With the advent of YouTube, it has become possible for people to broadcast their talent to the entire world without the backing of an expensive talent agency. Inside Beat takes a look at some of the most talented performers to benefit from the Internet revolution.
By Freddie Morgan, TV Editor
The birth of video blogging began in 2006 with a waiflike girl named Bree, a sixteen-year-old religious devotee with strict parents and a pension for recording videos about herself. There was something captivating about her as she vlogged of the ins-and-outs of her strange religion and her even stranger, ever-absent parents. She had a friend named Daniel that she was quite fond of, who created a YouTube account for himself to post videos about his relationship with Bree. Ultimately, critics and fans alike grew suspicious of this mysterious girl; how was it that her religion prohibited her from doing anything remotely fun, yet she owned a laptop and a camera? It was soon revealed that Lonelygirl15, Bree's persona on YouTube, was actually an actress named Jessica Rose, an Australian attending the New York Film School at the time.
Jessica Rose has since become a television actress because of this unprecedented "YouTube gig." But while the series diminished, this new form of video entertainment did not die out. Real people were inspired by Lonelygirl15's fake identity and, seeking fame the same way Jessica had, proceeded to post about their own lives and somehow make their videos interesting. Videos inspired by Lonelygirl15's channel, such as mememolly's, display not only charisma and performing talent but also editing and splicing abilities. These people now have obtained fame in their own right.
With any passing fad, the world grew tired of "just anyone" with a camera and an opinion. Today, it takes much more than several rants in order to attract an audience. Comedy channels began to emerge modeled after channels like Funny or Die; what better way to obtain fame than by making others laugh? The biggest commercial success stories with their roots in Internet videos are those of Bo Burnham's (Comedy Central Presents) and Donald Glover's (Community). At merely 16 years old, Burnham began releasing self-described "pubescent musical comedy" songs on YouTube. His hilarious comedic timing and R-rated verses earned Burnham a spot on Comedy Central Presents. Donald Glover, too, began making waves during college with his sketch comedy group Derrick Comedy. Glover was soon thereafter hired as a writer on NBC's 30 Rock, thanks to his comprehensive comedic material displayed online.
These people are on the brink of worldwide stardom:
- Lisa Donovan (LisaNova) - former cast member of MadTV
- Kassem Gharaibeh (KassemG) - starred in an iPhone4 spoof commercial with Jane Lynch
- Philip DeFranco (sxephil) - starred in a Web-based series called Hooking Up with Jessica Rose
- Shay Butler (Shaycarl) - has appeared on No Ordinary Family
YouTube partners: Watch out for when their YouTube successes bleed into the real world!
- Hannah Hart (myharto)
- Jenna Mourey (JennaMarbles)
- Epic Meal Time
- GloZell Green (GloZell)
- Kingsley (ItsKingsleyBitch)
Red vs. Blue
By Ryan Surujnath, Associate Editor
Red vs. Blue first premiered on Roosterteeth.com in April 2003. It is widely credited with bringing the art of machinima into the mainstream's attention. RvB was the brainchild of Burnie Burns, Gus Sorola and Geoff Ramsay who decided to turn their Halo gameplay videos into a full-fledged story.
Red vs. Blue is a comedic adventure that follows the story of two teams, Red and Blue, who are stationed in a box canyon. Each team has a base at the opposing ends of the canyon, though the first episode establishes that either base only exists in response to the other. The two sides are supposedly in the middle of a war, but neither team has the motivation to fight the other. Even the series' footage is captured in the Halo videogames, the story follows a different continuity to the Halo universe; those who have not played the game will still enjoy Red vs. Blue.
The key to RvB's success is its array of hilarious and dysfunctional characters. The Red team is led by Sarge, a disciplined, yet bloodthirsty staff sergeant who hails from the Southern United States. Beneath him in the Red team's command structure are the shameless brownnoser Simmons, the hopelessly lazy Griff and the ambiguously gay Donut. The Blue team is just as interesting. They consist of Church, a perpetually irate Texan who is killed and comes back to life as a ghost; Tucker, a womanizer who is impregnated by an alien; Caboose, whose mental disposition varies from mildly dim-witted to completely lost; and Tex, an independent mercenary who is the only competent soldier in the canyon. Since the series uses video game characters in the place of actors, Red vs. Blue keeps the audience's attention with clever dialogue and character development. The writers have found a balance between weaving a serious story and maintaining the show's trademarked humor.
Since its inception more than eight years ago, Red vs. Blue has skyrocketed to Internet popularity. Even Halo's developer Bungie could not ignore the machinima series for long: Bungie supported Red vs. Blue throughout its production process and even featured cameos by the RvB voice actors in Halo 3.
Red vs. Blue is currently in its ninth season and episodes, both new and old, are available to download at roosterteeth.com. Hopefully, Red vs. Blue will continue to amuse audiences as new Halo games come out.
Musical Notes Taken From YouTube
By Emily Gabriele, Music Editor
Justin Bieber is the most successful musical artist that has used YouTube as a platform to jumpstart his road to fame (shout out to Usher for detecting talent and capitalizing on it). Though the young, purple-loving artist may be the most successful, he is certainly not the only one to capitalize on the technological phenomenon.
Here's the way it works: typically speaking, "YouTube sensations" record a video of themselves singing and/or playing an instrument. The general public receives the posted video relatively well and there's a lot of buzz. More often than not, a musical icon will discover the YouTube artist and attempt to work out some sort of record deal with the newbie - thus developing the up-and-comers' skills; from the computer screen to the stage.
Exhibit A: The Quick to Be Signed - Esmee Denters
Mr. Pop himself - Justin Timberlake - recognized Esmee Denters. He spotted her recording of the Natasha Bedingfield cover "Unwritten" and she was the first artist he signed to his label, Tennman Records. Denters' video currently has more than 16 million views and counting...
Exhibit B: The Unsigned But Well-Recognized - Sophia Grace BrownleeYou may know this adorable young lady from her cover of Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass". At 8 years old, Youtube has served as a major platform in making Brownlee's dreams come true. Her video merited recognition from Ellen DeGeneres, who featured Brownlee, accompanied by Rosie, her 5-year-old cousin, on The Ellen Degeneres Show. Not only did Brownlee get to perform her rendition of the hit-song but she was also given the pleasure of meeting Ms. Minaj herself. Adding to her list of accomplishments, Brownlee's YouTube Channel is the third "most-subscribed to in the UK" for this month. The future of Sophia Grace's musical career should be interesting; what record label will reap the benefits of yet another YouTube star?
Exhibit C: The Under Recognized - Jaymee Dee
If you haven't heard of her, or her music yet - what are you waiting for? The California-native Dee has covered songs from Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" to Mike Posner's "Cooler Than Me" to MGMT's huge-hit "The Kids". With a heartfelt voice and impressive creative abilities it's surprising that Jaymee Dee was just recently signed a few months ago to Universal Records. Jaymee Dee also writes her own music - just another weapon that she has in her arsenal. On the face of it, it appears that Dee is a label's dream ... and thanks to YouTube, she has been able to share her talents. Her YouTube subscribers fall just short of the 60,000 mark; though the number isn't astronomical, her talent itself makes her next-up in our book.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that musician Jaymee Dee is unsigned to a label, but she was recently signed to Universal Records this year.