Again and again, I am simply amazed by the short-sightedness of celebrities and those that advise them.
While there are plenty of people that might enjoy your work it is only the super-fan who will take the time to remix it or re-edit it or actually re-imagine how your work might live on in other mediums altogether. Instead of rewarding these super-fans, time after time these people are threatened with lawsuits and considered no better than criminals.
I saw a recent example of this thanks to Tilzy.com. A wonderful animated series called “House of Cosbys” was created back in 2005. The plot:
The world’s greatest Cosby fan, Mitch, has spent 10 years developing a cloning machine. He uses one of Bill’s hairs and starts cloning Cosbys. Now, everyone knows the more you clone the worse they get (see Michael Keaton in Multiplicity). The Cosby clones are no exception. The machine produces many quirky Cosbys including Curiosity Cosby, Bathtub Cosby, Dancing Cosby, Butt Naked Cosby and many more. My personal favorite: Useless Cosby. (via)
While this may or may not be your cup of tea there is no denying that it brings the aging and not-so-current Bill Cosby to a new generation of potential fans and demonstrates a great affection for Bill Cosby, Himself.
How has Bill Cosby responded to this outpouring of love and support. With a “Cease and Desist” letter forcing all production and distribution to stop immediately.
Nice work, Bill. You schmuck.
Sands of Passion is a new(ish) web series from the combined minds of National Banana and Crackle and Tilzy likes that it’s trying to tackle stuff you’re not going to find on TV, they’re not convinced it’s a winner:
“Sands of Passion features over-overacting and scene-punctuating close-ups (it never fails to have characters pull funny faces during those lugubrious zoom-ins), but it’s in the sometimes-intertwining plotlines – a wife discovers, with the help of the intrusive Taliban, her husband is gay; an American doctor observes the strange practices of a hospital run more on the principles of religion than science; the son of that suicide bomb-obsessed father falls in love with a girl whose love interests have all killed themselves in the name of Allah – that the show falls flat.”
I watched a couple of episodes myself a few months ago and can’t say I ever found myself wanting to go back and see how things were going. Even though it was trying to be edgy it failed to be funny.
YouTube is currently far-and-away the leading UGC video site and it is a well-known fact that having your video featured on the front page of the site drives 1,000’s of views a video might never have received. This boost can sometimes even launch the videos creator or star to a new level of “fame” and even be the first step toward bigger things.
This means that whoever choses the featured YouTube videos has a great deal of power. YouTube has never revealed who wields that power, until now…
Tilzy: “Before now, there wasn’t really any way to be sure. YouTube would announce the temporary bestowal of their editorial privileges and visitors to the homepage would have to guess if Michael Gondry actually likes that Hot For Words chick, or if her etymology and assets were appealing to someone else behind the scenes.
Along with personalized homepages and an alleged upcoming update to video quality, YouTube is also now letting viewers know who’s curating its frontpage.”
The power of the curator can be pretty huge depending on the audience.
Disney/ABC is getting into the rather crowded field of sites claiming that they will be developing and producing a sorts of short-form original content with their site Stage9 (warning: autoplays). From LATimes:
“Pedowitz said Stage 9 would make it possible to experiment with new forms of storytelling, cultivate young talent and incubate franchises that might someday graduate to the bigger screen, namely TV. And because the financial risks are lower, there is greater creative freedom. The goal is to bridge the gap between the irregular quality of amateur video and traditional television shows.”
Their first step towards this exciting new future is a series called “Squeegees” about window-washers. I like what NewTeeVee had to say:
“…after watching both, what struck me most was how sitcom-y the show is. It’s got the goofy guys, the straight-laced boss (who happens to have a cute daughter), and all the jokes are built around wacky situations. That doesn’t mean it’s not funny: There are chuckle-inducing bits about nougat, drunken window-washing, and exposing one’s self in front of a day-care class in a particularly painful way. It just doesn’t seem as — ugh, I can’t believe I’m actually typing this — edgy as the Donkey’s previous work (Orgasmalarm, anyone?). ”
Disney also seems to be making all the same mistakes the other big players have made, as summed up by Tilzy:
“Check out Squeegees on ABC.com, but if you want to bypass half-minute pre-roll ads for the Toyota Corolla (that car seem to be sponsoring a helluva lot of online video), YouTube is the place to be. Of course, embeds for the show are currently disabled, so you’ll HAVE to go to one of those spots to watch. Just when you thought big corporations were all web savvy with their own online original series, they pull these tired, old media shenanigans. “
Tilzy has a look at minor-internet-celeb Sarah Meyers and her new daily webshow Pop17.
“The daily, two- to three-minute show explores the cultural phenomenon that’s made Sarah’s career — micro-celebrity on the internet. ”
I took a look at it myself and I’ve gotta say it is totally promising. Sort of like the kid doing the vlog about World of Warcraft, this is not going to be a show for everyone, and that’s sort of the point.
As Sarah demonstrates in the first episode, many of the names and personalities I think of as “big” aren’t even known to the general public. Sure, some of them will cross over (she points out Tila Tequila) but many others will remain the internet version of “huge in Japan.”
Good luck Sarah!