Archive for the ‘music videos’ Category

Applause

One of the greatest lovemaking acts in the world is between an artist and his audience.

Therefore, the greatest place for an artist to be is on a stage. To stand in front of the people who love his work, his talent, his gift. To stand in front of them and share it with them. It must be the best high in the world. Musicians and other performance artists experience it in the most direct way. Music shows have people clapping and shouting and cheering with enthusiasm after each song, and during. Magicians, jugglers, acrobats, and other performers of the circus also experience the appreciation of the audience in the most immediate way, although there’s a difference between a performer who is a part of a show and a musician who people come especially to see. I think as far as audience feedback goes, nothing beats being a musician/singer on stage. Yes, it’s hard, doing shows one after the other. It demands energy and stamina. But there’s a reason why music legends such as Madonna and The Rolling Stones still perform while most of the people their age are rotting away in places with names such as “Green Fountains”. You see, it’s the love of the audience. It’s intoxicating. Is it an ego-trip? Partly, for sure. But as long you keep your ego in check, as long as it’s not too inflated, as long as you can enjoy the adoration and not get too caught up in it, it’s just an awesome feeling. For musicians, going on tour is the best thing there is. It is nothing like recording in the studio. It is connecting with the people who buy and enjoy and love their music. It’s seeing them, hearing them, feeling them.

As an artist, some fans will leave you, especially if you’ve been in some sort of creative decline, or “sold out” in their opinion. It’s hard, keeping the love of the audience. It’s hard to win it and it’s even harder to keep it. But, you will always have your core of fans, your little family, who travels along with you, metaphorically and literally, over the years. And even if you don’t have a fan base yet, even if it’s your first performance ever, even if it’s in a school talent show instead of in a stadium, you can still connect with an audience like no artist can. And it’s still magic.

Actors in the theater have it a little different. It really depends on the kind of show you’re making. If you’re making a comedy, you’ll be able to enjoy the crowd’s response during your performance, just like a rocker on stage (depending if it’s funny, of course). If it’s a drama, you’ll have to wait until the end to get your applause. That part, where the actors return to stage and take their bow, is the most magical part in theater, it’s the moment where the performer goes in front of his audience and says “there you go, I did my part, now it’s your turn”. It’s awesome being an actor in the theater if only for that moment, if only for that feeling, doing the same play each and every night, and when it’s over, feeling the love rising out of the seats in a roar of applause, and like a wave, washing over you, affirming your talent, your gift, telling you that you have found what you were brought to this Earth to do. Those applause, this love, they are the stamp of approval on the talent sheet you received from god.

A writer, on the other hand, cannot experience this immediacy, this connection with an audience. A writer performs his act on the page, adding words to words, creating a story or a poem. The closest a writer can get to feeling like a rock star is if he reads his work on stage. And that’s really more of a performance, only of the literary kind. The writer needs to be proficient with it, or he risks boring his audience to tears, just like a musician. But a writer cannot see or feel first hand how his work affects people. He cannot be in your living room with you while you read his book. He cannot hear you gasp, laugh, cry. Writing is the most intimate of artistic endeavors. The connection between the author and his reader is always done through the mind. Yes, a writer can receive letters from readers telling him how his work affected them, but it is certainly not as direct as hearing your crowd cheer and applaud your live performance as a fire-eater or as a Blues artist.

A playwright can hear his words spoken on stage and can take joy in the love of the audience. He is not necessarily on stage bowing, or even present at the theater every night, but he can experience it behind the scenes. Better than nothing, right?

And what about the screenwriter?

Screenwriting, that weird amalgamation of the playwright and the novelist. A script, unlike a novel or a play, is not an independent piece (barring some exceptions…). It is the blueprint for a motion picture. A screenwriter cannot experience a direct link with his audience unless he sits in a theater showing the film he wrote. And even then, it is anonymous. It is like the playwright behind the stage.

A writer is not a performer. Writers are usually shy and prefer it this way. But there’s something to be said about getting your applause. For me, showing my short film in the theater was a high point, and the closest I got to being a rock star. Of course, I cherished it with complete anonymity, and I was somewhat tense since when you’re making a comedy you always worry the audience won’t laugh. But when they do, and in the right spots, and when they gasp in the right spots, you can imagine yourself on the stage, a guitar in your hand, shredding it, or maybe sitting at a piano, hammering those tunes, your fingers dancing on the keyboard like drunk ballerinas.

