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Entries in Media (30)


New Media - What YouTubers Can Teach Us about Getting Noticed #atozchallenge #IndieFilm

TIPSYBARTENDER host Skyy John partying with singer Jessica Tovar, Alphacat, King Bach and other YouTubers at Vidcon, an online video conference. It's so easy to produce content these days that I believe filmmakers can stand to learn a thing or two from YouTubers and other media makers (Vine stars, Netflix, etc.) who are building audiences, getting paid and gaining a high profile within the entertainment business.

In addition to fielding offers for production deals and landing representation at the top talent agencies, many of them have also expanded their brands into self-supporting business ventures, complete with merchandising and offline gigs. The fruits of their labor, however, didn’t just show up on their doorstep overnight. Online mediamakers are winning because they have something to show – today, right now. They are doing, not talking; Most importantly, they know how to use new media to their advantage – making changes and improving as they go while learning the ropes of whatever platform is working for them.

We still need not get it twisted -- the common perk of exposure that comes with utilizing online media could very well be the extent of a platform’s value in having an impact on one’s career. “More people view my art…my films and photos. That’s about it,” says Estevan Oriol, a notable photographer who also makes documentaries about subcultures in Los Angeles. When I welcomed this urban lifestyle entrepreneur to discuss some of the highlights of using new media, it became clear that YouTube is not attributed to his success as a director.

Lowrider scraping Photo by Estevan Oriol“Nobody’s ever said ‘Hey, I’ve seen your work on YouTube…would you be interested in doing this job for me?’ It depends on what kind of success you mean. Some people might think that having a million views on your YouTube channel is success. To some degree, it is, but to me success is a little bit more than that,” he says.

Oriol, who produces content for three shows on his "SANCTIONED TV" channel; including Skid Row Stories, Tattoo Stories and L.A. Woman, foresees having to find something else to do as his deal ends and YouTube, so far, hasn’t brought him any new clients. The uncertainty of cracking that online success code also hasn’t escaped Skyy John, host of the YouTube show "TIPSYBARTENDER." Having watched this Bahama-bred actor’s videos for some time, I was familiar with his channel long before even seeing him on the CBS show “COLD CASE.”

Despite having nearly 400,000 subscribers to "Tipsybartender" -- some of whom send gifts like high-end Tequila and a year’s supply of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and help him organize meet-ups in other countries, Skyy John doesn’t consider himself among the top media makers online. However, this former bartender who was once hospitalized following a machete accident while working on his show does find the medium to be beneficial for aspiring actors.

Skyy John's 'Rainbow Shots' episode with Emma is the most watched video on "TIPSYBARTENDER."A lot of people think that YouTube might hurt their acting career. I’ve been on YouTube for a while and when I began, most actors were under the assumption that YouTube is beneath them – but if you look at YouTube now, that’s where [casting directors, producers, studios, etc.] go to find talent.

For instance, King Bach is big on Vine; a lot of people do both. Vine and YouTube kinda go hand-in-hand. He created his whole thing online; the new Black chick on Saturday Night Live (Sasheer Zamata) was a YouTuber, so it's becoming that place to showcase your talent outside of the conventional methods.

Hollywood wouldn’t normally accept a dude like me [because of the way] I speak; I’m a naturalized American citizen but I wasn’t born here so I sound funny and that doesn’t always play well [in Hollywood]. Yeah, we have some dudes like Arnold Schwarzenegger [who make it big in the entertainment industry] but that’s rare.” – Skky John

Actor Robert Patrick ("TRUE BLOOD," "JUDGEMENT DAY" and "THE UNIT" | Photo by Estevan OriolEstevan Oriol agrees on the importance of artists being proactive in getting their work noticed. “Just put it out there on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and then you’ll get eyes on it, and then it’s up to the people and the work [to decide] whether anything comes out of it or not. There are people doing great art but they don’t have eyes on their work, so nothing comes out of it,” he says. Reinforcing Oriol’s advice, Skyy John lets it be known that showcasing your stuff on social media is not only vital to your chances of success but also hard work. In other words, just because you upload something doesn’t mean viewers or fans or money will come.

Showcase your stuff on social media; don’t think anything is beneath you and just keep working hard. You always gotta be on the grind 24/7 – being in entertainment is not like a nine-to-five job where you work a couple of hours and then go home; with us, you’re working around the clock,” says Skyy John.

New media has been good to many online personalities like Estevan Oriol and Skyy John because they are prolific -- always releasing new content, which is a huge factor in getting people to pay attention to one’s work. The formula is simple -- If I want to be a writer, I need to write often; If I want to be an illustrator, I need to practice drawing daily. My sketchbook should be active and if I want to make films, I need to be doing so on a consistent basis. The only way I see how to make filmmaking work for me is by following through on this very practice; using tools that can take me to the next level.

Do YOU think it's easier or harder to get Noticed, in this age of New Media?


Why is Netflix Punishing Customers who want DVDs?

