The Hotlist: August 2013
A Guide to the Web’s Most Cutting Edge New Media Content

Compiled by Elliot Feldman 

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The Hotspot 
The Hotspot highlights Web content created by writers working under a WGA contract. 

Aim High

Aim High is a Web series launched on Facebook by Warner Brothers Digital Distribution. Film director McG is among the series producers. Its high production values can be credited to director Thor Freudenthal (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). Aim High stars Aimee Teagarden (Friday Night Lights) and Jackson Rathbone (Twilight series). It was created by Heath Corson and Richie Keen. The central plotline: a high school junior moonlights as a government operative. The series tagline is "After School Jobs are a Killer." The show's most unusual feature is that Facebook users can "personalize" their experience by accessing Aim High through their FB profile. Photos and news from a user's profile might actually appear in a video episode.

The Beauty Inside
The Beauty Inside is a branded Web series for Facebook, sponsored by Intel and Toshiba. It won a Grand Prix in Branded Entertainment at Cannes. Directed by Sundance Award-winner Drake Doremus, The Beauty Inside follows the story of Alex, a man who wakes up looking like a different person every day. It is divided into six filmed experiences, interactive stories that play out on the Alex character's Facebook timeline. Actor Topher Grace plays Alex's inner monologue. What makes The Beauty Inside experience uniquely interactive is that any viewer male or female can send in videos or photos to "audition" as one of Alex's different personas.


The Trip – A Transmedia Project by Kissinger Twins
The Project's developers recommend that The Trip is best viewed in the Google Chrome browser. The Kissinger Twins, UK filmmakers Dawid Marcinkowski and Kasia Kifert, describe themselves as "a multimedia duo mixing film and photography." The Trip was inspired by a real life event, a chance meeting on Tutuila Island with Jack Torrance, an eccentric 80-year-old who believes that the moon landing was a fake. The duo has described The Trip as a road movie portrayed on an interactive map of the island.

Carly's Cafe
Carly's Cafe is a Webby Award-winning documentary is based on the true story of Carly Fleischmann, a 17-year-old who is unable to speak but can communicate by typing on a computer. The presentation enables online users to "experience autism through Carly's eyes." The video and photo presentation is produced by ad executive Arthur Fleischmann, Carly's father. The website began as a companion to a book written by Carly and her father. The look and feel of the site was designed by Heung Lee. Carly's Cafe meshes five concurrent videos.

Clouds Over Cuba
Clouds Over Cuba is a multimedia documentary presentation that marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, the documentary is narrated by actor Matthew Modine. Clouds Over Cuba was developed and produced by The Martin Agency.


5-Second Films
Started by University of Southern California students Brian Firenzi and Daniel Hollister, "5-Second Films" offers a new film every week day. They describe the content as a "vertically-branded viral humor depository." Over 1000 films have already aired on the site. The content rules for content submissions: c 2-seconds of opening titles, 5-seconds of film with a set-up and a punchline, and 1-second of end titles. Occasional guest stars have included Patton Oswalt and Weird Al Yankovic.

Togather is a social media platform for authors and author fans started by authors Andrew Kessler and Aaron Shapiro. They describe their site as "book events made fun" that "go beyond readings." The content consists of "talks, demos, cocktails, hangouts, and workshops." The social aspect allows fans to propose speaking events that feature their favorite author members of Togather. Author members, in turn, may accept speaking invitations and even negotiate speaking fees.


Ancient Industries
Ancient Industries is a stunning photo blog by art director Megan Williams. She describes her blog as a curated collection of everyday objects that we take for granted. Ancient Industries is also a popular e-commerce shop aimed at the UK and US market and specializing in "traditional household goods and clothing."

A Continuous Lean
A Continuous Lean is a men's fashion blog by Michael Williams, who describes himself as "a discovery agent for those with an appreciation of quality, style, and provenance." The blog content includes photography, fashion videos, and a list of Made in the USA fashion companies.

PODCASTS is veteran Emmy-winning technology critic Leo LaPorte's podcast network. Most of the podcasts are produced and hosted by LaPorte. The most popular include This Week in Tech, Security Now!, and This Week in Google.


TED-Ed's mission is to create "lessons worth sharing." Sponsored by TED conferences, TED-Ed shares its online library of "carefully curated educational videos." Site users, typically teachers and institutions, can freely customize videos for lessons assigned to students as teaching tools. TED-Ed is sponsored by Kohl's department stores and YouTube. Advisors include Melinda French Gates and educator Salman Khan.

The WGAW encourages New Media projects to respect content creators through Guild contracts. If you’re working in New Media and would like information on getting your project covered, contact Tamara Krinsky or call (323) 782-4511.

Elliot Feldman's novel, Sitting Shiva, was published in 2003 -- ISBN: 0964374064. And check out his comics at Scene4 Magazine - WARNING: Not for the easily offended.