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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    The Streamy Awards return for their fourth installment in 2014, with nominations open now for all categories. The show, which has grown in prominence as the go-to awards for excellence in online video since it’s start in 2009, will make pivots to highlight new categories of creation that bring into focus the ever-changing world of digital video.

    Presented annually by Dick Clark Productions and Tubefilter, The Streamys recognize excellence in online video, including awards for directing, acting, producing, and writing, among other specialized categories. Now entering its fourth ceremony since 2009, the awards are nominated by fans, with the entrant in each category with the most fan submissions automatically becoming one of the official nominees. Last year Chris Hardwick hosted the ceremony, which saw performances from Soulja Boy, Boyce Avenue, and Vanilla Ice. 

    Since the last Streamys in 2013, several new programs have leapt not only to prominence in the digital space, but crossed over to become pop culture juggernauts. Netflix favorites Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards both premiered after the 2013 event, and have since gone on to mainstream accolades. Their breakthroughs between the lines of digital and mainstream set the stage for a Streamys that could end up feeling more like the Golden Globes or Emmys than in years past.

    This isn't to say the Streamys aren’t closely tied to the Hollywood establishment. While 2009's inaugural awards boasted geek cred, with works like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog and The Guild taking home top prizes, those projects were also tied closely to known-entities like Joss Whedon, Neil Patrick Harris, and Felicia Day.  The most recent awards, which added categories for First-Person Series, Online Musician, Action or Sci-Fi Series, and Personality of the Year, saw accolades go to YouTuber Hannah Hart and vlogform scripted series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It’s likely the pendulum swings back to the known stars this year, although The Streamys newly introduced categories might keep the focus on emerging talents in the digital video space.

    For 2014, the award show is introducing subject-area categories that drill-down the genres of online creation. They’ll include Gaming, Beauty, Sports, Pranks, Science and Education, Kids and Family, and more. They’ll also support the changes in the YouTube ecosystem by handing out awards for Collaboration, Public Service, Cover Song, and Indie and First-Person series. The further sub-dividing of types of online video speaks to the diversity of content now being produced and the inability to judge say a performance in a first-person vlog against a high-budget comedic series produced by a studio, while still keeping the emphasis on creators and their fan-bases.

    “YouTube’s mega-influencers are now becoming household names, and they owe their success to their highly engaged audiences,” said Streamys Executive Producer Joshua Cohen.

    As evidenced over the past year, Hollywood has taken interest in the online video creation space and the celebrities that can capture the highly sought-after youth demographic. One area in particular that has exploded since the previous awards show is short form video content, thanks in part to Vine. The Streamys will devote three categories to the platform: Comedian, Creativity, and Viner of the Year. The rise of instant celebrities in the space has been meteoric, but it’s also an area plagued with scandal, making it a tricky set of categories to in part place in the hands of the public.

    They’ll also keep the focus on traditional media by awarding broadcast television series that engage with online audiences through original online video or innovative social media practices. Again, this speaks to the shrinking gap between digital efforts and mainstream success, where popular television shows measure their achievements and advertising lure not only on Nielsen ratings, but on how socially engaged their audience can be. Raking in high numbers of Twitter trends and post-air-date views can be just as important as on-air performance. 

    “This year has proved that online is the place to be—for both creators and audience alike—as original online programming continues to soar to new heights,” said Streamys Executive Producer Drew Baldwin. “The Streamy Awards are about relevance, excellence, and diversity, which is why our new categories reflect the current state of the industry and embrace the incredible enthusiasm and engagement of the online community.”

    Nominations for The Streamys open today and continue through Sunday, July 27. The show will air from Los Angeles in the Fall.

    Screengrab via The Streamys/YouTube

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    Joan Rivers didn’t let something like a walk out mid-interview derail her.

    Her now-infamous CNN interview exit is still the topic of discussion days later, so naturally it came up when she went on The Late Show to promote her book. David Letterman, who’s already on his way out after announcing his retirement in April, showed yet again why he’s one of the late-night greats.

