Online-Video: One-Man-Band to Brat Pack


This week I officially joined Next New Networks as a content creator (not employee), and the above video is by the amazing Justin Johnson. Read the NNN blog for more, and check out Liz Shannon Miller’s NewTeeVee article on this news…This WVFF bloggedy post puts that decision into context, since the move was a non trivial one for me.

Upon the introduction of any new medium, the early notable talent are often independent, persistent and multi-taskers. The “one-man bands” who cracked radio, film and television first were charismatic (Lucille Ball, Charlie Chaplin, Jack Benny, Merv Griffen, Jack Paar), but also savvy at promoting themselves. Parenthetically, I’m not comparing myself to these folks, and I’m distinct from a lot of NNN shows in that I really don’t have a show. My 900 plus “Nalts” videos are far more random, and NNN hasn’t asked me to change that model (though I might).

Just like other mediums, online-video’s early players have been individuals who lacked agents, deep pockets and connections. But the early YouTuber solo acts (who still dominate the most-viewed and most-subscribed channels) cracked the code… which was less true for the better financed and higher-quality web shows, backed by networks, production companies or even advertising agencies.

In the past 9-18 months, we’ve seen that shift dramatically. Here are the trends that attracted me to a “rat pack” or “brat pack” model. By that, I mean a collection of individuals who collaborate to build something bigger then they could be individually.

7 Reasons I’m Joining a “Creators Club”

  1. Cross Pollination: YouTube’s most-subscribed channels remain individual acts. Most of the top creators have increased their audiences by appearing in each other’s videos, or forming collaboration channels. BarelyPolitical, one of the most successful Next New Networks shows, is among them. What started as Ben Relles’ Obama Girl has since brought attention to numerous shows, individuals and performers
  2. YouTube &  Beyond: Increasingly the convergence of television and web content will offer new distribution opportunities. I believe there’s strength in numbers. While YouTube was once able to maintain relationships with individual creators, that isn’t scalable. So an intermediary is important for both the “platform” (a term YouTube uses to describe itself) and individual creators. On television we call those “networks.”
  3. Following the Leaders: I’ve watched with curiosity what other individual creators are doing. Some fly solo. Others get “agents.” And still others decide to build informal collaboration channels… some that last and others that fade (7AwesomeWhatever series). I took special interest in HotForWords and BlameSocietyFilms signing with Next New Networks, as I have a lot of respect for those shows… both their style and tenacity. I’m a huge fan of the “auto-tune the news” Gregory Brothers (who go by the absurdly forgettable “Schmoyoho” on YouTube). Relles and NNN helped put them on the map, and they appeared just this week on NBC’s Today Show.
  4. Old and New Media: The companies that will manage the pending evolution of media will be those who have people who’ve managed previous transitions… but also the flexibility to depart from the past when it’s not applicable. NNN’s founder, Fred Seibert, was MTV’s first creative director and the producer of many of my children’s favorite television shows — from Fairy Odd Parents to Adventure Time With Finn and Jake. Meanwhile Ben Relles is the only other prolific video creator I know who also has a marketing background.
  5. East Coast: Many creators feel compelled to move west, where indeed most films and movies are grounded (not to mention software firms). I’m inclined to believe that in the next few years, there’s an advantage of staying closer to the likely source of income: Madison Avenue. Next New Networks is distinct, but even when compared to other players of “The New Establishment” (described in my book, Beyond Viral), it’s one of only a few based in NYC. Furthermore I’m close enough to the company and many of its creators to collaborate. Proximity is turning out to be more important than in 2004-2009.
  6. People: Ultimately people “sign” with networks, agents or employers more for the people than anything else. NNN has a good team with a bold mission, and it’s already turning out to be exciting to be part of something bigger than me. I’ve known Relles for years, and he wrote a chapter in my book. Seibert is a trip. Mark makes me shoot milk out my nose. Even Justin (who did my spotlight profile) taught me more in 2 days than I’ve learned in months.
  7. The Logo: Sorry. I’m superficial like that. NNN has the most bad-ass logo and outro. Sorry, Jim Louderback (revision3).
The little cartoon robot was one of my reasons. It's cute.

Today Show’s Viral Video Doesn’t Go Viral

Sure we like Mike Tompkins (YouTube’s pbpproductions). Sure his Dynamite a cappella remix was cool.

His appearance on yesterday’s NBC Today Show produced this, “Today Goes Viral.” While it’s one of the most-discussed videos in Canada (and we love our Canadian Tubers), it’s not exactly living up the the viral title at 15K views so far. But it is the #163rd most-viewed “News & Politics” video in Mexico today, so…

I recall when a media/journalism professor showed a newscaster’s coverage of a tricycle race, and pointed out how the reporter was making herself part of the story… by eventually riding one of the tricycles on camera. His lesson was to cover the news, not try to be part of it. Fortunately the Today show stays well safe of that criticism here.

Of course it’s nice to see Ann Curry get autotuned after hearing her in ImprovEverywhere singing without a safety net.

May I make a suggestion for a holiday YouTube/NBC collaboration?

On NBC Today Show… this morning. maybe.

Greetings boys, girls and willvideoforfooders!
I’m your substitute, I mean “GuestOfNalts (.)” today 🙂

As you know this self proclamied viral video genius, Kevin ‘Nalts’ Nalty, started talking to himself early on, as we see in several of his more delightful films: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, AND here!

WHEEW!

Kevin has developed a number of personalities, alter egos and of course clones over the years. This is me here in my pre-natal state along with my other clone brothers and sisters. And here is the first generation of a Nalts’ Clone. As you might have guessed he didn’t quite make it. Unfortunately, he was unable to grasp the finer points and magic of editing and fell into a very tragic incident involving a can, the local trash collector and the very large trash collector’s truck. Since, much progress has been made and as you can rightly read I am one of the current generation ‘CloneofNatls’. However, we do prefer being called ‘Spawnsof Nalts’. We have advanced far more than the initial copy, even though we still titter on lame.

As a copy and a real live SpawnofNalts it is my position to make sure that anything Nalts does or thinks when indisposed makes its way to the beautiful eyes of his darling readers, fans, lurkers and all the rest of you, ASAP!

Tomorrow (July 9), on NBC’s Today show in a segment called “Frustrated Fliers.” The interview was shot in NYC yesterday and prompted by “USAIR Sucks” and not “Crawling Through Airport.” See if you can spot the original Nalts at the airport. If not, enjoy these little vignettes to make up for the possibility of a brown out we predicted in NYC. If you missed it because you just couldn’t drag your lazy ass out of bed before 11am, you know who you are, and barring some possible genetic or technical malfunction, me and all the other SpawnsofNalts will try our best to accommodate Today the day after yesterday or sooner right here!

Oh, and bring a clothes pin!

Nalts at the airport Today!

Be glad smell-a-vision never took off!

END TRANSMISSION