Archive for February, 2011

God wins.

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

We can all go home now.

Care of @rcownley


Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Entertainment? Make your own.

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

So this is the place we’ve come to – you make a throwaway comment on a blog post and half an hour later you’re watching this:

For all the peculiar pleasure this brings me, I can’t see mash-ups of the Dead Island trailer with theme tunes of vintage British detective shows catching on. There’s a young and influential strata of the Interwebz who think that Jim Bergerac was played by Gerard Depardieu.

Something’s coming though, a pervasive meme for what is emphatically the trailer-of-the-moment. It’s a perfect storm, still fresh but already deeply embedded in the collective consciousness of People That Careā„¢, a distinctive and evocative audio track conveniently devoid of dialogue, violent and disturbing in a way that’s asking to be diffused by the introduction of topical (or splendidly non-topical) motifs.

No surprise then that ‘Dead Island’ was appointed the flagship trend for this weekend’s Urgent Genius Weekender. The call for entries video (below) ought to give you a half-decent idea how it works, but the potted version is that it’s a competition to create stuff that lots of people will like, Like, View, Flag, Favourite, Rate, Tweet, Re-tweet, Comment On and so on.

The results will be unveiled at a panel at this year’s SXSW entitled Urgent Genius: Creating Topical Social Ideas At Speed, pitched as follows:

Watch the news. Get an idea. Stay up all night. Write. Design. Code. Seed it on one website. Get 25 million hits in 3 days. This is the new breed of hybrid creative. They’re dangerous. They join start-ups. They revolutionize design and ad agencies. They’re turning creative departments into newsrooms. This is a proactive place where what’s topical is king, so the content must be created quickly. This is the only way it will have an immediate impact across all social channels. This means hours. Not days and weeks. These hybrid types have a motto: Do it now. Ask forgiveness later. It’s easier than getting permission.

There may be parts of this that make me want to prise off my own gnarly drug-infused marketeer-fuck fingernails, but one turn-of-phrase really caught my eye: turning creative departments into newsrooms. I think they’re right, that the future belongs to agencies who are all over the present, rolling out advertising like breaking news while framing it in the vernacular of a revolutionary act.

There’s a catch though. Trying to own this stuff is trickier than it looks. Crowd-sourcing it, championing it under any sort of banner, just being seen to try can so easily end up being self-defeating. Even Canvas, 4chan founder Christopher “moot” Poole’s newly launched ‘meme generator’ will have to tread carefully, coming from the spiritual figurehead of the community that invented lolcats, rickrolling and the rest.

So while those cats in the Middle East are harnessing social media to help redraw an entire region, we in the super-democratic, super-enlightened West are showing what the web becomes in the hands of the super-free.

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Yup, something for complaining with, first and foremost, even if all we can find to complain about is the thing we’re complaining with. But also something we can use to make our own entertainment, hijacking any amount of intellectual property and riding roughshod over meticulously negotiated image rights in the process. And if we find ourselves chasing cheap laughs and transient audience off the back of endlessly recycled ideas, well, if this persuasive piece in GQ is to be believed, we’ll only be following Hollywood’s example.

[UPDATE 21/02/2011 11:21] Looks like some of the form runners are starting to emerge. Currently leading the field is Vareide‘s ‘Dead Minecraft’ closing in on 38k views…

…with Dougalby‘s ‘Shaun of the Dead Island’ having just broken the 10k mark, helped along the way by some serious link-love from SotD director @EdgarWright.

If I’m missing any major runners and riders please hit me up by email or in the comments so that I can keep things fresh and up-to-date.

[UPDATE 24/02/2011 05:39] This has romped into the lead, putting on 600,000 views in no time at all, brought to you by Tobuscus:


Friday, February 18th, 2011

I posted yesterday over on the Glass Eye blog about a game trailer that was in the process of taking the web by storm, conscious that my counterpoint to the outpouring of hyperbole o’erwashing Twitter would probably draw a response or two, and it has.

One view in the comments is that little in this world can be said to be truly original, least of all in relation to trailers, and that if it were we’d probably be so disoriented by the abject absence of familiar cultural reference points our heads would fall off.

So it was that I found myself this morning, with sore throat and heavy head, settling down to a dawn screening of DR STRANGELOVE, as part of a continuing resurgence of #VHSMovieClub. Following the trailers for LABYRINTH and DARK CRYSTAL (no, I can’t see why you’d trail 80s tween fantasy ahead of DR STRANGELOVE either) was this:

Whatever the logic of showing a trailer for a film ahead of the film itself (hint: there is none) this is a great sampler for the film itself, jumping anarchically between genuinely taught action sequences and moments of farcical comedy, reflecting the residual schizophrenia of a project that started out 100% serious and ended, apparently, with a custard pie fight.

It brought to mind the trailer for another Kubrick movie, one that features in a presentation my pal Fraser gives about the art of cutting a good trailer. And that’s all this post is really about – setting up what still looks to me like pretty much the darkest, weirdest, most original movie trailer ever made:


Friday, February 11th, 2011

Amidst tragedy… comedy.

Friday, February 11th, 2011

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Thursday, February 10th, 2011

“Activist and Google executive”

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

If you wanted a cultural icon for the 21st century, you could do a lot worse than “activist and Google executive” Wael Ghonim.

Events in Egypt have been rich in symbolism over the last 16 days, but the fact that the protesters are now rallying around a Google employee especially so: I would argue that no company has done more to open our eyes to the once inaccessible reaches of the world we inhabit, literal and figurative, than Google.

In making an enemy of Ghonim, detaining him for twelve days then releasing him at precisely the moment Egypt’s protest movement seemed most in danger of losing focus, Mubarak’s regime has gifted the movement the youthful, ideological leadership it urgently needs.

I’ve been known to facetiously remark more than once over the last few years that the geeks will inherit the earth. The question Wael Ghonim needs to ask himself right now is whether or not he wants it.

Transmission. By Joy Division. In PlayMobil.

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

via Laughing Squid

A twist in the fabric of space…

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Very simple. Very cool. (Very borrowed from the very reliable malbonnington.)