Comment: The YouTube revolution

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In 1968 artist Andy Warhol said, “in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”.

Ironically this cynical comment that came from a man who made millions painting soup cans is becoming more and more applicable to our society.

In 2000, the actor’s unions, in a controversial decision, went on strike over commercial royalties and filming residuals.

The decision to do so may have had some positive effects on the union members at the time, but the timing of the strike happened to coincide with the newest media revolution of reality television.

That summer, the television phenomenon Survivor hit the air waves.

Ordinary people were put in extraordinary situations in order to entertain audiences.

No residuals, no negotiations or commercial rights; just 16 people who became overnight sensations for being themselves.

The idea that normal, everyday people could be just as entertaining as actors and celebrities began to catch on, and over time spread to different media.

In 2005, three self-proclaimed computer geeks (Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim) developed an online video sharing database that would change the face of American pop culture forever.

You Tube allows anyone with computer access and an inclination to upload a video of just about anything from the mundane, (there is actually footage of paint drying) to political speeches, to some of the most bizarre human behaviour imaginable.

The phenomenon has now become a multi billion dollar industry of its own and millions of people flock to the site to find footage of their favorite “real” people providing entertainment.

Some of the videos have even provided launching pads to help people transition into more mainstream forms of entertainment, showing that innovation and a good sense of what the public wants to see could help you become the next YouTube star.

Actress and writer Lisa Donovan became an overnight sensation with her viral videos that spoofed celebrities and politicians.

With millions of hits, her silly brand of comedy has helped her rack up a dedicated legion of followers who have tuned into to see what she will spoof next.

Her video Tennie Weenie Raw Flesh has generated over 2.7 million hits and depicts a new pop princess aptly named “tennie weenie” who parodies the ridiculous antics of Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff and Britney Spears.

Her success on the Internet lead to some guest spots on the hit comedy sketch show MADTV. However, it has been speculated that she was let go from the show after that regular cast members protested that Donovan didn’t have formal training.

One person who wouldn’t take lightly to Donovan making fun of Britney Spears is fellow YouTuber Chris Crocker, whose impassioned plea to leave Britney Spears alone because “she isn’t well” made his one of the most talked about video clips to ever hit the site.

The openly gay Crocker was apparently mortified at the way the bat shit crazy pop princess was ripped to shreds after her embarrassingly bad performance on the VMAs, and grabbed his camera to make YouTube history.

Crocker has since appeared on talks shows and even signed a contract as a celebrity spokesperson for Onch movement jewellery.

This number one Britney fan is still making captivating vblogs and has over 15 million people tuning in to laugh at his hysterical ranting.

If you ever wanted your most cosmically confusing questions answered by a ninja, then you are in luck!

Kent Nichols has created popular video virals of himself dressed as a ninja answering ridiculous questions.

The comical set up is very low budget and sort of absurd, but that’s what makes them so popular.

People like dumb, and with a couple of million viewers, Ask a Ninja is proving that theory very well.

If soap operas are your thing, Chronicles of My Barely Functional Life follows bizarre fictionalised dramas re-enacted by budding talents Joe Briggs, Melanie Romain and Devon Reilly.

The style is semi-autobiographical and takes you down a road of drugs, car crashes, therapy, gay sex parties and the inner workings of trying to make it in Hollywood.

The three talents write, film, edit and produce the entire series that has even been looked at by HBO for possible development.

19-year-old Matthew Lush began producing his own videos under the name gaygod.

What started out as a cute little twink boy dancing and lip syncing to some of his favorite artists like Janet Jackson and Kelly Clarkson quickly caught on.

After receiving death threats because of his homosexuality, the out and proud Lush has developed a string of politically charged anti hate videos that he hopes will helps create tolerance and acceptance for gay people.

The medium is not just for the young, but the young at heart. Under the user name Geriatric1927, “Peter,” a 78-year-old widower from England, has racked up a few million hits with his viral films that give an older perspective to life.

In his first hit video Peter explains: “What I hope I’ll be able to do is just bitch and grumble about life in general from the perspective of an old person who’s been there and done that.”

With over 20,000 people subscribing to his amusingly charming videos, Geriatric1927 has made his mark in cyberspace history.

Currently the most popular YouTube video is called The Evolution of Dance featuring “inspirational comedian” Judson Laipply. While six minutes of a guy gyrating to some of the most annoying music ever to launch dance crazes over the past five decades may seem boring to some, the video has surpassed the 63 million hits mark and has brought in thousands of viewers comments who were in hysterics over the video.

If you want to talk about the kings of YouTube you need look no further than Carmichael, California where high school friends Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox have amassed an empire with their teenage shenanigans that spoof everything from power rangers videos to male modelling on their site Smosh.

The pair is currently the most subscribed to channel on the site and rightfully so.

They have made amusing videos that would rival any sketch comedy show on television and their fresh take on overly rehashed situations has kept their viewers greatly amused.

The guys are cute, creative, and brilliant and judging from their popularity have a killer future in store.

With technology constantly evolving it looks as though Warhol’s prediction about the future of fame may actually come true.

As people clamour to make their voices heard, YouTube has provided the opportunity, and people from all walks of life are taking advantage of it.

As the Writers Guild of America begins their strike to demand more residuals and pay for their talents, they may want to remember that in some ways everyone wants to be a star, and if they don’t watch their backs, the YouTube generation may just take over the entertainment world.

Dylan Vox © 2007; All Rights Reserved.