Friday, January 29, 2016

YouTube Channel Profile: D4Darious

                A few years ago, Darious Britt was an unknown filmmaker who was pushing his way through film school.  Unlike many other filmmakers, Darious Britt utilized YouTube to chronicle his work on finishing and promoting his first feature film, Unsound and present advice for aspiring filmmakers along the way.  Eventually, his channel expanded to include advice not directly related to his movie, as he found his own style of movie advice, about various movie production topics.  Most his recent videos borrow from other successful vloggers: he shoots his videos with quick cuts, in front of an interesting background (in his case, magazine clippings/covers from various movies). 
                D4Darious has several series of interest to people making movies.  First, he has several videos of advice to screenwriters, including describing the 3-act structure, tackling writer’s block, and if you need structure when writing screenplays (the answer: almost always yes).   He also has a 7 part series on writing specifically for short films.  Related to screenwriting, he has 3-act movie breakdowns of many of the most popular movies, including Star Wars, The Incredibles, The Matrix and How to Train Your Dragon. 
                Because Darious has also dealt with the directing side of filmmaking, he has a bunch of advice for directors for directing actors.  He has videos about avoiding overacting, working with non-actors, acting in your own film, and the importance of listening.  He also has videos about other aspects of movie production, including picking a good high-quality camera, where to find a good crew, making an effective trailer and advice about crowd funding.  He also has a list of fifteen mistakes first time filmmakers make, so filmmakers can be aware and avoid them.  And he also has a short 3 video series about making and promoting your own youtube channel, no matter the content. 
                Darious has also documented the promotion of his film Unsound fairly extensively: his older videos show much of his journey of the festival circuit, which are on his vlog channel, Darious Britt.  For an aspiring filmmaker, to see Darious’ journey with his feature film, going from festival to festival, promotion and expenses, and what to do to make all the footage you shot look professional, is inspiring and a little daunting.  Darious shows realistically just how much work goes into making a film and promoting it. 
                Of course, there are plenty of other Filmmaking YouTubers out there.  Indy Mogul is an independent filmmaking video channel, with over 1,000 videos of advice, including visual effects, lighting and audio help, as well as short films which demonstrate the advice in the videos.  Ryan Connelly has a filmmaking YouTube channel called Film Riot, where he dispenses advice on Mondays and Thursdays about various filmmaking techniques.  A few of his most recent topics include auto focus, practical effects versus CGI, avoiding clichés and handling client work.  

                I found Darious Britt an engaging and knowledgeable filmmaker with much good advice to other aspiring filmmakers.  Check out Darious’ videos and if you really like his stuff, check out his short film Seafood Tester and his trailer for his feature film Unsound.
https://www.youtube.com/user/D4Darious/featured

Friday, January 22, 2016

Abandoned Concepts for Pixar Movies

                Pixar has long been considered the gold standard for original content: from Toy Story to Finding Nemo to Wall-E to Inside Out, Pixar’s movies are heartfelt and engaging storylines with interesting characters.  However, in order to make a great movie, the creative minds at Pixar had to drop a lot of really great concepts in order to make the best possible movie. 
                Monster’s Inc. originally featured a girl named Mary.  Mary had two brothers who liked to scare her and she cowered in fear.  The character who became Sully, name Johnson, was originally an engineer-like worker, instead of the top scarer, like in the movie.  Unlike the movie, Mary could actually talk legibly and have real conversations with Johnson.  Mary and Johnson eventually went on scares together as a team.  Although the movie is very good, it’s interesting to think of a movie where the girl could talk and Johnson/Sully would be more in need of help.
                In Finding Nemo, originally the father was supposed to tell Nemo about his life with his wife before she was killed.  Nemo would imagine incredible scenarios and Marlin would bring it down a notch.  The concept, while intriguing, was cut because the filmmakers were servicing three stories instead of just two (Marlin searching for Nemo and Nemo in the fish tank) and because it was easy to guess what was about to happen. 
                The Incredibles originally started differently.  Bob and Helen Parr are new neighbors with a new baby.  At a barbecue, Bob and Helen struggle to hide their roles as domestic husband and wife.  They have to leave the party when Bob accidentally breaks a knife on his fingers due to his super strength and has to play it off as if he is hurt.  Later that night, the Bob and Helen are in their bed when they are attacked by Syndrome.  Syndrome holds Bob and Helen captive with his zero-point energy when the baby starts crying, and goes to investigate.  Fortunately, Mr. Incredible uses a distraction to break free and destroy Syndrome.  One of the reasons the scene was cut was actually because Syndrome was such a fascinating character that he was reworked as the main villain instead of the opening villain, giving him more screen time.  But when that happened, the original opening was lost.
                In Wall-E, the lazy, rounded humans in their personal computer motorized chairs were originally going aliens with green gel see through bodies with out limbs, and had a made up language and a royal family.  However, the director, Andrew Stanton, realized that the concept was not that relate-able and slowly the aliens became the humans that ended up in the film.  
                In Monsters University, a stray line in Monster’s Inc. (where Sully says to Mike, “You’ve been jealous of my good looks since the third grade) is tried to be storyboarded in the framework of the college-based film, but the filmmakers couldn’t figure out how to logically place it in the story they wanted to tell. 
                In Inside Out, Joy was originally placed with Fear instead of Sadness.  Another aspect of this version is that Joy was originally a lot more frustrated (instead of you know, joyful) in this version.  Joy was originally called Optimism.  One of the scenarios originally presented was that instead of a move, Riley was going to try to audition of the Thanksgiving pageant.  The idea was deemed too bizarre until they settled on the idea of the move.  
                All of these abandoned concepts can be seen on the DVD/Blu-Ray extras for the movies in question.  Check out these abandoned concepts and imagine how different the movie might be if it was made with that concept.

