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Joseph Scarbrough launched what he called "The Scarblog" as a way of cataloging his work over the years, as well as going into greater detail of things on his mind (known as "Unfinished Thoughts").

Saturday, September 14, 2019

My Unfinished Thoughts on No Nourishment in Entertainment

Almost everything in this day and age of being hurry-hurry-hurry, rush-rush-rush, faster-faster-faster, there's something crucial that's getting lost in that hustle and bustle of having everything in an instant. In listening to an interview that he did with SIDE BY SIDE, renowned filmmaker Martin Scorsese brings up a very interesting point that I believe really hits the nail on the head:

"The danger, especially in our culture, is that cheaper, faster is consumed, bang, goes away. There's no nourishment."

I may be a so-called "Millennial," but even I remember a time growing up in which when a new movie would be released, it would stay in the theaters for several weeks - sometimes a couple of months, or even longer - if it was a movie you really enjoyed, you could see it more than once . . . and, of course, there's also the communal aspect of seeing a movie with other people, it brings you together in an experience of enjoyment and entertainment. Afterwards, it could be a year or even longer before that movie would be released on home video, but it would always be worth the wait. Fast-forward to today, where a movie may last only a week or so in a theater (maybe up to a month if it's particularly a box-office smash), then released on DVD a couple of months later, then that's it. That's all, folks!

Aside from the fact that almost everything produced in the world of mainstream entertainment today is rotten content anyway (remember, this is just an opinion piece), after listening to Scorsese's point, I really believe he's got a grasp of why it's so hard to really get into any new movie, or even TV show or episodic series in this day and age: it comes and goes so quickly, it leaves behind something of a void where you find yourself still wanting more . . . and no, I don't mean wanting more in terms of an endless string of sequels and franchising (that's another problem we can discuss another day). I would dare say this is one of the major problems with streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, releasing all of the new episodes of a new series at once: it's like pigging out at an all-you-can-eat buffet, without even really savoring what you're consuming.

As I just said, not just in terms of movies, but even series are affected by this. One specific example I can give is THE LOUD HOUSE: perhaps the biggest smash hit Nickelodeon has had since SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS (and you know how much I loathe SpongeBob), going strong over the course of four seasons, a side-series, a full-fledged spin-off, and even a movie in the works . . . and I can't really get into it. It has nothing to do with the premise (which does seem original and fresh), it has nothing to do with the characters (which there seems to be at least one character for any kind of viewer to relate to), it has nothing to do with the themes or subject matter (which is pretty gutsy to include LGBT characters when once upon a time, this would have gotten a kids show yanked from the airwaves immediately) . . . it's the pacing. Having watched a few episodes to see if this show is really as great as everybody makes it out to be, I've found the pacing of this show is so quick, so fast, and lacking in substance, that it's almost impossible to really get invested into a storyline, because there's no time to allow the content to really sink in and process . . . perhaps that can be chalked up to the stigma that kids today have short or even no attention spans, or maybe the writers are trying to hard to cram as much as they can into individual 10-11-minute segments, I don't know.

Other filmmakers, on the other hand, disagree with Scorsese's sentiment, and even feel that the age of having everything in an instant is actually a great advantage. George Lucas, one of the biggest and most influential filmmakers of all time, responsible for the STAR WARS franchise, among other ground-breaking films since the 1970s, also shared his thoughts with SIDE BY SIDE in regards the age of film-making we live in now:

"We have gone from a presentation in a presentation venue, where it's presented to you, and/or it's hyped in your home at a particular place, at a particular time [ . . . ] It's kind of a presentation way of looking at things. We're not in that world anymore. Now we're in the world of you can have anything you want whenever you want, and it's like a supermarket [ . . . ] How do you get the shelf space? Because there's another thousand movies every week that look exactly like your movie, how do you stand out from all those other things?"

All of this taken into consideration could also be something that's applied to the current state of YouTube. Yes, yes, I know, I know -- I keep ranting about YouTube like a broken record, but hear me out on this one, because this is one aspect of YouTube that I haven't necessarily discussed in greater detail on Scarblog before. . . . Much like what's become of mainstream entertainment, YouTube is no longer the place for the little guys who want to create and produce their own, original, quality content for the world to see as it was when it started out; YouTube is no longer in the world of small-time filmmakers and content creators like James Rolfe or Terence Krey - YouTube is in the world of trends and the zeitgeist. Whenever you look on YouTube, almost all of the videos you see being promoted and postured on the homepage are vlogs or some sort: gaming, make-up tutorials, drive-thru escapades, equipment reviews, and the like. On top of that, the so-called "experts" of YouTube seem to think they have it all figured out: the best way to thrive on YouTube is the make as many videos as you can, and not only in a short amount of time, but the shorter the actual videos are, the better . . . and, to a certain extent, this is sadly true. As Lucas pointed out, it's a lot like supermarket shelf space: YouTube has become a sea vlogs that you can hardly tell apart at a glance, and in order to get noticed, you have to crank out as many short videos as you can to keep up with the Joneses. This is where Scorsese's point also comes into play: because of this, there's really no nourishment . . . and because of this, certain YouTubers like myself have been hurt by this shift in mindset.

