped James Corden get to work on time. 

    After racking up 141 million views on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg invited Payne to Facebook headquarters on Tuesday, and he had a pretty big surprise for her. 

    Based on her reactions just trying on the mask, meeting Chewbacca IRL must have blown Candace's mind. (Zuck, for what it's worth, missed a really great Facebook Live opportunity.)

    Candace, thank you for bringing pure joy into our lives. Please never change, and feel free to fill up our feeds whenever you want. 


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    Amazon Prime customers will be happy to see the streaming service adding several noteworthy films to the Prime catalog in June, including both versions of Apocalypse Now; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Roger Avary’s The Rules of Attraction; and even the cinematic masterpiece that is Iron Eagle IVOn the Attack. The most exciting addition on the film front, however, is last year’s Academy Award-nominated biopic Trumbo, starring Bryan Cranston as infamous blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Cranston vanishes into the role amid a strong supporting cast that includes Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis C.K., John Goodman, and more.

    Any fan of amazing television should be thrilled to see that Amazon Prime is also adding the first season of the critically acclaimed USA series Mr. Robot. The show was a breakout hit last summer, and it stars Rami Malek as a troubled, paranoid cybersecurity engineer who gets recruited into a group of underground “hacktivists” led by anarchist leader Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). The show currently boasts a damned impressive 96 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and TV Guide all dubbed Mr. Robot their top show of 2015. Mr. Robot returns for a second season on July 13. Time to binge.

    June 1

    Apocalypse Now

    Apocalypse Now Redux

    The Black Stallion

    Carrie (1976)

    Criminal Law (1988)

    Death Wish 2

    Double Whammy

    Foolish

    The Golden Child (1986)

    The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

    Ground Control

    Hammett

    Heartburn

    In & Out

    Iron Eagle IV - On the Attack

    The Million Dollar Hotel

    Mulholland Falls

    One From the Heart

    The Presidio

    The Rage - Carrie 2

    Runaway Bride (1999)

    Six Degrees of Separation (1993)

    Sleepover (2004)

    Switchback (1997)

    Syriana

    Trading Mom

    Ulee's Gold

    W.

    Wayne's World

    June 2

    Poltergeist III

    The Program (2016)

    June 3

    Rules of Attraction

    June 4

    Love & Mercy

    June 6

    The Cokeville Miracle

    Downton Abbey: Season 6

    Lamb

    Lego Ninjago: Season 1

    June 8

    12 Rounds 3 Lockdown

    Remember

    June 13

    Mr Robot: Season 1

    June 14

    The Adderall Diaries

    June 15

    No Stone Unturned: The Loughinsland Story

    June 16

    Trumbo (2015)

    June 17

    Braindead: Season 1

    June 20

    The Good Wife: Season 7

    Southbound

    Pup 2

    June 22

    Stand Up Guys

    June 25

    Open Grave

    June 26

    American Gothic: Season 1

    June 29

    6 Souls


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    Maker Studios will make its first foray in feature films with Internet Famous, a mockumentary look at the lives of the Web's biggest stars.

    The film follows five fictional digital celebs who are traveling across the country to participate in a talent competition, revealing along the way that they don't actually have any.

    YouTuber Shane Dawson stars in the film, alongside Steve GreeneWendy McColm,  Richard RyanChristian DelGrosso, and Amanda Cerny. Dawson has taken a stab at movie fame before, directing and starring in Not Cool as part of The Chair on Starz. Now he plays a character closer to home, alongside other Web celebs poking fun at their own trends, from a father who makes his money scaring his child to a one-hit wonder trying to translate viral fame into her meal ticket. 

    There's even a reference to a "web con" that looks suspiciously like VidCon, the annual Internet star conference that will kick off just a few days after Internet Famous premieres via iTunes on June 21.


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    If you were holding out hope for an Oasis reunion anytime soon, it might be time to throw in the towel. 

    The notoriously free-speaking band, which broke up in 2009, recently made headlines when frontman Noel Gallaghertold the Daily Star that he'd consider a reunion if the price was right. 

    “For twenty million quid, one gig—that is good money, isn’t it?” he said. “But I have never had that offer from anyone yet.” 

