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    Thursday, December 25, 2008

    The Daily Online VIdeo Fix: Merry Christmas

    Okay, a friend of mine from high-school and fellow eGuider, Nicole Snyder, turned me onto John Roberts' YouTube videos. When I started looking at some of his other very funny Jewish Mom impersonations, this one struck a chord for Christmas. This guy just nails this character. If you're not a kid from Long Island, Miami Beach or some other Jewish suburb, this may be a bit strange. But trust me, this kid brings up some funny and horrifying memories. Thank the good lord for overbearing moms and the comedy they have subsequently produced. As my mentor, David Milch, says - Storytelling is turning the pain of the past is the future tense of joy.

    Merry Christmas everyone. Have a piece of honey-baked ham for me!

    Tuesday, December 23, 2008

    The Daily Online VIdeo Fix: eGUIDERS.COM BETA IS LAUNCHING


    I am proud and honored to present my latest project: eGUIDERS.com. We have great people recommending great web videos. So, stop searching and start watching!

    Over the last year, I have been working with a talented team of designers, developers, reviewers, writers and online media junkies who have given their best to make sure we have a successful launch. Today we are one step closer with the beta version going live.

    Please take some time to check out the site, subscribe to the newsletter, watch some amazing videos and see what we're about. Please spread the word about the site to friends and family!

    Thanks to the team at Plank Design in Montreal for burning the midnight oil to get us up for the holidays. Shout out to CatalystSF for their strategy and support. Evangeline Morphos for her great ideas and super-sharp mind. Adam Klein for saying the right things at the right time. And a huge thank you for all the incredible eGuiders who worked diligently to make sure we are kicking things off on the right foot. But most of all, thanks to David Milch, who with his unwavering support and vision has helped make this all happen!

    So, what are you waiting for. Check out eGuiders.com and start spreading the word!

    Thanks,
    Marc Ostrick

    Thursday, December 18, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: YouTube HD

    Will this be the death of Vimeo?  YouTube just released their HD section with a super huge player.  

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Sarah Palin Turkey Fiasco



    Yes, the election may be over, but the fun continues.  I thought for Thanksgiving, I would add this video which became an instant classic as soon as it hit the internet.  Thanks to John Rota for sending this out last week as soon it came online. 

    My lord, what a PR nightmare.  No matter how many times I watch this, I can not help but to burst out laughing.  And I still have no idea what she is saying!   This video just works on so many levels.  It captures the drama of life and death, it is a classic comedy of errors, it exemplifies Palin's "blissful ignroance", it couldn't be more topical and ultimately reinforces why this cooky governor from Alaska is not ready for prime-time.

    This holiday, I will be giving thanks that John McCain and Sarah Palin where not elected into office.   

    Monday, November 24, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Nokia's Branded Bruce Lee Ad

    Amazing how dead people are coming back into fashion.  This time Bruce Lee is hawking digital cameras for Nokia.

    Gandhi, Hitchcock, Einstein and the rest really had no say if they felt like being plastered over the world to sell Macs.    That's because they were all dead.      

    While the ethics of using this kind of approach to advertising is debatable, it always helps when the content is kick-ass.  Check out this amazing ping-pong battle.    I am still scooping my jaw off the floor.  I haven't seen anything this effective since the ping-pong VFX from Forrest Gump.   I just hope the estate of Bruce Lee is happy pimping him out...  Enjoy!!!


    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Tech Crunch Post





    There was a great post that I wanted to share in today Tech Crunch blog.   I usually post videos, but I thought this article on what makes an online video popular, was too fascinating too keep to myself.    I hope you enjoy and please let me know your thoughts!

    READ THE POST HERE.

    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Casanovas Web Seies

    Casanovas at first glance seems like your typical web series aimed at young males in search of no strings attached sex.  But Casey Casseday and Geoff Bunch's series quickly shakes off this stigma by having good performances, decent production value and most of all a sharp script.     You almost wish that the episodes were serialized a bit more so we can dig deeper with the characters.  At the moment, it feels more like really good scenes.  But hey, I'll take it.   I thought the episode below was really funny and well delivered.  I'm just waiting for the women to strike back and knock some respect into these galavanting man-whores.



