Tube Filter

Source: Tubefilter.com, September 21, 2012


Eminem Entering Web Series World With Production Made In Detroit

By Sam Gutelle

The best thing to come out of Eminem‘s first film, 8 Mile, was the song ‘Lose Yourself’, which has a become a staple in the pre-workout playlist of down-and-out white dudes everywhere. The second best thing to come out of the film, however, was probably the shocking quality of Eminem’s acting. It wasn’t Academy Award-quality stuff, but it certainly wasn’t bad. Heck, even Roger Ebert liked it. That’s why I’m intrigued to see what Eminem will bring to the table as a producer when his firm, Shady Films, releases Detroit Rubber, a web series set to debut sometime in the near future.
Detroit Rubber will detail the trials and tribulations of two shoe store owners trying to attract shoppers from around the country. It seems like an odd plot, but the series promises to embrace hip-hop culture, so if we at least get a scene like the final rap battle in 8 Mile then everything will be ok (Warning: predictably strong language).

The series is being produced by Shady Films alongside Electus, the web production company that runs a plentiful variety of YouTube channels. Detroit Rubber will be coming to Electus’ LOUD network, which also hosts the wild K-TOWN reality series along with other pop-culture related series. LOUD only launched this July, so Detroit Rubber should become of the channel’s premier programs when it does get released.
No date has yet been set for release, but filming is to start soon (in Detroit, of course). My guess is that we should expect to see Detroit Rubber sometime in 2013, in order to coincide with Eminem’s rumored roles in a Have Gun, Will Travel film and a bizarre hip-hop horror…thing. We’ll have more on this as details are released down the road. For now, keep jammin’ to ‘Lose Yourself’ before your next beer league softball game.

World Screen

Source: Worldscreen.com, September 11, 2012


Exclusive Interview: Electus's Ben Silverman
By Anna Carugati

PREMIUM: Ben Silverman, the founder and chairman of Electus, talks to World Screen about attracting brands to the programming he produces.

WS: What do advertisers want from television?
SILVERMAN: They just want to continue to have their brand messages heard by the consumer. They are concerned by how digital delivery and technology are putting power in the hands of consumers to opt out of watching their brand messages. They are trying to find ways to connect more deeply to the content itself. But the main goal of all advertisers is a very simple thesis, which is to sell more stuff. There are some who do it for branding, but the net result of most advertising goals is the same.

WS: They want to make the cash register ring, right?

WS: How have you seen the relationship between producers and advertisers evolve? What does it take to get them to sit down and work together?
SILVERMAN: There is still a lot of resistance from both sides because of the big institutional bias that the major advertising holding companies have, along with the traditional broadcast and cable sales operations, which really would prefer the status quo. There are only a couple of individuals inside both those organizations or inside specific brands or at creative companies, like ours, that are trying to bring everyone into the conversation. There are still a lot of actors and writers and creatives who don’t want to engage with brands at all, and there are a lot of brand people who are very uncomfortable engaging with writers and creative producers, so it’s by no means a marketplace yet. But it is clearly an evolving form with roots in history and also with so much opportunity as technology keeps expanding where and how consumers consume.

WS: What are some examples of where you have seen branded entertainment work?
SILVERMAN: There have been a number of brands in the past. Procter & Gamble has done everything from soap operas to China’s Got Talent. Chrysler and Fiat have leveraged their relationship to Fashion Star and their relationship to Jennifer Lopez inside American Idol, and during the American Music Awards when she drove a Fiat 500. That was an amazing on-stage integration that really popped for them. Those are two are examples of big companies that you wouldn’t necessarily think are driving innovation, but because they have a tradition and history of doing product integration, they are able to go back to their roots and re-engineer it for today. That is really interesting.

What we did on The Biggest Loser with General Mills was also really strong, where we had a licensing and merchandising relationship not just a branding/marketing relationship. The General Mils partnership was valuable and worked for both sides. They were pushing things like gluten free and going after the same concepts as we do inside the show, so it worked organically.

