The Hotlist: March 2014
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. 


9ine is a Web drama series chronicling "nine months in the life of soon-to-be teen parents." According to the production team (One Economy), the series is "geared towards teens, parents, educators and advocates." Reality television producer/editor (Ice Road Truckers) Allen Sowelle is the producer, writer and director of 9ine.

The series is the winner of three Telly Awards (People's Choice, Social Issues and Education). It stars Jonathan "Lil J" McDaniel and Chasity Hampton as the young couple.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is an online comedy series produced by and starring Jerry Seinfeld. The series format: a talk show inside a vintage car with Jerry and a guest comic; the car then drops Jerry and the guest(s) at a restaurant to get coffee. It is very much a Web series about nothing.

Comic guests have included Sarah Silverman, Don Rickles, Howard Stern, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks, plus Seinfeld veterans Michael Richards and Larry David. In 2013, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee won a Special Class Emmy for Short Format Nonfiction Program.


The Book Publicity Blog
The Book Publicity Blog is the brainchild of Yen Cheong, an Assistant Director at Viking and Penguin Books. Her blog is packed with information, specifically book publicity tips and marketing trends aimed at book publicists and others in the publishing world. Emerging trends includes social media as a tool for book publicity. The section called The Papyrus Files spotlights outdated traditional practices in the publishing world.

Asylum – John Self's Shelves is one of the six founding blogs of the Brit Lit Blogs Collective. Self is a Belfast-based book critic for The Guardian. Although his intelligent and humorous blog concentrates on reviews of books by British authors, he will occasionally tackle the likes of Philip Roth. An example series of posts is his "Mooreathon," where he vows to read and comment on "all of Belfast-born author Brian Moore's novels in order of publication."

Reluctant Habits
Reluctant Habits is part literary blog and part radio podcast started by writer and critic Edward Champion. The blog part is devoted to "books, films, arts, technology and culture." It includes long-form interviews with writers, artists and cultural figures such as Nicholson Baker and Richard Powers. The podcast part is known as The Bat Segundo Show. Interviewees have included John Waters, John Updike, David Lynch, Weird Al Yankovic and Robert A. Caro.


This Developers Life
Microsoft executive Scott Hanselman's This Developer’s Life podcast pays homage to the National Public Radio series This American Life. Like Ira Glass's show, This Developer’s Life tells compelling true stories about individuals. Hanselman's stories, however, are more specific, telling the stories of individual software and other information technology developers. This Developer’s Life isn't about the geek factor. It concentrates on the human factor rather than bits, bytes, and code. Each podcast includes a soundtrack of music from the likes of Fischerspooner, Calexico, and others.

The Ratchet and the Geek
"The Ratchet and the Geek" is another entertaining Scott Hanselman podcast, this time in partnership with Luvvie Ajayi, a self-described "award-winning humor writer, digital strategist and shoe lover." Luvvie describes her on-air chemistry with Hanselman as "techies with ratchet sides" talking to folks about "all things social media, TV, gadgets, stories of fail, dumbest tweets and more." When asked who the ratchet is and who the geek is, the answer is "both."

Digital Production BuZZ
"Digital Production BuZZ" is a podcast aimed at digital video professionals. Producers describe it as "talk radio for digital distribution, post production, and distribution worldwide." The show's co-hosts are veteran digital media consultant and television producer Larry Jordan and leading Final Cut Pro expert Michael Horton. The show's supervising producer is Cirina Catania, a co-founder of the Sundance Film Festival. On each show, Jordan and Horton field questions from listeners, asking them to "pick our brains for technical and creative knowledge."


LitReactor is a social network site for writers and readers founded by Web developers Dennis Widmeyer, Kirk Clawes, and Phil Jourdan. Besides a robust discussion forum, it features an online magazine with news about the publishing industry as well as literature-related articles. There's also advice from notable authors such as Chuck Palahniuk, Neil Gaiman, and Irvine Welsh. LitReactor also offers writing classes for publishing industry professionals and publisher writers.


THE KILLS is described as "a digital-first novel of crime and conspiracy told in four books" by "writer, artist, filmmaker and teacher" Richard House. Published first in digital form, THE KILLS is a multimedia mix of narrative text and short videos. House describes the videos more as "footnotes" to the narrative as opposed to illustrations.

While digital media readers must purchase access, Book #1 can be accessed for free to readers who tell their friends about it on Twitter. In 2013, THE KILLS was "shortlisted" for Britain's prestigious Booker Prize.

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 Shelagh Wagener 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.