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FAME: Kade Style (Anniversary Cut!) February 26, 2010

Posted by Aymar Jean Christian in Uncategorized.
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Posted at Gawker; Ronebreak; Philebrity; Arthur Kade (with commentary)

It’s been one year since Arthur Kade, ex-financier turned cult Philadelphia personality, embarked on his journey to fame! How’s he doing? Certainly, most of my friends still have no clue who he is, but Kade himself says he’s known on every continent on Earth, even — even! — the great continent of Alaska.

Sure, Kade has partied with the few celebs who ever come to Philadelphia, and he’s been on Gossip Girl for several seconds. Just this week, he debuted — spoke! — on Showtime’s La La Land. Of course we’ve all heard about his reality show in development with IMG and book deal with Trident Media. Although, when we contacted IMG, we found it difficult to find someone to confirm the Kade show; some didn’t know what we were talking about. And Trident Media never responded to our requests for comment. But who are we? Kade’s likely telling the truth, but maybe he isn’t top priority at either firm.

Now, our news! In honor of Kade’s anniversary, my Penn colleagues Heidi Khaled and Brett Bumgarner and I cut a short, ten-minute version of our documentary on Arthur Kade, Fame: Kade Style

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Will We Ever Pay Homage to Nancy Meyers? February 24, 2010

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It’s quite possible the contents of this post will lose me a great deal of respect among my colleagues and perhaps bar me from tenure at most reputable institutions. But I say, why not propose a ridiculous idea?!

I’m wondering whether Nancy Meyers, Hollywood’s purveyor of feminine fantasy, might one day achieve the same level of respectability as the king of melodrama, Douglas Sirk. Meyers is not popular in my immediate social circle, and up until recently I’d thought of her films mainly as cinematic cookies, acceptable only in moderation (of course, as with real cookies, I gorge anyway).

But then Manohla Dargis gave me a way of out my cycle of self-doubt. Thanks, Manohla!

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“Real Girls” Are More Diverse, Less Frivolous February 22, 2010

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Last week, I wrote about how influential Sex and the City had been to various web series creators. Along those lines, I asked the creative team behind a new (gay) series about women, The Real Girl’s Guide to Everything Else, to talk about how they developed their show and what the philosophy behind it was. Carmen Elena Mitchell, the executive producer and writer, wrote me back and filled me in on the behind-the-scenes planning. The show premiered last week.

The main goal behind The Real Girl’s Guide was to offer an alternative on Sex and the City (particularly the film).

“We got into this conversation about the world of Sex and the City…the world of rich, white, straight fashionistas. And it started me thinking – what’s the inverse of that world?,” I was told. “Perhaps a more ethnically diverse world where materialism is not valued, where being straight is not ‘assumed,’ where a woman’s goals do not end at getting married or finding the perfect pair of ridiculously expensive shoes.”

Interestingly, however, it’s about more than just the story. Real Girl’s also provides opportunities for actors of color who are often typecast by traditional media. This is something I’ve heard from other web series producers.

Below, the creators talk to me about finding financing, producing extra content to engage fans, what’s good about The L Word, troubling about Sex and the City, and what a “web series” is!

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Finding a Comedy Audience in a Crowded Web Series Market February 19, 2010

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Originally posted at Ronebreak.

[Note: I had a very insightful interview with MyDamnChannel’s CEO and a representative from FTVS’ 15 Gigs, both of which are really thinking about how to scale the web series market. I’ll be posting more of that interview in the coming week.]

Online comedy hasn’t been kind to television studios looking to break in. Remember Turner’s SuperDeluxe or NBC’s DotComedy? FunnyOrDie and CollegeHumor still run the game, but competition’s always bubbling up.

Fox Television Studios and its digital arm 15 Gigs’ have decided they need a more targeted push for their series Iceman Chronicles, so they’ve partnered up with comedy upstart MyDamnChannel, who’s looking to expand its library including such hits as You Suck At Photoshop and IKEA’s Easy to Assemble.

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Web Series Remix “Sex and the City” February 17, 2010

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Anyone who’s looked into web series knows most shows are marketed like traditional television shows are. Pitching a show to Hollywood, you come up with an easily digestible equation: Glee = High School Musical + The Simpsons (or some other “transgressive” show) or Flash Forward = Lost + Heroes (Season 1). You get the idea. If they aren’t hybrids, most shows are pure derivatives (Cashmere Mafia = Sex and the City, basically), or slight variations (Parks & Recreation = The Office + female lead). This doesn’t mean they’re bad, but, as Todd Gitlin argues in Inside Primetime, in an industry with so many unknowns, relying on past success is key. Shows that stand out entirely, like Arrested Development, are rare.

Same with web series. I just did a write of a show that was Twin Peaks + funnier. Or how The Crew is The Office + Star Trek. I’m surprised at how often Dallas and Dynasty get mentioned as influences by web series creators. As with TV, it doesn’t mean the shows are bad; all culture relies on variations of known stories.

Still, I’m amazed at how important Sex and the City has been to web video. It strikes me that, aside from perhaps The Office, no mainstream show has been as influential to creators.

So what’s the deal and how have producers worked with the canonical series?

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Barry Miller, of “Fame” Fame, Decries Fame Today February 12, 2010

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I don’t get too many celebrity commenters on this site — except if you count the president of the American Medical Association. So it’s no surprise that when Barry Miller, known for his star-turn as Ralph Garcy in the original Fame (1980), started commenting anonymously on my blog, I would fail to notice.

Miller had a huge beef with last year’s Fame (2009), a disgust he broached in a USA Today article about the original cast. But while Miller declined a formal interview to USA, he left his thoughts, under the name Johnny Lagoon, all over my blog.

And they are interesting!

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“Avatar:” On Second Viewing… February 8, 2010

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I’ve been posting and tweeting a lot about Avatar, if only because it’s now the highest grossing film ever — or not, depending on how you calculate it (NYMag‘s Vulture blog has the best solution, which now places Avatar at around #3 or #4) — and only recently has it been unseated from its #1 spot in the weekend grosses (Dear John of all movies!). It also has a whole lot of representational baggage, meaning there are a many ways to interpret it, each one related to some political project or another.

After seeing Avatar the first time I came away a little disappointed. But I decided to view it again in IMAX 3D (my first viewing was on a smaller 3D screen), to see it as many critics saw it. Does it impress on second viewing and on the biggest screen imaginable?

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Graduating from YouTube Hard Without Big Media Support February 3, 2010

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Increasingly as the supply of content online rises, getting your work and/or yourself noticed is a major challenge.

Graduating from a site like YouTube, even after gaining a high profile, is even more difficult. Suddenly producers find they can’t push their products/themselves alone. They need the big media.

The big media wasn’t there for out YouTube star William Sledd.

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List of Gay and Lesbian Web Series Up! February 1, 2010

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I’ve been meaning to do it for months, and I finally took the time to compile a list of gay and lesbian web series (mostly independent) and it’s up!

Here’s the list.

Some interesting things to consider/remember.

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