Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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.

Full House

Roommates? Basements? Sublets? What’s the better option?

The Human Race has pondered these age old questions since the beginning of time itself. Is there anything more unnatural than sharing your living space with total strangers, living underground like a mole, or leave your precious possessions in the hands of who-knows-who?

The first documented case of strangers sharing the same living space has reportedly took place at 505 BC in the small Greek village of Terana, where a man named Lisaris shared his furnished three bedroom hut with two women who came all the way from Crete to watch the Olympic Games. Polakis, the village poet, noticed the strange event and wrote a famous poem about it translated freely as “Who used all the hot water?”  Exactly why Lisaris decided to make this bold act has been lost long ago in the mists of ancient history.
We do not know how much the women paid or how long they stayed, though it is safe to assume they went away after the games were over.

Another famous example of early room sharing occurred in the year 12 AD in Germania, when the Teutonic warlord Grappa the Bold rented a room at his clay duplex in The-Middle-Of-The-Forest street No. 11 for 60 Sesterce a month (equivalent to approx. 200,000 US dollars), including utilities, to a young stone mason named Archard (Archie). It was said the earth shook that day when the tribes discovered their leader is in a financial strife. It could well be that this event has caused a major shift with regard to the fate of Europe’s ancient tribes.

Basements. Nowhere is the scale system more evident than in the basement rental world. while the rich live in the front, with big windows facing the view, the poor are relegated to live in the back yard, underground, like they were all Counts of Monte Cristos. One just need to bring them a bowl of soup once a day and shove it under the door, and then the experience would be complete.

In the year 1775, in the west suburbs of Paris, a Marquis by the name of Rober Filamon was the first person in recorded history to rent out a basement apartment in his Chateau. The basement came complete with iron chains, heavy oak doors and tiny slits for windows (on a good day you could see the pavement), but people so craved to experience the Parisian way of life that they were willing to live anywhere and under any conditions just as long as it is in the city limits. The first tenant had to sign a draconian lease of 20 years occupancy, and has finally won his freedom only when the Marquis was beheaded in the town square 14 years later. According to legend, the Marquis last words were: I DO NOT WISH TO HAVE MY HEAD IN A BASKET!

Subletting is another strange habit. People take their apartment, including everything that is in it, and I mean EVERYTHING, and rent it out to complete strangers for a limited amount of time. People they only just met will be sleeping in their bed, on their sheets, eating from their utensils and doing what ever they like to do. Isn’t subletting the complete invasion of privacy? And it’s done voluntarily, too!

A great example for this would be the case of Sir Ronald Fitzmorris. Sir Fitzmorris, a well respected knight, joined Richard the Lion Heart for the Third Crusade in the year 1189, and subletted his two-bedroom apartment in Dardoranidum Keep for a young couple, just until he will return from his travels. Four years later, when he came back all battered and bruised, expecting: a) to receive his full rent for the sublet, and b) to relax once again in his beloved adobe and find relief for his exhaustion, he found out that the couple, Sarah and Gavin Smith from Hertfordshire, have painted the place in red and pink and turned the living room into a sculpting workshop. Apparently, they thought sir Fitzmorris has perished long ago in the holy land.

They say the punishment that Sir Fitzmorris meted against the insolent subletters for breach of contract has brought, in a very convulated and circular fashion, to the invention of the chastity belt.

Rage

Sometimes I feel like smashing the damn computer. I try to do something simple, nothing too fancy. I dunno, open a web page, download a program,  watch a video… and it gets too slow, or shows a message which says: “fatal error, you have fucked up with something and now you’ve ruined everything”. AHHHHHH!

Well, as it happens, there’s something called computer rage. I mean, people get mad on their computers, sometimes hitting them in the process. Well, I can’t say I blame them(although I think it’s more prevalent at work places).