    It’s an act of defiance that was probably well-scripted and planned meticulously behind the scenes, but the interview flowed seamlessly as he allowed Rivers to talk about the walk out before giving her a taste of her own medicine.

    Photo via Late Show With David Letterman/YouTube

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    If the first teaser trailer from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 was straight-up propaganda, then this one is a calculated hijacking.

    With the same setup as the first time around, Donald Sutherland’s President Snow appears in the Capitol to talk to the Districts about Unity with Peeta Mellark and Johanna Mason by his side. And, of course, a dozen heavily-armed Peacekeepers to send a message on a few different levels to anyone who tries to step out of line.

    But sure enough, something wonky happens with the broadcast—and no, your video isn’t broken.

    There’s still no glimpse of Katniss Everdeen, but that doesn’t mean we’re not thrilled to see another familiar face in District 13 with a lifting message to all of the other rebels in the Districts.

    Hopefully this is all leading to an actual trailer for Mockingjay Part 1 in the near future.

    Photo via The Hunger Games/YouTube

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    Men hiding marijuana is their fat rolls.Women marrying Ferris wheels.MMA fights between men with Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy.

    Florida is truly the AWESOM-O 4000 of weird, nationally syndicated, local news stories. Indeed, when you read that a man was forced to eat his own beard in a disagreement over a lawnmower, it’s easy, nigh on natural, to be shocked that neither the victim, nor the perpetrator was Florida Man.

    With such fertile subject matter, it was only a matter of time before filmmakers trudged down to that southern state to try and make sense of it all. So, writer/director Paul Ratner has just released the trailer for Spaceship Florida; the story of “a brilliant PhD student search[ing] for the explanation of increasingly strange behavior in Florida.”

    It all looks a little hammy, and it’s edited in a slapdash way that doesn’t inspire confidence for the series proper, so seeing that it also features the woman who thought it was OK to ride a manatee confirmed it for me: This is probably the webseries that Florida Man deserves.

    Screengrab via Spaceship Florida Web Series/YouTube

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    There is no one quite like Ryan O’Connor on YouTube.

    One of the major perks of my job is I get to watch hundreds upon hundreds of YouTube videos a week; I take in tag videos, book reviews, and makeup tutorials like Los Angeles takes in dreams. And over time, I’ve developed a long list of favorite creators but none quite measure up to O’Connor and his character Pleasant Ryan.

    With just the right mix of existential longing, beautiful cinematography, and knitted sweaters, O’Connor’s videos make viewers laugh and reflect every single time.

    “It’s just me pretending to be funny,” explains O’Connor of his channel. “We’re trying to be funny, trying to be a filmmaker, and successfully failing at all of those things.”

    While O’Connor joined YouTube long before the April 29, 2012, date stamp on his YouTube channel, he decided to delete his previous comedy videos in order to keep the channel consistent with the Pleasant Ryan character—the most lovably lonely man on YouTube.

    To sum up the life of Pleasant Ryan (not to be confused with O’Connor himself): His days are spent talking to cacti about love, contemplating death with a stuffed cat, and conducting the most obscure interviews with friends such as Bertie Gilbert and Ben Cook.

    “I never really thought of it as a character until recently people started going, ‘That’s a character, Ryan; that’s not you,’" O'Connor says. "I just thought it was a side of me, but then I realized some of the things are a bit ridiculous. Some people relate to those other spectrums of the extremity of his situation. When he’s lonely, people go, ‘Oh, I’ve been lonely.’”

    O’Connor became interested in film after completing his first memorable video, “The Really Random Movie” when he was 10. Though the movie has yet to hit the silver screen—any day now, Ryan!—it inspired him to continue pursuing film, both in school and recreationally. Now 20 years old, O’Connor is set to attend the University of the Creative Arts outside of London. 

    “I don’t really want to go into the film industry,” he says. “I just think I’d just get lost. I’d probably get crushed.”

    The statement seems hard to believe, though, especially coming from someone who writes, directs, and produces his own content.