    Later in the interview, he admitted that a reunion would be unlikely, since his brother and former bandmate Liam Gallagher is “a very angry man still.” But he remained optimistic.

    “There might come a day one day where it might seem like a good idea," he said.

    Judging by what he tweeted Tuesday morning, it's safe to say that Liam has seen the interview—and he's not pleased.

    During a three-hour  Twitter tirade, Liam referred to his brother as both a "potato" and a "prick" and mocked fans who had gotten excited after reading Noel's comments:






    And in one final flourish, he made perhaps his most telling statement of all.

    H/T Pitchfork


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    The Daily Dot is celebrating Woman Crush Wednesday, better known as #WCW on Twitter and Instagram, by highlighting female creators on YouTube whose work we admire.

    There was never a time when Jen Campbell wasn’t completely head-over-heels in love with books. Born with a genetic disorder called EEC syndrome (Ectrodactyly Ectodermal Dysplasia Cleft Lip/Palate), Campbell spent a large majority of her childhood in the hospital as doctors worked to rebuild her hands, feet, tear ducts, and jaw. 

    During her recoveries, her parents would read to her in order to pass the time and soon, Campbell became passionate about not only consuming the written word but producing it.

    She published her first poem at age 11—an experience she remembers in this video with a mix of excitement and regret as her English teacher at the time insisted she wear gloves to cover her hands in her newspaper picture. Following graduation, Campbell moved to London to pursue book selling and writing, and in 2012 published the first book in her series Weird Things People Say in Bookstores. The sequel has since been a finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards and left fans with sentiments such as:

    Now, with numerous published books, a podcast, and upcoming works of poetry and short stories on the way, Campbell has continued to establish herself as the matriarch of everything literature when she opened her BookTube channel in 2014. In the same way she uses YouTube to make literature enticing and accessible to viewers, she uses her online writing courses to inspire writers around the world. The BookTube community—though still small—is a mighty collaboration of creators and fans in book reviews, tags, recommendations, and larger conversations about representation of diversity. But among the many voices, Campbell stands out for the way she talks about books. Her videos are not only from the point of view of a reader, but a bookseller, writer, and teacher.

     Campbell recently made a video slamming a production company that approached her to appear on a dating show that mocks people with disabilities and deformities. On a macro level, her channel is much more than just book talks but a proper representation of what life is like for someone with a disability or deformity. By sharing her interests and passions, Campbell is showing just how normal her life is and giving individuals a touchstone to relate and interact with a community that may not have previously impacted their lives. 

    Campbell has not only affected the girth of my bookshelf, but inspired me to examine and demand a better range of diversity in the media I’m consuming. By proudly being herself, Campbell is making and shifting conversations, and what could be more in the spirit of YouTube than that?


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    Warning: This article contains Game of Thrones spoilers.

    Game of Thrones co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are really sorry about Sunday’s episode—but definitely not for reason you think.

    Death is nothing new on the show, which has seen at least one character meet the darkness in every episode this season. But Hodor’s ultimate sacrifice and the reveal of what "Hodor" means—which occurred in the same sequence as Summer, the Three-Eyed Raven, and the Children of the Forest’s deaths—is by far the most profound series of deaths for fans in quite some time, and the reaction to it has been comparable to Ned Stark’s beheading and the Red Wedding.

    Benioff and Weiss didn’t appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live to apologize for killing fan-favorite Hodor at the end of “The Door” because, well, they’ve killed loads of main characters—hundreds, by their estimate—and they’ve received a lot of money and prestigious awards for it. They just sort of forgot that the Internet would meme the hell out of it, and now nobody can get onto an elevator or walk into a building without somebody getting emotional at hearing “Hold the door.”

    “So, so sorry,” Weiss said before they offered an impractical but effective solution to the problem. “People are the worst.”

    Yep.


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    With speculative news of a Jay Z response album to superstar wife Beyoncé’s cinematic Lemonade, the Brooklyn rapper/living legend/music mogul has risen.

    Like Godzilla out of the stormy sea, Jay Z returned Tuesday night with an electric new verse on Fat Joe and Remy Ma’s “All The Way Up” remix. Unfortunately, the track’s a Tidal exclusive—well, until it’s not.

