YouTube

Texas forward Myles Turner announced Monday that he will declare for the 2015 NBA draft. Turner averaged 10.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 22.2 minutes per game during his freshman year at Texas.
Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Texas freshman forward Myles Turner announced early Monday through Twitter and a YouTube video that he will be entering his name in the 2015 NBA Draft.

“My name is Myles Turner, UT alum, and I’ve decided to forgo my education and enter my name into the 2015 NBA draft,” Turner said in the video.

Turner, who was as a one-and-done candidate as soon as he put on his burnt orange bucket hat and committed to the University of Texas last spring, is a projected lottery pick.

“It’s really hard to say goodbye, but this is a decision I had to make,” Turner said. “I will forever be indebted to the Longhorns fans and the University of Texas.”

Turner, who came to Texas as a five-star prospect, never quite lived up to the expectations placed on him so early in his career, despite earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year and finding a spot on the All-Big 12 third team.

He averaged 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in just 22.2 minutes per game, with most of his big games coming against weaker competition, such as St. Francis and Lipscomb, in which he scored 25 and 26, respectively.

Turner led the Big 12 in blocks, and he was consistent throughout the season with his quick, face-up, high-release jumper from the post.  

“I love the University, love the atmosphere here,” Turner said in the video. “Great education, great people, great basketball program and facilities — given everything I need to succeed.”

Turner turned 19 years old last week after playing the full season at age 18. His announcement came a day after head coach Rick Barnes officially left the program after 17 years.

Jay Bauman (left) and Mike Stoklasa (right) debate the merits of a couple of summer blockbusters in an episode of “Half in the Bag.” The show is one of many featured on Red Letter Media.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Red Letter Media | Daily Texan Staff

For years, newspaper columns and the icons who wrote them were the go-to source for traditional film critiques. These historic mediums are important in the history of movie criticism, but a new generation of critics have emerged. They utilize video websites such as YouTube to share their love of films. Although these new critics offer big personalities and excellent comedy, it’s questionable whether their views on cinema count as authentic criticism in the style of major players such as the late Roger Ebert. 

Although they attract their fair share of dismissive critics, internet movie reviewers have the numbers to prove their content impacts the film community. Doug Walker’s YouTube channel, “League of Super Critics,” has over half a million subscribers. Red Letter Media, a film production company that reviews films and creates original content, has nearly a quarter million. 

Walker, better known as “The Nostalgia Critic,” is popular for his half-hour “reviews” of bad films, such as 2008’s “Mamma Mia” or the reviled 2010 adaptation “The Last Airbender.” Each of his biweekly reviews, posted on both Blip and YouTube, is peppered with insightful analyses, comedic skits and occasional special guests.

 Red Letter Media, meanwhile, hosts two separate web shows on YouTube dedicated to critiquing films. 

These new critics use their outgoing personalities to find a niche with internet audiences. Radio-television-film sophomore Brandt Taylor said that the reviewers’ identities, rather than the reviews themselves, are what people come back for. 

“Some critics have things that they’re known for, like Nostalgia Critic watches things that people grew up with,” Taylor said. “It’s about creating content [viewers] enjoy and showing their personality in their reviews.”

Although sociology and Plan II senior Paul Palmer said these internet critics are funny and entertaining, he questions whether their work counts as authentic film criticism. 

“Being on YouTube doesn’t disqualify someone from being a good film critic,” Palmer said. “While deviation from [a traditional platform] is not a bad thing, picking something to rag on mercilessly, while funny and entertaining, isn’t competent criticism.”

Palmer said he worried that critics such as Walker focus too much on critiquing universally loathed movies and said the end result comes off as “grating and negative.”

Accounting sophomore Justin Hutchinson said he believes these YouTube critics tend to focus on entertaining an audience rather than their own critique, although he says some successfully blend the two styles.

“The big issue is having a unique voice,” Hutchinson said. “The secret to it all is being able to put the critic’s own self out there but not elevate it beyond the work itself. It’s a difficult balance to have.”

