Tag Archives: comedy

ABCFamily.com Comes Up with an “Alibi”

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Sometime I wonder if I post things just to come up with a Variety-speak headline.

Anyhow, just watched episode one of “My Alibi” on ABCFamily.com (see below).  This was a pick-up for ABC of an existing show from Take180 which tries to elicit audience participation in the form of cliffhangers with resolutions that can be voted on.

The production value is decent and the casting of a 90210-alum can’t hurt but I am not convinced that this sort of simplistic interaction is going to be the hook for a webseries aimed at teens and tweens (or anyone else, really).  Primarily, these interactions tend to hurt the actual story since so many alternatives must be conceived and, at times, produced, even if they aren’t the most satisfying or dramatic direction, due to fan interferance.

Instead, webseries need to find more innovative and immersive ways to get audiences involved OR create a passive story that is good enough to stand on its own.  “MyAlibi” falls into a bit of an unfortunate gap between these two solutions.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Two Great Examples of Free Content Boosting Bottomline

Poster for Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
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Two stories caught my attention, both of which add evidence to the idea that giving your content away for free can actually increase your overall potential for montization – or as I like to say, Cashification.

First, Mashable has some follow-up to Monty Python’s innovative approach to combatting pirated clips on YouTube – they made their own YouTube channel where they posted everything they’d ever done for free.  They also provided links to the actual DVDs and CDs for sales at Amazon and iTunes.  Can you guess what happened next?

Monty Python’s DVDs climbed to No. 2 on Amazon’s Movies & TV bestsellers list, with increased sales of 23,000 percent.

Still not convinced.  How about this from TechDirt in their story about idpendent musician Coery Smith, who both offers his music for download free on his own site and for money via iTunes:

However, as an experiment, they took down the free tracks from Corey’s website for a period of time last summer… and sales on iTunes went down. Once again, this proves how ridiculous the claim is that free songs somehow cannibalize sales.

The fact that there are so many stories like these makes it ever more difficult to accept the current business practices of the major music labels and studios.  While they spend more time and money on hunting down and prosecuting their one-time customers their current customers are running our of patience and will jump ship, too.

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Machinima’s Big Push Starts with Good Writers

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Machinima has remained pretty much fringe area of the web video world with a few exceptions – most notable being the success of the series “Red Vs. Blue.”

Now this, via TubeFilter:

Machinima.com, flush with cash after recently raising $3.85 million in capital, has announced the Machinima Comedy Lab, where the site is bringing on fifteen traditional TV writers, each to develop a comedy web series pilots. The series will be greenlit for up to four episodes each before they decide whether to further produce the series.”

What I find so smart about this move is that a group best known for what they do in terms of pushing the technical aspects of the genre forward are putting a real investment into writers who will be able to, I hope, take this great form of extremely low-cost animation to a wider audience.

Good Stuff!

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Monty Python Makes Radical Decision NOT To Sue Fans


Image by david ॐ via Flickr

It has never been hard to find Monty Python clips on YouTube.  With a pretty geeky fanbase that seems to renew itself with each generation, that’s not very surprising.

Sure, all that material is copyrighted but the MP gang let it go.  For a while.  Now they want to fight back and gain some control over their online library.  If they were anything like RIAA, they would start by identifying their biggest fans, the ones so excited about a long defunct sketch comedy group that they take time to post their clips, and scare ths crap out of them with  legal threats and law suits.

Happily, they’re not RIAA, so this is Monty Python’s approach:

Well played, gentlemen.  Well played.

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HBO Spares No Expense on New Web Series

I mean that literally.  HBO‘s web series, set in an elevator, looks like it costs $5.00 per episode to produce.  At that’s a good thing since this is what you get:

Via Tilzy I learned:

“When he signed on to Runawaybox, Tondorf wanted to create a series “impossibly simple” to produce, a locked-frame, one-take show that could deliver a fresh episode every day.  “I thought that something from an elevator security camera might be a fun idea, seeing as we’re all trapped in a small box with people we don’t know for an amount of time, often dropping in on their conversations and having no idea what they’re talking about.”

Christ, people in the industry wonder why nobody is watching their content on the internet but they produce content that is so completely marginal and doesn’t look anything like the content they would offer on TV.  It doesn’t even look as good as most of the UGC stuff out there.

Why bother, HBO?

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Everyone Weighs in on BushLeague (Quick, Before it Folds!)

Well, if it’s Wednesday there must be a new comedy site aimed at the young male demographic launching on in the webosphere.

This week it is BushLeagueTV, which uses the blog format to present their original videos.  What else is BushLeague, you ask.  Well, it depends on who you ask…

ReelPop: [BushLeague] is a hodge podge of dude-analia, i.e., in their words, “jackass opinions on video games, tech, news, sports, boobs, 101’s, and all the other essential tools every dude needs” — a suh-weet grab bag that apparently doesn’t have room for “original premise.”

Mashable: One aspect of BushLeague that stands out is its range of programs, which has segments for video game review, how-to segments for things like planning poker night and breaking into porn, or two guys taking apart gadgets (and maybe putting a few back together). My personal favorite so far is a segment called “Can I Still Eat It,” which features a woman that examines items in a guy’s fridge, determines if it’s actually still edible, and makes the guy eat it.

NewTeeVee: While the topics are a bit tired at this point (another place for gadget reviews?), some of the shows on Bush’s docket sound interesting. Bush League 101 is a how-to show for dudes that explains topics like “How to set up a poker night,” 24 Hour Game Review has the team playing a new video game for 24 hours straight.

I watched a couple of clips and fear the biggest problem is lack of originality.  Everything looks good, technically, but the subject matters and their approach are well-trod paths that I can’t see the over-served 16-24 male demo flocking to.

I also thought it was interesting to see the blurring out of nudity in the “How to Get Into Porn” video (yeah, not a good sign when you are using such blatant link bait right at the launch – where do they go from there).  One reason people might go to these sites is the opportunity to see content not censored by big media but as big media gets involved in funding these projects they force out anything that would make it feel different than TV.

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C-Spot, Crackle and Sony Join Forces for Epic Fail

Well, yesterday I was reading a whole bunch about the launch of Crackle’s lineup of original programming (warning: horrible auto-play) brought to you by Sony Pictures.  Before I had a chance to look for myself, NewTeeVee posted a really excellent review.  Here are just a few choice highlights:

“But let’s start with the name, “The C-Spot.” Oh, I get it. It’s a play on G-spot. You know, because it’s edgy. Yawn. Trust me: It doesn’t get any better from there.”

“…seems like it was created principally as a vehicle for the main character to take his shirt off.”

“It feels like it’s trying to be a mix between The Larry Sanders Show via The Office, and failing miserably to be even a bit of either.”

And a tiny praise…

“The animation is top-notch and the voice acting is excellent. The jokes are a little stale, but the delivery more than makes up for it.”

The NewTeeVee post is probably the easiest way to sample the fair yourself especially since the Crackle site is noisy and full of ads.

That said, it is a pretty uninspiring collection of entertainment.  Speaking from experience, comedy is hard.  It’s not enough to have one funny idea, especially when trying to tackle episodic formats.  I think we are still waiting for the first truly great original internet comedy.


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