Saturday, 9 June 2007

Playtime


A post on Ian Tait's - Crackunit about the quality of YouTube commenting and community led me to do a bit of exploring. I discovered the 'Community Channel' Vlog by Natalie. She is an Australian born Vietnamese Asian, who at first glance comes across unfairly, as yet another vacuous and self indulgent net teen exploiting her natural good looks with a veneer of digital literacy disguised as drama talent vlogging. You'd be mistaken. Her video clips are wildly popular in the main because she is such a babe, but underneath it all there's a charming tenacity on her part to make engaging YouTube clips that often have a role playing make-believe narrative.

Natalie's videos generate mini waves of video responses from people like Van Awesome below that I particularly like, but what is remarkable for those video responses is that while in the main they are pedestrian (they're not meant to be Hollywood) there are flashes of rather good knowing film nods and techniques not to mention great humour. They're not consistently brilliant nor are they meant to be, but this is the future of community video entertainment and I can see no reason why Tim Tams haven't gone out of their way to offer Natalie a sponsorship collaborative deal, or indeed why a youthful brand isn't fostering the right environment where people like Natalie and Van Awesome can do stuff that keeps us coming back more often. Regrettably, I can just imagine that if they did, a monolithic and data driven marketing department wouldn't know how to handle a personality that is all about experimentation, making mistakes and sometimes mediocre musings on life with occasional flashes of delightful brilliance. MTV is surely missing a trick and so are a bunch of others. Snack brands seem ideal to me for this kind of bite sized entertainment format and shouldn't be an excuse for as Nigel Hollis writes, new media making old mistakes.

I guess the question is not so much 'is it good?', but instead, is it better. It seems that compared to other forms of entertainment and for up to 400 000 people who have watched Natalie's most popular clip, the answer is most definitely yes. Here's a video response to her work which has plenty of links for Natalie's own work. She may not be brilliant yet but I'll put money on it that she will be in the future. This is just the testing ground.

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