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This Week in Web Videos: 'Happy Town'

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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 poise that makes me wonder why she's not on HBO a whole lot more. Happy Town is the perfect justification for web series. More than a path to virality, the digital arena allows motivated, talented creators to prove themselves, potentially redefining genres and winning worth for undertakings that Courier New just can't justify. READ MORE

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This Week in Web Videos: Just Add Water

I don't want to count the number of times I or someone I've interviewed for this column has given the advice "Just do it" when speaking about how to "break into the digital comedy space." It's been said a lot. So much, in fact, that it seems ridiculous–and kind of infuriating–to say again now. The thing is: that's the BEST tip and if people take it instead of getting hung up on perfection, they'll likely find that their game will be upped considerably in not much time at all. Take Loser Bar, a comedy duo that first appeared on This Week in Web Videos less than 6 months ago with this valiant yet low-fi effort. Less than one month after that release,  Just Add Water popped up on their channel. Is it a revolutionary idea? No. Is it very funny in a way that shows breakneck production progress and a pair who is honing their voice in a really exciting way by doing rather than wishing? Fucking A. Turns out we're not just blowing smoke around here.

Luke is a writer/director for CollegeHumor and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.

 

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This Week in Web Videos: 'Self Conscious Workout'

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 11.21.43 PM"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. READ MORE

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This Week in Web Videos: 'Assassin Banana'

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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 help give your masterpiece its proper, deserved due. Banking on big names to save something from obscurity will never work. Success is driven by passion first, and the people on the marquis should come a distant second. If you build it, they may come, and if they don't, you've still got something worthy of the world's attention. Just ask Assassin Banana co-creator Jordan Rozansky. Well, we asked him, but you can read about it. Here… READ MORE

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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 — or dare to — and chasing the long haul of art in the face of this afternoon's opportunity. The encouraging part is: he's getting millions and millions of views in the process. So much for the "art vs. money" conundrum. And again, my apologies to PewDiePie.

Luke is a writer/director for CollegeHumor and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.

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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 Becky's infectious Dad Rap — in which the Girls reprise two spot-on upper middle class dad characters from their series No I Can Do It, Let Me Try — your day will be irreversibly brightened. Then you'll watch Dad Rap again, and again, and again. Seriously, though, if your day isn't brightened, come at us (in a friendly, non-threatening way).

Luke is a writer/director for CollegeHumor and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.

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

fivevideosIt'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. READ MORE

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This Week in Web Videos: 'Business Time'

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 9.54.22 PMAs 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 something cool with all the money in the world. Few can no it with next to none. Just ask Alex Herrald, creator and star of Business Time and a most strategic creative mind. READ MORE

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

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 9.34.09 PMHappy 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 with a brave series that's as funny as it is crushing. Most of all, her efforts teach an important lesson: No matter what happens this year — good or bad — every single experience can be turned into a comedic positive if you're willing to go balls (or vaginas) out. READ MORE

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The Definitive 'Best Web Series of 2014' List

bestwebvideos2014You're going to see a lot of lists over the next 2 weeks. "Best of This" and "Best of That." Everything you've consumed or thought about consuming this year will be put into a sort of arbitrary context by some oaf who doesn't much like spending time with family and does like listing the 10 or 20 or 100 things he or she thinks are "super legit." It's pathetic, presumptuous, and totally subjective. This is not one of those lists for one reason and one reason only: it's definitive, objective, and 100% right in every way. You could argue with the selections, but you'd be wrong. So don't embarrass yourself. Read below and get in the know (#rhyme2014). These are the five best web series of the year.

(Listen: if you disagree, that's totally cool. There's a ton of really great stuff that came out this year. These are just straight up gut calls. I actually had a list of like 75 at first. Then I chopped it down because Adam Frucci yelled. He wasn't mad, he just…Anyway, everyone this column covered this year is great and should feel really proud. Don't let lists like this define you.)

Do not test me on this. These are the 5 and I'm VERY sure of that. Get it? READ MORE

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This Week in Web Videos: 'Neighbors'

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 12.16.40 PMDo 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 don't, well…you can still read this column. READ MORE

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This Week in Web Videos: 'SingleDumb'

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 8.32.02 PMI'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 worth watching, but also brave. Also, I'm not like a TERRIBLE kisser. I just don't love kissing and think I do other stuff better. Cool? READ MORE

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This Week In Web Videos: 'Yellow Brick Hell'

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 8.23.02 PMI 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 (co-written by Matt Cohen and directed by Justyn T. Davis) proves once and for all that talent comes from anywhere and everywhere…as long as it's New York, Chicago, or LA. Kidding! The suburbs of all those cities often breed very funny people. READ MORE

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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 absurd world he's created while we guffaw at his originality.

Luke is a writer for CollegeHumor and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.