And when it ends, you stand up, and take a bow, and thank them.

And then you are one with your audience.

And you love them for it.

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Snack-o-rama

I knew it was just a matter of time until I work for The Man, but here it is: Me and some friends made a “Doritos commercial” for the Doritos Viralocity contest. It started out as three separate videos but then was combined to create one epic story about a man tormented by his dreams (okay, it’s not as dramatic as it sounds).
Anyway, the trick in the contest is to share your video as much as possible, that is why I am using my blog, who usually concerns itself with topics as Why Are We Here and What Is The Meaning Of It All as a shameless plug-in to promote our little snack-o-rama (TM) masterpiece, which was, obviously, shot in snack-o-rama.

Enjoy!

YouTubbing: My favorite online videos of the 21st century

At first , I wanted to post a list of my favorite films of the decade (just for the record, this is the best movie of the decade as far as I’m concerned), but there are so many lists already out there, and there are so many movies to sift through in nine years (and to think of it, 2010 is part of this decade too, so the real bookkeeping should take place next year), that I decided to focus on something a little different and much more manageable:

Online video.

Okay, so you can’t really call it “best online videos of the decade” since there wasn’t any online video before this decade, but the online-video world have been growing exponentially, both technically and creatively. Sure, 80 percent of it is crap – glorified home movies, or simply imitations of better videos, but the remaining 20 percent has given us some really entertaining stuff, right there on our computer screens (and later on our smartphones and other portable gadgets), with almost no mediators – straight from the guy at home to you, the viewer. And let me tell you, there are some seriously creative folks out there who can write, edit and perform – people we might have never had the pleasure of sampling their talent if not for the internet and especially YouTube – the Hall Of Fame for online video, at least until the next “It” video site comes along.

I chose to share with you five of the best videos I have watched these past few years. I only chose from videos who were made by “regular” people specifically for the internet. So I didn’t take into account any movie trailers, scenes and clips from movies or TV shows, or official music videos. Only user generated material. The criteria for me was simple: How re-watchable is the video? How original it is? Have i watched it more than once? more than 50 times? Is it still entertaining even by the 50th time? Two of these five videos were included just because they always make me laugh, no matter how many times I watch them. The other three are pure brilliance as far as I’m concerned.

It warms my heart to see people like me and you put time and effort, usually with no financial gain whatsoever, just to share it with other people. They did it just because they wanted too, just because it was fun.
Above all else, this decade brought the internet to almost every household and person in the world. A technological invention that has become such an essential part in our lives that we can hardly remember how it was before. And as far as creativity goes, the internet has freed us all.

So, in descending order, five of the greatest online videos:

5. Dramatic Cat

I really tried not to include any cat videos. We’re all sick of cat videos. But the hell with it, this short clip is hilarious, and there’s no ignoring the fact that cats have overrun YouTube. And why not? They’re certainly the most mischievous, mysterious, cute and amazing household pet in the world. So as an honorary representative of all 1,344,988 cat videos on the internet, I present to you my favorite one.

4. Marvel Vs. DC: The Dark Knight

There are many fanboy parodies on the net. Everything from Star Wars to Star Trek to Comics to anything in between. Some of these parodies I adore, but I didn’t include them because they seemed too particular, meaning, they might not make sense to the general public, or to put in a more direct way: I’m not everyone will get the joke.
But this video is much more accessible. Everybody knows Batman and everybody knows The Dark Knight. It’s a great satire of the phenomenon that the second Chris Nolan Batman film, a smashing artistic and financial success. It’s very well written and performed, and I laugh every time. Like the cat video, this is here also as the honorary representative of all the fan-made parodies out there, and it’s certainly one of the best.

