“Where’s the Little Girl?” and “Dancing Sheep” (funny videos)

If you like this first “Where’s the Girl” video below (“Save Miranda” by Zoochosis), you also may like the second wonderfully cute but edgy dancing-sheep-girl video titled “Thanks Smokey.” Good luck getting that hypnotic sheep-dancing song out of your head the next time you see an adorable animal… after you watch the Smokey clip, I recommend closing your eyes and listening to it. The audio engineering really adds more to the magic than you realize… a gust of wind, a bell, a jail cell door, sirens, and the repetitive pen tap. Brilliant.

On the production of "Thanks Smokey," a Zoochosis production

Check out Patrick Scott’director’s cut voiceover to get some really cool insights into the subtle aspects that make “Save Miranda” so fantastic. Here’s the NPR storyabout “turtle bridges” that so wonderfully sets up the protagonist, and bookmarks the comedy.

I can only hope that Scott/Zoochosis and The Station will collab. They’re both in Venice Beach, right?

Non-Boring SXSW Video!

Okay we’ve had our fair share of SXSW footage, but this one is darned entertaining. And I’m not just saying that because my adult hero is David Meerman Scott. Tim Washer provides a brilliant foil to the self-deprecating and faux-pomposity of Scott.

Oh sorry… not familiar with SXSW (South By Southwest)? 1999 called and it wants to revoke your license to use the Internet. And if you have heard of South by Southwest but haven’t attended, click here to see AlexBlagg’s “SkankJenk” tips for noobs to become “sout by southbests“.

This clip (and the Blagg tips on secret barbecues of Austin, self promotion bumping, and the importance of not sleeping and eating) bring the annual love-fest of “cool nerds” to life. Scott chronicles the “off the beaten path” aspects in short, comedic montages. I challenge you… no I DARE you to find more interesting coverage. Bring it.

Now let me just make one thing perfectly clear about the “alleged” batts of Austin’s bridge. I went to Austin. I watched for them for hours one night. Then the next night. On the third night I discovered the bat rumor is a cruel Internet hoax. There are no bats.

Credits for above video: Directed and edited by John Knowles
Shot by John Birdsong. Brought to you by the Roger Smith Hotel

Follow these peeps or live in shame:

Free Web Seminar: Online-Video Secrets from Steve Garfield

Steve Garfield,  the “Paul Revere of video blogging,” will join Pixability CEO Bettina Hein in a free 1-hour webinar on December 1, featuring latest trends in online video and related media. Topics include:

  • The benefits of marketing with online video
  • How to shoot video like a pro (recording, editing, exporting, etc)
  • How to build presence with video on the social web
  • How to increase views for your video

Garfield also is raffling off ten copies of “Get Seen: Online Video Secrets.” Space is limited, so register now for the free webinar, held December 1, 2010 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Garfield’s book is part of David M. Scott’s “New Rules of Social Media,” which also includes my book (Beyond Viral).

Phone-Driven Television Arrives

Ladies and gentlemen I present the future of The Boob Tube: we shift from our cable boxes and laptops to…

HDTV viewing driven by words you search via your exo-brain (you need to stop calling it a phone, or else it’s going to get a complex). Yes your phone is your remote, and your television is your monitor. It’s going to happen just a bit slower I’d like, but *BAM* before you know it… you’ll forget I predicted it today because it will be as common as your toaster and microwave (note the lack of a hybrid toasterwave). I’ll thank you, dear WVFF back-rower, for reminding me of my psychic abilities next year.

Mac had a shot with the omni-present iPhone and the affordable AppleTV, but kinda blew it. The AppleTV wasn’t poised as a companion device to the phone, and that was its tragic flaw. Likewise it’s all so damned exclusive. Now the Android plus GoogleTV? That’s a game changer, friends. Let those green little robots march into my heart.

Before we examine some bold interim solutions, let me be “authentic” and “transparent” and disclose my biases. We have a home full of Macs. Two desktops, three laptops, two iPhones, three iTouches, one iPad, two old-style AppleTVs and one new one. And that’s not counting the Mac Mini and older desktops that are taking up closet space. As my debt can attest, the Apple bastards have never given me a thing for free (so I try to conceal these toys in my videos where possible). But I theoretically want to see Mac win, and I’m not seeing it. Similarly I’m biased in favor of Google since I do make a non-trivial amount of income from YouTube advertising around the 4-6 million views I get monthly. But I’ll try to be impartial.

On the road to smartphone-driven television viewing:

  • Roku, TiVo, AppleTV… they got us partially there. But none of these devices harness the power of man’s best friend (after dogs): the “phone.”
  • Today one of the first Google Television products will be announced by Logitech. Junien Labrousse, Logitech’s Executive VP of Products, is holding an invite-only media event in NYC at 3:oo p.m., presumably to launch the highly anticipated Revue. Perhaps it will invite people to use their phones as a remote, but I doubt it.
  • Anything’s got to be better than Sony’s remote-controlled television. Ian Douglas, Gadget Guru for the UK’s Telegraph, aptly suggested it was designed blindfold, in the 1980s (screen shot below courtesy of Engadget). The gamer in your family may love this, but it’s no flying automobile.
The 1980s called. It wants its remote back.