WS: Tell us about Fashion Star and how you were able to bring in three huge retailers, Macy's, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue, into the show.
SILVERMAN: That show is dependent on retailers being the buyers because it makes it a real game show. Instead of game shows that are totally false and fake where contestants play for the television network’s money, here they were playing for the real business world. That’s why it worked so well and we had such a loyal audience. If the show is coming back it’s because of the truth inherent in the roles those brands play in that show, which is as decision makers and prize givers.

WS: For any of the shows you have on your slate, are you reaching out for advertiser involvement?
SILVERMAN: We’re always looking at brands and trying to link up where it makes sense. We’re working very closely with them around a number of our shows and there is certainly opportunity for them to be involved. Just as Mission Impossible the movie had a deal with BMW, you’re seeing all forms of content where advertisers are finding connection points and becoming partners. It goes back to the days of the Walt Disney movies when they would make the massive partnerships with the McDonalds and the Coca-Colas. Now you’re seeing it start to develop on a show-by-show basis and we are constantly trying to tell the advertisers what we are doing earlier and earlier, so that if they do want to get involved they can really bring assets to the table and also some creativity as to how their involvement would work.

WS: Because you’ve had a successful track record in branded entertainment, do you encounter less resistance from advertising companies than other producers might?
SILVERMAN: We are not carpetbaggers; we are a real long-term player in this space, so with that comes obvious credibility and connections. Just as we are in the international-distribution space, where we are very aggressive in selling third-party rights—because we really believe in entrepreneurs and independent producers and can represent those rights in a transparent way—it’s the same with our advertising partnerships. We don’t want one-offs; we want long-term relationships. That’s not the normal way Hollywood people operate.

WS: Are advertisers reluctant to enter programming partnerships because they feel they are at the mercy of producers and might not get their product included in the show?
SILVERMAN: It’s more that they are at the mercy of the networks. The networks create a lot of the rules that make it hard. But the main reason that it hasn’t happened is that the biggest part of advertisers’ budgets are their media budgets. Unless the show has a home and a clear distribution plan, it’s hard to get them involved early because they don’t know how to evaluate the show from an investment standpoint, unless it has a specific network. 

Right now it’s just harder for them to take the leap because the bulk of their budgets is dependent on understanding specifically the distribution platforms. If you are talking to someone about an idea, and don’t have the best distribution platform in place, it’s really difficult. We have some internal proprietary tools that we use since we’ve hired people who used to work on the advertising side to work on our side, just to talk to and connect with the advertisers around valuation and risk.

WS: Working with advertisers will take time, won’t it?
SILVERMAN: Exactly, you’re talking about a $70-billion business, so if you just move the needle half a percent every year or two it’s a sizeable shift. America, because it’s deregulated, is by far the leading experimenter and thought leader in how to integrate [brands]. And because the majority of global businesses’ media budgets are managed out of New York City, it is also an advantage to the Americans as we look to roll out these deals and work globally with brands to help our network partners offset risk and to deliver more hits.

WS: Tell us about the new projects you are working on.
SILVERMAN: We are doing three channels on YouTube, for which we are making premium content. We have a series with Sofia Vergara on our Latin-oriented channel called Neuvon. It’s an amazing reality series following Sofia and her son, which is getting a lot of views and a lot of attention. K-Town with Tyrese Gibson and the team that created Jersey Shore about Korean Americans is going on our pop-culture channel LOUD. And we were recently able to snag the Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldson to be one of the first stars on our food network, Hungry. We are building out some amazing content that will also work around the world on television networks as well as digital platforms.