Hutchinson said in his opinion, Red Letter Media is able to incorporate the voices of the reviewers while still providing commentary about films. He said founders Mike Stoklasa and Jay Bauman make sure to never put their outgoing personalities above their actual critiques of the movies.

“Mike and Jay are very individual and bring their own senses of humor and perspectives to their work,” Hutchinson said. “A lot of reviewers are keen to make their jokes rather than actually offer any interesting input on the film itself.”

Although it’s unclear if YouTube critics always produce actual film criticism, there is little doubt that they have found a popular method to share their views on cinema.

“Reviews are going towards the video aspect,” Taylor said. “People seem to want to watch things more than read things.”

Wendy Davis appears in Taiwanese animation

Following her filibuster of abortion legislation in the Texas Senate, Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, has been the subject of intense internet attention. She's appeared in mutliple interviews with national news organizations, and has been made the subject of several internet memes.

But now, the Texas Senator is the star of a Taiwanese animation video. Next Media Animation, a Hong Kong company, posted a parody video on Davis' filibuster on YouTube. Next Media Animination is well-known for their CGI-animated videos of news. The company has even partnered with Jon Stewart's The Daily Show in the past.

The video can be watched in both Mandarin and Engilish.

The video, which has an obvious slant against SB5, casts Davis in a Superwoman suit. It also features the ghost of Ann Richards, a giant T-Rex and a scene where two Republican senators are vaporized and turned to dust.

SB5 would have banned abortion after 20 weeks. It also would have placed several additional restrictions on abortion. Supporters of the bill claimed it made the procedure safer. However, Democratic lawmakers and activists said the bill would close many abortion clinics statewide, and would make getting an abortion in Texas difficult. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has called a second special session, with abortion included on the agenda.

Update: This story has been updated to include information about when the video was posted.

Burnie Burns, creator of the animated web series about a civil war, “Red vs. Blue,” stands in the Rooster Teeth offices (Photo by Annie Ray).

The Daily Texan sat down with UT alumnus Burnie Burns, who is the founder of Rooster Teeth, one of the 15 most viewed YouTube channels. The channel has a near cult following of video gamers, but it is most known for its series “Red vs. Blue.” Burnie will appear alongside Machinima Network and BlackBox TV for “Blood, Sweat, and Online Videos: How to Achieve the Digital Dream,” a panel about how to achieve digital success.

The Daily Texan: Tell me a little bit about what you’re expecting at the panel at South By Southwest.

Burnie Burns: A big part of SXSW is that it’s interactive, and it does have educational purposes. It’s a conference that covers a lot of territory. Just staying interactive, you’ll go to one panel and see someone who’s talking to people who trade crochet patterns, and you’ll go to the next and it’s about how to be a Facebook competitor. So you know, we want to make sure that online video in particular is represented there because it’s a growing industry. And we want to give people some headway. I’m especially happy that we’re part of a panel at SXSW that’s free, so you don’t need tickets to go. 

DT: Why do you think “Red vs. Blue” was so famous?

Burns: Well, I think one of a few things was that the timing was good. Back then there wasn’t a lot of web content that was online. In fact, when we first started we had to educate people that there’s a video this week, and guess what? There’s going to be another video next week. But there wasn’t that type of video back then. It was mostly silly, dancing babies and stuff like that. Those things are still around, but they didn’t have the serious content back then. 

DT: When did you start to realize that it was possible that it could be a job instead of a hobby?

Burns: The problem a lot of people have is that they tell you that you can’t monetize video, that you can’t do it online. But we were pretty successful at it right away in 2003. I knew it was going to be a viable project really quickly, but I just didn’t know for how long. So how long was the big question. So that’s why it took me a couple of years before I quit my “day job” and dedicated myself full time to making entertainment. 

DT: Did you have a particular moment when you went, “Wow, I’m really lucky to be doing this”?

Burns: There was a moment that came really early on, and that’s when we went from 3,000 views on the first video to a quarter of a million views on the second video, and by the end of that first month, we were doing a million views every time we put something online. It was really quickly. 