You may be surprised that I’ve written precious little about Google TV… simply because until now it’s all been hype and imagination. But three things changed in the past weeks:

  1. Dean Gilbert, who worked on GoogleTV, is now heading YouTube’s content partnerships. He’s joined by Robert Kyncl, former VP of content acquisitions from Netflix. That, to me, suggests that Google is poising to position YouTube on the new platform.
  2. We mean no harm to your planet.

    Newsweek ran a Grisham-like story about how Android is leapfrogging iPhone on the “next big screen” we call smart phones. It’s an interesting article to read, even if you didn’t just watch the fascinatingly depressing “The Social Network” movie. Where there are lawsuits, there’s game-changing innovation… and Newsweek documents the mad rush of lawyers chasing this disruptive market changer.

  3. Finally, we’re getting a taste of the toys. Sony will certainly claim its role, and Logitech may sell a mess of boxes… like Roku or TiVo. Of course the toys aren’t nearly as important as the BIG change.

Friends, GoogleTV plus Android equals comfortable viewing of searchable content, not from overpriced remotes, but… the smart phone you wear like a wrist watch in the 1970s.

Take the brief GoogleTV tour and imagine how your television interface will change, where you’re no longer a prisoner of the horrendously archaic cable-TV boxes brought to you by lazy monopolies like Verizon Fios and Comcast. Man I just want to give a crotch shot to the entire cable industry separating studios/networks and my television set. You’ll see that the Dish Network will have a distinct advantage as this model spreads, and our relationship with the television will fundamentally change.

Have a look at Logitech’s non-viral, viral video, featuring a television set with an eye, two feet, and a desperation to be relevant again. Video consumption will shift back to the biggest monitor in the house (that $2000 HDTV collecting dust), and the device powering it won’t be a laptop… they’re too clunky and hot, even if they’re far harder to lose than the chewed-up remote control.

I knew my “future of online video” chapter of Beyond Viral (Wiley) would have a limited shelf life. Here’s what you can expect in the next 6-18 months.

  1. Short-Term Adoption Minimal: Near-term purchases of GoogleTV devices will be minimal, as the “unwashed masses” would use a TRS-80 with their televisions if their cable provider told them that’s what they get. I’d like to say THIS is the Christmas season where web-TV becomes mainstream like those magical moments of precious technology adoption… CD players, DVD players, GPS devices. But I’m tired of being over zealous on that prediction like I did in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
  2. I proclaim 2011 the “Year of Smart Phones Marrying TV Sets.” Later in 2011 we’ll cross the… oh I hate using the term… “tipping point,” where consumers will want to drive their giant monitors (television sets) using their “exo-brains” (Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams), also called “smart phones.” Since the cable providers will sleep through this era like Blackberry snoozed the “smart phone” alarm clock, this will favor pairs of devices: iPad and AppleTV, Android phone and GoogleTV. I’m betting on the latter, and we’ll see Mac getting Microsofted and Microsoft buying anything that offers it a shortcut back to relevance. This TV/smart phone revolution should be especially interesting when we see “dueling banjos of remote controls” — between teenagers and their parents. Sure some will prefer to enjoy the tablet as a giant remote, but the kids have it occupied playing Angry Birds and Zombies versus Plants. Besides, it’s all covered with jam and peanut butter.
  3. Search will drive views… people won’t passively roam stations, getting stuck on “forebrain freezing” infomercials. Instead they’ll type the names of shows, actors, and even obscure strings of words like “knife, annoying, orange.” Where we once surfed stations, we’ll now search shows, actors and words… and remain mostly indifferent to where, when and how they appear. Sit with that thought for a moment… it’s kinda revolutionary.
  4. Even while search drives views, screen real estate will continue to influence us. Just as those “related videos” cause us to wonder into an online-video binge on YouTube…  what GoogleTV does to serve related content will, in effect, possess us with a stronger hold than any television show or network. We may start our “television binge” with one intent, but the surrounding real estate will suck us into that comma-induced trance we love about today’s television.
  5. So… the more things change, the more they will stay the same. Still I’m going to bet that search-enabled consumers will democratize television. This gives independent content creators (especially those with existing audiences) a distinct advantage… at least until the big guys adapt to the medium.

Note: Added Oct. 7, 2010. Bobjenz predicted tablet/television combo on a guest post last year (see his post). When he pointed that out, I playfully edited his comment, which he didn’t find funny. Sorry, Bob. Note that Bobjenz also points out in that guest post the importance of regular uploads, which is perhaps my biggest and most tragic lapse over the past year.

Ridley Scott Creates User-Generated Documentary (Life in a Day)

Life in a Day
Life in a Day Will Star... You

On July 24 individuals from across the globe will be videotaping moments from their day, and submitting for potential inclusion in a film produced by Ridley Scott (see his explanation video).