Friday, January 15, 2016

3 Vine Stars Who Don’t Rely on Offensive Content

    Vine is the 6-second video format that inspires a lot a lot of crazy ideas.  Because vine has to get its joke across as quickly as possible, many times the joke made is offensive by language or by stereotype.  But there are some vines out there that rely more on funny situations or genuine humor than offensive content.  Now, not every vine creator is perfect, but here are three that have developed awesome content that is mostly clean for family audiences.
     The Eh Bee family is a Dad, Mom and two kids, a boy and a girl.  With the dad as the leader of the vines, much of the humor involves an exaggeration of typical family life.  For example, on a back-to-school vine, the parents are literally dragging the kids to school.  There are several infrequent series of vines that Eh Bee family uses.  One is Dead Husband Walking, where the father would cross the line in something he said to his wife, and the next shot would be him in lying in a suit, eyes closed to the tune of “I will Remember You.”  Another is Kids Bop, where the daughter (Miss Monkey) provides humorous parody lyrics to famous rap and pop songs.  The family also does vines which provide a contrast between the family of the 50s and today, vines with the father’s Indian and Korean friends, many of them Korean translations of phrases or songs, and the daughter overreacting to a situation (like drawing a sword and destroying a watermelon).  The family has also had success on YouTube, having recently surpassed 1 million subscribers. 
      Thomas Sanders is a Florida based viner who relies on situational humor and college humor to draw in viewers.  His vines are typically upbeat, with a self-deprecating attitude sometimes.  Some of his most well know series include: Misleading Compliment, where the sentence would start out as an insult but end in a compliment; Narrating People’s Lives, where Thomas would approach an unsuspecting passerby and come up with a humorous story about them and humor comes from the people’s reaction to his “story.”  Thomas also does Shout-out Sundays, where he sings a sweet song about one person’s name.  Thomas also does an impression of Stewie Griffin from Family Guy and pranks based on Disney Scenes or the Pokemon franchise.  Many of his vines also feature short skits with Thomas and his friends, sometimes his teachers and family (for example,Thomas did one where he said he may not be the best smartest or the best guy and when the girl said, “But…” he responded, “No, that’s about it,” and walked away).  Thomas also has a YouTube channel, where he posts his vines for the month and exclusive videos like question and answer videos.
      Zach King is a LA vine star whose skills as an editor and visual effects artist are unmatched.  Zach typically does vines which look like almost like a magic trick.  Some of Zach’s vines include: a situation where he reaches into or out of a computer screen and pulls out something, like money or a kitten.  He has done several trick flying videos, for example, one where he flew using only cardboard wings.  Another vine series he does is he knocks or slaps something, like a watch or a soccer ball, on a piece of paper and a real soccer ball or watch.  Another series is Zach humorously jumping through walls and losing his clothes, ending up in boxers and a T-shirt.  He also turns inanimate objects into animals, like kicking a soccer ball into a puppy or shaking a piggy bank into a baby pig, and sometimes his backpack or his bed comes alive and starts eating everything in sight.  He can also be found on YouTube where he posts longer videos with the same editing skill as the Vine videos. 

      These vine stars use mostly clean humor versus offensive language, jokes or stereotypes in order to bring entrainment to the platform.  Check out these awesome Vine creators.  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I won an award!

