Ze, Buckley and Homestar Runner Tell All

Ze Frank made the best money he’s ever made on his web video series theshow. You won’t see Homestar Runner-branded pillows and sleeping bags anytime soon. Michael Buckley hates taking the weekend off.
Read these and many other interesting first-person tidbits from artists who’ve cultivated audiences and communities online in reporter and blogger Scott Kirsner’s new book, Fans, Friends & Followers. Kirsner made up a special excerpt for NewTeeVee readers that includes sections from Frank, Buckley, and Homestar Runner co-creator Mike Chapman. We’ve embedded it below.
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Online Celebrities or Mainstream Celebrities: Who Should You Cast?

Mindy Kaling or Michael Buckley? Jessica Alba or Jessica Rose? Of course it helps to have well-known faces attached to your web series, but from what world should you draw them: the mainstream media, or the online video community? (Because the 6th thing we learned at NewTeeVee Live is that there’s definitely still a divide.)
If you’re not looking to be a flash in the pan viral hit, but rather a long-term success, you might reconsider the involvement of the truly famous. While having a known name like Amy Poehler behind your show is of course a huge benefit at launch time, for any sort of longevity you still have to build an audience for that actor within the online video community. And that actor has to be invested enough to stick around.
Felicia Williams of Next New Networks said on a recent panel at OMMA that “when a traditional celebrity embraces online video, such as when Jessica Alba challenged the Internet to a staring contest, it does huge numbers, but if that’s not the case it’s anyone’s guess.” Co-panelist Jake Zim of Safran Digital Group (whose projects include PG Porn), on the other hand, believes that it depends on your company’s business model. Safran focuses on the possibility of selling its projects “upstream” (ie: to TV networks and other opportunities), which is easier with mainstream personalities known offline. “But Gary Vaynerchuk,” whose phenomenally successful Wine Library TV made him one of our breakout video stars, “will work his ass off,” Safran said.

As mainstream celebrity’s increasing expansion into online video is a pretty new phenomenon, the success of shows like Poehler’s Smart Girls At the Party is hard to measure. But because mainstream celebrities are often busy doing, you know, whatever made them celebrities in the first place, hinging a project’s success on their availability is a dangerous game. Read More about Online Celebrities or Mainstream Celebrities: Who Should You Cast?

HBO Labs Signs What the Buck? Creator

HBO Labs, the new media offshoot of the pay cable network, has signed Michael Buckley, creator of the popular What the Buck? show on YouTube, to a development deal. We learned about the new arrangement during a recent trip to HBO Labs.

Buckley declined to be interviewed for this post, but confirmed the following (scant) details: The deal is for both TV and web-related content, and it neither involves What the Buck? nor will end up being a newsy, vlogger-like show similar to the original show. Apparently HBO was more interested in developing original concepts with Buckley that featuring a fictional story arc.

Buckley’s What the Buck? show is an entertainment news show fueled almost entirely by his energetic personality. According to Buckley, the show has more than 239,000 subscribers, with episodes racking up more than 80 million views.

HBO Labs is an arm of the network that’s been tasked with creating content that can run on multiple platforms, including mobile and oldteevee. Two online HBO Labs series already up are Elevator, a comedy that takes place in a — you guessed it — elevator, and Man in the Box, an office comedy. Additionally, the Lab has produced the viral videos The Great Office War and One Semester of Spanish – Love Song.

I Want My Three Minutes Back Goes Behind the Vlogging Scene

Most documentarians tackling a somewhat obscure subculture have little guarantee that their subjects will be comfortable on camera. But by choosing to capture the lives of prominent YouTube vloggers, Chuck Potter of 3rd Career Films was spared that difficulty.

I Want My Three Minutes Back is a fantastic title for Potter’s documentary about video creators, which stars Nick “Nickynic” James, Cory “Mr. Safety” Williams and Kevin “Nalts” Nalty, and also features, among others, Phillip “sxePhil” DeFranco, Michael Buckley (What The Buck), Christine Gambito (Happy Slip), Tay Zonday, Paul Robenett (“Renetto”), and Judson Laipply (The Evolution Of Dance).

Click to see the trailer for I Want My Three Minutes Back

Click to see the trailer for I Want My Three Minutes Back

The film is currently in post-production, and according to Nalty will be released this fall. The trailer, posted last Friday, doesn’t reveal much about its point of view, beyond taking the chance to explore the intimate details of these lives. And it’s hard to imagine what Potter will be able to reveal about these guys that they haven’t already divulged to their subscribers.

However, it’s quite the lineup (lacking only Chris Crocker to achieve ultimate completeness) — the question is how many people who aren’t on YouTube actually care about the people on YouTube? Will mainstream audiences tune in? Or is this another niche documentary that never escapes its niche?