Monday, 23 April 2012

Amazing the interest in one post.

I'm shocked by how many people have been reading my post about getting famous on the internet. It was sort of written half tongue in cheek and half serious, combining what I knew and had experienced from working in TV and what I was observing on the internet.

But with so many people reading it I decided to go back and add just a little more substance about how I see fame being achieved on the internet. So if you wanna know what all the tricks are as I see them, read the post!

How To Become Famous On The Internet.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

20 Of The Most Amazing, Inspirational Or Funny Moments From The Net

I thought I'd just throw these together - some of my favourites moments found on the net. One of the skills of any writer is procrastination and the internet is the perfect tool for that!

A homeless boy steals the show on a talent show.

The current season of Britain's got Talent turns up more unlikely looking talented singers.

An Early season - Andrew Johnston who told of being bullied.

Emannual from X Factor Australia, had the saddest, yet inspirational life story and outlook on life. He stole the show at auditions, was used as the promo highlight for weeks by the show, and then was cut from any further rounds without getting to sing again.

An extraordinary electric guitar vocalist.

J-Mac - Inspiration on and off the court.

This is apparently footage shot for an ad, but it's a highlight all the same.

An Australian ball-boy catches like a Sir.

This guy went to jail - he should have gone into movies!

For anyone who has ever had their carpark stolen by an A@*hole!

I bet they could never do this again!

Stalking cat can be watched over and over - an amazing look at a hunter at work.

One of my favourite comedian - Ricky Gervaise insulting even the elite and getting away with it.

Spike Miligan - the father of modern comedy. Gone but not forgotten. Even Ricky would be proud of this moment.

Say what?

Pure inspiration and make me watch in awe and feel petty about my concerns all at once.

There are no small parts, only small people. Everyone can make a difference and this man obviously has!

One of the many heart warming military reunions - this one courtesy of Ellen.

And who's going to miss a sister's graduation?

I love sport. I'm not sure why so many cannot see all the things that playing sports teaches a person about life, condensed into a far smaller, far more observable moment in time. This one, despite what anyone tells you, never give up.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Little whores called Bratz.

I've never been great with children. 

They've always seemed unnecessarily loud and fragile to me. At least when I’ve stepped on one. 

Effective to avoid stepping on a child.

My brother has children - largely due to wine from a box, but surprisingly they are lovely kids. My niece is especially sweet, although when she turned one I was suddenly expected to buy some sort of present for her.

I spent a long time thinking about what to buy and finally decided to buy her a good bottle of scotch. Johnny Walker Blue. Her mother was extremely unimpressed with me, but my niece played with the paper and my brother and I got shit-faced. So three people approved my present and only one disapproved. That’s a win in my book. Majority rules!

On my niece’s second and third birthday I bought her exactly the same thing - figuring it had served me well once, why not again, and again. The second birthday was fine, but it turns out for the next, I had severely underestimated the grip of a three year old girl and she refused to give up the bottle.

So for her fourth birthday I finally admitted I needed help. I asked my brother what I should buy for a four year old girl’s birthday present. I was told a Bratz doll. Now I hadn’t been in a toy store for over twenty years, so I went to Toys’R’Us and asked the salesperson to direct me to the Bratz dolls - she did. I rounded the aisle and there they were, floor to ceiling hooker dolls.

Exactly what demographic are Bratz dolls being marketed towards? How many people know a 3 to 12 year old girl, or know of someone who has a girl aged 3 - to 12, who is a complete whore?

These dolls are designed to represent every nationality as well, because it’s never too early to teach girls they can look and act like whores, regardless of what country they’re born in. Some of the dolls were leaning out from the shelves, calling out to me, trying to catch my eye. They all offered a good time. I couldn’t help thinking how totally inappropriate they were for any little girl. These dolls should be banned, not pushed towards the future women of the world as 12 inch role models.

So I bought one. I figured - what the hell, she’s not my kid. And I took my doll home, ready for the birthday party where I’d hand Bratz the hooker doll over to my sweet, innocent four year old niece.

Unfortunately, before I had a chance to give the doll over, the doll got up and left the house. I didn’t even know she’d gone, I just heard the front door click and when I checked the house I realised ‘Bubbles’ Bratz the hooker doll had left.