    Debuting during last night's New York Yankees game, Hov performs a brawny verse—his first since last month's scrapped cameo on Drake's "Pop Style"—covering tremendous ground with references about Lemonade,  and a nod to Gang Starr's 1992 song "DWYCK":

    You know you made it when the fact/
    Your marriage made it is worth millions/
    Lemonade is a popular drink and it still is/

    There’s a respectfully loaded mention of Prince, and protection of his master recordings—providing implicit understanding of the importance of owning your masters as a musician, as well a slick nod to Jay Z's own infamous elevator situation:

    Prince left his masters where they safe and sound/
    We never gonna let the elevator take him down

    And of course Jay's signature topic, ascendant wealth:

    I'm the only one in the room that they fear right now/
    I think they're clear right now/
    Let's celebrate, no red champagne, we don't play that/
    All we see is gold bottles and paper plane hats/
    Twenty-one Grammys that I use for D'usse cups/
    I'm on the penthouse floor, call your way up/
    The OG's say, "Hov, how high is high enough?"/
    I said "till we eye and eye with the higher ups"

    Though hazy on specifics, it’s safe to assume Hov’s getting locked and loaded for the summer, gearing up for significant output. Rapper Future has already said that Hov’s got a heater 16 ready on marketing genius DJ Khaled’s probable lead single to imminent record, Major Key.

    Whatever Jay does this summer, let's hope it isn't beholden to a bum Samsung app.


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    Erika Lust is experimenting with what a "teaser" can be on YouTube

    The feminist porn director uploaded the five-minute short Do You Find My Feet Suckable? to YouTube on May 13. More than 144,000 views later, it remains, ostensibly because it hasn't violated the platform's rules on nudity and sexual content

    Lust's clip, which is part of her crowdsourced XConfessions series, might be considered by some to be a foot fetish video, but it falls more in line with a trailer for a new indie film or webseries than something you'd find on Pornhub. In the past, YouTube has allowed channels showing live animals being crushed, and often, sexually explicit content is allowed if its labeled "documentary" or educational, so the line between "not safe for work" (NSFW) and SFW is blurry. 

    YouTube's guidelines go on to explain that a "video that contains nudity or other sexual content may be allowed if the primary purpose is educational, documentary, scientific or artistic, and it isn't gratuitously graphic." There is toe-sucking and the removal of a woman's underwear in Lust's short, but the focus is on the sensual dynamic between man and woman; on the eye contact and body language.  

    Lust is part of a growing movement toward sex-positive and ethical porn, which eschews smut mills like Pornhub or YouPorn and gives more power to filmmakers and performers. The YouTube experiment is an interesting one: It's opening her work up to newer, younger audiences.  

    "Everything is audiovisual now, and YouTube is one of the biggest audiovisual platforms for the upcoming generations," Lust said in an email to the Daily Dot. "So for me, it's a way of reaching that new audience so they can experience my films, be inspired, and see that there are more options out there than just the mainstream. It's our responsibility that they have that choice and aren't warped by bad, chauvinistic, and badly made adult content." 

    She added that it's not about "showing SFW porn" or getting past censors, since her channel is listed as age-restricted. 

    "[I]t's about illustrating fantasies, sexualities, and erotica in a non-explicit way," she said. "The short films I am releasing are special edits that contain all the narrative, context, and eroticism with strong characters and great cinematography, but all without the explicit sex. It's a way to show how the films can still be erotic in a more suggestive and teasing way, and can show sex-positive attitudes where consent and relatability are paramount." 


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    So far in 2016, Shia LaBeouf has already spent 24 hours in an elevator, asked you to "touch [his] soul," and livestreamed himself watching every single one of his movies, so it may not come as a surprise that he has a new piece of performance art in the works. But this one's more personal than the others. 

    For the next month, the actor and collaborators Nastja Rönkkö and Luke Turner are hitchhiking around the state of Colorado using the hashtag #TakeMeAnywhere. When they need a lift, they'll tweet out their GPS coordinates and then snag a ride from the first person who comes along to pick them up. 