    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Future Shorts, Black Hole

    British filmmakers Phil Samson and Olly Williams’s surrealist short, THE BLACK HOLE, is one of those great universal tales about greed.   I don't want to spoil the hook, but the precise execution of tone, pacing and production is nearly flawless.  Another intriguing aspect of THE BLACK HOLE, is that the short uses no dialogue.  Therefore, it is can be easily understood by anyone who watches regardless of what language they speak - talk about a virally charged. This short is ready to infect the web.  I wouldn't be surprised if this hit 2 million views in the next week (it is up to 450,000 now).

    So, sit back, relax and enjoy!


    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    the Daily Online Video Fix: VW Golf goes Viral


    Love this viral branded ad for the Golf VW.  It captures the imagination of a new generation through a classic film clip.  Ah, post-modernism at it's finest.  

    VW has been know for great ads and this is no exception.   CLICK HERE to check out some early Beetle print ads. 

    Check it out and let me know your thoughts.





    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: One last political laugh

    I am too anxious to write, but thought this latest political themed video was very funny, even if it was late in the game.  Hope you dig this Star Wars themed poke at the campaign.


    See more funny videos at Funny or Die

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: The Obama Special


    In case you didn't catch the Obama Special that aired last night on CBS, NBC, FOX, MSNBC, etc... YouTube is now showing the video in it's entirety. I've also posted the two segments I did as well.

    This video is especially close to my heart since Davis Guggenheim hired me to direct & produce two of the segments in the video. I worked on the Ohio senior-citizen couple and Ford family segments. Please check out the video and make sure you vote on Nov 4th!





    Juanita & Larry Stuart from Marc Ostrick on Vimeo.


    Mark Dowell Family from Marc Ostrick on Vimeo.

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Strike.tv's House Poor

    Strike.tv just launched about 10 original online web series.  Some have real potential.  I just finished watching Mindy Kaling's HOUSE POOR.   I thought the concept is simple, but engaging and the cast of characters were excellent.   The best part about the series however is Mindy and her brand of offensive humor.   The other great aspect of the site is how they organized and displayed the cast and crew credits as well as the overall design and navigation.   Check out the site to catch the other series that have just launched.

    Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: More Halloween Fun

    Halloween is just around the corner and I thought I'd add a few of my favorite original online videos that pay tribute to our pagan holiday.  

    First up is College Humor's take on those cheap local commercials that made people like Crazy Eddie famous.  They nail the tone of these so-awful-their-awesome spots.  Great performance from Nick.  

    Next up is a video that would make David Lynch proud.  This is the strangest, scariest political web video yet.   I won't go into details, you'll have to watch for yourself.

    Enjoy!



    Monday, October 27, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Small and Creepy

    In honor of Halloween this week, I wanted to share one of my favorite scary websites with you.

    SMALL AND CREEPY is a truly horrifying space to visit.   The website was created in part by my friend Peter Lebow, who was one of the founders of Instant Films.   I highly recommend checking out this site. It is a great example of what happens when you get some very creative and talented people together who are not restricted by studios or committees.  There is a real blend of quality design and content and it really feels like you are in a haunted environment.   I had a to take a cold shower after being on the site for a few minutes.  

    Check out who is also behind this really creepy site.  I think you'll be surprised.    

    I am also adding an example of an episode from their epic horror web series, THE HILLS ARE ALIVE.    


    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Ron Howard on Funny Or Die

    My close buddy Ezra Soiferman just turned me onto this video. It has only been up for a day but it is already a classic in my book. If you're like me, whenever I see Ron Howard today, I still can only see Richie Cunningham and Opie. It's hard to see him as the aging, bald director he has become over the last 30 years. That's what makes this web video so powerful. He actually goes where back in time to the most fondly remembered shows in TV history - All in the name of keeping our great democracy strong. You know this election is important when Ron Howard, Henry Winkler and Andy Griffith decide to take a trip back to their past characters for this first time in decades. What a treat.

    See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Sarah Palin on SNL

    Finally, NBC is starting to get the idea of web video.   Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Now you can finally take the embed code and share their comedy gold with others, while SNL still reaps the benefits of having their hit count skyrocket.  I don't know who finally got this going, but they should get a promotion.  And congrats on the quick turnaround.  

    Friday, October 17, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: WB.com's Childrens' Hospital

    Looks like WB.com is diving head first into some very funny waters.   Check out this preview for their upcoming web series, Childrens' Hospital.   I found it hysterical.   This is the type of original content that I am hoping will soon flood the internet.   Great production value, good actors and packed with attitude.   I'm sure the series will offend some, but comedy isn't a pretty business. Rob Corddry (Daily Show) is the creator of the show and it looks like it may be a big big hit.   

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Studio Visit

    Here are some additional webisodes from my series STUDIO VISIT.  The series was originally created in 1999 for Eveo.com.   These videos represent one of the first web series created and explores the creative process of emerging artists working in NYC.    Eveo.com was a predecessor to YouTube.  These videos were to seed the site for launch so viewers could see what kind of stuff they should be making and uploading to the site.  It's unfortunate that Eveo.com was ahead of its time.  People didn't have broadband and the streaming was painfully slow.   The result was the internet bubble bursting in 2000.   

    So, hope you enjoy this bit on online video history. Enjoy and please share your thoughts. 















    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: The Genius Of PES


    I was thinking about my last post and was wondering what other online videos are on the internet that pay homage to games of our youth. Then I remembered the brilliant stop-motion animation short from PES called GAME OVER. To the side, is a still image from the short where we see the classic FROGGER in action.  CLICK HERE to check out this video that gives viewers a chance to relive those agonizing moments when the game was finally over.  It's not nostalgia that puts a smile on your face, but the playful ideas and blissful imagination behind the video that go into recreating these moments.  

    Check out his website to see the outrageous ROOF SEX.  But beware, this hot video is NSFW.   

    Below are a couple of my favorite PES shorts.   They are so sweet and delicious you just want to eat more and more and more - which is why I think artist known as Pes has chosen the perfect name.   Enjoy!!!




    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    The Daily Online VIdeo Fix: Mario Brother Parodies

    Since Donkey Kong's inception over 25 years ago, American pop culture has been fascinated with Mario, the hero character from the Nintendo's addictive video game. Soon after the success of DK, Mario was given his own adventure, starring Mario the plumber and his brother Luigi. CLICK HERE to get the full history of Mario Brothers according to Wikipedia

    There has been a ton of merchandising, spin-offs and other schlock out there that has furthered the Mario Brothers legacy, but in terms of original online video I think the two videos below are great examples of quality content that have stuck a chord with audiences. Both videos are very different, but each are successful in their own way.

    "Mario: Game Over" by POYKPAC was nominated for Best Comedy Video of 2007 in the Youtube Awards. The talented comedy troop had racked up an impressive 9,600,000 views and was originally posted in May 2007. Writer/Director Ryan Hunter does a great job with the cast. The down-home effects add to the charm of this indie production as well. I love that these guys just went out and made this on their own. No branding, sponsors, etc., just some good old fashion talent and determination.

    On the other side of the spectrum comes Seth McFarline's short, which is part of his new original online series CAVALCADE. The series are a bunch of humorous shorts that are made for those with severe ADD. The pieces are quick, funny and have that McFarline flair. In case you have been living under a rock, Seth MacFarlane is the creator of Family Guy and American Dad. This online venture is sponsored by Burger King, which I think is a very smart move for the burger flipping giant. This Mario video has reached 6,100,000 people in one month. My only issue with the video is I wish it was longer.

    Nintendo, thanks for giving us Mario. Hopefully, someone will soon make a few online videos with Activision's PITFALL hero. That guy was nuts, too!




    Thursday, October 9, 2008

    The Daily Online VIdeo Fix: Barack Video

    The Obama campaign couldn't of hoped for such a sweet tune to get people hooked on his message of hope and unity. This video by MC Yogi just nails Barack's central themes of his campaign and skillfully weaves imagery and logos into the fabric of this great video. Check it but don't wreck it, yo!

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    The Daily Online VIdeo Fix: Dove & Dove Responses

    I wanted to share some of my favorite original online videos with you. Dove's incredible video campaign to help spread themes of self-confidence, inner-beauty and empowerment to girls and women were truly powerful. The videos were professional, poignant and cut to the core of how images from the media can be damaging to women and girls everywhere. I also thought this is the type of content that is defining what makes this medium unique. Please visit DOVE'S SITE to get the full impact of their endeavors. It is nice to see a company try to do some good in the world.

    Then when I started to dig a little deeper, I found two films that were a response to a couple of the Dove films.

    The first, a comedy, mocks the do-good nature of the Evolution short by going in the opposite direction. Let's show a decent looking guy becoming an obese pig. It's funny how on-target the video is with aping the tone and style of the original. A pure parody.

    The second, a video created by Greenpeace, points the finger back at Dove for their forestry practices for collecting palm oil, one of the main ingredients in Dove Soap. It is an equally alarming and scary film. It definitely creates an emotional impact and makes you think about issues facing branded entertainment.

    Unfortunately, this content can be a double-edged sword. It begs the question - When does entertainment begin to become propaganda? As videos try to appeal to media-savvy audiences, what kind of techniques are being used to win fans? What are the motives behind some of these videos?

    I think the motivation to make the Dove's videos were honest, but we will never know if the endeavor was more public relations than good corporate citizenship... Maybe it's a mix of both. I'm just glad they were made and it inspired such feedback in the online video community.







    Monday, October 6, 2008

    The Daily Online VIdeo Fix: McCain and the Keating 5

    With the stock market down 370 points (it was almost 800 points a few hours ago) I thought this short documentary from the Obama campaign would be insightful.  It's well done and really hits McCain in his economic nuts.    Please watch to get a sense of some of McCain's past history with the economy. 

    There are also a ton of books on the subject.  CLICK HERE to see the list on Amazon.  Maybe one of these days we will be able to learn from our past mistakes. 

    Friday, October 3, 2008

    The Daily Online VIdeo Fix: Lexus's L/Studio

    It's nice to see that certain branded entertainment is being targeted to an older, affluent, educated audience.  I was starting to think that only slick, porn parodies and renegade surfer viral ads were populating the Internet.

    L/Studio, Lexus's online video channel, was created to share culture, entertainment and design. Below are a few examples of some of the programming that I thought was compelling to share.

    All the content is well produced and very professional.    

    WEB THERAPY is a comedy series starring Lisa Kudrow from Friends fame.  She is a self-absorbed shrink who's short sessions take place over web cameras.   I thought they were funny for those who like there humor on the dry and dark side.  Don Roos an industry vet, co-wrote with Lisa Kudrow and directed the series.

    PUPPY LOVE is a trailer for an upcoming series about, you guessed it, puppies.   Looks cute for those who love small, fuzzy animals.  

    And finally, my favorite, is a clip of Ray Manzarek, keyboardist from The Doors, giving us a little "Light My Fire" on solo organ.  This is one of three clips.  Very cool.

    After watching, did I feel like buying a Lexus?  Not really.  But my respect for the car company went up a few notches.  And it did reinforce for me that their brand is associated with hi-quality, original products that push the norm.    Lexus should feel good about their effort with L/Studio.  Now, I just hope they get the eyeballs to justify creating more content.




