YouTube Live Hangover

YouTube Live Photos by WifeofnaltsI probably had about 4 drinks at YouTube Live (a concert, party and gathering in San Francisco on November 22, 2008). But I’m hungover the same way I was after visiting LA to shoot HBO Lab’s “Hooking Up” and “The Retarded Policeman.”

Here are a few of the photos wifeofnalts took while I was busy gathering video footage. We also summed up our favorite moments in the video below. Jo (wifeofnalts) was rather smitten for Bo Burnham and Chad Hurley (YouTube’s founder). 

San Francisco was unbelievable. It was the first flight my wife and I have taken alone in a decade (before we had our four children). We visited my sister in NAPA, and she joined us at the event to cover it for ABC’s Good Morning America. 

It was great to see YouTube friends, and watch the performances. Now back to the day job! Thanks, Jan, for  the reminder that I’ve neglected our sweet lil’ WVFF tribe. Met fellow tribemate Peter Coffin, who I had the pleasure of hanging with, until they drove us into separate seating areas like cattle. 🙂


YouTube Announces New Toll-Free Support Line: 1-800-Eat-Shit

I’ve long accepted that YouTube doesn’t do technical support, and that technical glitches may exist for extensive periods. It’s virtually a monopoly here, folks. What do you expect?

You expect a messaging system with a terrible user experience, you expect your last video’s thumbnail to override your profile picture. You expect the video to upload when it feels like it… or not upload at all. It really just depends on the mood.

So I find it rather fascinating that Information Week’s Google blog tears YouTube a new asshole in this post. Well maybe I’m being dramatic, but I felt like cursing in the post to support the PG-13 title.

Eric Zeman writes that yesterday’s YouTube blog post can be summarized as “check every other resource possible before attempting to reach out to us.”

Common, Eric. Think about the Discipline of Market Leaders. Google is about product excellence not operational efficiency and customer service. And it’s free. So if the product is cool, it cost nothing, and works the majority of the time… then we gotta “love the one we’re with.”

Or call the North American Live Technical Support (NALTS) hotline. Live video support for frustated YouTube users. Live support 24×7 and free!

Zombies are Coming. Stay Inside or Go for the Car?

interactive zombie movieIf you’ve watched a few horror movies, and screamed “don’t go outside to check things out, you idiot!” then you might find this short interactive zombie film worth some time. It’s got some gore, though. So I warned you.

It’s called Survive the Outbreak, and you’ll make choices almost every minute — each leaving you dead or alive. So it’s hard to watch passively, and you find yourself feeling far more stressed than watching Dawn of the Dead after 8 Miller Lights.

I find several things interesting about it:

  • It’s well produced. If you live long enough, you’ll see some cinematic beauties– like overturned cars lit with eerie lighting effects.
  • It truly branches constantly. Typically these things branch briefly, and then the paths return so the creators don’t have hundreds of options to shoot. This is why I tried to stay in the house, assuming that budget would require us indoors (not to mention that I liked my odds inside).
  • While some of the acting was B grade at best, the effects, music and cinematography was unexpectedly professional.
  • I’d like to see more of these, and especially appreciate that the plot was brief (at least the way I survived, which took only about 5 deaths and do-overs.

Coolest Interview JibJab Creators Have Ever Done

jibjab logo“People like to look at themselves,” JibJab co-creator Gregg Spiridellis told fans last night to explain the appeal of JibJab Sendables — one of just a few cash-makers for the company that spawned several of the most viral video animations ever. Gregg and his brother Evan said it the live show with fans was the “coolest interview” they’ve done (see 10-minute clip below).

Alan Lastufka, know on YouTube as fallofautumndistro, invited the NJ natives to interact with JibJab Junkies via live video on (a website helping some YouTube Cewebrities connect with fans and earn some additional cash through ads).

The Spiridellis brothers talked from the heart — not the marketing script — and dropped words like “nipple” and “banana hammock” as if we’re with them in their Freshman dorm. If you’ve ever marvelled at the JibJab cartoon musical satires, then you may find this unscripted format intriguing. The fourth wall is gone, and the brothers relax with the lack of lights, big cameras and nervous action from journalists, producers and production assistants.

On a continuum between meeting someone live and watching them on a late-night TV interview, the experience was an experience far closer to the former. The duo took random questions in a relaxed, bemused style unlike an edited TV package or even live television. We watch the awkward pauses between their sound bites, how they transition between each other, and the way they handle quirky questions with improvisational wit.