    “I prefer being behind the camera. It’s just a lot easier," confides O’Connor. "The trouble is I feel like I have to be in my own stuff, so I don’t really get the opportunity to work behind the camera. … It’s not like I don’t want to be in front of the camera—I don’t mind it—but I just prefer being behind. It also depends what I’m doing as well. It’s only really the 'short film-y' videos where I would prefer that.”

    O’Connor says his creative inspirations come in waves: He spends most days staring at a blank Word doc waiting for the words to hit him.

    “For some reason, videos don’t come out very often. I just don’t have an idea. I’ll sit there like a slug waiting for something to hit me,” he explains, his 5’11" frame rocking back and forth on the floor of his parents' house. “If I could make a video every week, I would. I just can’t physically think of an idea.”

    But O’Connor’s channel is the epitome of quality over quantity: It’s easily apparent that with each video, O’Connor is bringing a higher production value and original style of storytelling to the platform.

    Listening to O’Connor question the principles of age and the culture of YouTube, it’s easy to forget his youth. “20 years old, it’s too old. I thought I was going to stay 19 forever,” O’Connor laments.

    But then there are moments, like his proclamations of love for fellow YouTuber Zoella and his constant fidgeting with his side-swept hair, that remind us there is a 20-year-old boy in there somewhere. And that 20-year-old boy is making the landscape of YouTube a little more pleasant—in the most obscure way possible, of course. 

    Screengrab via pleasantryan/YouTube

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    The Emmy nominations are out, and Netflix is proving to be force to be reckoned with.

    This year, the streaming service got 31 nominations, which more than doubled the record-breaking 14 nominations it received last year; Netflix would go on to win three Emmys, including one for David Fincher's House of Cards pilot.

    But while last year’s nominations were mainly for House of Cards (with a few for the fourth season of Arrested Development and Hemlock Grove), this year’s nominations are spread out between three TV shows and two documentaries. With 31 nods, Netflix is only behind HBO and FX Networks for number of nominations (at 99 and 45 respectively).

    Political thriller House of Cards will have to face off against True Detective, Game of Thrones (which has the most nominations at 19), and the final season of Breaking Bad in the drama category. The show is up for Best Drama, Outstanding Writing, and 11 other awards; stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright (who won the Golden Globe) are up for Emmys again, while Kate Mara and Reg E. Cathey were nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress and Actor.

    Orange Is the New Black, which missed last year’s eligibility deadline, got 12 nominations this year, including Outstanding Writing and Directing. Fresh off winning Best Comedy Series at the Critics’ Choice Awards, it’s facing off against four-time winner Modern Family in the Best Comedy category. Taylor Schilling is up for Best Actress and Kate Mulgrew for Supporting Actress. Three actresses received nominations for Outstanding Guest Actress, including Internet darling Laverne Cox.

    Ricky Gervais also received a nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy for Derek, while documentaries The Square and Brave Miss World also picked up nominations.

    Most of the Emmy nominations went to traditional television, but while broadcast television has a diminishing presence among the nominees, Netflix is playing hardball, and it’s only a matter of time before other streaming services like Hulu, Amazon, and even Yahoo Screen get some Emmy love.

    The 66th Emmy Awards will be held on Aug. 25.

    Photo via Peabody Awards/Flickr

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    What won’t a celebrity do on The Tonight Show?

    Kelly Ripa was the latest to play along with one of Jimmy Fallon’s wacky games, and instead of performing a lip-synch, dancing, or riding a giant roller coaster, they’re playing a trivia game that looks like it came straight off the set of a ’90s Nickelodeon game show.

    The basic gist is to answer trivia questions, and for every one they get wrong, they’re lifted up a little bit closer to a balloon filled with water (not slime) until one of their pointed dunce caps pierced it open.

    Even though Ripa agreed to it, she donned a poncho in case she lost.

    “This is terrible,” she said. “You’re supposed to ask me stuff I know!”

    All for a few minutes of wacky work—and she didn't even have to do a Physical Challenge.

