Hollywood’s not the only place for getting famous in 2008 and beyond. These days it takes a digital camera that uploads and a whole lot of creativity (not to mention a lot of free time) to become an Internet star. Sites like YouTube have boosted the profiles of many people, some of which are truly talented and deserve legitimate discovery by the population at large. Others deserve obscurity, and find satisfaction for their strangeness on YouTube, but you don’t have to suffer their shameless plugs for stardom.
The problem with sites like YouTube is that it can take a long time to dig through the shameless to find the truly talented. I hope this article will help you in your search for what’s worthy of your precious surfing time on the Internet.
So what to watch while the boss is away and you can sneak a YouTube moment? I’ll mention some of my consistent favorites from 2008:
5. Fred Finklehorn
This one should be no surprise to anyone who frequents YouTube. Fred is THE most subscribed-to YouTube channel of all time. To explain Fred (if that’s even possible) is difficult. He’s a teenager, portraying a kindergartner, with a really high squeaky annoying Alvin voice and an in-your-face attitude, but somehow it’s funny, if you have a sense of the truly offbeat. Especially look for his posts on running for kindergarten class president and his dirty 2008 presidential campaign.
4. Where’s Waldo by the Imponderables
This is a single offering on YouTube from a Canadian improve group called the Imponderables on the JustForLaughs channel. Their stuff is kind of hit-and-miss funny, but their piece “The Waldo Ultimatum” is genius stuff. Think of the “Waldo” Books your kids love crossed with “The Bourne Ultimatum”, and you’ll see where it’s going. Be warned, though. The language is not kid-friendly. Check out this clip, which was nominated for Best Web Clip at the 2008 Canadian Comedy Awards, and their other stuff on YouTube as well.
Charlie is a cult of personality, because there’s no real reason for Charlie to be a star, but he is, simply because he’s such a genial and charming British vlogger. He’s like that foreign exchange student you hung out with in high school that you always kept talking just so you could listen to the cool accent. He plays a little guitar and some green harmonica/organ I’ve never seen before. He’s a Doctor Who fan. He cut his hair off recently, and he’s still as cute as ever. If you miss your foreign exchange friend, or never had one of your own, then check out any of Charlie McDonald’s 2008 clips on YouTube.
These guys are truly funny. Check out the brand new theme song on their YouTube home page, and you’ll be quickly inducted into their special brand of manly humor. They are Luke Barats and Joe Bereta, who have been doing filmmaking and improv comedy in Washington State since their college days at Gonzaga University. Some of their best 2008 YouTube work includes “Bible in a Minute”, “Double Dragon”, “Mother’s Day”, “To-Do List” (for those who like their humor dark), “MANtage”, and “Harty Boys” (also a little dark, but funny).
I found Fred C. Rabbath of Tallahassee, Florida, through a YouTube fan video he made of Smash Mouth’s “All-Star”, and I was immediately hooked. His work is hands-down some of the most amazing short film and video work at YouTube I’ve ever seen. His videos and short movies have to be seen to be believed. He’s completely self-taught in filmmaking, yet he comes across as Steven Spielberg, working on a budget that would make even Robert Rodriguez squirm. He uses local actors, some of whom are worth being paid someday when he has a budget to work with, particularly Seth Johnson, Aaron Moorhead, and Shane Brady. You can see all three of them in Fred’s film entitled “Roommates.”
I realize I’m fan-gushing now, but Fred’s good enough for gushing. He has a lot of intros to films he is working on, but if you want to see finished shorts, I particularly recommend “Ladies Man”, “Doctor Scrabble”, “The Alpha Male”, and his recent Halloween special entitled “Cornfield”. Some of the humor is sophomoric guy-stuff and also dark, especially his horror work, but not in a way that’s off-putting. A lot of his comedy stems from grown people acting like little kids, and how funny that juxtaposition is. It makes you wonder what this guy could do with some financial backing. It could be really great.
YouTube is a world of opportunity for those with a camera and the will to work. It is interesting to watch these rising Internet stars, and wonder what we might see from them beyond 2008.