    The Daily Online Video Fix: Spider On Drugs, A Classic

    The description line of the YouTube video reads, "In 1965 Dr. Peter Witt gave drugs to spiders and observed their effects on web building. This short film about the results of the experiment was created by First Church Of Christ, Filmmaker."

    I almost wish that the second sentence was not there, because it would have left so many people wondering if this was really an old clip from one of those educational nature shows (at first)...  The voice-over is perfect, the props and shooting style is brilliant.   They pacing of the jokes is also very well planned. It's not until we get the restraining order, the hammock, the crack pipe that this video goes into comedy genius.  As always, success is in the details.   

    To date, the video has over 16 million views.   I am hoping the filmmaker, First Church of Christ, makes a follow up.  This is too good for just a one hit wonder.



    Thursday, October 2, 2008

    The Daily Online VIdeo Fix: Jesus Is My Friend

    In honor of Sarah Palin and the global economic crisis, I thought this online video - Jesus Is My Friend by Sonseed - is a perfect pick-me-up. The song is catchy, the message is pure and it really puts a smile on your face. It reminds me of some of the early tongue-and-cheek songs by Ray Davies and The Kinks.

    With over 850,000 views on YouTube, this is surely to become a classic video in no time.

    I hope Sonseed gets back together for a few more toe-tappin', faith-based tunes to turn all those frowns upside down.

    Paul Cibis, another fan of this video, had this to say about Jesus Is My Friend -

    When life gets you down and you find yourself in a panic about the economay collapsing, terrorism on the rise abroad, and hurricanes destroying our coasts, where is the one place you can always turn to bring peace and joy to your heart? 1980's public access white people playing Christian ska music!!! Everything about this video from the music, to the clothes, to the film stock is so uncool that it laps itself and becomes freaking awesome.

    Well said for sure. Hope you dig the vibe!



    Wednesday, October 1, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Web Series, LOCKOUT

    As promised, I wanted to share with you a bunch of webisodes from my documentary series LOCKOUT.  These videos were originally produced and licensed  to Eveo.com in 1999 during the first Internet boom.    They were intended to have a guerilla filmmaking style to inspire other video enthusiasts to submit videos.    The site was basically YouTube before there was a YouTube. I was one of the few people that were paid to seed the site with content for their launch.  Unfortunately, most people in 1999 did not have broadband connections and the streaming time was very slow.  Hence the dot-com crash of  2001.

    The series focuses on the creative process of breaking bands in New York and Los Angeles.  I am posting these videos as a way to get a sense of what was being produced back then and how original content for the Internet created its own form.   

    I feel the greatest success of this series was capturing the energy and passion of those individuals I was documenting.   It's up close and personal.     Out of the handful of artists I featured, Linkin Park by far was the greatest success.  That year they released their debut album and became the biggest selling act of the year (see the videos in my previous post about the series).

    Below are the additional video clips from the series.  I hope you dig them and feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts. 











    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: A Shot of Jewish Humor For The New Year!


    Happy Rosh Hashanah!   I thought it would be appropriate to share a couple of memorable online videos that relate to the new year of 5679.

    PHONE ATONE is a new comedy that ties in the current race to the white house, while HAPPY ROSH HASHANAH is a hip-hop animation that is meant to get you grooving to temple.  

    Both videos were produced by BIRTH-RIGHT, a Jewish organization that funds educational trips to Israel for teenagers and young adults, free of charge.   I think these videos serve as an excellent strategy to get young people interested in Jewish traditions in a fun, modern context that is relatable.   It also shows how original online entertainment can target specific audiences and succeed.   HAPPY ROSH HASHANAH (made in 2006) has over 150,000 views, while PHONE ATONE has over 730,000 views.   

    Check out these videos and let me know your thoughts!

    Shalom...




    Monday, September 29, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Barely Political's Nadar & Obama Girl

    I'm not going to say much about this video except that I think this show could be bigger than ALL IN THE FAMILY.  If you are following the viral political videos this election season, you will love this video.  Barely Political knocks it out of the park with this one!  Mazel-Tov!