    H/T The Wrap | Photo via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube

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    Rihanna, Instagram's patron saint of NSFW content, clearly isn't afraid of her sexuality. The Barbadian beauty has a well-documented social media history of embracing the body that she was blessed with, but when it comes to literal embraces, not everyone is as confident.  

    Case in point: Both the luckiest and most awkward fan to ever share the stage with Rihanna.

    As the singer starts her slow grinding on the bespectacled boy at a recent concert, the hover hands begin. Like the world's sexiest LensCrafters employee, she slips off his glasses mid-giration, only worsening the case of what doctor's have dubbed Ricky Bobby paralysis. Somehow, he triumphantly salutes every nerd Rihanna fan with a rock hand before disapperaing under the stage where he was likely pronounced dead. 

    H/T Reddit | Photo via oouinouin/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    If the aim of modern television is to continue to captivate an audience long after their show has finished, then it looks like NBC may be on to a winner. With Last Comic Standing, NBC has become the first broadcast network to share exclusive content on Soundcloud.

    Having recently returned for its eighth season, the J.B. Smoove-hosted reality television talent show has started posting mashups of the various contestant’s routines, as well as a compilation of the best one-liners. Looking forward, the show will post a collection of the “best bits” weekly following each episode.

    And if you think about it, it fits perfectly. With standup comedy being a primarily aural art, the ability to recap the week’s highlights via Soundcloud is handy, as is the site’s commentary platform that allows users to acknowledge their favorite part of a performance. 

    And best of all? All of this without having to listen to judge Roseanne Barr.

    H/T Lost Remote | Illustration by Jason Reed

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    Waking up Thursday morning for hair and makeup for a broadcast that begins at 5:40am is bad enough. What's even worse is having to smile into the camera with poise while you find out on live TV that you were snubbed by the 2014 Emmy awards for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. 

    It's a predicament that seems more fiittng of Mindy Kaling's fumbling but loveable character, Dr. Mindy Lahiri. Instead, it was Kaling that had to maintain her composure as she stood next to Carson Daly as he read the nominees for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. It all goes down around the 11:57 mark. 

    Kaling, who embodied the grace of a thousand beauty queens, didn't even flinch upon the realization that her hilarious turn as Dr. Lahiri was grossly overlooked.


    Contrast that now with Carson Daly when he announced his own nomination for Outstanding Reality Competiton Program.


    With a fist pump and excruciating "YES!," The Voice host single-handedly shows us why some men can't have nice things. 

    H/T Vulture | Photo via nasahqphotos/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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    Concerts are sweet. Here at Noisey, we love concerts. We even gotolotsofcoolones. But for every dope show we catch, there are tons of dope shows that we weren't in town for or weren't alive for or whatever. It would be great to see Blink-182 perform live in their heyday without having to travel back in time and revive your frosted tips or to catch Bruce Springsteen in the 70s without having to buy an expensive box set (although some of us have definitely bought said box set). Now, thanks to the power of YouTube, you can do this.

    As The Verge reported this morning, Google and YouTube have made a new deal with Music Vault, a YouTube channel full of live concert recordings. In addition to 1,600 or so clips that are currently available, another 12,000 clips totaling more than 2,000 hours of footage are being added. Among the concerts that are on deck are classic shows from The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, The Sex Pistols, and pretty much any other sweet band you can think of, along with a lot of newer concert footage of bands like The Hold Steady and The Civil Wars. The first crop of these new videos went up this morning, and you can find them all here.

    An immediate standout choice is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in 1978 (above), which took place on my birthday exactly ten years before I was born and is therefore the best thing ever. Other solid picks are Blink-182 in 1999, Lou Reed in 1986, and The Sex Pistols in 1978 (all below). Here is the musical education you always wanted, minus the cost of thousands of concert tickets, as well as the requisite aging and hearing loss that comes from 40 years of going to shows. Take advantage.

    Kyle Kramer's first concert was a Bruce Springsteen concert in real life. He's on Twitter @KyleKramer.

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    President Barack Obama may have another title to add soon to his collection: Emmy winner.

