Bill Richardson’s Missing Beard: Obama “Deeply Disappointed With The Loss”
Wednesday December 03rd 2008, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!, Liberty!

I can’t figure out how to embed this video, but I thought it was fun. Facial hair humor by the President Elect might just be the best thing ever. Check it out:

Bill Richardson’s Missing Beard: Obama “Deeply Disappointed With The Loss” (VIDEO)

Surprisingly, not from The Onion, although maybe there’s a statement to be made there about FOX News.

–Reid.



Prop 8: The Musical!
Wednesday December 03rd 2008, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!

Jason just sent this to me. It features lots of funny comedians and actors and is really quite awesome:

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

I think it’s time to get BTTM’s Gay Marriage Propaganda plastered all over the place. We’ve been for gay rights longer than anyone else… two years!

–Reid.



Monty Python on the YouTubes!
Monday December 01st 2008, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!

Awesome!

–Reid.



Transformation/Spamformation
Wednesday September 17th 2008, 11:44 am
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!

Gmail alerted me that I had a new piece of spam email from a fellow calling himself simply “Boyd”. The email was titled “Turn Your Handgun Into A Bazooka”. For a moment, I wondered how this was technologically possible.

Then I got what they were trying to sell me. Oh-ho, that crazy NRA.

–Reid.



Dot Net or Dot Com!!
Wednesday September 03rd 2008, 4:13 pm
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!

You can now access Reid Levin Dot Net (this very blog) by tuning your Internets to Reid Levin Dot Com (reidlevin.com). Or, for you traditionalists, you can still access the site at reidlevin.net. Wowee!

–Reid.



Bush or Batman?
Thursday July 24th 2008, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!, Friends, Liberty!

Jason just sent me a very funny “man on the street”-type sketch which seeks to attribute 30 quotes to either George W. Bush or Adam West as Batman. Check it out:

–Reid.



New BTTM Show, New Job, Thanks
Wednesday July 23rd 2008, 4:11 pm
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!, Better Than The Machine, Friends

Better Than The Machine will be opening a new show this August at the PIT in NYC. It will be the first BTTM show without me, but it sounds absolutely great. It’s about me. It’s called “UnLevined”. I’m honored guys, really. Thanks!

Make sure to check out the BTTM site for upcoming show dates. I think they’re going to be posting some new video content soon, too. Very cool.

Also, I got a new job thanks to Dave Burdick, currently an editor for The Huffington Post. I’m going to be a comment moderator, a job that I will be able to do from the comfort of my own home. Thanks a lot for your help Dave! I’m very excited to start tomorrow. Woo!

All of you folks out there had better watch your manners; I can’t wait to moderate you! (Kinky?)

I’m glad I’ll be able to work from home; I can use the focus, the money will certainly be nice to have, and this round of chemo has started to really kick my ass. Fears are rising about not being able to follow through on upcoming travel plans. Might have to give up Vegas with my dad for my birthday, might not get to see the new BTTM show until after August, etc. ; ;. Ooooh well.

–Reid.



Escape To Real Life, Golden Birthday
Tuesday July 22nd 2008, 1:35 pm
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!, Family

There is a great editorial in The New York Times today about viral networking sites and services on the Internet. It’s called “A Secret Society of 30 Million”. I’m thinking of writing an essay on this subject soon.

Also, today is Rachie’s “Golden Birthday”. Does anyone know how old this makes her? I had never heard of a Golden Birthday before. Happy Birthday anyway, Big Sis!

–Reid.

(note: the correct answer to the Golden Birthday question is in the comments)



Online Nation Reveals Exploitative Online Notions
Thursday November 01st 2007, 4:08 pm
Filed under: Attack Of The Internet!, Better Than The Machine, Sodapopcornculture

Several months ago, my sketch comedy group Better Than The Machine was courted to submit several sketches to a new show on the CW Network called Online Nation. The show was lauded as a television showcase for user generated web content. It was canceled after only four episodes.

When Online Nation was canceled, no one was really surprised, except maybe these guys. Though advertised as “the hottest online videos in one place,” Online Nation was watched by almost no one. For its fourth and final episode, the show courted only 2% of the viewing audience of 18-49 year olds watching TV.

There are a few very basic reasons why no one watched the show. At the most basic level, the appeal of viral web videos is that they can be watched any time, anywhere, and as many times as someone wants to watch them. Despite all of the promotional smoke blown by the CW, most popular online videos are not hard to find and are not encumbered by popup ads.

Additionally, a lot of the best web videos have teeth to them. Sure, there are some funny videos in which a rodent looks menacingly at the camera, but there are also a lot of great viral videos that contain swearing, violence, and suggestive themes. When the CW decided to put Online Nation at 7:30 PM on Sunday evenings, they made a decision to try to wedge all the videos they used into the mold of “family programming”. Many sketches were passed over for not being appropriate, and many that did appear were cut bizzarely. The show was often described as America’s Funniest Home Videos for Generation Y. However, most of the Internet is more like the real Bob Saget, rather than TV’s Bob Saget.

These fundamental flaws of the show beat out the fundamental selling points, which it turns out, were hugely exploitative of online video producers. Before its first episode, a friend of mine who is “in the industry” postulated that no matter how bad Online Nation turned out to be, the CW would keep it going because it cost almost nothing to make (it turns out it was too bad even for that). We were paid a small fee for our videos, but most producers were paid significantly less–or, in most cases, nothing.

Furthermore, no one was credited correctly. Our videos were all credited to names like “Reid from NY” and “Christina R”, despite weekly discussions with the producers about how this was unacceptable. Our friends A Week Of Kindness were credited as “Mike from Brooklyn,” and the The Secret Circus was credited as “Dave from NY”. There have been many, many more complaints of this.

All the videos were also all given new names that were very different from what they were actually called. For instance, How To Court A Woman became Dating For Dummies. This meant that, in the off chance that someone saw one of our videos on television and wanted to learn more about us, it would be impossible with the information Online Nation presented. This was bad for us–but even worse for the majority of video producers who were promised payment only in the form of “national publicity”. If no one knows your name or the name of your short, that’s not publicity.

Unfortunately, this represents an ongoing trend in the Internet-to-Television transition that many networks are trying to pull off. Over the summer, we produced content for the short-lived MTV sketch comedy show Short Circuitz, but were only credited for one submission–the rest of our work was credited to “Thrust Beefheart”. I don’t know whether networks think that crediting groups of people who produce content gives the impression that they’re not really made by “ordinary people” and are therefore less appealing to viewers, or if they simply get off on not giving people proper credit.

Networks see the power and popularity of viral videos as the next great product to harness. This is especially appealing to them because of the perceived built-in audiences that many viral videos appear to have and also the almost-nothing cost of putting already existing videos on TV. However, networks do not entirely seem to understand why viral videos are popular or how they spread. Worse yet, they seem to see the producers of Internet content as so desperate to get on TV that they will give up due payment, publicity, and even credit for their work just to get on.

The worst part is, they’re probably right about the producers of these videos. Whether or not these shows do well, I have a feeling that we’re only just seeing the beginnings of them emerging. And despite all the inherent problems with watching web videos on the television that I detailed above, I would still say with great certainty that most viral video producers would consider being on TV a huge step up–even if no one knew they had a part in it.

–Reid.