Go over to UniversalCreativityInc14 to see my name on the list for Best Fiction Award Winners!
I won third place in the YA category: https://universalcreativityinc14.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/best-fiction-award-winners/
Thank you to anyone who read my book and liked it!  :)

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Vlogbrothers Story

                Imagine that instead of email, skype or calling your brother who lives in another state, you decided to communicate through video blogs.  You would upload a video to YouTube, in which you can address any subject imaginable.  The videos are no more than four minutes long, with the only exception being videos that are strictly educational.  This is the idea set forth by Hank Green and John Green, brothers who live in Montana and Indiana, respectively.
                The brothers were inspired by the show with zefrank, which ran from March 2006 to March 2007, a YouTube channel where Ze Frank did short 2 to 3 minute videos but did not let himself be restricted by subject, whether it was political, educational or just entertainment.  They decided to create a website, Brotherhood 2.0 and upload the videos on YouTube as well as on the website, one video every weekday, starting on January 1st, 2006.  They would cease all text-based communication and only communicate through the vlogs.  The videos would only be four minutes long as well.  Despite the fact that everyone with access to YouTube could see the videos, Hank Green would address his brother directly as would John to his brother. 
Like Ze Frank’s channel, the vlogbrothers would talk about any subject under the sun that interested them.  John Green was also a young adult novelist, so he would promote his books.  Hank Green had an interest in music, and he would upload original songs onto the site.  A song about Harry Potter, “Accio Deathly Hallows” was the first video popular enough to land the brothers on the front page of YouTube and give the brothers their first taste of online popularity.  During their first year two other notable things happened: John and Hank along with the committed viewers formed a community called Nerdfighteria and called themselves Nerdfighters; and near the end of the year the brothers launched an online charity drive called Project for Awesome.  Both became hugely popular; in fact, Project for Awesome was so popular it became an annual event. 
After the year ended, Brotherhood 2.0 also ended, but the brothers decided to keep vloging despite the year being over, and eventually settled on a twice a week format rather than the weekday format.  This allowed the brothers to pursue other projects.  John Green published his third young adult novel, Paper Towns, in 2008, along with a holiday collaboration with two other authors entitled “Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances.”  Hank Green released his first online album So Jokes in 2008.  Hank Green, along with help from his brother, created VidCon to allow video creators to meet and fans of online video to meet their favorite creators. 
The year 2012 was a big year for the brothers: John Green released his New York Times Best Selling novel The Fault in Our Stars, while Hank Green expanded his influence to other YouTube channels like SciShow and Crash Course (which John also helped produce).  At the same time, they continued to upload regularly on the vlogbrothers channel.  In 2013, the channel surpassed a million subscribers and John Green got to meet the president through a Google + hangout.  Today, the channel has over 2 and half million subscribers and Hank Green got to meet the president in person in 2015.  The Project for Awesome just finished its 9th campaign and VidCon had its 6th annual convention.  The Fault in Our Stars movie was released in 2014 and the Paper Towns movie was released 2015.  

A simple vlog series designed to help the brother communicate with each other more has grown into so much more.  John Green and Hank Green continue to offer some of the most fascinating and insightful videos on their channel, for their Nerdfighter fan base and for each other. The Vlogbrothers Story
                Imagine that instead of email, skype or calling your brother who lives in another state, you decided to communicate through video blogs.  You would upload a video to YouTube, in which you can address any subject imaginable.  The videos are no more than four minutes long, with the only exception being videos that are strictly educational.  This is the idea set forth by Hank Green and John Green, brothers who live in Montana and Indiana, respectively.
                The brothers were inspired by the show with zefrank, which ran from March 2006 to March 2007, a YouTube channel where Ze Frank did short 2 to 3 minute videos but did not let himself be restricted by subject, whether it was political, educational or just entertainment.  They decided to create a website, Brotherhood 2.0 and upload the videos on YouTube as well as on the website, one video every weekday, starting on January 1st, 2006.  They would cease all text-based communication and only communicate through the vlogs.  The videos would only be four minutes long as well.  Despite the fact that everyone with access to YouTube could see the videos, Hank Green would address his brother directly as would John to his brother. 
Like Ze Frank’s channel, the vlogbrothers would talk about any subject under the sun that interested them.  John Green was also a young adult novelist, so he would promote his books.  Hank Green had an interest in music, and he would upload original songs onto the site.  A song about Harry Potter, “Accio Deathly Hallows” was the first video popular enough to land the brothers on the front page of YouTube and give the brothers their first taste of online popularity.  During their first year two other notable things happened: John and Hank along with the committed viewers formed a community called Nerdfighteria and called themselves Nerdfighters; and near the end of the year the brothers launched an online charity drive called Project for Awesome.  Both became hugely popular; in fact, Project for Awesome was so popular it became an annual event. 
After the year ended, Brotherhood 2.0 also ended, but the brothers decided to keep vloging despite the year being over, and eventually settled on a twice a week format rather than the weekday format.  This allowed the brothers to pursue other projects.  John Green published his third young adult novel, Paper Towns, in 2008, along with a holiday collaboration with two other authors entitled “Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances.”  Hank Green released his first online album So Jokes in 2008.  Hank Green, along with help from his brother, created VidCon to allow video creators to meet and fans of online video to meet their favorite creators. 
The year 2012 was a big year for the brothers: John Green released his New York Times Best Selling novel The Fault in Our Stars, while Hank Green expanded his influence to other YouTube channels like SciShow and Crash Course (which John also helped produce).  At the same time, they continued to upload regularly on the vlogbrothers channel.  In 2013, the channel surpassed a million subscribers and John Green got to meet the president through a Google + hangout.  Today, the channel has over 2 and half million subscribers and Hank Green got to meet the president in person in 2015.  The Project for Awesome just finished its 9th campaign and VidCon had its 6th annual convention.  The Fault in Our Stars movie was released in 2014 and the Paper Towns movie was released 2015.  
A simple vlog series designed to help the brother communicate with each other (and with the world) more has grown into so much more.  John Green and Hank Green continue to offer some of the most fascinating and insightful videos on their channel, for their Nerdfighter fan base and for each other.  