DT: Is it hard to come up with so much material so often and stay funny?

Burns: It is, but that challenge is part of the fun — trying to keep your feet on the post and trying to stick with characters that people know and love, but still give them fresh material so it doesn’t get stale. And that’s been a lot of fun and a big challenge at work to have 10 years of making this content. 

DT: Tell me a little bit about your experience at the University of Texas.

Burns: The biggest thing about UT is the size of it, right? So sometimes the education that you can achieve is well beyond the walls of the classroom. One of the key things that I learned here is that it’s a city unto itself. So just like the real world, there’s a lot of resources at UT that people can find, locate and be successful just by having a little bit of drive and ambition to discover where these things are.

Jon Cozart sings darker, more satirical tune with new video

Jon Cozart, a UT sophomore studying radio-television-film,  is signing a bit of a different tune with his newest YouTube video, which is quickly making splashes online.

The video, called “After Ever After”, is a song that explores the misfortunes that fall upon Disney princesses after their happily ever after endings. The video, which premiered online Tuesday, has already be featured on several different media outlets, including Huffington Post Comedy. The video has racked up more than 200,000 hits in less than two full days and, as of Thursday afternoon, the single was also number 2 on iTunes’ comedy chart. At number 1 is “YOLO” by the Lonely Island.

Cozart is famous in the digital world for his musical YouTube videos. He hit it big online with his “Harry Potter in 99 Seconds” video, which has more than 12 million views. Cozart transferred to UT-Austin from UT-San Antonio last Fall. In an interview with The Daily Texan in September, Cozart said he would like to keep making videos but he had to find a way to balance his school work. His YouTube channel has been silent since late July, but Cozart has been teasing and talking about a new video on his Twitter account for months.

In “After Ever After,” Cozart takes the happy, disney fairy tales and spins them with a dark twist. Cozart goes into gruesome detail about the lives of Ariel from “The Little Mermaid”, Jasmine from “Aladdin”, Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” and Pocahontas from “Pocahontas.” The video is also ripe with satire, with Cozart referencing modern events, politics and history.

Ariel’s kingdom is suffering from BP’s Oil Spill and mankind’s mistreatment of the ocean’s ecosystem (“China men feast on Flounder's fins, plus the Japanese killed all my whale friends”). Aladdin has been wrongly imprisoned by the CIA for intense interrogation (“Bush was crazy, Obama’s lazy, al-Qaeda’s not in this country”).  Belle faces possibly lynching (“But the charges laid on me of beastility could wind up getting me thrown in a cell”). And Pocahontas is decapitating Europeans as her people die from disease and invasion (“Have you ever held the entrails on an English guy?”).

Every scenario is presented in a sarcastically cheery acapella performance, similar to Cozart’s other videos. But the dark humor and political satire makes this video stand out from his others. While “After Ever After” has Cozart’s style and technique, this video is showing a new side to the YouTube star.
 

 

 

Photo Credit: Ploy Buraparate | Daily Texan Staff

This past week, a 55-foot-wide meteor flew over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, leaving a trail of smoke in the Siberian skies and producing a shock wave powerful enough to shatter windows and injure hundreds of people. Anyone with access to YouTube can see recordings of the event and the images are awe-inspiring, terrifying and nothing compared to what they could have been if this wasn’t a bite-sized meteor.

Just over 100 years ago, another explosion in the sky — the Tunguska event (also in Siberia, coincidentally) — destroyed all of the trees in an area roughly two and a half times the size of Austin. The consensus viewpoint is that a meteor broke apart in the atmosphere, releasing 1,000 times the energy of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Again, though, the Tunguska meteor, even at estimates of six times the size of Chelyabinsk’s, was a minor blip in the radar.

Discussions of meteor impacts, for scientists, conjure up images of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event from 65 million years ago, caused by a six-mile-wide asteroid (and, possibly, massive volcanic activity). Even though the asteroid was nowhere near the largest out there (which is over 600 miles wide), it was enough to remove approximately 75 percent of all living species from the earth, including all of the non-avian dinosaurs, and severely dwindle the populations of the survivors.