    His interview with Zach Galifianakis on Funny or Die’s Between Two Ferns, where Galifianakis works his way through awkward celebrity Q&As, has received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program. Officially, Executive Producers Galifianakis, Scott Aukerman, B.J. Porter, and Mike Farah would receive the award.

    In the interview, Galifianakis and Obama traded zingers back and forth on topics ranging from the abysmal third Hangover movie to what it was like being the “last black president.” The episode's success prevented Funny or Die from loading properly, and it’s been watched more than 22 million times to date.

    Obama urged the site’s younger audience to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, is credited with increasing traffic to 40 percent.

    White House aides congratulated Obama and the other nominees on Twitter.

    Between Two Ferns faces tough competition against Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital, the Super Bowl halftime show, and two shows that have a connection to the president: The Soup’s True Detective parody which starred White House correspondents’ dinner host Joel McHale, and Web content from Parks and Recreation, which guest-starred Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama.

    The Creative Arts Emmys will take place on Aug. 16.

    H/T The Hill | Photo via Funny Or Die/YouTube

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    Some movies are so perfect that the idea of a sequel sounds like pure sacrilege. CasablancaCitizen KaneBlade Runner.

    Sharknado is not one of those movies. 

    Imaginatively titled Sharknado 2: The Second One, Syfy’s sequel promises to provide more of the same old Sharknado goodness. Which is just as well, because all anyone wants out of this movie is a tornado full of sharks, and possibly some hokey dialogue to make fun of while playing a Sharknado-themed drinking game. A few typical lines from the new trailer include “Holy shark!” and one character literally uttering the line, “You jumped the shark.”

    Sharknado 2 is a timeless classic about a bunch of sharks flying through the air in New York City. Tara Reid and Ian Ziering will reprise their roles from the first movie, and will be joined by Kelly Osborne as “Flight Attendant” and Billy Ray Cyrus in an unspecified cameo role. 

    If you liked the first movie, you’re pretty much guaranteed to enjoy this one. And if you hated it, then we strongly advise staying off Twitter for the duration of its first airing on Syfy on July 30, because it’s all anyone will be tweeting about that evening. 

    Photo via shadowofreflection/Tumblr

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    As a 22-year-old still living at home with her family in Chicago, college student Ala’a Basatneh doesn’t seem like a typical revolutionary. 

    Born in Syria, Basatneh moved to the U.S. at a young age and grew up as an ordinary suburban teenager. But after hearing about a group of Syrian children being brutally punished for writing anti-government slogans on their school walls, she used Facebook to contact Syrian protesters, joining the revolution from 6,000 miles away.

    As the subject of the documentary #chicagoGirl, Basatneh has become one of the public faces of social media activism, using YouTube and Facebook to help citizen journalists spread the word of their fight against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's regime. The film offers an interesting glimpse into how a 19-year-old college freshman went from hanging out at the mall to spending all her free time editing protest footage and translating revolutionary slogans, becoming a key political activist in a country she hadn’t visited in over a decade.

    In the U.S., the term “hashtag activism” is usually uttered with a kind of derisive sneer, the implication being that social media can’t be used to effect any kind of “real” change. But in Syria, sites like Twitter and Facebook are an integral part of the revolution. 

    While the Arab Spring brought down the Tunisian government in 28 days and the Egyptian government in 18, the longevity of Syria’s revolution means that activists find it difficult to retain the interest of the international media. But if an activist can post clear YouTube footage of a protest and make sure that it’s shared on social media, then it’s far more likely to wind up on TV. Part of Basatneh’s job is to help citizen journalists make their work as accessible as possible to what can best be described as overseas audiences.

    But as her role became increasingly important, her safety became less secure. Basatneh received death threats and was followed around her home neighborhood in Illinois. For her own safety, she used to be escorted to and from class by campus security.

    #chicagoGirl is a film about the real-world impact of social media, in a situation where people are risking their lives to share information online. It’s also a story about idealism and obsession, about a teenage girl who decided to dedicate her life to helping people she has never even met: the polar opposite of the apathetic slacktivist stereotype that we often see characterized by people who aren’t familiar with the power of social media.