“Life in a Day” may be the first crowd-sourced film, and will be directed by Kevin Macdonald (see the film’s YouTube channel, “LifeInADay” for more details). YouTube asked me to make a video to announce the film and encourage individuals to participate, and Waffle Bear joined me on this cheesy promotion (see video below).

Are you going to participate?

See this piece in the Baltimore Sun, as writer Gus Sentementes poses the question, “How can the filmmakers be sure that the footage that’s getting uploaded was actually shot on July 24th?”

Oh, Gus. It’s consumer-generated content. How can they be sure the people are real, the releases have been signed, and the footage isn’t a copyright infringement? Don’t sweat the small stuff, Gus.

You’ll have to wait until Sundance in 2011 to see the film (see thorough coverage on WSJ). That’s plenty of time for sifting through thousands of hours of awkward footage, editing, and for the more labor-intensive work of verifying copyrights.

How to Win a Contest (Case Study)

ZackScott, one of my favorite fearless video creators, returns for a guest blog post about winning a recent Xlntads ProQuo contest (disclaimer: Zack and I both contribute to Xlntads as members of a “creative advisor board, and he wins contests while I think about them). Zack told me yesterday, “I’m hoping people think I’m such an asshole when they read it.” See article below, and then click “more” to read some of the techniques Zack deployed.

Zack Scott has a big headHey party people. It’s the Zack Scott again. If you keep up with XLNTads, you might know that I recently won one of the ten prizes for the ProQuo contest that recently ended. I can’t take all of the credit though. My friend Samuel Seide and I both worked hard on putting together a cool video titled “Sick Mailbox.” I’ve decided to write this guest post so that I can give you a behind-the-scenes look at making the video.

I don’t know the exact reasons why our video was a winner, but hopefully analyzing the creative process will provide some insight. Maybe you’ll even find some of this information helpful when it comes to making your own videos. The main requirement of the contest was for the video to be funny while pointing out that ProQuo can help stop physical junk mail.

So my main goal was simply to make a funny video and then worry about how to squeeze the message in later.

proquo mailbox parodySamuel and I initially conceived a talking mailbox that vents its personal frustrations about junk mail. It didn’t really sound like a winning formula on its own, but we figured we could make it really cheesy and go for the “it’s funny because it’s so lame” type of humor. We then decided the mailbox should be sick of junk mail. Literally. And then we’d give him medicine. This turned out to be a great idea because the medicine could be ProQuo! Then the compact florescent light bulbs in our heads lit up, and we decided to do a spoof of those corny pharmaceutical commercials. I think we got a little mercury poisoning. When you see the video, it’s obvious that it is a pharmaceutical commercial spoof. But it may be interesting to know that we didn’t start working and scripting with that in mind. In fact, if I were watching the video for the first time, I would think the talking mailbox was a result of the pharmaceutical concept, not the other way around. I ended up being really pleased with what we did because it all fell together quite nicely. The pharmaceutical concept gave us a great template for a lot of different types of humor. I’m not sure how original it is to portray a product as something else entirely, but it did give us some creative leeway. If you haven’t watched the video yet, watch it now to avoid the spoilers below! 

Note: To read Zack’s techniques, click “more” below.

Continue reading “How to Win a Contest (Case Study)”

Who Created Nintendo’s Mario: Legitimizing Via Video

Guest blog post by Zack Scott.

otto’s dadAs your popularity on YouTube or other video sites climbs, you’ll notice that more people want to talk to you. This is something you will have to deal with, and how you deal with it can have a drastic effect on both you and your fans (or haters). For example, I try to respond to every message I get. I do this because I feel if someone takes his or her time to send me a personal message, then it is well worth my time to reply. And why not? Is my time so important that I can’t take a few minutes out of my day just to potentially make someone else happy that I responded? Of course not.

zack scott as marioBut I must admit it was a little weird to get a message from someone named Arden Lawrence who claimed to be the original creator of Nintendo’s Mario. I got it right after I made my Amazing Nintendo Facts video.  A lot of things went through my mind. It seemed like it could be a prank or a scam, but could there be some shred of truth behind it? I Googled him, and sure enough, he had made some posts on some Internet sites a few years ago. So I wrote back asking for more details.

My response was due to my sense of duty to help people when they reach out. He didn’t ask for anything except for advice. I basically told him that although I don’t fully believe him, I’m in no position to call him a liar. I said that if he wants his story to be taken seriously though, he has to put a face behind his words.

original mario creator?I had no legal advice to give him, but I did give him the best advice I could. And he took it. Several days ago he posted this video on YouTube, and he’s willing to answer any questions anyone has. Sure, this might be an elaborate prank or scam. Afterall, he has no real tangible evidence. But assuming what he says is true, then why wouldn’t someone turn to YouTube to get his story out? Maybe he should be given the benefit of the doubt. If he’s lying, then people will expose that in due time. But if he’s telling the truth, then maybe this will be the start of something fun?