    Unlike LaBeouf's other projects, which used digital media to let you watch him from a safe distance, this new piece puts the star right in your passenger seat. And fans play a bigger role in shaping the art than they did before: LaBeouf and his buddies have no set destination; they're simply going wherever their drivers decide to take them. 

    “What’s trippy is, it’s the most expansive and most intimate thing we’ve done,” LaBeouf told Vice

    They're only two days into their journey, but fans are already making videos of their experiences on the road.

    You can track the guys at takemeanywhere.vice.com. The project doesn't end until June 23, so there's plenty of time to try and find LaBeouf.

    H/T Jezebel


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    Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book just set a Billboard record for being the first streaming-only album to hit the top 10, and now it's also a real life coloring book

    Artists the Interns put together the 13-page illustrated book themed off lyrics from the mixtape. In addition to Chance, you also have the opportunity to color in Future, Steve Jobs, and the Ikea instruction manual man. 


    The book is free to download, so if you still have a printer in your life, it's finally about to pay off. 

    H/T the Fader


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    Emotional coming-out videos regularly go viral on YouTube, but 25-year-old YouTuber Riyadh Khalaf's video struck an additional nerve because of what his father confessed as they looked back on the moment.

    Videos that feature parents often garner massive eyeballs, like the viral video of the Rhodes twins calling their father. Khalaf's video is not a traditional one; he's already out to his parents. But he invited them on his show to discuss his past disclosure and how they both came around to supporting him.

    Khalaf has appeared with his parents in more lighthearted fare before, but this video reveals his different experiences with his Irish-Catholic mother and his Iraqi father. Lorraine, his mother, found out inadvertently, and Khalaf told his father later. His first recounting was emotional but supportive, but then Sam, his father, revealed that he had had a darker reaction at the time.

    "We all went to sleep," he says, "but at about three or four in the morning I got up and went to sit on the deck, and I was looking for [pills] for suicide."

    Sam then breaks down in tears after his confession, and the rest of his family reacts in shock. But his father then adds that his initial reaction seems "so stupid" now and reiterates that he supports his son.

    "I hope this video gives you some belief that things can work out in the end even when the situation looks completely hopeless," Khalaf wrote on YouTube. "If we can come out the other side I think most of us can."

    For more information about suicide prevention or to speak with someone confidentially, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) or Samaritans (U.K.). 


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    Minutes before rapper T.I. was set to play a concert at New York's Irving Plaza, gunshots were fired, leading to mass hysteria as concertgoers rushed from the club.

    A New York police department spokesperson tweeted that four people had been shot. XXL Magazine reported that police had evacuated the building, and according to Pix11, about 1,000 fans were in attendance at the show.

    Within minutes of the reported shooting, pictures and videos began to filter onto Twitter showing the aftermath.

    Seven months after dozens of people were shot and killed at an Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris, this was the scene late Wednesday night in New York.

    Police told BuzzFeed that the three reported shooting victims had been taken to local hospitals. 


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    Netflix may soon need to invest in more French films and Spanish telenovelas instead of just offering Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt if it wants to stay in Europe. 

    The European Commission released a draft proposal Wednesday that would require on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to offer at least 20 percent local content and invest in European productions. The local content requirement isn't likely to faze the streaming services. A European Commission study found that European titles account for 21 percent of the content on Netflix and 27 percent of the content on other streaming services.

    But what may pose a challenge for Netflix and other streaming services is that under the draft proposal any EU member state can ask streaming services to invest in local productions. 

    "We appreciate the Commission's objective to have European production flourish, however the proposed measures won't actually achieve that," said Netflix in a statement released Wednesday. 

    "Netflix can at the moment cherry pick the best of international television."

    Netflix noted in the statement that it has committed "hundreds of millions of euros" to investing in European productions. The company has several partnerships with European broadcasters such as the BBC and made several acquisitions at the Cannes Film Festival. Netflix series are in the works in Spain, Italy, and Germany, and the company said it was actively looking for other projects. 

    Marseille, the Netflix-only French television show starring Gérard Depardieu debuted on the streaming service earlier this month and is the first Netflix original created in Europe. The political thriller has been met with critical acclaim and is drawing comparisons to House of Cards. The Crown, which tells the story of a young Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, will be released in November. 