An event of this magnitude is extremely rare, occurring once in 100 million years, but there’s still the more realistic possibility of a smaller rock causing substantial damage in a populated area. We saw what the Tunguska meteor did to a forest — imagine what it could have done to a major city.

There are scientists in charge of monitoring potential meteors (called asteroids until they enter the earth’s atmosphere) and in the aftermath of the recent Chelyabinsk incident, they’ve received more funding, which is long overdue, because as of right now, we are woefully unprepared.

NASA estimates that we’ve catalogued no more than 10 percent of the asteroids large enough to devastate our planet. Unless we devote more resources to detection, our next major impact will most likely come as a complete surprise, just as the event in Chelyabinsk did, but possibly with more than a few scary YouTube videos to show for it.

Even if we did see an asteroid coming towards us, however, we don’t currently have a clear method of stopping it. We do have some clever ideas, however. One involves painting a side of the would-be-killer white, causing light from the sun to bounce off of the asteroid instead of heating it. The light’s momentum should, given enough time, move the asteroid out of our path. A similar idea involves using the gravity of a man-made spaceship to gently nudge the object away. 

And, of course, there’s the more exciting notion of nuking the damn thing, as the heroes of the 1998 movie “Armageddon” did. Though very cinematic, the destructive route may not be ideal. It’s difficult to control explosions, by their very nature, and there’s no guarantee that a part of the asteroid won’t hit us and still cause considerable damage. This method would
probably only be used on the largest of asteroids, like the one seen in Armageddon, or as a last-ditch effort for the smaller ones.

As of right now, though, we can’t implement any of these methods without knowing about the asteroid long before its impact. Due to the limited number of asteroids we’ve catalogued, we probably won’t.

While preventing a large meteor impact is not as immediate a concern as reversing global warming, there’s a similar potential for harm: survivors of the actual strike would still need to contend with the climate altering after-effects. Hopefully the videos from Chelyabinsk provided enough of a motivation to push us into action, because right now there’s a giant rock, drifting somewhere out there in space, that has our name on it.

Printed on Thursday, February 21, 2013 as: Meteor landing ignites need for detection 

The Harlem Shake is still happening

Beginning with a lackluster and bewildering video on YouTube that somehow managed to get upwards of 3 million views, the “Harlem Shake” video has reached different locations across the states, including office buildings and college campuses. Even Longhorns have found inspiration in the weird shaking dance move.

Here on the 40 Acres, our own "Harlem Shake" was filmed and plenty of UT students can be seen filling the South Mall in this absurd video. Take that, A&M.

Psychology senior Albert Chavez, who learned of the filming through a Facebook invite, stands out for taking his shirt off and whipping it around.

“I figured it was my senior year, my last semester, so I might as well have fun with it,” Chavez said.

A director stood on a ladder with a camera to capture the South Mall at approximately 12:30 p.m. They filmed the first take with Bevo while the people dressed in costume stood on the side. After the scene with Bevo finished, all the people in the first scene moved off the lawn and were replaced by the costumed people looking to take center stage.

“I made it front and center,” Chavez said proudly. “I wanted something noticeable, that people could spot me with. That’s why I took off my shirt. Honestly. I don’t take off my shirt in public often.”

Chavez said it was 40 seconds of dancing and going crazy as much as they could. He acknowledged that his friend in the Spider-Man costume had to time his backflip perfectly, but his favorite person was the guy who rode his bike across the lawn and waved.

“I laugh every time, but there was a Hulk making love to a bike rack, and that was pretty funny,” Chavez said. “Mad props to them. I think someone wrote ‘Hulk smash’ on the YouTube comments. But yeah, it was well worth it. It’s going to be hard to top that one. I hope A&M is jealous.”

Student Government’s increased presence on YouTube might become permanent if a new bill passes through the general assembly next week.

Wills Brown, Student Government vice president, and Joshua Fuller, College of Liberal Arts representative, authored a new bill which would require future Student Government presidents and vice presidents to create at least four video addresses to the student body via YouTube every term. The general assembly will vote on the bill during Tuesday’s student government meeting in the Student Activity Center at 7 p.m.