There’s a moment where they chuckle about their paultry earnings, and we get a peak into a playtful motive of their collaborations. And the event punctuates with them walking off camera and out the room, but not before inviting their “marketing guy” to speak to the audience (he doesn’t, but in fairness he does look like he’s younger than my Charlie).

The Spiridellis are now my second favorite brother duo. Above the Cohen brothers, but second, of course, to Nalts and his brother Chris [who I love even when I don’t return his calls… and from whom I stole the college nickname “Nalts”].

Gregg and Evan’s live appearance makes it hard to hide the fact that they are far more interested in the fun and humor of their satire than in capitalizing on it. They seem to work like crazy and love it, and you may not watch another JibJab without thinking back to this fascinating peak at the Spiridellis. While there are moments that drag and a few gratuitous plugs for JibJab, we experience insights into the spirit lurking behind the whimsical JibJab moments.

Do I sound like a fan gone rabid? Yeah, I am.

Robbery Victim to Post Live Hostage Video Via iPhone

Remember I predicted that we’d see live news via amateur cameras in 2007? Imagine the next bank robbery where you get to watch along? Maybe there will be an interactive chat so you can give the hostages survival suggestions, and tell them they suck and are gay.

Grant, I was a bit early on that bank robbery prediction, but that’s because I’m cursed with remarkable foresight. And now you can host live streaming video via your stupid iPhone (see Steve Garfield’s demo). So the next time you’re watching a newsworthy event break, just turn on that iPhone. And don’t forget the rubber band. And the Nokia N95. And be sure someone else is watching. Bring Steve Garfield along too. He’ll help you through the technology, and even give you ideas how to clean blood off the marked bills you swipe, cope with post-traumatic shock, and reduce the swelling on your gun-smacked head.

Hey, Garfield. Can you do a tutorial on how to get my stupid iTouch thing to raise its volume? You should have seen me driving home Friday desperately trying to figure out where Mac hid the volume control on that bastard. Googling via the Blackberry, and finding nothing. [Editorial Note: found the answer in Yahoo Answers, which is incredibly well optimized on Google. Great idea, Mac. Let’s make the volume look like a time bar for the track].

YouTube and Implications of Live Video

RedOrbit reports about YouTube’s plans for live video, but most of the discussion since this Sarah Meyers Pop17 scoop (see below) has centered on the implications to networks.

Says RedOrbit: Back in February, US video blogger and self-styled chronicler of online celebrity Sarah Meyers sidled up to the YouTube founder, Steve Chen, at a New York party and secured something of a scoop. When asked by Meyers when YouTube was going to launch live video streaming, Chen said this had been a long-held ambition and one that was about to be fulfilled with the backing of his company’s deep- pocketed new owner. “Live video is just something that we’ve always wanted to do, but we’ve never had the resources to do it correctly,” he said. “Now with Google, we hope to actually do it this year.”

jetsons_l.jpgSarah was focused more on the possibilities of iJustine and other “famous” first adopters of posting their lives live. Then the media turned its curiosity to live television shows appearing on YouTube, which seems to miss the point entirely (especially since we’re all moving to time-shifted television, and the “live” notion seems to be important only when the content is live, or so important we’ll need it to survive the morning’s water-cooler conversation. There’s an irony here, not unlike this image from the Jetsons. While we could envision flying cars, we couldn’t quite conceive that a TV set might get bigger and actually not need antennas.

If done correctly, live YouTube video can have some fairly significant impact on personal communication, and radically change the way we interact remotely (kinda like the telephone did).

Chronic YouTubers routinely meet on Stickam, a site that allows people to meet in “rooms” or conduct live video shows — where select viewers can appear via video while the rest can interact via chat and messaging.

old_phone.jpgAd-supported live video streams could bring videoconferencing to the mainstream. It seems like just yesterday that I used a device and 56K modem so I could show my grandmother in New Orleans our newborn child (who is now almost 10). Now imagine a quick video call to with your teenager, where you can see their surroundings and ensure they’re sober. Could text messaging be a relic? Will a phone call some day seem as archaic as calling an operator to be patched to a neighbor?

Do you know I was invited to that NYC YouTube event in February, and bailed because I got swamped at the day job? Man do I have my priorities wrong. I would have so stalked Chen.