    The Daily Online VIdeo Fix: Zeitgiest, Federal Reserve

    I thought the last post may have been a little too flip about the economic disaster facing our country at the moment, so I wanted to post a more sobering online video that may shed some light on one of the most mysterious institutions - The Federal Reserve. I think this clip from the film Zeitgeist does a great job of giving us a background on hot the reserve was formed and how it operates. Even though this film is labeled a conspiracy film, I think it holds a lot of valuable information. The word conspiracy is sometimes used to marginalize the truth and make people think that this type of content is fiction. Sometimes, I wish it was so... As Americans, this is a very rough time and I hope this video can help give us a little understanding of the forces that shape and drive this nation.

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Diesel Viral Ad Goes Nuts

    With the stock market collapsing and people losing everything, I thought this video may inject some much needed escapism into the day.

    Diesel's viral marketing campaign created this shock video. At first glance, it's brilliant, funny and down-right nutty.

    The only problem is that it's rip off of Prono Tapados, a publication of 2006 by Paloma Blanco. Hate to be the buzz-kill, but want to keep it real.

    Nevertheless, it's still a great example of a creative, edgy video being produced by a big clothing company, even if the idea was stolen from a spanish print ad.


    http://view.break.com/577249 - Watch more free videos




    Saturday, September 27, 2008

    Paul Newman: We Will Miss You


    Today, at 83, we lost Mr. Newman to cancer.  His legacy will be remembered forever.  His career spanned over six decades and I think he was one of America's greatest actors and humanitarians.  

    Thank you for giving us so much.

    Below is a short clip from Iconoclasts in 2007, that brings Redford and Newman back together.
      


    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: So Bad It's Amazing

    I wanted to share a couple of videos that could be filed under the category - So Bad It's Amazing.

    First up is Jonah Sky's "That's What Friends Are For".  It's a piece of classic inadvertent Jewish humor.   The VHS tape of Seth's Bar-Mitzvah was found at Jonah's grandmother's house (she is in the blue/green dress).   I'm not sure if the whole family is tone deaf or everyone is just loaded on Manischewitz and Xanax.   You be the judge.    And if you think I am just some eccentric video junkie who's overdosed on too much online content, there are over 240,000 other video addicts who experimented with the addictive new comedy sub-genre of So Bad It's Amazing.

    Next up, is "Who Needs A Movie?", a video that now has over 850,000 views.  John Waters would be proud.  This takes the So Bad It's Amazing sub-genre to another level.   A combination of low-rent graphics and a performance that would make Steven Wright seem jovial, sends this promo video into the comedy stratosphere.   It may almost be worth it to hire these guys just to make sure their "signature voice" gets heard by millions.   I'd love to see some of their finished wedding or business promo videos.  If their clients didn't have a sense of humor, they may have blow their brains out.   Hopefully, no one got hurt and they will be uploaded soon for the world to enjoy!  



    The Daily Online Video Fix: Dr. Horrible's Sing Along

    This is going to be the future of online content. Professional, dynamic and originally web-centric. Love the pacing, performances, lighting and overall production value. It's evident that Joss Whedon really gets what makes the medium work. Hulu's site really is also easy on the eyes. The player is elegant and clean. This is a short blog entry since it is Friday, the debate is on and it's time to step away from computer. I repeat, step away from the computer. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    The Daily Online VIdeo Fix: A Viral Classic


    Not sure if you have seen this viral ad, but it has always been a favorite of mine. I remember watching it for the first time and thinking "This is not for real. Or maybe it is...Damn, that was cool!". Quicksilver really knows their audience. Any kid or young adult watching was probably also impressed. They subconsciously tapped into our bad-boy, coolest kid on the block attitude. It doesn't even matter if we really are rebels or hipsters, because deep down we always want to feel like we are, even if others don't see us that way. I know I wanted to get a pair of board-shorts and blow something up after watching this... Okay, maybe I didn't want to get a pair of board-shorts.

