So it’s time for another “is it real or not” analysis on a “candid” or “staged” video. I’m only right 84.5% of the time, but I’m going with REAL. What follows are the highlights, why you think it’s real, and 5 reasons why I don’t.
For a spontaneous rant, it’s some damned good scripting. Here are the highlights:
DOPEY the DICK starts whispering in your ear
Don’t fucking “Dennis” me!
This is the most unprofessional set I have ever been on
This is horse shit
Zombies over here that I have to look at
a bunch of pussies staring at me
and this fucking baby
Here’s why people may think it’s fake:
We’re increasingly skeptical of these impromptu moments.
He’s allegedly filming a movie about a slimy auction houses so it could be a promotion stunt.
The camera is very visible. You would expect someone on the set to be WAY more discrete about capturing a moment this sensitive.
The video starts late and gets dropped at just the right time. There’s a fierceness to his rage that seems sincere
His voice cadence is not dynamic, and the volume comes from his chest, neck and mouth rather than abdomen. I would expect an actor to project from his diaphragm and would provide more range in delivery.
He’s not THAT good of an actor (two words: Parent Trap).
He and his agent would not likely agree to a stunt like this because even if it’s a hoax it harms his reputation.
If it was a stunt, it would be “leaked” closer to the release date of the film.
When I was a kid, I had this vision for my home that included automated everything — from lighting to blinds. Until last night, it was theoretical. Now I can turn off lamps from various rooms… from an Android or iPhone, even when I’m not in the house. It’s a start. And this morning when I got to work, I had the joy of toggling the lights from my phone to freak out WifeofNalts.
Let me warn you that we’re in an odd point of home-automation maturity. We’re moving beyond the era where it was reserved for the wealthy or techno elite. But it’s definitely not ready for prime time, and requires more patience and experimentation than I’d like… but such is the cost of being an early adopter, right?
Let me cut to wide shot and tell you about your options to entering “Smart Home Land.” Home automation was once reserved to the elite and wealthy, and required a special contractor and installation. Now you can pick up a hub and some $50-$150 add-ons and do-it-yourself quickly. I’m not going to get into the really nerdy hacks, but there are plenty of forums that can teach you to customize these beyond what the manufacturers specify or even offer.
There are too many options and a shake-down is looming. There’s Belkin Wemo, Phillips Hue, Quirky Wink, GE Link, Staples Connect, Harmony, Insteon, Lutron, Revolv, Smart Things. Overwhelmed yet? Here’s a review of some of them if you want to get into the weeds.
Let’s cut to your basic entry options, and then I’ll tell you why I started with the cheap, flawed but Swiss Army Knife option called Wink… note that I’m favoring options that don’t require ugly remotes or special displays. We’ll use our iPhones and Androids, thank you very much.
Belkin has a Wemo switchthat is a best-seller on Amazon and an easy place to dabble since it’s only $40. It uses your wifi and allows you to control any appliance via your Android/iPhone (just plug appliance into the Wemo, and the Wemo into your outlet. You can add on lots of additional options via Amazon or Home Depot. And if you’re all about lighting, you can get a Belkin Wemo starter kit for $85 that comes with a little hub and two lights… nice dorm room gift for that college techno kid. But I don’t see Wemo as a serious player.
Then there are the lighting-specific solutions: Phillips answer to lighting customization: the Phillips Hue,which comes with a ton of different lighting options. The starter kit will set you back $188 and the individual lights get pretty expensive. Phillips Hue is generally cost-prohibitive except for those elite wealthy who might as well higher a contractor. But Home Depot has a decent spread of expensive lights so I imagine Phillips will be a formidable player. For those without excessive cash, the GE Links are better (you can also get these at Home Depot).
And the winner/wiener is… Wink hubdespite some seriously negative reviews (including my own). Setup is torture (40 minutes of trial/error), but adding GE Link bulbs was as easy as screwing in bulbs and naming them. I can’t speak yet to the pain/joy of adding things beyond GE Link bulbs, but that alone made it worth the trivial entry cost of $50.
Wink is the buggy but poor-man’s Switzerland of all these home automation standards and devices. It has built-in support for Bluetooth LE, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Lutron ClearConnect, and Kidde. It also handles Phillips Hue (with some limitations) and works like a breeze with GE Link bulbs. I also like that Wink is a product of Quirky/GE, which gives inventors a chance to manufacturer ideas.