    Following a screening at the Edinburgh Film Festival, we Skyped with Ala’a Basatneh and #chicagoGirl director Joe Piscatella to talk about the film, the revolution, and how #chicagoGirl has inspired teens and college students across the U.S.

    First of all, how did this film come about? Joe, did you specifically set out to make a film about Ala’a, or were you intending to make a broader documentary about social media in the Syrian revolution?

    Joe Piscatella: I started out to make a broader documentary about social media and revolution. We had done some talking, had interviews, and I realized I wanted a personal story to illustrate what was going on.

    I read a blurb about Ala’a getting death threats on her Facebook wall from the Syrian regime, so I found her and told her about this film. And she finally said to me, “Joe, you’re asking me all the wrong questions.” I thought to myself, you know, "My goodness, I’m the one making the movie, you don’t even know what I’m trying to make." She said, “Well, I’m helping to coordinate protests in the revolution,” and it sounded too good to be true… But interesting enough that two days later, my producer and I sat with Ala’a and watched her do it. 

    Ala’a, how did you get involved with the revolution in the first place? In the documentary, you talk about being a typical high school girl in your teens, but it’s clear that quite a transition took place.

    Ala’a Basatneh: I decided to help first when I saw the group of children that decided to write “We want to topple the regime” on their school walls. And seeing that they were tortured, I believe one was killed… to me that was not an OK thing to learn about that’s happening in the country where I was born. I decided to reach out for activists, and this is exactly what I told them: “I’m willing to help you with everything and anything I can do for you guys to keep going.”

    Could you walk me through a typical day in the life of Ala’a Basatneh? The kind of things you do on social media, and how you balance college with your work as an activist?

    Basatneh: It’s really not balanced. I’m on my phone 24/7, on my laptop whenever I can. In my classes, at work, at home, all the time because of the time difference and because of how important it is to keep in contact with the activists on the ground. It’s not that it’s six hours online and then the rest of the time I’m not; it’s that I’m constantly online. When the movie was shot, I would get Skype calls at 4 in the morning from activists in Syria, asking me to translate banners that they would be carrying in their protests, so it can end up on international media, on CNN and BBC.

    Could you give me a rundown of the type of ways you use social media, through Google Maps and Twitter and so on?

    Basatneh: You know, [Twitter] DMs for a period of time were one of the safest ways to contact activists on the ground because for some reason, they couldn’t crack the codes and get into those messages. Facebook and Skype… I keep in contact with activists about helping coordinate protests, evacuating a group of people from neighborhood A to neighborhood B. That comes along with Google Maps, looking at what neighborhood is the closest, the safest. Contacting the activists in that specific neighborhood, helping the families that don’t normally have a home or are at risk of a strike from the regime.

    The documentary ends with you traveling to Syria for the first time since you left as a child. What kind of impact do you think that had on your work back in the U.S., the way you conducted your social media campaign?

    Basatneh: I decided to travel to the liberated areas where the regime was not in control, bringing in medications and cameras and tech equipment to help the citizen journalists and ill people on the ground. I felt like I did more than when I sat on a laptop and talked to them, that I actually took that action and went and saw them and sat down with them, experienced what it felt like to have a TNT barrel bomb dropped six buildings away from me. That the risk of actually being there between them overall was like… I felt like I was on a different planet, honestly.

    So now that the film has come out, what kind of effect do you think it’s had on your work? Are people at college more aware of you and what you do?

    Basatneh: Yeah, as a matter of fact: One of my friends that I knew back in high school stopped me yesterday. She saw the trailer for the documentary, it hasn’t even been screened in Chicago yet, so she’s telling me that she really wants to learn more about Syria.