Netflix, a subscription based DVD rental service that has been popular for many years (and probably one of the the reasons why Blockbuster retail stores are having such a hard time making money these days) has recently made changes that appear to alienate the company's most loyal customers.

In an attempt to influence customers who rent DVDs from them to move away from physical discs and embrace the company's instant video streaming service to watch movies, Netflix has not only removed the option for customers to add DVDs to their queue using streaming devices but the company has also changed their rental plans to favor a "Watch Instantly" service more than their DVD rental service.

Customer who still want to rent DVDs from Netflix will have to pay nearly twice as much as they did before the company decided to make a move over to streaming movies. Netflix isn't even the least bit concerned about their customer's interests. Instead, they want their customers to either get on this instant streaming bandwagon, or end up paying a higher price (Under Netflix's current movie rental plan, 1 DVDs out at a time costs $9.99 per month and 2 DVDs are priced at $14.99 and then it goes up from there while the instant streaming plan only costs $7.99 per month) to rent DVDs.

The company's actions show that Netflix does not care about their customers needs. They appear to only be concerned with riding the tide and making business decisions that are in the company's best interests. Netflix can still operate as a modern company and still be popular in their market without trying to abandon DVDs altogether, so why don't they even take that into consideration?

Trying to force customers to adapt to an instant streaming service may help Netflix make the transformation that they desire but will definitely cause many of their current customers to either stop renting movies altogether or move to one of many Netflix competitors including Blockbuster, iTunes, Amazon and Redbox.

Current Netflix customers have expressed their reaction to the new changes by simply professing "If they cancel DVDs in the mail, I'm canceling my service..." and hey, if a lot of customers feel this way, then Netflix may not be getting a lot of business within the next two years.....or at least they won't be getting them from the average person who is not a tech geek or get their entertainment exclusively through new gadgets and streaming devices.

After FCC just approved the Comcast merger with NBC Universal, now movie fans have to put up with this?!! Netflix used to be a fun and convenient way to be able to rent movies that people may have missed in theaters but now, just like Comcast, it seems that Netflix is only concerned with being in a position to make as much money as they can, even if it means ignoring the needs and interests of their customers.

Why should Netflix expect customers to use their instant streaming service exclusively and abandon DVDs when a large portion of their movie titles aren't even available to stream instantly?

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No More Celebrity Gossip: A 2010 New Year's Resolution

Happy New Year!

First things first, thanks to all of you who have continued to read this blog prior to and during 2009. My posting frequency was reduced and then stalled after being overwhelmed with work duties and illnesses. I welcome those of you who subscribe to or read the Madlab Post to join me in this New Year for some exciting posts on the schedule for 2010.

Secondly, I am starting this New Year off on the Madlab Post with an apology to actors Duane Martin and Tisha Campbell. Fans of the pair or those who read entertainment news, magazines and gossip columns are well aware of those huge 2007 rumors that were posted online regarding the married couple. As one of the bloggers who published a blog post about their so-called news at that time, I now apologize to both Duane Martin and Tisha Campbell for the contributions made on my part in the 2007 rumor and gossip frenzy about their relationship and Martin’s sexuality.

This posting is long overdue because there are too many celebrity gossip blogs online and I never intended for the Madlab Post to become one of them, even if just for one day. I may read the casual US Weekly magazine or webpage every now and then but generally am not a fan of celebrity gossip, especially when it involves the personal lives of other people. We are all imperfect human beings and I recently chose to stop procrastinating on writing this blog post after receiving a Black Planet notification about some drama between singer Beyoncé’s parents, Tina Knowles and Matthew Knowles.

I want to commend Raven-888 for asking why we should care about Beyonce’s father on a Hello Beautiful post that highlights the R&B star’s family drama. I tend to ask the “why should we care” question many times when reading about celebrities or watching one of those entertainment news TV shows. I did when the media started talking about Tiger Woods and when none of us went a day without being shown various aspects of that Chris Brown-Rhianna scandal. I should have asked the same question in 2007 when finding out about the Campbell-Martin situation that I later learned was false.

Moving forward, there are many exciting things planned for the Madlab Post blog which will not include celebrity gossip. With that said, I am defining celebrity gossip as personal rumors or news e.g. Alicia Keys and Swizz Beats, John and Kate Gosselin or Keyshia Cole stopping communication with her family. I will not be writing about who is sleeping with whom, who is divorcing whom, who is shopping where, who is wearing what or any related mess that you can find elsewhere on blogs that are all about celebrity scandals.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s define some news or rumors that I may write about although some may consider celebrity gossip as well. If a specific topic is related to business matters, I do not consider it to be gossip and will be fair game to discuss on the Madlab Post. Since this is a movie blog, expect posts that are related to films, actors and movie professionals who also work in television. This may include who declined what role, who fired whom, who got hired for what role, what company replaced who for who in what role, who walked off the studio lot in the middle of a scene or related news.

Those of you who are reading this blog are welcome to leave a comment here or contact me with any suggestions or requests for future posts on this blog. I wish you all a very happy and productive year in 2010!

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