Getting back to the point I made about the so-called YouTube "experts," there really is some truth to what they say - to the point that YouTube, in recent years, has further hindered the growth of smaller channels in many internal ways: for instance, if they perceive a channel isn't "active" (as in they don't upload at least one new video a week), they perceive said channel to be "dead," and will do one or both of two things: 1. Automatically disable/de-activate the subscribers' notifications, or 2. Automatically un-subscribe them altogether. This makes it hard for smaller channels that actually take the time to create quality content to maintain an audience, because again, it doesn't fall in line with this world of needing supermarket shelf space, and to churn out as much content as you can to get and keep that shelf space in a sea of other similar content creators. This puts people like me at a disadvantage; being an artist who maintains an artistic channel, people don't take into consideration the old saying: "you can't rush art." And you can't. Although it may not seem like it, even some of my shortest videos (four minutes or less) can take a surprisingly long time to put together: sometimes even weeks . . . and as such, it's nearly impossible to create and upload this kind of content on such a regular basis . . . so what ends up happening? We don't get the shelf space, we fall by the wayside, and we get swept up. Try explaining this to the so-called "experts" who keep telling you, "you need to make more videos more frequently." As Will Smith once put it in regards to parents, back in his Fresh Prince days: they just don't understand.

It fascinates me to see how sometimes the world of mainstream entertainment can also apply to something like YouTube, and how you can see the parallels between the two. That being said, however, while I can see the angle that Lucas is coming from from a business aspect (and even Scorsese agrees with that sentiment), I feel inclined to side more with Scorsese in terms of the art of film-making suffering from a lack of nourishment, which the consumer world doesn't even seem to miss anymore in this day and age of having what you want, when you want it, then it goes away.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Steve Drug PSA

Ah, yes . . . drug P.S.A.s. With their heavy-handed messages, as well as their vivid, memory-etching images, sometimes it makes you wonder if the people behind those P.S.A.s weren't ingesting a little something as well. Well, as Steve is about to demonstrate . . . that could very well be the case:

Monday, August 12, 2019

Steve's Second Live Stream Much Better

Steve's 15th anniversary live stream went really, really well - so well, in fact, that it ended up lasting nearly two hours! I honestly wasn't prepared or expecting it to go on so long - by the time it was over and I removed Steve, my entire arm was red and sore! I'm sure part of the reason for the better turn out this time around was more advance notice than the previous live stream this past December, which only had a week's notice.

That's not to say, however, that things didn't go completely smooth: once again, there were issues with the Facebook feed randomly cutting off halfway through for no reason . . . but this was a benefit of having it simulcast on YouTube at the same time, as people were able to hop over there to continue the stream.

Those who participated in the live stream requested that it remain available for playback and rewatching afterwards, so here is the entire, uninterrupted YouTube feed of Steve's 15th anniversary live stream. And be advised: some of the comments and discussions brought up almost got a tad naughty (a lot of which goes right over Steve's head):

Friday, August 9, 2019

Steve D'Monster's 15th Anniversary

Just take a look at who's 15!
Today's the day. It was on this day, fifteen years ago, when I was but a fifteen-year-old lad myself, that I put my first puppet creation out there for all to see. This poorly put together mess of purple fur with lop-sided yellow horns, out-of-focus eyes, and the badly sewn-together features was Steve D'Monster, making his debut on East Tennessee PBS as part of their Friends of Sesame Street pledge drive, encouraging children watching to have their parents call in their pledges of support to keep the wholesome, entertaining, and educational PBS Kids shows on the station.

And now, here it is, fifteen years later, and that furry purple thing certain looks a lot better than he did then, actually possesses a personality, and has been appearing in all sorts of humorous little videos on YouTube for the better part of nearly thirteen years. Steve D'Monster has been enjoying a week-long celebration of his fifteenth anniversary with some special retrospective episodes detailing the evolution of his appearance, as well as the overall history of his existence:

But curiously of all is what we actually decided to do for his big fifteenth anniversary video . . . parody another popular YouTube channel, Chills!

It's not quite over yet! Steve wants to celebrate his anniversary with you guys! A reminder that his special live stream will be simulcast on YouTube and Facebook at the same time! Tonight, 11pm EDT!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Steve to Have His Second Live Stream Aug 9

In spite of the minor technical difficult that was experienced the last time we attempted a live stream with Steve (the matter of Facebook chat comments not working in real time), we're attempt a second live stream with Steve again this August, since it will be his fifteenth anniversary live stream!

Here's Steve's big announcement: