Why you should care
Because YouTube provides a wonderful respite from your day — or as we like to call it, work.
If technology companies were cults, YouTube’s mantra would be (say it with me slowly) “disruption.” The seemingly anarchistic ethos is at the heart of Silicon Valley’s decision-making spirit. Can you redesign the way people find places to live while on vacation? Here’s my money. Want to develop an app that changes the way we all pay for everything and exchange money with one another? Here are the keys to my house! You want to convert every Internet-connected screen into a boob tube? Here’s $1.65 billion!
And nine years ago, YouTube did just that. Now every screen has the ability to feature any one of us making boobs of ourselves, present company included.
YouTube is more than a fun site to waste time on: It’s an incubator for new voices.
The video-sharing service banked on the human instinct to chase our 15 minutes (or seconds?) of fame, while simultaneously disrupting the paradigm on which decades of television programming was built. It lowered any and all bars for entry into the mass video distribution game, proclaiming, “Come one, come all: Share your video! You’re now a filmmaker!”
And so I did. Maybe if you have connections to Anonymous you can find my old YouTube videos. I began, and better yet ceased, with song parodies and sketches (because I was obviously going to be scouted for an SNL audition at any moment), and then graduated to three-minute maker documentaries. My desire to create videos only grew with the development of this platform where I could broadcast my precious masterpieces to a limitless audience.
YouTube is more than a fun site to waste time on: It’s an incubator for new voices. Reading the YouTube comments left on my video posts helped me find my video creation voice, and leaving comments on others’ video posts allowed me to develop my strong opinions. What I like to watch may not match what I like to make. Inspiration comes in various forms. And if I’m entertained, I usually come away with an important lesson or insight.
Below are just a few videos that have burrowed their way into my mind, and which show how video content continues to catapult forward.
Jared Frazer is OZY’s Director of Video. See some of his latest work here.
1. Rocket Jump
Rocket Jump is just one explosively enthralling action short by the FreddieW clan. Watching videos on this channel, you can clearly see what the next generation of filmmakers and VFX people are doing, at a very high skill level: blowing sh*t up and having a blast.
2. Gymkhana 5
Gymkhana 5 feature’s DC Shoes’ Ken Block as he literally shuts down San Francisco to show people how to make a badass driving video. I’ll probably never buy an article of DC apparel, but I can guarantee that I now want to shut down an iconic bridge/thoroughfare at some point in my career because of this video.
3. Fresh Off the Boat
The Fresh Off the Boat series is Vice’s answer to Anthony Bourdain. Host Eddie Huang is the best tour guide a city can have. Whether uncovering Miami’s best Cuban food with a porn star, or gunning down and eating rabbits in Oakland, California, Eddie is a fresh face in the lawless landscape of 15-minute YouTube food shows.
4. Epic Meal Time
You’re about to watch Epic Meal Time make fast-food lasagna. The show specializes in appalling food creations, and this episode is all about cramming as much bacon — and as many calories — into a dish as humanly possible.
5. Bed Intruder Song
It’s the video that put the Gregory Brothers into the Internet Hall of Fame. For a few years, every scandal-ridden politico and odd newsmaker had their sound bites transformed into catchy songs that made art out of the news. More popularly known as Auto-tune the News, the comedy team now goes by Songify the News, with the tagline: “The Only News You Need Has a Bass Line.”
6. HAWP Red Faction Guerilla
The series Hey Ash Watcha Playin clearly shows that the family that plays video games and makes YouTube videos together stays together. When I was first introduced to this series, I learned the dangers of media binging. I watched every episode and resented the fact that there wasn’t more from this hilarious sibling comedy duo.
7. Selby Is in Your Place
I love Todd Selby’s photography, and when he started making short films, I swooned. These peeks into people’s lives are so engaging because they are such intimate vignettes. It is a difficult and beautiful feat to enter into someone’s personal space with a camera and put them so completely at ease that you can capture their unique story. I love these videos: I feel like I’m watching something delicate.
8. Cool Hunting
When I was first introduced to these videos by CoolHunting, I knew an evolution in online videos was taking place. Their individual shots and storylines are allowed to spin out and be digested over longer periods of time, and they develop deep stories out of the otherwise mundane.
9. Color Sachs
Tom Sachs is one of my favorite artists. There is a dichotomy in his work between the lack of polish and the extreme attention to detail. Whatever it is, his work makes me happy. It’s like someone gave a 10-year-old with an incredible imagination a ton of money and let him just build. This video perfectly captures his art’s makeshift nature.