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

Compiled by Elliot Feldman 

If you’d like your site to be featured on the Hotlist, send an e-mail to elliotfeldman@yahoo.com.

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


Space Guys in Space

From Epic Level Entertainment, Space Guys in Space is an often funny sci-fi web comedy series. In 2012, it won a Cinematography Award for a Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror Series at the LA Web Series Festival. It was created and produced by game designer and editor (Wizards of the Coast and White Wolf) Cindi Rich and television producer John Frank Rosenblum ("Dr. Who"). They describe their show as an "homage to Red Dwarf," the British TV satirical sci-fi series.
MULTIMEDIA LEARNING

Easy Way Test
The Easy Way Test is also known as The Easy Way Language Center's Pronunciation Game. Sponsored by Google and best used via the Chrome browser, they describe The Easy Way Test as an online game "for English students to practice their pronunciation skills." The Pronunciation Game combines Google's voice recognition technology with short Web-animated "tests" using comic strip speech balloons to translate spoken words into text. The game was originally created by Brazilian Web developer Loduca.

MoMA Art Lab iPad App
The Museum of Modern Art's Art Lab is an iPad app that offers users insight on how noted MoMA collection artists "use line, shape, and color." Their app goes beyond the many interactive sketch apps available. For ages 7 and up, users can create their own original art inspired by MoMA artists like Matisse. The app allows users to move and manipulate a variety of shapes and colors. Or they can learn about an artist by tracing examples of his or her work. Users can also collaborate on artwork with friends and family. The app is available via iTunes.


WEB COMICS

Unsounded
Artist Ashley Cope describes "Unsounded" as a "donation free graphic novel." It's beautifully rendered. Unsounded's narrative and artwork style is very much video game fantasy fiction. Each colorful installment is published three times a week.

God Hates Astronauts
In 2007, comic book artist and toy designer (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) Ryan Browne posted online the first three issues (180 pages worth) of his free-for-all bloody superhero comic spoof God Hates Astronauts. The villain of the piece is old -time bare knuckle boxing champ John L. Sullivan and his band of thugs. Its style is a combination of steampunk and Image Comics.


INTERNET ANIMATION

Disney Shorts
In 2013, Disney Studios launched a series of new 2-D animated Mickey Mouse shorts for the Web, using modern Cartoon Network-style animation. The series' animators come from the likes of The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Lab. The new art style is strongly reminiscent of the black and white Ub Iwerks-animated early Mickey Mouse. After their web debut, the new shorts will premiere on the Disney Channel.


ONLINE COMEDY

JASH
JASH describes itself as a YouTube "comedy network" made up of "the world's top comedians." This growing collection of comedy videos was launched in 2013 under YouTube's Original Channel Initiative by comics Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Reggie Watts, and Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. Each of these comics offers their original videos.

Ask My Mom
Ask My Mom is Maria Bamford's comedy series at My Damn Channel. She plays her real-life mother Marilyn Bamford, a 70-year-old retired family therapist. Viewers submit requests for "advice" from "Mrs. Bamford" on topics that include sex, religion, and raising children. The New Yorker calls each of Maria Bamford's 1-to-2 minute episodes as "dense with her complex dark comedy."


ZINES

The Dissolve
From Pitchfork Media, The Dissolve is their Chicago-based film website run by film editor at the AV Club Scott Tobias. The Dissolve offers comparatively hype-free news, reviews, and interviews with topics that include Hollywood blockbusters, indie films, and movie classics.

GUERNICA
Guernica describes itself as "a magazine of art & politics." Their interviews are especially notable. Participants have included the likes of Joan Didion, Tony Kushner, John Updike, Don De Lillo, Russell Banks, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Howard Zinn.


SOCIAL PROJECTS

Makers.com
Makers.com is the companion Web site to the PBS three-part documentary series Makers: Women Who Make America. It's about the five decades of the struggle for women's equality in the United States. The Web site is a collaborative project between PBS and AOL. It includes a library containing hundreds of videos of interviews from women from average citizens to famous achievers such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Ellen DeGeneres, and Condoleeza Rice. AOL developed the site's interactive video platform optimized for viewing across every mobile device.

Solitary Lives
Berkeley-based non-profit news agency The Center for Investigative Reporting offers Solitary Lives, an online social project that acts as a response to a condition in California prisons where high-risk prisoners in "secure housing units" have been unable to share photos and letters with family and other loved ones for the past 25 years. These prisoners have been designated as gang members or have done serious crimes while in prison. Solitary Lives now allows this group of prisoners to share "photos, letters and other artifacts" online. Each inmate's story is told on this site, and more will follow.

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.