We will be bringing some great new series to MIPCOM, including our Jennie Garth series, the star of the original Beverly Hills, 90210 and a wonderful actress, in a reality show following her, Jennie Garth: A Little Bit Country. We have Car Lot Cowboy, which is about a car salesman helping other car salesmen, which is really fun. We are going into production this fall on the massive, epic Marco Polo and we have two huge Mob Wives spin-offs, one that I think will be even more successful than Mob Wives itself, called Big Ang, following this incredible character called Big Ang, who owns a bar called The Drunken Monkey, will appeal to anyone who has ever been interested in the mob, the mafia, and Chicago Mob Wives, too. We have all of those shows in the market, along with Fashion Star.

We also have a sitcom we are working on for NBC with Jessica Simpson where she plays herself, a little bit like in I Love Lucy. The Hero, an action-filled series featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. And TV Land has picked up the pilot for the comedy I'm Not Dead Yet starring Elliot Gould and Ben Falconer. And we have the film Mansome with Morgan Spurlock and Jason Bateman and Will Arnett. We are excited. We are building a studio for the future that specializes in ideas and also partnerships. Since we don’t own production companies around the world, we’re also a really great partner for all the networks globally who want to build their production businesses or have go-to producers, because we don’t force them to buy from our own production apparatus.

WS: When you are thinking of show ideas are you always thinking international?
SILVERMAN: One hundred percent. We are absolutely trying to come up with ideas that we know can have resonance as a format or in finished form in multiple markets. We are putting in talent so that the finished episodes can sell better, or story lines that have global resonance or sensibility, or ideas like Fashion Star, which works on both a finished-episode level, because it has such big star power in it—Nicole Ritchie, Elle MacPherson, John Varvatos—and has the most potential in being remade, taken as a format, just as American Idol, The Biggest Loser and The Voice have done..


LA Weekly

Source: LA Weekly, Sept. 7, 2012


K-Town Reality Show Renewed For Second Season of Shenanigans

By Dennis Romero
K-Town, the controversial reality show that proves Asians can be guidos too, has been renewed for a second season, a rep told the Weekly.
The series didn't make it to cable, as originally intended, but its renewal appears to be a vote of confidence in its appeal and in YouTube as a television delivery system with its own gravity.
The show was launched by Tyrese Gibson and reality titan Ben Silverman, among others:
It has your typical girl fights, bro-downs and drunken escapades, and has a production sheen that would have made it comfortable among MTV's offerings.
But K-Town is cut into 12 minute episodes to fit its laptop viewership.
Some in the Korean American community aren't too happy that the series is airing the dirty laundry of its young and spoiled. Too bad.
We're told the second season will roll out in mid-November.

LA Weekly (Blog)

Source: LA Weekly September 7, 2012

K-Town Reality Show Renewed for Second Season of Shenanigans 

K-Town Reality Show Renewed For Second Season of Shenanigans



Source: KoreaAm August 24, 2012

After more than two years of anticipation or dread, depending on which way you sway, the K-Town reality show, also known as the “Asian Jersey Shore,” has arrived.


Truth be told, back in 2010, when I first heard rumors about this alleged “Asian Jersey Shore” reality show, my immediate reaction was one big eye-roll. Like the plastic-wrapped Coach handbags my aunt used to sell, I thought, the Asian knock-off of anything had to be inferior to the original. After all, how could any show possibly out-Jersey-Shore Jersey Shore? Little did I know two-and-a-half years later that I’d be chilling with the producers and cast members of the “Asian Jersey Shore” reality show, K-Town, at an informal viewing party July 11, the night the first episode premiered on YouTube’s Loud Channel.

The fact that the series ended up on YouTube felt telling. Despite whatever biases I initially had about the project, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that it had apparently been relegated to the land of cat videos and Asian kids on webcams. In a sense, YouTube is the perfect vehicle for it. The New York Times reported that while there’s a persistent dearth of Asian American representation in Hollywood, “it’s an entirely different story, however, on the democratized platform of YouTube, where a young generation of Asian-Americans has found a voice (and millions of eager fans).”