I waited up. I worried until well after 3AM. I imagined so many terrible scenarios. Maybe she’d becomes a chew toy for some neighbourhood dog, or was she now headless by the hand of the sticky ten year old boy from next door. Finally, when I had worried myself half to death, ‘Bubbles’ finally arrived home. No excuses or explanation about where she’d been, but I noticed she had a whole lot of money in her pockets. Once again I was disgusted. 

These dolls are aimed at little girls as something to aspire to and they are dressed as pole dancers, street walkers and Hooters waitresses. What sort of message are we sending to the next generation of women and, who is it designing these dolls. Please don’t tell me it’s men!

So, after all this outrage and disgust over the message delivered by these dolls and my feelings towards that message,I did what any responsible adult would do in these difficult economic times - I bought another 6 Bratz dolls.

Now I’m a Bratz pimp.

I also bought a G.I. Joe doll with some Bratz outfits sold separately. G.I. Joe in fishnet stockings is now my biggest earner.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

How to become famous on the internet.

I've worked in television for many years. I've sat in on casting decisions of famous faces, before they were famous and I always marvelled at the way a room of less than photogenic souls could so easily pick faults with seriously good looking people. On one occasion, a young actress, who has since gone on to gain fame, was one of two left in the mix after a series of long auditions. It came down to, "The one with the lazy eye, or the one with the crooked teeth." Their talent was equal, so were their ages, either would have been a terrific fit for the role, but in the end  it came down to a superficial question based on looks.

Television is a tough business. Just look at the news reporters and stop for a minute to consider how many of those reporters fall into the 'good looking category. Consider how many very talented young journalists are passed over because of the girl with the model looks or the guy who is tall dark and handsome.

The internet has been a revelation. It chose its celebrities for many years on nothing more than people's interest in whatever that person chose to do. Some were instantly famous - some infamous. The first time I remember online fame was the Star Wars Kid.

Since him there have been too many to count. Here's a few of my favourites - and everyone else's.
Starting with...
Susan Boyle.

Evolution of dance

David home from the dentist


Chad Vador sings Chocolate Rain

Even old classic moments from TV could be called up at will on the 'on demand' media of the internet.

Tim Conway's Elephant story

The internet was run by clicks, people choosing what they wanted to watch, when they wanted to watch it. It has given us the best of entertainment on offer from around the world for over five years, making stars of those with genuine talent, or terrible talent or just some quirky story to tell.

Charlotte and Jonothan from 2012 season of Britain's got Talent.

And it made stars of people who thought they had talent, but failed, and they failed because enough people around the world wanted to see the disaster as it happened. The wannabe artist had let their creation go viral and be judged and lampooned by anyone who wanted to take a jab. Brave, but foolish. Better to be in on the joke than to be the joke.

But the internet's brave new world of selective viewers could never last. Like so many other great things, they are great until they become mainstream and while there are still things to like about them when they reach that level of popularity, they eventually fall into line with the worst aspects of why the main stream, ruled by the masses, like and dislike things.

Boy bands are a great example of this phenomenon. They have for years shown us that you really don't have to be great musicians if you want to be successful, you have to look good and be well marketed - that means being seen by the maximum amount of people. People, especially young girls looking for a non threatening romantic attachment, will instantly be attracted to pretty faces and fall into line with the stories of those involved and by songs well marketed towards them. In the end these packaged young testosterone filled bands will make their managers, agents and eventually, the artists, very rich, by treating those involved like a product to be marketed and sold to the widest audience possible.

So now we reach a new age for the internet, where the same principles that have applied to TV for the last 40 years are being called into play. The good looking have a far greater chance to succeed. Any kid in their teens, or even a very cute pre-teen, can post something on the internet and be discovered by fans looking for someone to connect with. The fans project and believe in the personality being portrayed and fall in love with whoever it is. The slicker people are at marketing an image, the more successful they'll be, even if the image is a totally false one.

The first internet superstar will be a label always worn by Justin Bieber. I'm not a Bieber hated because I think he's talented and you only need to look at the raw talent of his first video posts to see that. Before the managers and producers began polishing and marketing him.