Oh, and another thing: people who talk all the time on their cell phones. People who SHOUT into their cell phones so the whole world could hear their fucking problems (maybe they should open a blog). Sometimes I feel like smacking them. It’s almost as if they stopped talking on their little cell phones, they would have to be with themselves and think about stuff. And those stupid ring-tones. Countless songs are murdered each day on the cellular battlefield. People are concerned with cellular antennas, that maybe they’re polluting our air with electromagnetism, causing who the hell knows what. But what about the cultural pollution of our environment? On the street, on the bus, in the coffee house, in the line to the doctor, people gibbering endlessly about this and that, or text messaging in the middle of a movie, in a dark theatre. I could choke those bastards. Don’t get me wrong, I think the cell phone is a great invention, but it has turned some of us into environmental hazards. It makes people feel they need to talk even when they don’t have anything to say.

And those damn commercials everywhere. Cluttering your mind with nonsense. sometimes there’s a funny one, a clever one, but most of the time it’s just annoying. Especially those that invade your house. Your phone rings. You’re outside your apartment, holding a bag of groceries. You fumble with your keys, trying to get in quickly and answer the phone. You come in, trip, the groceries are on the floor. You pick up the phone and say, panting: “Hello?!” and a recorded voice says: “Hello there, this is David from David Electronics inviting you this weekend for a special sale…”

I mean, how dare they? and really, who came up with this brilliant advertising idea? who thought that people are going to be real susceptive after someone made them feel like fools? Who was that idiot? that’s what I’d like to know.

We all have rage pent up inside of us. Some of us more than others. We all would like to hit that stupid salesman who came to bother us when we were just leaving, or that driver who took our parking space, or that lady who cut us in line at the supermarket. Humans are savages. We had to learn to repress our urges and build a civilized society, or else we would have destroyed ourselves long ago. It was a survival instinct. But deep inside, we are still what we’ve always been (especially men). We are programmed this way. Even the most mild mannered man can become a savage under the right circumstances.

The civilized, western man is actually a repressed man. And yet, after all this time, after all we’ve been through, after all we’ve accomplished, one stupid ring-tone, one error window in our computer, one annoying automated commercial, can topple it all down in a matter of seconds.

What a shame.

How nice

Nice. I hate that word.

“Nice” is what you say when you really have nothing to say.

How was the movie? I don’t know. Nice, I guess.

“Nice” is when you don’t have any passionate feeling towards something. “Nice” is boredom. From a creative standpoint, “nice” is the worst thing that one can say about your movie/book/song. I’d prefer to hear “Man, I hated your book so much, it made me so mad, I just couldn’t sleep at night”. Yeah! that’s what I’d like to hear, some true emotions! Much better than “Oh, your book? Well, it was… nice, I guess”.

Love it or hate it, don’t “nice” it. The most interesting works of art are the ones that split people right in the middle between lovers and haters, books or movies or songs or paintings that elicit some significant response, works that you can’t be indifferent to.

The worse use of the word “nice” is when it comes to people.

“Oh, he’s a nice guy”. Well, no, no. no. Nice is bland, nice is nothing special. Nice is like vanilla ice cream or a big mac. Been there, done that. Next.

If you’re too nice, you’re in deep shit when it comes to women. Nice guys try to please their ladies so much and be so nice all the time they always end up as platonic friends, never lovers. Over niceness is not sexy. And what if they fall in love with her? Poor shmucks.

So what can you do to avoid over niceness in your art as well as your life? Well, be bold, take chances, dare, don’t be afraid, believe in yourself.

Just say “fuck it” and do what you want to do, not what you think you’re supposed to do.

Follow your heart.

Welcome

door2.jpg

Well, I finally did it. I opened a Weblog.

Some would say it was long overdue.

Some would say “what do you need that for”?

And I guess they would both be right.

Basically, I have a lot of things I want to say, and nowhere to say them. I want to write about things I like and things I hate, things that interest me, and things I want to share with others. a place for things that make me go Ooooh! and things that make me go Blahhh!

This is my little place of ruminating and thought.

I hope it would be interesting, entertaining and engagaing. In other words, I hope that I won’t bore you to tears.

I don’t know what that blog will be. I don’t think it will be what they call a “journal blog”, but I’m not an essays man either.

I’m basically making it up as I go, and you’re most welcome to join the ride

Lior