But this phenomenon of Asian Ams blowing up on YouTube often reminds me of one video in particular. Search “Asians” and “wave pool” on YouTube, and you’ll find a clip from Tokyo, Japan, where waders have literally taken up every square inch of a wave pool. The floating horde starts to undulate as the waves desperately try to crest under the weight of all that humanity. There are times when Asians on YouTube, to me, seem like that overcrowded wave pool. Everybody in the pool all at once, bobbing in the water, making a bit of a splash, but ultimately not really going anywhere.

Initial eye-rolling aside, I was secretly hoping K-Town would break out into open water, where it had a chance to ride a more mainstream wave. What I discovered that night, talking with the producers—Eugene Choi, Mike Le, and Eddie Kim—is that they got tantalizingly close. Closer than folks may realize.

If you read the comments section on YouTube, where detractors gleefully express their schadenfreude, the assumption is that the networks passed on this doomed project: “No network would wanna carry an Asian Jersey Shore type show. One Jersey Shore is already enough for the networks,” said a viewer self-identifying as the TheRaginNation.

According to Le—vice president of HQ Pictures, Tyrese Gibson’s production company, which produces the series—that wasn’t the case. “The [networks] didn’t pass on it. We had a bidding war from two networks. That’s a dream scenario for anyone that pitches in Hollywood,” he says.

Ultimately, though, issues of creative control and shifting network dynamics scuttled the project. As reported by Jeff Yang of the Wall Street Journal, “According to Le, a combination of ‘regime change’ and a refusal by the net’s new guard to let the producers make the show they’d had in mind led to the show going on an extended hiatus.” Eventually, the show found a home as the tent-pole series on Loud, a new YouTube channel launched by Electus, a self-proclaimed “next generation studio” founded by Ben Silverman (former NBC Entertainment co-chairman who served as executive producer of The Office) in partnership with IAC, broadcast media and internet tycoon Barry Diller’s digital powerhouse.

With Electus, the producers found a forward-looking approach to new media and the freedom they had always wanted. “It’s been pretty awesome that [Electus’] stamp of approval is in line with our original vision,” says Kim. In addition, says Choi, “I’m very proud of being able to participate with this experiment that’s going on with YouTube and all these Hollywood studios, which is, I think, the future.”

So what did they ultimately create? Based on the teaser, which declared K-Town “the reality show no TV network could show you,” and the two episodes that were screened at the viewing party, “K-Town,” compared to other shows of its ilk, delivers sufficiently trashy and mind-numbing, but largely paint-by-the-numbers fare. The characters have their stock personas: Jasmine, the Jokester; Young, the Entertainer; Scarlet, the Troublemaker; Steve, the Party Animal; Violet, the Drama Queen; Joe, the Bad-Ass; Cammy, the Sweetheart; and Jowe (pronounced like “Joey”), the Heartbreaker. Add booze and testosterone-fueled chest-thumping, girl-on-girl tonguing, body-shots and booty-wiggle, sprinkle some manufactured conflict, and cue the obligatory thrown drink and subsequent hair-pulling. It’s like, well, every other reality show out there, except Asians are doing it.

According to Le, the depictions of Asian behaving badly serve two purposes: 1) That is what people expect from this type of reality show. He adds, “If I could make a scripted TV show about Asians Americans with an all-Asian-American cast, I would in a heartbeat, but, you know what? Scripted TV is too expensive. Reality TV, because it’s cheap to produce, it allows the networks to take more of a risk.” 2) The producers adamantly believe, in the long run, it is better for Asian Americans. “There’s a belief within the Asian American community that there’s a good stereotype,” Le says. “I’m of the philosophy that there is no good stereotype. So Asians embrace this good stereotype—that we’re smart, that we’re hardworking, that we’re studious. Because we embrace that, it’s being applied directly through mass media. And that’s why we see in mass media a one-dimensional type of Asian American.”

