Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Behind the Launch

If you are interested in social media, online video and web development, you probably know
It's an internet news blog founded by Pete Cashmore with a reported 50+ million monthly pageviews and over 20 million unique monthly visitors.

After reporting about new web series since 2005, Mashable decided to team up with some highly esteemed partners to produce at least one original web series. In April, Mashable’s SVP of Content & Executive Editor Adam Ostrow said the site would also start distributing programming from selected third-party content creators, including Leap Year, What's Trending, TechStars, The Valley Girl Show. 

The first original series Mashable released is called Behind the Launch, and was created and produced by Portal A (who online video watchers will know as the team behind White Collar Brawler). It is a documentary-style programme that lifts up the curtain covering tech and new media entrepreneurship in order to give viewers a look at the idiosyncrasies of the individuals running the industry’s latest and greatest machines.
The particular curtain lifted in Behind the Launch covered a company called Vungle which is a San Francisco-based company that purveys mobile video ads to promote apps. Just recently it was announced that Vungle had raised $2 million from big Silicon Valley and Alley names: Google Ventures, AOL Ventures, Crosslink Capital etc. It is definitely an interesting company and topic. Here is the first episode:

New three to four-minute episodes of Behind the Launch will air every Monday and Wednesday at 12PM Eastern on Mashable. If you’re into technology, new media, or starting your own business, you should definitely tune in today!

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Webby Awards 2012

A week ago the best of the internet was celebrated in New York. The Webby Awards is the Internet's most respected symbol of success. Past winners have been included industry leaders such as Twitter, Google, iTunes, BBC News, The New York Times, Funny or Die, Wikipedia....

The 16th Annual Webby Awards received nearly 10,000 entries from all 50 states and over 60 countries worldwide. Webby Awards are awarded in over 100 categories. The winners are selected for recognition based on excellence in the following criteria:
  • Websites & Mobile: Content, Structure and Navigation, Visual Design, Functionality, Interactivity and Overall Experience
  •  Interactive Advertising: Creativity, Integration, Overall Experience
  •  Film & Video: Concept & Writing, Quality of Craft, Integration, Overall Experience 
Winners are chosen by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences which is a global organization of industry experts and technology innovaters, such as musician David Bowie, Internet co-inventor Vinton Cerf, Martha Stewart, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom, Arianna Huffington, Flickr cofounder Caterina Fake, R/GA chairman Bob Greenberg, "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening, and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. And the Webby People’s Voice Award, which is chosen by the public in an online voting system. A record 1.5 million people voted online this year.

Some of this year’s notable wins were Pinterest, Spotify and Google+, as well as Facebook, which beat out Twitter and YouTube in the category of “People’s Special Achievement Webby for Social Change.” Another 2012 Webby highlight was Instagram which was honored as the “Webby Breakout of the Year” in light of its billion dollar acquisition by Facebook.
Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork received recognition for her album Biophilia, which incorporated touchscreen technology  in a multi-dimensional, digital album, and Juliette Lewis and Graydon Sheppard who received special “Best Actresses” awards for their wildly popular YouTube series "Sh*t Girls Say".

But it wasn’t all about fun and glamour, President Obama, former Vice President Gore, and U2 singer Bono were among those featured on a video tribute to late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs: 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

World's Greatest Web Stars’ First (and Worst) Works – Fred Figglehorn

I have mentioned Fred Figglehorn a couple of times before and I find him quite annoying. But fact is that Lucas Cruikshank a.k.a. Fred Figglehorn won Choice Web Star at the Teen Choice Awards, had apppearances on Hannah Montana and iCarly and the third Fred Film is coming out this year.You have got to give him credit for that.

My friend Frank Chindamo writes a column on Tubefilter now called the First Draft Series. It highlights and critiques the first online video work of the world's greatest online video stars. So, if you want to find out how and why Fred became such a great success, please read the full article:

Here is a little teaser: Lucas was Kelly: The girl with a bladder infection before he became Fred.

Frank teaches also webisode production at USC and Chapman University. His students have included Streamy Award-winner Bernie Su and half-a-billion-hitter Freddie Wong. If you are interested in his USC Webiosode class, it's open to the public and starts June 25th:

Monday, May 7, 2012

NEWS: Tom Hanks and Sylvester Stallone will star in animated web series

What is it with older Hollywood stars and animated web series lately?

Earlier this year I have read that Tom Hanks will be starring in an animated futuristic series called Electric City that he has been developing for years. It will premiere on Yahoo in June.
You could argue here that Tom Hanks has already gained experience in the animated genre when he played 5 different characters in The Polar Express. 

But Sylvester Stallone? Ok, there are some spoofs on YouTube like that one:

But apart from that, I have never really associated him with animated movies or series. At least the topic of the animated web series called Soul Survivor seems to fit the Rocky and Rambo actor. He will play a “last-of-his kind mercenary”, whatever that means.

But Electric City and Soul Survivor are both high-profile example of how the Internet is becoming a new frontier for animation - pretty much in the same way as cable television was in the early 1980s. The Web is creating new opportunities for artists and filmmakers to distribute experimental and often irreverent entertainment to millions of viewers worldwide without having to go through the traditional gatekeepers: the major studios and television networks.

I'm particularly excited about Electric City, because it is supposed to be highly interactive. The nonlinear elements will range from deep integration with social media to a 3D interactive map.