                                                                       Justin Bieber Busking

But there are countless others who have found fame - some a little some a lot. They posted themselves and found fans around the world, largely because the rawness of the internet made it hard for young kids to present an image that had been manipulated by professionals. We were being invited into bedrooms to see people chat without someone telling them what to say - and that honesty and vulnerability made us fans.

Charlie McDonnell - AKA Charlie is so cool like

And good luck to those every day folks who claimed their fifteen minutes of fame. Some faded, but others have turned it into a good earner, a career or just enjoyed the celebrity and had fun with it.

But last week the first in a new phenomenon has occurred on the internet. A star has been born for doing nothing. He didn't even mean to be photographed - yes, I'm talking about the 'incredibly photogenic guy' now - known to be Zeddie Little from New York.

He entered and ran in a 10k fun run and someone, unknown to Zeddie, took his picture. Then someone posted that picture to Reddit, the internet's version of a directory of cool new stuff, and from there people began clicking on the image and it spread like any viral disease - exponentially. And the people liked what they saw. He became the subject of adoration, jokes, captions and stories about why, in the midst of a whole bunch of sweating straining people, he could look like a GQ model.

Then the humour that so many people have hidden within, the creative genius that is let loose when it is allowed to express itself anonymously through the internet, got going because of the silliness of how Zeddie had found fame and the 'Incredibly photogenic guy' memes popped up everywhere.

So we come back to exactly where I started and that is the internet has now come to prove what TV executives and networks, through  research and focus groups, have known for decades. A great face is the most important thing to get an audience tuning in. Idol, X Factor and 'Got Talent' shows use the exact formula - if the person is attractive they are 50% there. A great story to back up their looks and make us like or feel sorry for the person, add another 25% to the likeability scale - give them talent as well and they become a triple threat and nothing will stop them. 

The ideal age to be discovered and touched by fame is 14 to 19, but remember, a person only needs too look that age, they don't actually need to be that age - a fact many TV execs can attest to. It's better to be a teenage guy than a girl because the teenage female fans are far more focused than the boys. The teenage girls looking for fame seem to be the best targets at gaining the ire and hatred of fans. So if you're looking to get noticed for the worst song ever, find a teenage girl, the better looking the better. Write them a song with a simplistic tune and lyrics that makes a poem by Paris Hilton look like a Pulitzer contender.


If you really want to make people hate you - get two hot girls, who can't sing but think they can, write them a bad song and make the lyrics paint them as pretentious, petty, and vacuous, riding in a limo and complaining how tough their lives are because of a non existent problem. And watch the hits keep coming!

If you look too young for puberty to have set in, there's no sex appeal. You may be considered cute, but looking pre-pubescent makes people liking you feel like they're doing something wrong. Looking past about 22 and, unless you've got something serious to say, or a stand-out talent, it's a little try hard. 

If you're a song writer, feel free to record your songs and put them online, see how many hits they get. Then go find a willing teenage guy with a pretty face who can do the song justice and put that online - you may have just created the next Milli Vanilli. - those faces sold millions and a won a Grammy before the internet! I'd love someone to do this experiment and see what happens. Come on all those 20+ talented singer songwriters - take the challenge and see what happens!

And of course the last thing to remember is that you need, at all costs, to come across as if you aren't looking for fame or recognition. If you're a singer, vlogger, or any other internet hopeful, recording from a bedroom or with parents or housemates poking their heads in is an ideal formula. Use makeshift equipment that tells people whatever it is you're doing is a hobby, a passion and fame isn't your goal but getting your message, your voice, your skills recorded is - even if no-one ever sees you. The more you look like you don't care, the more it looks thrown together and unrehearsed, even a mistake and an embarrassed laugh from you, the more the internet will love you.

If you can manage to get someone else, totally removed from you record it and get it on the net like you never even intended it to be seen, a naughty little brother with a recorder, you're 90% home.

This is one of my all time favourites - totally orchestrated, the whole family is in on the series which now is over 18 separate videos of this supposedly insane teenager freaking out. Brilliance! And notice how in the middle of his tantrum, his shirt comes off to show off how attractive he is. There's the formula used on TV with teenage guys for years!