Once you have a hub and suffer through setup, you can add all kinds of things: alarms (Kidde/Nest), blinds (Bali/Lutron/ZWave), cameras (Dropcam), weird things from Quirky, garage doors (Chamberlain and Quirky/GE), heating and cooling (Honeywell, Nest, Zwave, Quirky/GE), lawn/patio, kitchen, door and window locks, and general appliances via a power plug that accommodates two different plugs that can be controlled separately (the other two are just plain extension plugs). Warning- that power plug got absolutely hosed on Amazon comments and it’s clearly flawed.
We’re still a few years before this stuff becomes more mainstream, but it’s nice that it’s become somewhat affordable and I like that you can experiment with different components to see what’s worthwhile.
Have you tried any of these? Would love your experience and “watch outs.”
At this moment, marketers around the world are trying to replicate what has happened with the ALS ice-bucket challenge. See the ALS Association website (news) if you’ve somehow missed this unplanned viral campaign that’s exploding from celebrities and your community.
First some context. Few knew until now, but ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It was brought to attention by major league baseball player Lou Gerhig (whose name is synonymous with the disease). I’m happy for ALS because it’s getting the awareness and discussion otherwise reserved for breast cancer.
Based on my experience as a “Viral Video Genius,” I’ll now outline seven of the reasons this ALS cold-water challenge has caught fire. Let me confess that while I’m thrilled for ALS awareness, I’m also burnt out on the ice-bucket challenge. I kinda throw up in my mouth when I hear “I nominate…” soon followed by a giggling scream. But please feel free to enjoy the blooper reel: ALS ice-bucket fail compilation video I created. It’s been seen about 75,000 times.
I’ve also provided some examples below to underscore my theories, which are, of course, highly credible since I’m a viral author. So now you’ll sound very sophisticated when you analyze the ice-bucket campaign at work, home and with friends.
It’s one-to-one and exponential. Each person names 3 people they know, so if just half (1.5) of those people respond, it spreads extremely quickly. “Tagging” a person in a video has worked before. Remember naked vlog tag from 2008?
It’s charitable not commercial. Of course it doesn’t matter what charity has benefited, because it’s unlikely that the majority of this was motivated by a personal connection to ALS. Charitable efforts go viral because they appeal to our generosity (and our desire for recognition of said generosity). Think about the explosive impact of the Hank and John Green (Vlogbrothers) Project for Awesome. If it was breast cancer, we’d have seen this go further. Of course it can’t work for another charity now. Find something new, folks. Don’t pull a “Livestrong Rip” on this.
It’s time bound. The “24 hour” plea is a vital ingredient. That forces the recipient to act or not act. And guilt prevents the latter. These things need to be fast to work, and we know quickly if it’s a success. Think Kony 2012 (Feb 2012 through April 2012), which lasted about 3 months and was forgotten.
Participation is formulaic. People like to join these types of games if the assignment is easy. That’s why the Harlem Shake took off… it was a very short, simple formula that almost anyone could replicate. Do you remember the Chicken Soup dance? Same idea.
It’s easy. With the proliferation of video-enabled smart phones, no editing is required. That factor isn’t exclusive to this challenge, but certainly enables participation by the unwashed masses (instead of elite web or online-video junkies). It’s like a video meme we can all join.
It’s a visceral, visual stunt. Same idea as Gangnam Style, but you don’t need skills.
We like modest pain. It shows our courage and discipline. Remember the cinnamon challenge? I did a “double dog dare” with eating worms, but it unsurprisingly didn’t catch fire. We seem to have a strange fascination especially with getting iced. But most don’t have the conviction to do the “polar bear plunge.” Although frankly, I’d do the plunge to end this campaign.
There is actually an eighth reason that has something to do with wet t-shirts, but I’m not going to count that one.
I started my career as a journalist. Warren Rogers, my editor and a well-known Washington D.C reporter, created a literal wall between the Georgetown Courier’s editorial department and the advertising team… it was wooden and about 4 feet tall. He taught me the importance of not having editorial pander to the needs of advertising. No lofty reviews of restaurants that took full-page ads out in our newspaper.
Sure the newspaper folded in about 6 months. And sure I now work in advertising. I still have a pet peeve about “native advertising,” which is basically advertisements that masquerade as content. You’ve seen them:
An apparent news story on a website that’s actually an ad for some diet product
A section of a magazine that, on closer inspection, is actually “advertorial” content (sponsored)
A tweet or Facebook post that’s paid content even though it’s designed to look like a post from a friend
We need to know when a commercial interest is impacting our news or entertainment. And it’s not often obvious. I don’t like search-engine results that are ads pretending to be organic. I don’t like product placement without credit/transparency. And I don’t like hitting a news website expecting to read an article, but it’s a poorly veiled attempt to pitch some crap.