Transparency and outreach were part of Student Government President Thor Lund and Brown’s campaign platform when they ran for their positions last spring. The two promised they would do regular YouTube addresses to update students on what Student Government is working on.

Student Government has released two videos this semester under Lund and Brown, one for September and another for October. They have made various announcements in these videos, including making the Perry-Castañeda Library operate 24 hours, five days a week midway through the semester.

“We have always said that we want students to know and recognize their student body president and vice president,” Lund said. “We want to stay connected with them and let them know that we are working every day to improve their lives on campus, and a video address is the best way to keep them updated and let them know what we are doing.”

Brown said the only concern he and Lund have heard is whether the bill would imply YouTube addresses are the only thing Student Government needs to do in terms of outreach. He said that is not the case.

“This is a stepping stone to more outreach and transparency,” Brown said. “This will require the future SG president and vice president do YouTube addresses, but they can do anything else they want. YouTube addresses are not the only thing they need to do.”

Brown said making the videos is a quick and easy process and normally takes no more than an hour. Since releasing the videos, Brown said he has been recognized on campus by strangers.

“In years past, the visibility of Student Government hasn’t been as much as it has been this year,” he said.

Anthropology senior Claire Porter said she had not seen the YouTube addresses Lund and Brown make. The addresses have been sent out via Twitter, Facebook and email. Porter could not name any of Student Government’s accomplishments, such as making the PCL 24/5.

“Honestly, I don’t know that much about Student Government,” Porter said. “It would be cool to hear more about them. I’m sure they do a lot of things I don’t know about.”

Porter is part of the group of students Lund and Brown are hoping the YouTube addresses will reach.

As of Tuesday, Student Government’s YouTube channel had 76 subscribers and a little more than 7,000 video views. Student Government represents more than 50,000 students.

When the Korean song “Gangnam Style” debuted this July with the memorable chorus “Hey, Sexy Lady!” it became a worldwide phenomenon amassing more than 668 million views on YouTube. The viral video of the Korean singer Psy comically dancing to the song quickly inspired countless American YouTube parodies and remakes.

“Gangnam Style” is just the most recent example, however, of the increasing popularity of Korean pop culture in the United States.

Korean pop music, or K-pop, has gained an increasing fan base among Americans who are charmed by the bubble-gum sweetness of girl groups like Girls’ Generation and enamored with the synchronized dance moves of bands such as Super Junior.

Korean dramas, television shows similar to prime time soap operas, have also gained considerable popularity in the U.S. DramaFever, a North American website that is one of the largest providers of piracy-free Korean dramas in the U.S., has over 3 million monthly viewers, 85 percent of whom are not Asian, said DramaFever’s vice president of communications and public relations, Rosally Sapla.

While Korean dramas still occupy a niche market in America, Sapla said that the demand for Korean dramas is steadily growing. “Our audience has doubled every six months since we started in 2009,” Sapla said.

Because the majority of Korean dramas feature actors or K-pop stars in their teens or 20s, the genre tends to attract a young adult viewership.

“We have a strong representation of people under 25, who appear to be, because of age and income, in school,” Sapla said.

Junior Isoken Omoruyi is one of the many college students who are avid fans of the genre. Omoruyi, who estimates he has watched roughly 100 different dramas, said he enjoys watching Korean dramas because they let him learn more about Asian culture and the story lines are enthralling.

“I continue watching dramas because the culture of dramas continues to change,” Omoruyi said. “Plus they take me on an emotional roller coaster ride, which I really like.”

Centered on universal themes such as the quest for love and friendship and ambition for fame, Korean dramas tend to follow a set formula that differs from typical American television. Whereas prime time American TV shows tend to come to a relative conclusion as the episode ends, episodes of Korean dramas end at the moment of greatest conflict, leaving the viewer in complete suspense. This format works surprisingly well online because viewers just have to click on the next episode to be granted resolution to the conflict, leading to hours on end of drama watching.