Friday, January 1, 2016

Get Your Honest Trailer Cinefix on How It Should Have Ended: 3 More Youtube Movie Channels

               YouTube and Movies haven’t always been the best of friends.  Movies and movie clips were frequently taken down because of copyright protection.  However, as time went on, content creators became wiser about using movie clips.  The movie clips became used more for reviews and commentary, which is under the “fair use” part of free speech, and the fortunately the content was not taken down in most cases.  I’ve talked about some other YouTube channels that focus on movie commentary and humor.  So here are three more youtube channels focusing mostly on reviewing movies. 
                Screen Junkies is a YouTube movie channel started four years ago.  The first few videos were interviews with movie stars for upcoming movies, then supercuts of things like famous last words or women in labor in movies.  But when the Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was rereleased in theaters in 3D, the youtube channel at a great idea to release an “honest trailer”, a trailer which sarcastically pointed out all the flaws of the movie instead of all the great things about it, ending with a “starring” segment with pun names based on the actor or the actor’s character.  The series took off, and now Honest Trailers are the most popular series on the YouTube channel.  Today, the other youtube shows that share space with Honest Trailers are Movie Fights, sports style debates between four commentators, and videos featuring Hal Rudnick, with movie reviews and other commentary.  The channel has over 5 million subscribers.
                CineFix is a YouTube channel that mostly contained movie trailers at its inception three years ago, and while it still does, it expanded to so much more than that.  With more than 2,000 videos, the channel has gone through several different formats, so the focus this time on what is popular today.  It has several popular series.  The first one is Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know, which is usually 7 (sometimes more) behind the scenes facts about a particular movie.   Another one is the Top Ten Lists “Of All Time,” whether it be montages, scenes, directors, movie heroes.  In these top ten lists, the list usually breaks down in terms of category, for example in the Montages Top Ten, the categories are broken into passage of time in years, for a rapid succession of jokes, and for a type of training, and so forth.  The channel also has its main commentary show, CineFix Now, 8-Bit Cinema, which features 8-Bit remakes of popular movies, and on Wednesdays several series share the banner CineFix High, which is all about film school type videos.  The channel currently has 1.3 subsribers.
                And then there’s How It Should Have Ended (HISHE).  Like Movie Trailers, How It Should Have Ended is a sarcastic take on movie flaws, but this time focusing on endings, featuring flash animation showing the characters making alternate choices and pointing out the original ending’s flaws.  The channel started 8 years ago, with its first film being Star Wars Episode IV.  Unlike many other channels, which evolved and changed into the format it is today, HISHE has remained the same format for the past eight years; the flash animation has improved though.  Now there are other series that also share space with the main HISHE series, including Five Stages of a Young Adult/Marvel/Pixar movie, where a young woman takes the type of film WAY too seriously, Super Café, where Batman, Superman and other superheroes have humorous conversations, and Lego and Minecraft parodies of popular movies.  The channel has over five million subscribers. 

                For anyone who loves focusing on movies, making jokes about movies and movie production, check out these YouTube movie channels.  They are a lot of fun and very enjoyable to watch.