Ads can do their job even when we know they’re ads. But news and entertainment cannot do their jobs when we have to worry about whether they’re ads or not.
Rob Cantor’s video of his original “Perfect” song went viral in the past 10 days, racking up more than 7 million views. My family probably watched it 20 times, marveling at the impressions — from Randy Newman and Jack Black to Adam Sandler. The most amazing parts were his “impressions” of female singers like Gwen Stefani, Cher, Britney Spears and Billie Holliday.
Cantor appears to nail the impressions even of folks we haven’t likely hear sing — like Christopher Walken, Ray Romano and Steve Buscemi.
I’m usually pretty good about detecting fakes, but I convinced myself it was real based on some nice tricks:
The lip synching was near flawless
Cantor’s facial expressions reinforced the impersonations
Cantor continued looking at his phone, as if he needed help recalling the next impression (of course the vocals had been prerecorded by pros).
The video seemed informal and low-budget — a bit out of focus and compressed, and lighting was good but not “perfect”
Small details helped, including a squeaky chair and some alterations of the audio to give it an amateur echoed sound
Did you fall for it? I did!
CAST (in alphabetical order): BROCK BAKER: Jack Black, Kermit the Frog, Smeagol / Gollum, Peter Griffin, Adam Sandler, Patrick Warburton, Jon Lovitz GILBERT GAUTHIER: Frank Sinatra AMANDA GARI: Cher, Flipper REAGAN JAMES: Gwen Stefani BORA KARACA: Whistle ANDREW LAURICH: Christopher Walken ANDY McCLOUD: Bono PIOTR MICHAEL: Christopher Lloyd, Steve Buscemi, Gilbert Gottfried, Ray Romano, Ian McKellan, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Dylan MISSY MODELL: Shakira MARK SIPKA: Randy Newman, Louis Armstrong, Willie Nelson, Billie Holiday GABE STEINER: Trumpet MELISSA VILLASEÑOR: Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Bjork
In this video, the dancer shows how Happy was almost a shot-by-shot reproduction of Marsen’s 2011 video titled “Girl Walk // All Day.” Her video showing the theft is titled “Pharrell Likes My Work.” But it’s so close, it seems like she has a decent case for copyright infringement. Or at least warrants a public apology or acknowledgement by Pharrell and Yoann Lemoine, the creative director of Happy’s music video.
It’s a good time to be a YouTuber… or at least own a popular YouTube channel. We’re seeing the online-video landscape mature, and start to resemble how networks and studios connect. The networks (Disney, Yahoo, YouTube) are working with studios (online-video studios and some individual partners/channels) in some interesting ways….
What’s interesting about these big moves is how markedly different this is from the past behavior of these companies.
We saw Disney making some early bets with its own home-grown online-video content. Remember Stage 9?
Yahoo contacted me and other YouTubers around 2008 to discuss potential revenue-sharing deals. They were considering exclusivity at the time, and that’s a deal breaker for YouTubers that won’t give up their primary audience.
And Google? It hasn’t even marketed itself well, much less its partners. And who would ever imagined the tech-engineering company would advertise YouTube partners on TV, print or outdoor? They’re doing it, but you know it pains them.
So what’s all this mean?
These events don’t impact your typical YouTuber, but the winners of the Yahoo/Google efforts will be the YouTube creators with large audience and studio representation by one of the online-video networks. That’s because Yahoo and Google will have to deal with the complexities of Discovery to get to Revision3 content, and Disney to get to Maker channels/creators.
But watch for partnerships between Yahoo and smaller studios like Fullscreen, BigFrame and Collective.
And what about Google’s efforts to promote YouTubers beyond the YouTube regulars? I would expect to see “the rich get richer,” because it’s most likely to promote the proven content with top views. So like a marathon’s second half, we’ll see an increasing distance between the leaders and the rest.
There will surely be some more attempts to lock creators and studios to “exclusive” arrangements, although Yahoo won’t get anywhere requiring that of popular YouTubers. But it makes sense. TV shows don’t get to broadcast on every channel. The networks pick the shows, and promote them to “their” audience. We’ll see that happening with top YouTube channels in coming months and years, which is why YouTube will have to work harder to cultivate relationships and keep stars/channels.