    But according to legislators, the online video services aren't contributing nearly as much to fostering European culture as they could be.

    "The way we watch TV or videos may have changed, but our values don't. With these new rules, we will uphold media pluralism, the independence of audiovisual regulators and will make sure incitement to hatred will have no room on video-sharing platforms. We also want to ensure a level-playing field, responsible behaviour, trust and fairness in the online platforms environment... today's Communication sets out our vision for that," said Günther H. Oettinger, commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society in a statement. 

    According to the European Commission, streaming services invest less than 1 percent of their revenues to local content, compared to 20 percent offered up by European TV broadcasters. Local content would also need to be featured more heavily on the viewer's screens. 

    Dan Cryan, senior director of broadband media at London-based IHS Technology, said that the goal of the draft rule is to level the playing field between the streaming services and TV broadcasters by requiring the former to produce more original European content, not just any European content. 

    "Netflix can at the moment cherry pick the best of international television," Cryan told the Daily Dot. He said this puts European TV broadcasters at a major disadvantage: Netflix in Europe, as is the case domestically, often beats local television to the punch when offering premium television. The first run of Better Call Saul in the United Kingdom, for example, is available on Netflix but not on local television. 

    "The television business, broadly understood, remains a highly local business and subject to local regulation in a lot of countries," said Cryan. For example, European TV broadcasters are required to dedicate half of their viewing time to local works in addition to spending 20 percent of their revenue on original content. 

    "Audiences tend to like local content. Netflix—when it launches in a major market—makes a point of acquiring rights to key local assets. But this is less true inevitably in markets which are less of a strategic priority," said Cryan. 

    In the case of "less strategic" markets, Netflix offers an "international" catalog that consists mainly of titles from the U.S. and U.K. In short, content that plays well with a global audience. When Netflix launched in 130 countries earlier this year, it shifted from tailoring its offerings to local viewers to satisfying its newly global audience with a crowd-pleasing, Hollywood-centric catalog. 

    "If you're going to launch everywhere, there's not much data you need," Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt told Bloomberg back in January. 

    Cryan cautioned that there was still plenty of "ambiguity" left in the draft rule. It's unclear how Amazon would change under the rule; the company offers streaming video for rent and purchase, in addition to a separate, smaller catalog of streaming video offerings under Amazon Prime. It's also unknown whether local content requirements will apply to all of Europe, or on a per-country basis. For example, will we soon be seeing Netflix Original series produced in Latvia?  

    Cryan said that if Netflix can achieve the 20 percent revenue requirement from one or two countries, that would be a very different scenario than if it was required to commit 20 percent of revenue to each EU member country.

    "British television scales very well on an international level, and Scandinavian horror, or Nordic noir, is a genre on its own. But can we say the same for Latvia?" said Cryan. 


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    A digital privacy group is protesting Netflix's geolocation-based streaming restrictions with a message the company can't ignore.

    OpenMedia signaled its displeasure by setting up a mobile billboard across from the company's headquarters in Los Gatos, California, on Wednesday. The billboard, which followed the group's petition protesting Netflix's ban against VPNs, carried the message “Defend our Privacy."

    “Right now, Netflix customers are being forced to choose between watching their favorite shows and safeguarding their privacy,” Laura Tribe, OpenMedia's digital rights specialist, said in a statement. “Our mobile billboard is one more way we’re working to encourage Netflix to rethink their approach. The company has much better options available to it, than undermining the privacy of over 80 million paying Netflix customers in the post-Snowden world.”

    OpenMedia's petition has amassed more than 47,000 signatures. 

    Netflix's international viewers often use a VPN to bypass the company's regional content restrictions. The practice is so prevalent that Netflix cracked down on VPNs earlier this year. But that ban has sparked protests among Netflix users and many digital-rights groups, all of whom argue that, by banning VPNs, Netflix is making things unnecessarily difficult for users who value their privacy. 

    But further obstacles lie ahead for VPN proponents. The European Commission issued a draft proposal on Wednesday that would ban geo-blocking in online sales but let streaming services keep doing it, at least for now. 