3. Hey clip

I might seem less than objective here, since the performers are from my own country, but with 28 million views and countless tributes, including one by a Mr. Kevin Smith(!), I guess I’m not the only one. It’s a simple clip, but extraordinary at the same time, and a perfect proof of home-grown talent just finding its own audience in its own natural way.
Two teenage girls from a small town in Israel decided to shoot a clip in the bedroom of one of them for the Pixies’ song Hey, just on a lark. The result was a huge hit on YouTube. It’s Francis Ford Coppola’s vision materializing in front of our eyes: The girl with the cheap video camera is creating something that is on par or even better than many official music videos out there. Fantastic editing and shot selection, and the girls have perfect timing and chemistry together, and they have so much fun, and it shows, and it’s catching, and it’s real , and it just puts a smile on your face. It’s a winner.

2. Shining trailer

The first (if I’m not mistaken) and still the best of all the mock trailers that swept through YouTube in recent years. Notice that it’s not The Shining, but Shining. A grim horror film has been turned into a heartwarming family drama with the aid of music, voice-over, and again, brilliant editing. If I was an editing teacher that’s the first thing I would show my students. But it’s not just a great parody and a great example of the power and magic of editing, it’s also a damn good trailer in its own right. I mean, I wanna see this film! The part where Peter Gabriel’s chorus for Solsbury Hill comes in still sends giddy shivers down my spine. If the guy that made this isn’t cutting trailers in Hollywood right now, or even better, cutting movies, then something is seriously wrong.

1. Where the hell is Matt?

A 32 year-old American Video Game developer got fed up with it all and felt like he was missing out on life. He had money, so he began traveling.

One more thing you should know about him is that he had this sort of funny, bad dance move he used to do.

Okay, back to the trip: A friend filmed Matt doing his dance in Hanoi. Like many internet videos, it became viral and got the attention of a chewing-gum company that offered to sponsor Matt and send him around the world to do his little dance in different places. And that’s what he did.

Up to now it sounds pretty silly, I admit.

But then, in 2008, he was back on the road again.

And this time, he didn’t dance alone.

The result is one of the most uplifting, exhilarating, and heart-warming little montages I have ever seen. It does nothing short of giving me a since of renewed faith in mankind as a species. It’s stunning and beautiful in more ways than I can describe. I love it.

So here’s to music and joy and silly dancing and especially love, because that is the most powerful message of this video.

Oh, and what a gorgeous world we have.

So that’s it. Here’s hoping for more oodles of grassroots creativity on the World Wide Web as it enters its second decade and expands and grows to make us all one nation under the stars. It’s been a hell of a ride.

1973

Every person reacts differently when his or hers birthday arrives. The common social convention is of course to celebrate them in one way or another, and that is what most people do. But there are also those who couldn’t care less and don’t like all the fuss that surrounds it
A birthday is widely considered as a celebration of life. Another step up the ladder. It comes to signify achievement, and it offers a good opportunity for some soul-searching, especially if you’re the melancholy type.
Then there are those “glass half empty” downer types who like to think of birthdays as “getting one year older and closer to The End”. It’s a two faced coin. Aging is an inherent facet of birthdays. It’s how you look at it that makes all the difference. Are you aging happily? Are you feeling content with your life in some degree or another?Of course, birthdays are most fun when you’re a kid, when each year brings huge changes in personality and looks. Maybe the Celebration serves as the counterbalance for the horrors of puberty.

All in all, most people love a good party, and birthdays are primarily an excuse for one. They don’t have to be celebrated in huge clubs with loads of people to be meaningful, though. A nice afternoon with your loved one or just a handful of good friends could to the trick just as well or even better. I guess it all depends on what kind of person you are. Do you need to have lots of people around so you won’t feel lonely?
Then there’s the gifts issue. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, is that expensive gifts aren’t necessarily the best ones. The best ones are those that come from the heart. The ones that takes time to prepare. It could be a drawing your kid did for you. A music disc a friend burned for you. In birthdays, as in life, emotional truth beats commercial superficiality almost every time.

But naturally, this is very hard to get right. Many times, you don’t know the person well enough to be able to get him something really special. In fact, Gift Politics is another matter, which does not only apply for birthdays, of course.
In workplaces, for example, it’s customary to collect a small amount of money from everyone to buy a decent gift for the Birthday Guy or Girl, instead of every person buying something small. So then, when someone approaches you and asks: “Would you like to give 5 dollars to buy a birthday present for John/Jill?” you begin to ponder whether you know them well enough to pay for a present. Usually, the PC thing to do is to shell out the money, but once in a while each and every one of us can’t help but feel a little bit like Gorge Costanza in those situations.