Christine Balance, assistant professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine, who has written about Asian Am YouTube celebrity, welcomes more representations, good or bad. “I personally would like to be able to teach a class where we can move beyond the model minority or the dragon lady or whatever. I want to have different conversations with these students,” she says. “We’re so contained in that way of talking about things that we can’t imagine things any other way. With YouTube, everybody is talking about it changing the game. Well, maybe we can just simply think about it as a different way of being in the world, making us think of other [Asian American] representations.”

Others, however, aren’t completely sold. Abe Ferrer, director of exhibitions for Visual Communications, the organization behind the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, notes, “If you shoehorn genre into Asian American things and stuff, and wind up with something that people will most likely laugh at and blow off, like an Asian American, um, Tila Tequila show or something, which on its face K-Town looks like, how are you going to grow an audience out of something that has already invited a lot of scorn even before it’s started?”

That scorn, in fact, has often gotten personal, according to Kim, who is also the founder and executive producer of Projekt NewSpeak, an entertainment company focusing on independent Asian Pacific Islander multimedia arts. “I had people defriend me on Facebook … and a lot of weird talk behind our backs about us selling out,” he says. The backlash was so intense he took to defending himself on the popular blog, Angry Asian Man, asserting his commitment to supporting different Asian American and Pacific Islander voices. Still, Kim is adamant that he has no regrets. “I wouldn’t change anything. I would go through it all over again,” he says. “This has been an eye-opening experience.

The journey, however, may have taken too long. The constant comparison to MTV’s Jersey Shore that initially helped fuel early hype around K-Town now hampers it. There’s a distinct been-there-done-that feeling to the early episodes. In the more than two years “K-Town” took to launch, Jersey Shore has finally begun to recede back to the basement tanning bed whence it came. And since the producers who once prodded a-now-pregnant Snookie to behave badly have apparently drawn the line at fetal alcohol syndrome, there is a definite sense that the party is over—and K-Town arrived a tad too late.

But all is not lost. So far, the first episode has drawn over 160,000 viewers, which doesn’t sound like much, but is by far the most viewed video on Loud channel. In addition, one character in particular shows promise. The most interesting character in K-Town is the town itself. There’s a moment in the first episode when newbie, Scarlet Chan rides an elevator in a staid office building to the fourth floor, where the doors open to reveal a bumping nightclub/restaurant. To the extent that the show can replicate that sensation of opening a door to a corner of Los Angeles, hidden in plain view, I’ll keep watching.

Similarly, in Balance’s opinion, the show begs the question, “Why is Koreatown like this? I think that’s also interesting because growing up in L.A. in the ’90s, K-town wasn’t like that at all.” She concedes, however, “This is a completely different show, but you can add those layers to it. Now that they’re on YouTube, I hope they play up the cultural aspect.”

Maybe diving into the cultural deep end isn’t such a bad idea. As scholar and media critic Oliver Wang noted on KCET’s Artbound blog, cable television is rife with shows about little-known subcultures, like the History Channel’s hit Swamp People and Bravo TV’s Shahs of Sunset. He writes: “Each respective show is either subtly or explicitly premised on a voyeuristic window into communities that seem starkly different from ‘the rest of us.’”

I’m also eager to see if the cast members develop more dimensions. Scarlet, for example, is a former erotic dancer with an undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She confesses, “I’m addicted to the money I was making. It’s definitely addicting.” But she has since stopped stripping because, “in L.A., it’s tough to really make a profit for yourself without crossing that line. And I feel stripping is the gateway drug for any kind of dancers to start with stripping and then you start seeing clients outside the club and then from there you might start doing porn. A lot of girls fall into that pattern.” Hopefully, this works its way into the show because compared to her label as “The Jokester,” “Feminist Ex-Stripper” sounds way more compelling, though admittedly, not something you’re likely to see in the opening credits.