    For me that’s one of the greatest accomplishments of this movie. It’s raising awareness, and it’s opening the eyes of college students and high school students that don’t know what’s going on in Syria. One of the funny messages I got was a friend of mine—I didn’t know him much but we took a history course in college together. When the trailer was out, he sent me a message saying, “Now I know what you’ve been doing all that time on your laptop in history class.” They just looked at me as “that girl on her laptop.”

    When you were filming the documentary, were you aware that it was going to have this kind of response from people in their teens and early 20s, or were you just looking to inform people about Ala’a’s work?

    Piscatella: What really attracted me to the subject matter was this idea that there were these young people using these tools that so many of us take for granted and just use every day for our own social benefit. They were using them in these very brave ways, to do something very heroic.

    When I was making this film, it didn’t dawn on me that it would resonate so much with teenagers and college-age students. It really didn’t cross my mind. But a little anecdote that illustrates that is when we had a screening and afterwards a Q&A with me and Ala’a.

    A gentleman who was probably 50 stood up, and I don’t remember his exact question, but the gist of it was, “I think it’s very naive for Ala’a and for you as a filmmaker to think that in the scheme of this Syrian crisis, that Ala’a has made a difference, that she’s really effecting any kind of change. Syria is a very complicated place, things have gotten progressively worse, and I think it’s naive to think that she’s making a difference.”

    It was one of those questions where as a director, I’m not even sure where to begin to answer it. But before I could open my mouth, two teenage girls at the back of the theater stood up and they said: “She’s already made a difference. She’s using social media tools that you think are just a novelty, and if you don’t see that she’s helping individual people and that she’s made a difference in their lives, then you’re no longer part of this conversation.”

    Screengrab via qtheatre

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    Home videos are a crucial journalistic asset. Amateur videographers like Abraham Zapruder have managed to capture some of the most significant events in history, and Amnesty International wants to ensure that citizen journalism maintains its power. It has launched a new tool center centered around the largest archive of amateur news videos: YouTube. The human rights non-profit has launched the Citizen Evidence Lab, a website that helps journalists and human rights activists verify YouTube videos.

    The Citizen Evidence Lab includes several guides and checklists that assists users as they figure out the who, what, when, where, and why of their target videos. An introductory exercise allows users to practice on an example video before they dive in with their own choices.

    As Amnesty International explains in its introductory video, user-generated YouTube videos have the potential to unlock new information in important areas such as Syria, and the Citizen Evidence Lab can give viewers more faith on a website where fakery is common. Of course, you don’t have to be a journalist to use the Lab. The next time a funny viral video arrives, consider putting it to the test before sharing on Facebook.

    Screengrab via Christoph Koettl/YouTube

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    Emma Stone has nothing on these VidCon attendees.

    One of the highlights of VidCon last month was The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon's addictive lip-synch booth where fans could try their hand at one of the show's biggest viral hits. The lip synch battle has seen the likes of Emma Stone, John Krasinski, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Paul Rudd absolutely dominating host Fallon on the air and then raking in the Web hits for the show in the days to follow. In Anaheim, conventiongoers and YouTube celebrities alike could try their hand in the booth, and the result was this Fallon Web exclusive including Iggy Azalea's "Fancy," Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream," and more.

    Eagle-eyed YouTube fans will spot some of their favorites like Mamrie Hart and the Emma Approved crew, but don't worry if you don't recognize everyone. All the YouTube-famous participants are credited at the end, so you can follow your new favorite syncher on their own channel. Fallon may not always win his lip synch battles, but he's definitely winning YouTube.

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube

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    If you've only got six seconds to audition for your dream role, what would you do? Based on the trend of #6SecondAuditions on Vine, we suspect the results will be hilarious.

    Vine user Cody Ko uploaded his own version of a six second audition to his more than 290 thousand fans last month, auditioning for the part of Mary Poppins. The clip, which has been viewed over 2 million times, has inspired his fellow viners to take to the medium with their own version of #6secondauditions to hilarious effect. While YouTube is littered with hopeful actors' audition tapes, unfortunately Vine only gives aspiring thespians enough time to get out the requisit "My name is, and I'll be audition for the role of..." rigamarole, leaving maybe a second to show off their skills. These #6SecondAudition videos vary between perfectly encapsulating all you need to know about a character in a second or less, or hilarious cutting off before you get to find out how they'll encapulate the essense of Lex Luther, for example. 