Some people are very hard to buy gifts for. As a general rule, the better you know the person, the easier it should get, but that is not always the case. People with specific hobbies are the easiest. If the guy collects stamps, just buy him stamps and make him happy. Although, if you need to buy him a present every year, it becomes problematic. You can’t just keep buying stamps all the time.
So then comes the inquiry stage: You begin asking people who may know the person more intimately than you what do they think he or she really needs or wants right now (in material terms, of course).
Some people love to receive gifts (the vast majority, I would guess), and some hate it. I’ll admit. I’m with the majority. It’s fun to get presents. It’s also fun to give presents, but for different reasons. Giving presents, especially the right ones, endows you with that rare treat: Making someone happy. The fun in getting presents has to do with the reason people love celebrating their birthdays in the first place. It putsyou in the center of attention and makesyou feel special. Most people love to feel special (in a good way), even if it’s just for one day. Or one season of a reality show.
Some people, though, don’t like to be in the center of attention and view it as a narcissist waste of time. They feel that all the energy spent on birthday celebrations could be spent on more productive endeavors.

There is an undeniable tendency in the Western world to find causes for celebrations. Christmas and Halloween have long become commercial festivals. New Year’s day is One Huge Shindig. We have birthdays, wedding anniversaries, promotions at work, baby showers, bachelor parties, graduations, etc, etc. It stems from a certain kind of comfortable – some may say – spiritually vapid existence, but I think you need to be a real curmudgeon to deny people a chance to celebrate and be happy. It’s fun, it’s releasing, it’s healthy, it’s socially beneficial.
There are always those who keep on “celebrating”, staying in perpetual high, either by alcohol or by drugs, unwilling to let the party lights dim and the music turned off. Unable to stand the quiet. That is the other end of the spectrum, the Western Perpetual Party Man, people that want to feel like every day is their birthday because they find it hard to face life. (for that matter, I never understood the pressing need for alcohol at parties. Isn’t celebrating something a great high in itself? Do we really need to get drunk?)
But too much celebrating, like every other thing in life, is not recommended. It makes the celebration itself the norm instead of the wonderful exception it should be. Humans were not made to be perpetually happy, nor perpetually sad. That’s just the way it is, and that’s how it’s supposed to be.

So… did you get me something nice?!

A Valentine’s Day special

Rejoice, lovers! Valentine’s Day is upon us, and I decided to celebrate it here at “As blog as it gets” with a heartbreaking, beautiful love song. So grab your Kleenex, and enjoy!

Oh, here’s the original.

All you need is love

It’s funny how sometimes you stumble upon the most poignant things in the most unexpected places. The other day I surfed the channels on my TV and came upon a show about mafia guys in New York. As a big fan of The Sopranos(another post in the making), I was obviously interested to see the “real story”.

Nevertheless, it was the end of the program (Ironically, I missed it because I watched a rerun of The Sopranos), so there wasn’t much left.

Anyway, they interviewd a guy who was a soldier in the mafia back in the 80’s or something, who is now a family man. and he talked about how he decided to quit after he fell in love with a woman and they decided to marry.

Sure, it all sounds like a bad movie. But he was sincere, and then he started to say that this woman managed to do what years of intimidations and incarcerations didn’t. She cleansed his soul. She made him want to pull himself together and be a decent guy. He told how this woman, who was non judgmental and only wanted the best for him, made him change his ways in the most profound way.

Her love literaly saved his life.

And then he said: “It’s great to have someone who loves you. It’s really great”. And maybe it was the way he said it, truly sincere, from the bottom of his heart, or maybe it was just those simple words, but it brought a tear to my eye.

Because, you see, the moral of this story is that love is the most powerful force on earth.

That’s right, not the hydrogen bomb, but love. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love. Love is a many splendored things. You get the picture.

Sure, love isn’t always that great. Nobody can guarantee it will last. People get divorced all the time. Love is often a source for pain and misery (I should know. But that’s another story).

Love makes people mad, elated, frustrated, overjoyed, ecstatic, frantic, and down right peculiar. But the thing is, there’s a reason why so many songs are written about love, why so many stories have love at their core in one way or another. Money may make the world go around, but love gives us a hell of a reason to be here in the first place.