Choi acknowledges, “We’ve kind of been straddling the fence.” The ultimate goal is still to sell the series to a network. So the producers know they must ampup the antics, make the characters relatable, while acknowledging Koreatown’s distinct culture. To the degree that the show can strike this delicate balancing act may be the difference between whether the project sinks or swims.

I, for one, am hoping for the best.
(Disclosure: Eugene Choi, one of the K-Town producers, has in the past and currently does marketing work for KoreAm Journal.)


The Atlantic Wire

Source: The Atlantic Wire, August 30, 2012


'Jersey Shore' Is Dead, But Other Trashy Ethnic Reality Shows Live On
By Serena Dai

Jersey Shore is officially over. Not like no-longer-trendy over, but actually done. As Variety's Stuart Levine reports, MTV is ending the show after its sixth season, but that doesn't mean we'll lose out on shows that glorify embarrassing ethnic stereotypes. 
Snooki, The Situation, and their cohort did more than teach America to fist-pump since the show debuted in 2009. They also made a lot of money for MTV, and producers have been trying to replicate Jersey Shore's success. Alas, most have failed, obviously proving that you can't reproduce genius.
Below, a rundown of all the wannabes: 
   The Pregnant Lady Jersey Shore: We're a little unsure of how all the Jersey Shore's drinking will translate here, but Pregzillas is being cast by the same people who discovered Snooki. "Let's face it," the casting website says, "you're never going to have a better excuse to act up, diva out, regress to childhood, and take command as a queen!" Fist Pumps: 2 out of 5. Up votes for the prospect of watching horrifying people reproducethus inducing feelings similar to watching Snooki's pregnancy; down votes for those poor, poor unborn babies.
    The Russian Jersey Shore: Lifetime aired a few episodes of Russian Dolls, a show following Russians in Brooklyn. Before it was released, the producer promised, "plenty of vodka, techno music and guys wearing Adidas pants, leather jackets and gold chains, and driving souped-up cars. There will also be a lot of hot, decked-out Russian girls." It was cancelled last fall when ratings were bad, but you can still watch episodes onlineFist Pumps: 1 of 5. It's more Real Housewives than Jersey Shore, Michael Idov wrote on Vulture.com. "Russian Dolls is a wan thing done wanly."

   The British Jersey Shore: Geordie Shore debuted last spring and follows "Geordies," or people who live on the Tyneside region of Northeast England. Like with regular Jersey Shore, they drink and party and cheat, etc. It is MTV UK's best show in history, according to TV By the NumbersFist Pumps: 4 out 5. It's got all the factors, but nothing compares to the original. In 2011, Alyssa Rosenberg wrote for The Atlantic: "The Geordie Shore crew doesn’t seem to have figured out how to live as cartoon characters as easily as their American predecessors." 

Meet The Cast Of The Geordie Shore: The UK Jers...

    The Asian Jersey Shore(s): K-Town was billed as the Asian Jersey Shore but never made it to networks. That didn't stop the producers from putting all the episodes on YouTube. The eight cast members all live in Los Angeles' Korea Town, and the show runner said they were "pioneers" in changing the way Asians are represented. Now, they're casting for Vietnamese, Chinese, and Filipino versions of the show, too. Nothing says equality like: "Hey, we're trashy too!" Fist Pumps: 2 out of 5. One reviewer's reaction to episode 1: "zzZzZzzzz"

K-Town: Meet the Cast

    The Persian Jersey Shore: No lesser a luminary than Ryan Seacrest produced Bravo's The Shahs of Sunset, about rich Iranians in Los Angeles. Women beat each other up in high-end restaurants and sell a lot of real estate. The show was actually renewed for a second season after its finale got high ratingsFist Pumps: 2 out of 5. Again, this seems to be more like Real Housewivesthan Jersey Shore, since the cast is older and has a socialite feel. The show is "so dull," said Linda Stasi wrote in The New York Post, "it makes Russian Dolls look exciting."

shahs of sunset

So, goodbye, Jersey Shore. Nothing will ever shine like you