The last thing to remember about fame via the internet - it's fickle. Just like those cheating on a relationship, the thrill is in something new, not about disliking the old. 

I hope Zeddie enjoys his 15 minutes. His response on twitter and tumblr makes him seem like a very genuine nice and humble guy. My guess is you'll see him next on Dancing with the stars or being fired by the Donald on celebrity apprentice - because he now qualifies as a star - at least an internet star. But he wouldn't be the first and he surely won't be the last to slide out of the net and go mainstream.

A few more Internet greats - just for everyone's enjoyment!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Big Business Vs The 99%!

I had a friend who told me the best years of his working life were when he went to work in a small start up company where the people in charge were working to create something out of love and a passion for the product. Working conditions were great and anything anyone did that contributed to the advancement of the product was recognised, understood and rewarded.

This is the story of every company ever created. First generation management are glorious. During those times when they still aren't sure if they are going to survive, thrive or die, all they can do is strive to produce the best product they can and hope the market rewards them.

When the market does, they celebrate and often those original employees get some of the riches as the company goes from success to success.

But now the company's successful and the original manager/owner has been working hard for 10 years. The passion's waned and the product hasn't altered its successful formula in a number of years. And an offer comes in from Richard Head of Richard Head industries, a multi national company and they offer to buy the small startup for 10 million. The company founder and owner sells - why wouldn't he? He knows the company's overpriced at the price, he knows all the hidden problems and the likelihood that their unchanged product may become less successful over time.

Now the second generation managers roll into town. They usually come with a management expert at the helm who knows and cares about only one thing, numbers on a balance sheet. Any excess gets cut. People's jobs get doubled up. Office space is halved and hallways suddenly become open plan offices. In fact every worker below those making the office layout decisions are forced into open plan offices, under the con that open plan helps employee communication and peer learning. The truth is open plan layouts make people less inclined to waste working hours checking facebook, if you can be seen at all times you are likely to work at a higher efficiency and this is all new management care about. The fact open plan offices  rob a person of privacy and self worth isn't even considered.

So now we're ready for third generation company management and all those that come after. Introducing Hugh Janus. He comes into a system already bastardized by the second generation of managers, he has little idea of the product or how its made. All he cares about is that it keeps getting made at the lowest possible price and then sold at an even higher markup profit. He's not interested in the rights or happiness of the employees, short of making sure they get the job done and should one quit he's happy to hire another and rush them into service to learn on the job. All the time the product gets smaller, is of poorer quality or delivers  less while the price goes up.

This company has now reached the fuck you stage or a company's life. This stage comes well after the original creators and owners of the company have moved on, after every single dollar that can be saved has been saved and after the company has been listed on the stock market making managers huge profits along with initial stock owners. But the most glaring attribute of the fuck you phase of a company's life is the fact they couldn't care less about the individual purchaser. They only care about the many. If there's bad press or some other reason customers band together and make demands on mass, management will front the media and get their publicity spin working. This is something all of us are now familiar with because we see it so often. A company who is suddenly facing bad press because of something done in the normal day to day operations of their business, that for some reason attracted media attention, triggers a response from the company's PR face who stands and shouts loudly how, "We (this company) is shocked by this and we're taking steps to makes sure it never happens again, and by the way we sponsor a rainforest and saved this puppy from being euuthanized." But one customer no longer matters because these companies deal in tens of thousands of customers. Everyday they gain hundreds more - so dropping a few who become disgruntled along the way isn't any big deal.

The problem I have, is that I can't see a solution. Once companies get too big to care about the individual, they are big enough that we need them more than they need us. Once this happens they can change their product in any way they want. They will have squeezed out all other opposition so their's will be the only widget left to buy. It may be dangerous, life threatening, over priced and such poor quality it lasts for only one use - but what choice do we have other than to use it?

We stand at the counter and scream in frustration.
"I've shopped here for X years and you have no idea how much money I've spent in this store - well, no more. You'll be sorry, because you're losing a very valuable loyal customer."
And out the door we stomp - point well made.

The reality is, you might just as well have gone to the Grand Canyon, thrown a grain of sand over the edge and screamed at the river below to get ready to stop flowing.

The pessimist in me fears this is what the 99% are doing.
The optimist hopes they can move a mountain.