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This Week in Web Videos: 'Happy Town'

Happy Town could've been dead on arrival. Had creator/director/DP/editor/producer/Vitruvian film dude Jon Mayer not turned his passion papers into a passion project, this would've read like just another tale of Millennial ennui in the big city. "Great," every agent would've said. "Do you have anything a little more 'mainstreamy?'" Instead, Mayer worked to bring it off the page and onto MacBook screens the City over. It hasn't achieved tremendous view success and it likely won't. What it has done is demonstrate Mayer's ability to breathe life in to a beautiful tapestry of true, acutely relatable moments, as series star Anu Valia turns the banal into the essential with a [...]

This Week in Web Videos: 'The Truth About Meeting a Woman'

Sorry PewDiePie, but I prefer Paul Gale. Against a tidal wave of pre-teens clamoring for daily web cam soliloquies, I prefer the YouTuber who not only has the courage to make traditional entertainment in a cutting edge space, but also the skill and, even more than that, the concentration. In a growing digital terrain sanctioned by more and more advertisers looking to make fast, cheap, "viral" commentary on what's happening now now now, web creators are incentivized to sell their visions short. Gale, somehow, is unwavering in his pure pursuit of making his own, unfettered inspiration come to life. He's leveraging YouTube in a way so few others can [...]

This Week in Web Videos: 'Business Time'

As creatives, we're encouraged to think outside the box, prompted with loosey goosey questions like "If you could make anything in the world, what would you make?" and "What happens when you take away all the barriers?" These are great thought exercises, usually propagated by drama teachers with flowing scarves and extreme halitosis, but the hard truth of the matter is: real world creativity has a limit…and it's always green. Yet, stunning creative feats can still be accomplished if the artist is talented enough to work within the confines of limited resources. In fact, it is often under these circumstances that the simplest and most laudable ideas are born. Anyone can make [...]

This Week in Web Videos: 'Neighbors'

Do what you want all the time and, even when you're not funny, chances are you'll learn something about how to be funnier. That's the gist of the advice Jackie Jennings gives and after watching her great series Neighbors, it's pretty clear that this strategy works. So, learn about the science of comedy by taking some classes and reading some stuff (ummmm, this column much?!) and then, once you've got an idea that you believe in, don't listen to the haters and the blowhards and just make what you want. If you've got talent, seeds of your ability will be present in your earliest attempts at originality. If you [...]

This Week In Web Videos: 'The Ferrero Rochers Camping Trip'

Sorry Werther's Original, you're no longer the go-to joke candy and it's all thanks to Paul Briganti and his big camping tent full of Ferrero Rochers. In the latest from CollegeHumor's newish alt comedy vertical CH2, we're reacquainted with the power of the intensely obscure as we watch Briganti put on a clinic in executing the number one rule of digital comedy: BE SPECIFIC.

Though set in a relatable frame (couple's getaway, yada yada), the genius of this piece is Briganti's laser focus on a chocolate everyone recognizes and pretty much no one has ever thought about. For 3:27, he canvasses every square inch of this tiny [...]

This Week in Web Videos: 'Self Conscious Workout'

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." For some, it's an adage to live by. For Self Conscious Workout creators Rachel Laforest and Greg Stees, it's anathema — a creative roadblock that they're dedicated to rising above on their almost masochistic quest to challenge and reinvent themselves. In a digital landscape where truly funny original ideas are difficult to come by–and even harder to manufacture — the prolific team is turning a blind eye to the comfort of sticking with a sure thing, all in service of an art they're quickly mastering.

This Week in Web Videos: 'Dad Rap'

Sam Reece and Becky Chicoine are many things. They're humans, they're women, they're writer/creator/actors, and…AND they're really funny.  Perhaps most of all, though, Sam Reece and Becky Chicoine are Girls with Brown Hair. What does that mean? Well, first, it means they're brunettes. Obviously. Like…what? Obviously. It also means they're the duo responsible for an impressive cache of smart, well-written web comedy that's not getting its due. With just 138 channel subscribers, Sam and Becky are a prime example of top-tier talent being beaten down by the noise of YouTube make-up tutorials. Luckily, Splitsider's here and we've got a promise to make you: once you watch Sam and [...]

