As far as new directors who have emerged on the scene this year, one of the most consistently entertaining isn’t working in film. They aren’t working on TV. They are working in a new format. You Tube.
In a little over two months, xgobobeanx, a 28 year old New Yorker named Jill, has created over 30 short films and posted them on the site. With hundreds of thousands of views, more people are watching her films than many of those that played at Sundance.
She works in multiple genres as well. Many of her videos are the confessional sort, where she sits in front of the camera and talks about her life. Several of these talks have been about her dating life. About the guy who took her on a date, and didn’t have enough money to spring for Starbucks. Another guy, who seemed to know a bit too much about the electrical wiring in her home. And she also interviews her father in one.
But the thing that makes her films stand out so much from many of the others on the site is her use of music. She has posted up several music videos of sorts. In “Cheer Up” (posted above) she lip-syncs a medley of sorts of songs by Garbage and Hole, and it has become one of my favorites on the site. “My Day at the Beach” features her wandering around the beach while the music of Morcheeba plays. And “I Am Fine” is a beautifully edited piece set to a Counting Crows song (and I think I now love the song after seeing it).
Her most recent short film, made with two other YouTubers, loconut and nyOPERAguy (who you may remember from American Idol) is Free Hugs in NYC, where they stand in Washington Square Park, giving out, what else, free hugs. It is another wonderful film.
I contacted her to see if she would be willing to do an interview via email, to see what YouTube is like from the other side. And, she agreed.
How did you get started in You Tube?
I was familiar with Youtube for a few months, finding old 80’s television clips and odd parodies of movies and cartoons, but I had no idea real people were posting videos. When I did see normal people making Vlogs, (video logs) I said to myself, I can do this!! I realized my digital camera could hold up to 4 mins of video, so I experimented one rainy Friday night with a silly video and found it was really easy to set up an account on youtube and then I was hooked.
What has the response been so far?
The response has been overwhelming positive. It’s amazing to see how people from all over the world watching your Video and contacting you. I have had people in Germany, England, Australia, Egypt, Japan, contact me as well as practically every state in the US.
Have you had any response from some of the people you talk about?
I had asked my father if it was ok to post the video and he was very hesitant. I could not resist the urge to post it, so I did without his approval. However the next day he said I could put it up, but by then the damage was done. My father loves the video and is amazed at the response! He has since become a member of the youtube community and watches all my videos.
The videos that I have done on the bad dates, I know for a fact the guys do not go onto youtube and would I never use names or exact locations so if by chance they saw my video they would not know it was them. I could never intentionally embarrass someone on the internet as I would not want that happening to me.
How do you come up with ideas of what to post? Does the music come first and then the images?
The images come fine. I am a very emotional person, so sitting in front of a camera and making facial expressions comes natural. After I watch the footage, I try to imagine what is the image I am trying to portray, and what do I want to portray to the viewers. I then search for music that will best fit the video. From there, I listen to the music as I edit. There are times I really like a song and try to think of how I can turn into a video- but so far that has not been the case.
What type of equipment do you use?
At first I was using my digital camera, with my dell laptop, but then my computer crashed. From there I purchased a macbook and I edit with imovies. I also have a Panasonic camcorder which I use for outside shots.
How long does it take you to do a video?
It normally takes me anywhere from 2 to 3 hours to shoot and edit a video. It really depends on the footage. If I have a lot of film, for example, The Free Hug in NY Video, I had over an hour of footage. It took me 4 hours to edit to make it fit into a 4 min video. It was extremely difficult, but I enjoyed every piece of it, as I love to edit.
Do you have any background in film?
I graduated from Hofstra Universty with a B.A. in communications. My main focus was Film Production/Studies and a minor in Fine Art.
Just about every clip posted up, no matter how great it is, gets its share of nasty comments. How do you handle that?
It is funny how you can receive an abundance of positive comments, but that one person who leaves a nasty comment you can not but harp on it! I have to take a step back and realize that they are not giving me a personal attack, but only the 3 min video that is presented to them. There are times when I personally email someone to discuss why they left a nasty comment, and normally the person will respond and an intellectual conversation can be had. But it is hard to not take the nasty comments to heart.
How do you feel about the whole group of Youtubers, obviously inspired by Lonelygirl, who are trying to create scripted videos? Does this help or hurt the community?
I love youtube for the soul purpose of self expression. There are so many people in this world and everyone goes on the internet for different reasons. I personally want to be entertained. I do not like to watch someone talk for 10 mins about what they had for breakfast and what shirt to wear. To me that is boring. I enjoyed watching lonelygirl. I think it was a breakthrough for the internet genre to have a scripted show. However, I do feel that it hurt the youtube community as there are real people like myself, without a production team, working very hard to make videos and it is a hit and miss for someone to become popular.
What are your favorite films, TV shows, musicians?
Some of my favorite films are Edward Scissorhands, Donnie Darko, Dark Crystal, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Garden State, Notebook, Run Lola Run, Nemo, Shrek, ET, Match Point, Little Miss Sunshine
Tv- Grey’s Anatomy, Project Runway, Lost, Scrubs, The Office. I love reality shows, so anything on TLC or Bravo
Music- I listen to a variety of music, from indie, alternative, 80’s to rock.
Do you have any DVD recommendations?
My favorite movie for whenever I am down is to watch the Wedding Singer. (is that silly?)
What do you have on your Tivo (or what shows do you watch every week)?
Every week I watch grey’s anatomy, the office and lost.
A big thanks to Jill for the interview, and be sure to head over to YouTube and become one of her subscribers.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Posted by TALKING MOVIEzzz at 7:57 AM
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I love Harvey Pekar.
But, back before AMERICAN SPLENDOR the movie, and before I was able to find his comic on the stands, he was just that guy who came on Letterman (which I taped every night) and argued and yelled and, well, made for some memorable moments.
Here is his last appearance, that was re-enacted in the film.
And if you haven't read any of his comics, they are all must reads. There are several collections released in the past few years. Buy them all. He is one of the best writers, in any medium, around today.
Posted by TALKING MOVIEzzz at 5:01 PM