    The best of the bunch have been collected into a playlist, but we'd be remiss if we didn't show you some of the very best of the best.

    The original:

    Rich Fascinaro gets primal as a Planet of the Apes ape:

    Charlie and Greg show all you need to see of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure:

    Kurtis Connor gives a really unique take on Hitler:

    Photos via Vine

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    Spoilers are a wild creature, and we’re just trying to reel it in.

    Despite how often we attempt to figure it out, no set of spoilers rules has ever really stuck, but PBS Idea Channel’s Mike Rugnetta tried to crowdsource some guidelines of his own.

    There is the popular opinion that not knowing what happens before you watch something makes it more enjoyable, but of course, not everyone subscribes to that. To find out what some of those preferences are, he asked some fellow YouTubers at VidCon to see how they felt. The opinions varied vastly with even just a few people.

    They do agree on a couple things: Respect your friends’ preferences on the matter, and stay offline if you really want to stay spoiler-free, or at least protect yourself.

    H/T Digg | Photo via PBS Idea Channel/YouTube

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    The lead female character in NBC’s Constantine series is being written out before the first episode has even airs.

    In most cases this would be an extremely bad sign, but for Constantine it may actually be an improvement. Well, unless you’re Lucy Griffiths, the actress who has just been summarily dropped from the show.

    Her character was Liv, a young woman with psychic powers who is forced to team up with John Constantine in the show’s pilot episode. Liv isn’t a character from Hellblazer comics canon, and instead was described by writer David S. Goyer as an “amalgam” of various female characters from the comics—rarely a good sign.

    It’s not clear why Constantine and its lead actress decided to part ways, but Liv’s replacement is a classic Hellblazer character named Zed: good news for fans of the original comics. Zed is a pagan sorceress and former girlfriend of John Constantine, who had an important role in several early Hellblazer storylines.

    Liv appeared in the pilot episode, which was already filmed and will be shown to fans at San Diego Comic-Con. It’s unclear when the changeover between the two female characters will occur, but THR reports that Zed will appear in an early episode of the series, is scheduled to air this fall.

    Photo via NBC


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    Kim Kardashian is the alchemist of Hollywood. She has built a gilded empire of reality television shows, clothing and makeup lines, and endless product endorsements out of sex tape fame, and now she can add gaming success to her growing assets. 

    Launched on June 25, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is on track, after less than a month, to hit $200 million dollars in revenue through in-app purchases by the end of the year, according to a report by Bloomberg released yesterday. Currently, the game rests comfortably as the third most-downloaded free-to-play game in Apple's U.S. App Store, boasting a coveted five-star rating. 

    Photo via iTunes


    The game, developed by Glu Mobile, allows players to live the jet set, celebrity life of a Kardashian. Kim walks you through each step in clawing your way to the top of the A-list as you pose on red carpets, go clubing, buy luxury homes, and adorning yourself in expensive jewelry. “Dating famous people will get you more fans, too,” an experienced Kim instructs. 

    Free to play, the game hopes to hook users on in-app purchases to expedite their rise through the ranks of celebrity. You can buy star packs and cash stacks, with iTunes quoting the most popular in-app purchases ranging from $3.99 to $59.99.

    Jezebel's Tracey Egan Morrissey cataloguged spending almost $500 playing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood recently. "I'm part of what's wrong with modern American culture," Morrissey wrote. "But at least in Kim's realm I'm an A-list celebrity with 50 million fans—after nearly $500 worth of in-app purchases, of course." 

    That mentality is exactly what has driven up Glu Mobile's stock 42 percent. “We’re not surprised," said CEO Niccolo de Masi. "Kim is a one-of-a-kind talent with an incredibly precise fit to the game engine that we tailored but already had in the company."

    H/T Gamespot | Photo via David Shankbone/Wikimedia 

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