This Week in Web Videos: 'The Return of Saturn'

Happy 2015, everybody! Are you feeling reborn? Are you feeling resolute? Are you feeling insatiably horny? Good, me neither. Well, I'm kind of horny but that comes and goes. I'm also inspired after speaking with Abby Holland, writer and creator of The Return of Saturn (mightily directed and edited by Geoffrey Stevens). Motivated by a hard time in her life, Abby turned to creating as a therapeutic outlet…as many artists do. In the process, she achieved what many artists cannot, an honest picture of a life in the throes of crisis. She took a risk in putting her whole self out for the world to see and ended up [...]

This Week in Web Videos: 'SingleDumb'

I'm self-centered, terrified of insects, and–I think–not the best kisser in the world. Those are three deeply personal things about me that I wrote on a blog read by THOUSANDS. Why? Because that's what writers do. We share very intimate details about ourselves and our innermost thoughts. Sometimes those thoughts are inarguably personal, like mine just were, and sometimes they're presented under the cloak of characters in our work. Either way, strong creative requires a suspension of an innate fear all of us have: to be seen as "other." Alexandra Kern has successfully suspended that fear. She lets her true self out, and that's why SingleDumb is not only [...]

This Week In Web Videos: 'Gary Saves the Graveyard'

The first time I spoke with UCB Creative Director Todd Bieber was three and a half years ago and I had no idea what I was talking about. I was thinking of leaving my post-college job at Morgan Stanley and accepting a position at a small production company in New York. After completing UCB's Sketch 101 program, I figured I knew enough about digital comedy to call Todd and ask if he'd be interested in doing some web series collaborations. He was polite and he didn't want to. Flash forward to now. Years of working with UCB and its talent — including Todd — have passed and I [...]

This Week in Web Videos: 'Assassin Banana'

Casting celebrities does not a good project make, and thinking otherwise is a huge mistake. That's my web video rhyme. Seriously, though. Too many creators think that all they need to do to send a project into the stratosphere is attach a recognizable name, and that's so misguided. Celebrities, just like any talented performers, are great when they have great material. The key to making the most of talent like Scarlett Johanson or even Will Sasso is creating a project that can stand on its own two feet– or banana peels as the case may be–without them and then presenting it confidently to the famous folks you hope can [...]

This Week in Web Videos: 5 Absurd One-Offs You Need to See

It's no secret that I'm a lover of the absurd. Or maybe it is. Maybe it was, I should say. It shouldn't be anymore since I just told you. Anyway, here are 5 ridiculous one-off videos that I've been meaning to post for a while. I think it's quite important that you all take a few moments to watch them all. I promise you'll feel better after.

'ANiMASHUPS': Exploring the Possibilities of the Animated Podcast

For my money, there are few things on this big, blue marble we call Earth more awe-inspiring and superlative than the amalgamation of comedy and animation. Screw off, peanut butter and chocolate. Hit the bricks, mortar and bricks! Take a breather, unstable sociopaths and boxes of abandoned puppies. The good folks from Jash and VPN obviously agree, which is where ANiMASHUPS, their series of animated podcasts, comes in.

ANiMASHUPS, which first appeared on Jash’s sister network the Video Podcast Network back in mid-February of 2013, has released over 58 videos to date and features material taken from over eight different partnered podcasts. We were lucky enough to speak with the [...]

This Week In Web Videos: 'Yellow Brick Hell'

I love UCB. Oh man, do I love it. Training there has created so many opportunities for me and introduced me to so many wonderful people. Nothing will ever take that away. But really talented writer/performers do come from other places. In this era when being a UCB'er seems to be synonymous with holding a golden comedy ticket (or at least having one on layaway), it's easy to forget that many folks not in the core group of 200 or so Brigade talents are still really fucking good. Rob Asaro, though he trained at UCB for a time, is by all accounts an outlier and his Yellow Brick Hell [...]