    “The proposed ‘anti-geo-blocking’ regulation doesn't do what it says on the tin,” Julia Reda, a member of the European Parliament’s Green Group, told Bloomberg.  “When most Europeans hear the term ‘geo-blocking,’ they think of the all-too-common error message that 'this video is not available in your country' — and yet the measures presented today will not do anything to address this. An anti-geo-blocking regulation that does not cover online video content misses the point.”

    OpenMedia's David Christoper said the partial ban was “all the more disappointing” given the fact that EU Commission had weighed eliminating geo-blocking entirely only a few months ago. 

    “It's clear that, at best, this was sadly only a very modest step forward when it comes to geoblocking,” Christopher said in an email, “and it's particularly disappointing to see online video services exempted from the new rules.”


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    Jimmy Kimmel’s big interview with Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, didn’t break any major ground—though Wednesday night’s musical guests, the Weeknd and rapper Belly, canceled their performance over it.

    The biggest news was that Trump said he’d be willing to debate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders before the June 7 primaries, which would bring another bout of entertainment but might also introduce some of Sanders’s supporters to Trump—a worry for Democrats if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination.

    Sanders quickly tweeted that he was game, although Trump's team subsequently told reporters that the businessman had been joking.

    To Kimmel’s credit, he did try to push back and discuss actual policy. Trump refused to say whether he supports letting transgender people use the bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. While he once said that the transgender community should “use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate," he now believes that it should be left up to the states.

    Kimmel tried to get him to respond to another actual policy question before becoming a bit exasperated at Trump's rhetorical gymnastics.

    Trump was much more interested in discussing his process for creating insulting nicknames that stick.

    Kimmel also sent the Lie Witness News crew out to make up a bunch of things about Trump and tell them to Trump supporters, which isn’t so hard considering the kind of “not the Onion” headlines this election has already generated.

    Update 9:19am CT, May 26: Added clarification about Trump's debate comment.


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    CollegeHumor’s entry into YouTube Red takes the dark anthology trope and realizes it for the Internet age. From a dystopian future where everyone is sorted according to a Friends personality quiz, to a Hunger Games-style YouTube competition, these are the plotlines from Bad Internet

    “We’ve always had a soft spot for dark anthology series like Are You Afraid of the Dark? or a more recent great example is Black Mirror,” CollegeHumor’s Head of Video Sam Reich told the Daily Dot. He said his writer’s room started pitching these ideas right when CollegeHumor and YouTube began talks of a partnership.

    “It was a natural extension of CollegeHumor’s voice,” Reich said. “This was always our favorite idea, and by far the most ambitious.”

    In the first episode, the aforementioned Friends society that's sorted via BuzzFeed quiz gets rocked by a young woman who inadvertently breaks the program and discovers a dark secret. It's free to watch now; the rest will live behind the paywall as part of YouTube Red. 

    The series’ 10 sketches skewer modern conveniences with dark science-fiction.

    “This doesn’t feel like 100 years in the future, it feels like five or 10 years in the future,” Reich said. “We’re also tackling specific brands. The nature of this kind of thing is so long as you’re making social commentary, you’re safe. For the most part this is real social commentary we’re making about the role of these companies in the future of our society.”

    One forthcoming example is an episode that asks a couple enjoying Hulu to watch ads for an entire year, and then never again in their lives, sending them into a virtual reality ad experience with no escape.

    “That seems like our life sometimes,” said Reich.

    CollegeHumor brought in YouTube celebrities like iJustine and Rosanna Pansino for the YouTube-themed episode, but otherwise has worked mostly with people who are part of the extended CollegeHumor network of comics for casting.

    “It really was [an] all-hands-on-deck kind of a project,” said Reich. “We wanted it to feel like CollegeHumor through and through.”

    One notable exception is veteran actress Jean Smart, who plays the president in a future episode.

    “We reached out to her on a whim to do this, and she was totally game,” he said. “I think maybe you just don’t turn down the opportunity to play the president. She even did her own stunts.”

    Perhaps most impressive, CollegeHumor flexes storytelling muscles outside its bread-and-butter zone of slacker sketch comedy.