    I hope we continue to see branded viral ads that continue to impress and keep us on our toes.



    Dynamite Surfing - video powered by Metacafe

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Studio Visit Webisodes

    As promised, here are a few more webisodes from the original online series STUDIO VISIT. The series reveals the creative process of visual artists.  These short documentaries first appeared on Eveo during the Internet revolution of 1999.  Check out my earlier post (Getting Hooked on New Media) for more info about the creation of this show.  Thanks!






    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: Coma on Crackle

    Yesterday evening I opened my new issue of Wired magazine and was surprised to find a DVD of COMA, Crackle's new online series directed by P.R. Brown.   Actually, what surprised me was that Sony (who owns Crackle.com) had the balls to promote original online programming in such a big way!  

    The show is banking that the star power of Michael Madsen and George Hamilton will drive eyeballs to the series.  The free DVD proves that the studio is committed to spend some major bucks on marketing their series on traditional media platforms, such as print.  I hope it works for them. It definitely got me curious.  I'm sure Fox and Disney's Stage 9 is watching closely to see if Coma is successful.   If so, I'm sure others will be stepping up to the plate soon with their own traditional marketing campaigns.  

    I guess the big question really is - how is the show?  My one line reaction on the first episode:  I thought it was huge on style, light on substance.   A lot of work went into this series and it shows. I just wish more time was spent on the story.    That's just my take.  I've included the first episode below so you can make up your own mind.  Enjoy!


    Friday, September 19, 2008

    The Daily Online Video Fix: 24:Conspiracy - The First Mobile Series


    One of the things I quickly learned once I started producing and directing after NYU, is that finding work is a mixture of talent, tenacity and luck (and not specifically in that order).   The other lesson is that good work always leads to more good work.

    In 2005, I was producing/directing/editing behind the scenes documentaries for DVDs.    These were mostly for feature films and TV shows.   I created material for Daredevil, The Shield, School Of Rock, The Commitments, The Harold Lloyd Box Set and many more.

    Another project I happen to be working on was the TV show 24.  I created a 90 minute documentary following the cast and crew as they created the season 2 finale.   We shot the documentary in the style of the TV show:  2 cameras (one wide and close, the other telephoto and roving), snap zooms, backlighting, split frames, same sound fx, etc...  

    The piece came together and everyone on the show really thought we did a good job.  At the same time, Fox had just made a deal with Verizon to create programming for their new 3G cell phones.  They wanted to create a spin-off of 24.  When the question came up to the producers of the show, "Who should we get to make the series?"  Everyone said, "Get the DVD guy.".  

    Being able to play in the fiction sandbox again was a great experience.   However, this whole endeavor was a big experiment.   We were not going to be using the cast members from the TV show.  Our budget was a fraction of the cost to produce one episode.   We were doing this non-union.  

    Now that a few years have past, I can look back and see the shortfalls.  The biggest problem was not having the cast.   I'm not sure why someone would want to pay to see unknown actors when they can watch Kiefer for free every week on Fox.  In this case, the rationale was that people would pay just to say they watch video on their phone (which was true at the time).   However, the novelty of the 3G technology would quickly fade.  Which leads to the next big issue.  Just because the technology is there, doesn't mean people really want to watch TV on their cell phones - unless there is something that is truly unique about the experiencing the content on a phone than any other medium.   This is one reason why the mobile content market has not caught on yet (especially for original programming).   No one is creating anything that NEEDS to be seen on a cell phone in order for an audience to get the full impact of the story. 

    But at the end of the day, I was really proud of the work. Fox execs and the 24 producers were also happy. I thought our episodes had the same style and tone of the TV show, great production value, action and pacing. And it's always great to say you were the first at something. In this case, 24: Conspiracy was the first series made specifically for mobile phone. That year, we were nominated for an Emmy award in the new category of new media programming.  

    Here are a couple of "mobisodes" from the series.  I hope you enjoy!


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