Monday, March 27, 2006

What we need is a Revolution: taking videoblogging to the next level.

Lately I’ve been a little frustrated about the world of videoblogs. I try to tell my friends about a videoblog’s potential to reach a large audience. They’re all filmmakers and most of them have excellent films that haven’t been seen by enough people. But they all plead ignorance when it comes to the world of video blogging (and blogs in general.)

And, frankly, I don’t blame them.

After a few weeks of checking out various vlogs, I have to question if our culture really needs one more “pipeline” of entertainment. It’s too early for me to throw in the towel. (We’ll see how I feel after about a year.) What inspires me to keep at it is, well, me. I know that I have a desire for great, original (not to mention free) content for my video iPod, and, since it’s in such short supply, I feel like if I attempt to supply a little quality somethin’ somethin’ each week, maybe other artists will catch on and try it out. Especially if it becomes easier to post. And it almost certainly will.

Right now, I think it’s a time issue with most filmmakers I know. If they took a few days to educate themselves on how to post a videoblog, they might do it knowing that they have the potential to reach a whole new audience with the medium. Now that iTunes carries popular broadcast shows, people will get used to using their iPods to watch video and, once they do and they see how much they like it, they’ll start to search for even more sources of entertainment.

What videobloggers need is a little more ambition and creativity. We need a Revolution.

What gets me is how truly bad most videoblogs are. I say this not to discourage but rather to challenge. Think a little deeper, please. A video entry should have a beginning, middle and end. It should SAY something VISUAL. It’s not enough to just turn your camcorder in your car while your stuck in traffic and go off on how stupid your friends are or how your commute it taking too long or how the salon fucked up your spray-on tan (Yes, I actually saw a vlog about this very subject.)

Some of the best videoblogs I’ve seen are ones that show a unique perspective on the world. Chris Ivanyi is one such videoblogger. A self-taught filmmaker, Chris turns his camera not just on himself, but on the world around him. It also helps that he has a photographer’s eye and a great sense of composition.

But you don’t even need to shoot your own clips to get my attention. I just need to see something that I’ve never seen before. In this regard, insanefilms delivers. Besides being an excellent collector of twisted videos, Eggbert Mullins (the name attached to his emails) is also a true vlog character. One entry features him saying goodbye to his dead partner’s ashes. Another features one continuous shot of Eggbert in his apartment (do any videobloggers ever go outside their homes or cars?) filming himself and his dog listening to the most annoying lullaby ever made (sung by an annoying child) that plays on his computer’s speaker. Eventually, you realize that SOMEONE actually posted this lullaby on the web, programming it to play over and over, perhaps for a parent too lazy to sing to their child themselves.

Eggbert sings along to the song which plays in constant rotation and, the more he does it, the more you realize he’s not really the annoying one, it’s the person who posted the damn lullaby website in the first place. His mocking becomes more and more intense and hilarious, eventually inserting curse words, etc. Unfortunately, the ending leaves a lot to be desired.

Eggbert’s intros can go on a little too long, too, but at least he knows how to create an intimacy with the camera – something that any good blogger “host” needs. Personally, I don’t need to be introduced to a videoblog any more than I need a “host” for a movie. Unfortunately, all most videoblogs contain are the “hosts” venting about something that annoys them. Please. I beg you. If this is all your going to use video blogs for, just write your blog and, for godsakes, please construct your argument and use spell check while you’re at it.

Kind of like what I’m doing now.

So, please, Try a little harder to make videoblog’s worth people’s time to check out. We’ll all benefit from it in the end.

Okay. I'm done for now. Until next week.


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