    “These were longer, and we weren’t just telling jokes, we were telling story,” said Reich. “Story requires not just that you be funny, but that you’re building tension. None of these rules of storytelling are things we need to consider in our usual sketch comedy diet. I think we really liked stretching those muscles, too.”


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    For reality TV, what’s behind the camera is often as compelling as what’s in front. To wit: YouTube Red’s newest series, Sing It!, takes a fictional look at the messy world of a musical competition desperate for a comeback.

    It's an increasingly familiar setup. Last year Lifetime’s UnReal mined the genre of dating shows to the tune of a Peabody Award. 

    Sing It! approaches vocal competition shows in a landscape where American Idol, the grandfather of the genre, just signed off the air for good. The 10-part series was created by the Fine Brothers, who’ve mastered the art of reactionary content with their lauded React brand. Now they’re jumping into a longform comedic setting in partnership with YouTube Red.

    “It was mostly shot at the YouTube Space,” says actor Sam Tsui who stars as talented Icelandic singer Magnus. “It was awesome to be on the big stage and see it totally transformed into this very convincing set. The fact that it’s a show-within-a-show narrative device means that it being on a soundstage lends it some credibility in shooting. It felt very unique.”

    Tsui doesn’t have his own experience with being in front of the camera on a reality competition show, but he has had opportunity to work behind the scenes thanks to his YouTube stardom, working for The Sing Off! on the same season that fellow YouTubers Pentatonix rose to prominence.

    “Even though I consider myself lucky that I never had to go through the process of being in one of those shows, I have had the ability to see the process,” he says. “[Sing It! is] obviously a heightened version of the crazy antics and drama, but there’s definitely truth to the fact that even though when you’re watching all you see is the performers, there’s so much going on with producers and rights to songs.”

    The show will follow some reality elements, with each episode saying goodbye to a character and the two finalists getting a real vote by the fans to determine the season 1 winner. While some performers on the show play characters with dubious levels of talent, Tsui says he’s lucky to play a role that reads like the person his 2.4 million YouTube fans have grown to love.

    “Every character has a different quirk and gimmick, luckily my character gets to be a good singer,” he says. “I don’t want to spoil anything, but each character has unique challenges. Mine are not in the singing department.”

    In addition to digital singing talent like Todrick Hall, who plays guest judge and one-hit wonder M!lo, the show also features a robust cast of behind-the-scenes characters. 

    The first episode kicks off with the longtime producer getting fired and subsequently urinating on camera lenses in protest. Mircea Monroe plays expectant replacement Stacey, who’s blindsided by the hiring of idealistic executive Drew, played by Mark Sullivan. There are self-centered judges played by Debby Ryan and Alex Desert, a sexually ambiguous and hoverboard-riding host played by Preston Jones, and a spirited stage manager played by Laura Harrison.

    The first four episodes of Sing It! are available immediately to YouTube Red subscribers, with additional episodes premiering in June.


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    On Wednesday night, Los Angeles police had to talk a YouTuber down from the Hollywood sign. 

    Prank star Vitaly Zdorovetskiy was arrested after he climbed the sign (twice) and waved a flag that said "I'm back." On Tuesday, Zdorovetskiy tweeted out that he'd be filming a "huge stunt" on Wednesday. It definitely caught the attention of KTLA's sky team, who captured him atop the D in the sign. 

    There were also drones in the area filming the stunt, which did not make helicopter pilots happy. 

    His movie, Natural Born Pranksters, was released earlier this year on demand, so it's not a stunt for that, but it is likely a stunt for another prank-related movie or endeavor. In 2014, Zdorovetskiy ran onto the field during the World Cup final; he was arrested and fined. He was arrested in 2012 for a fake bomb threat related to one of his videos.  

    Zdorovetskiy will likely be fined and could possibly spend up to six months in county jail. He was released on bail Wednesday night and told ABC 7 he did it "because adrenaline, man. You only live once and you have to explore things. I got high on life." 

    H/T Variety 


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    A survivor of the Paris attacks who attended the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan when the attackers opened fire is condemning singer Jesse Hughes for his anti-Muslim comments.

