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    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:'s House Poor 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.


    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:'s Childrens' Hospital

    Looks like 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   These videos represent one of the first web series created and explores the creative process of emerging artists working in NYC. 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 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 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.