Sapla, who watches up to four hours of drama a night on weekends for her own entertainment, said that Korean dramas become somewhat addictive.

“They have a formula that connects you emotionally to the characters right away,” Sapla said.

The characters, while emotionally relatable, tend to fulfill stock roles within the dramas.

“Boys Over Flowers,” a 2009 series that is one of the most consistently watched Korean dramas online today, is a classic example. The show features a rich young man, Goo Jun Pyo, set to inherit one of Korea’s biggest businesses, who falls in love with a dry cleaner’s daughter, Geum Jan Di. As is true with almost every Korean drama, the male protagonist is callous, cold, rich and powerful while the female lead is portrayed as determined to a fault, stubborn, moderately annoying but incredibly sweet with a heart of gold. Throw in an unfeeling or chronically ill parent and you have the main cast of the majority of Korean dramas.

American viewers remain hooked because while the themes are universally relatable, the dramas have a unique twist because of cultural differences.

“I still keep waching them because I like watching the characters fall in love and they do really cute things in dramas. Their devotion to the one they love is amazing and it’s not something that’s portrayed much in other shows or movies,” Wing Tuet, a chemical engineering senior who has been watching dramas since middle school, said.

According to Sapla, this is one of the main elements that draw American viewers to the dramas.

The most popular reason for watching Korean dramas, however, cited by Sapla, Tuet and Omoruyi, is that it gives viewers the chance to explore another culture from the comfort of their computer chair.

Printed on Thursday, November 8, 2012 as: Korean dramas' fresh emotion captivates U.S. young adults

Charli Kilpatrick and her chocolate labrador Dudley became Internet celebrities after the government senior directed a video called “Ruff Dog Day.” The video, which has attracted over 1.4 million viewers so far, was created for a UT class focusing on the circulation of entertainment and people.
 

Photo Credit: Fanny Trang | Daily Texan Staff

When the role of a UT student’s dog in her video “Ruff Dog Day” helped attract more than 1.4 million viewers, a communications professor found the perfect example of entertainment circulation at work.

Celebrity Culture, a class offered at UT, focuses on the circulation of entertainment and people, including celebrities and politicians who circulate as images that reappear on computer, television and cinema screens. Students in the class split into groups to create either a blog or YouTube video to attract as many hits or visitors as possible. The project did not focus on the development of the blog or video; instead, it focused on publicizing the project.

Government senior Charli Kilpatrick and four other students banded together to make a YouTube video titled “Ruff Dog Day,” starring Kilpatrick’s Labrador, Dudley. The video shows Dudley performing common morning rituals with human hands. The video gained much publicity and appeared on “Good Morning America,” NPR, “Anderson Live” and other news outlets.

Kilpatrick said her job was to make the video while the other members worked to promote and circulate it. She said their group was hoping to get 1,000 views by December, but managed to pass that goal in a matter of hours. The group then sent the video to reddit.com, Comedy Central, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and other television shows that accept web videos

“Making the video was a fun experience, but the best part was the end effect,” Kilpatrick said. “It is enlightening to know that you can post something on the Internet and people from around the world will enjoy it.”

Kilpatrick said Dudley is a relaxed dog who happened to be tired on the day the filming took place. She said the video took about 30 minutes to film.

“I dipped his toothbrush into dog food in order to brush his teeth,” Kilpatrick said. “Dudley also went through about six sandwiches before I could get the right picture.”

Communication studies associate professor Joshua Gunn, who teaches the Celebrity Culture class, said publicity today has shifted to a logic of circulation, staying in the “public eye” and getting noticed. He said it is not the object itself that gains value in a culture, but whether or not the object is circulated and seen.

“The experiential takeaway for the students, when I’ve used this assignment in the past, is that it is hard work to promote something into circulation, however good or bad that something is,” Gunn said. “The assignment also illustrates, however, the sheer contingency of publicity, too — what we call, simply, ‘luck.’”

Latin American studies junior Matthew Flores said he was impressed by the clever idea of the video.

Printed on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 as: Viral video stars 'ruff dog'