    In an interview with Taki’s magazine, Hughes claimed he saw Muslims celebrating in the streets during the attacks with his own eyes and insinuated that staff members at the Bataclan were involved; it’s not the first time he’s alleged that Bataclan employees had something to do with it, either. Since then, two different festivals have removed Eagles of Death Metal from their lineups in response to the comments.

    After reading Hughes’s interview, Ismael El Iraki, who was in attendance at Eagles of Death Metal’s Bataclan concert Nov. 13 when the attacks occurred, wrote an open letter in response to Hughes’s comments on Facebook. He’s a lifelong music fan as well as a fan of Eagles of Death Metal—that was only the first of eight shows he planned to see that week—but Hughes “reopened a nasty wound” for him.

    “I love your music, your concerts mostly (such fun, wild shows) and man, I never thought that you would become one of those spreaders of fear,” he wrote. “Fox News, Trump, all those guys. You always felt like a maverick, a rebel: we now know that you are not. We (and by that I mean the rebels, the mavericks, the rock crowd) always loved and defended you because you were a lovable fool and kind of a dumb fuck, like the Three Stooges or Tex Avery's wolf. You now proved your stupidity to be fucking dangerous.”

    El Iraki shut down the idea that the security guards at the Bataclan had anything to do with the shooting, highlighted the other Muslims who died at the Bataclan that night, and told him about Didi, a Muslim who opened the doors to let hundreds out of the concert hall and then went back into the Bataclan to help more people escape. To end it, he asked Hughes to try and spread the rock ‘n’ roll love that transcends race and religion.

    “I hope you can realize how wrong that shit you spread is, hope you can see all the wrong that you are doing,” El Iraki wrote. “‘There's still time to change the road you're on’, brother. Zeppelin's words. Just come back to the real spirit of rock 'n' roll, which is that a good rock show should make you wanna fuck or fight. Not rally a nasty conservative politician.”


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    BY GEOFF WEISS

    Hila and Ethan Klein, the couple behind the popular YouTube channel h3h3productions, which frequently posts comedic reaction videos about other YouTube stars, announced today that they are being sued for copyright infringement. It could amount to yet another high-profile lawsuit spotlighting the intensely fraught issue of fair use on YouTube.

    In a video posted yesterday, the Kleins explain that they are being sued by the YouTuber Matt Hosseinzadeh—who makes short comedy films on his MattHossZone channel—for a reaction video that the Kleins posted on their second channel, Ethan and Hila, making fun him.

    “It’s been hanging over our lives like a cloud these past months,” said Ethan of the suit, alleging that it actually has nothing to do with copyright infringement at all. “The heart and soul of this is that he doesn’t like that we made fun of him, and so he’s suing us.” 

    The Kleins said that the lawsuit is going to court, could take up to two years to litigate, and that it will cost them up to $100,000 to defend themselves.

    “You just don’t know what a jury will say,” added Hila. “I don’t know how old they are, what have they seen—if they know anything about YouTube.” If the Kleins lose, they said they risk losing everything they’ve built with their channels thus far.

    In their video explaining the lawsuit (above), the Kleins note that Hosseinzadeh presented them with several settlement offers before moving forward with the lawsuit, in which they would have had to pay him $4,000, or apologize and promote his channel. Fearing this would set a dangerous precedent not just for their own channel but for YouTube collectively, the Kleins said they ultimately declined.

    During these negotiations, however, the Kleins said that Hosseinzadeh issued a copyright takedown for the video—even after it had already been privated. The strike, they say, will impact their channel for six months, and illustrates the ways in which creators—despite YouTube’s best efforts—can still be unjustly punished for copyright infringement. “YouTube treats people with a copyright strike like criminals,” said Ethan. “It’s like, ‘Can we get some more oversight on this, please? We’re literally going to court to defend fair use to help protect 50 percent of your users.’”

    There have been several other high-profile cases surrounding the contentious issue of fair use. In March, for instance, Ray William Johnson’s Equals Three Studios and Jukin Media reached a settlement after a jury was reportedly expected to rule in favor of Jukin, which had accused Equals Three of copyright infringement. And in 2015, an appeals court judge ultimately ruled in favor of a Pennsylvania woman who claimed fair use on a video of her then-8-month-old baby dancing to Prince following a years-long legal battle with Universal Music Group.


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