The Hotlist: July 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. 

Verdene and Gleneda

Verdene and Gleneda is a funny drag comedy series very much in the Dame Edith vein. It has also been described as "Southern gothic Ab Fab meets Thelma and Louise." Verdene (played by Jonathan Williams) and Gleneda (Sean Jones) are quarreling sisters from the fictional town of Peculiar, Missouri. The series is written by Heidi Mastrogiovanni.

Weather From is another example of "drag" comedy. In this case, actor David Krumholz (Numb3rs) plays an old opinionated Jewish lady who dispenses weather information and rude advice. The site design, however, is the star here. Users enter their location triggering a video of the little old lady giving her version of a weather report tailored to that location.

ZA News is a fake news series that aims its wit at world politics with a focus on South Africa. It was created by South African cartoonist Jonathan "Zapiro" Shapiro. Although it was originally created for the South African national broadcast network SABC, they nixed it due to its irreverent style. So Zapiro took ZA News online. Much in the style of the British satirical series Spitting Image, ZA News includes caricature puppets.

The Global Edition
The Global Edition is subtitled "the most global news service in the world," an indicator of inspired nonsense to follow. It began as a Serbian fake news site, which then spawned an English language fake news site. The executive editor is Viktor Marcovic.

Husbands on CW Seed
CW Seed is the CW Network's online series development lab. It's billed as "the first marriage equality comedy." The "Husbands" in the title refers to a newly married male couple played by Brad Bell (co-creator) and Sean Hemeon. Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is the show's other writer/creator. Most of the episodes were directed by Jeff Greenstein (Desperate Housewives). Guest appearances include Jon Cryer, Amy Acker, Mekhi Phifer, and Joss Whedon. The series was launched for multiple streaming platforms (dubbed super-syndication) that include YouTube, Blip, and Roku.


No Your City
Brooklyn-based filmmaker Nicolas Heller is the creator/director of No Your City, a video documentary series consisting of eight vignettes of uniquely New York City street characters. The series is sponsored by The Gothamist and Mishka, a popular NYC streetwear vendor.

The Streamy Awards
As of 2013, the Streamy Awards were presented by Dick Clark Productions and Tubefilter to celebrate "excellence in the creation and production of Web based programming." Awards are offered in over 30 categories including directing, acting, producing, and writing.

H+ The Digital Series
H+ is a YouTube channel drama series produced by director/producer Bryan Singer (Usual Suspects) and created by writer/actor John Cabrera and Cosimo De Tommaso. This scifi series consists of multiple episodes with very high production values. Each episode is five minutes long maximum. It is distributed by Warner Brothers Digital Distribution. The plotline: A computer virus kills 1/3 of the world's population who have been given a digital brain implant (i.e. nanotechnology) called "H+."

Writers on Writing
Sponsored by the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Writers on Writing is a series of videos offering "advice and insights into the craft of writing" from prominent Knopf Doubleday authors including Mark Z. Danielewski, Nathan Englander, and Michael Lindsay-Hogg.


Davy and Kristin McGuire
Davy and Kristin McGuire are a husband and wife multimedia artist team who design unique visual experiences including one-of-a-kind art installations at prestigious places. These stunning visuals are previewed at their Web site. Projects include The Icebook, Floating City and The Paper Architect.

Living Will
Mark C. Marino directs the Humanities and Critical Code Studies Lab at the University of Southern California. He is also the Director of Communication for the Electronic Literature Organization. Living Will is his multimedia interactive story/game programmed in Javascript and cutting edge HTML variations. The story centers on the heirs of E.R. Millhouse, a robber baron who had pillaged a fortune in the Congo. By clicking hypertext clues within the will, the readers must choose one among several Millhouse heirs.


CCC's Beyond the Book
CCC stands for the Copyright Clearance Center, formerly a nonprofit organization that's now a company providing copyright licensing services for corporate and academic users of copyrighted materials. Beyond the Book is CCC's podcast that explores intellectual property and copyright issues as applied to the business of writing and publishing.


Paris Review Daily
Paris Review Daily is a 2012 update of Paris Review's Web site. Edited by print (Henry Holt) and digital (Jezebel) content veteran Sadie Stein, the site has become a blog that is a quality mix of literary essays and videos from the venerable Paris Review's past and present, updated on weekdays.


250 Words
Sponsored by Simon and Schuster Publishing Group, 250 words offers 250-word reviews of both new and classic business books. These reviews focus on practical business advice.

Future Tense
Future Tense is a part of Slate magazine that's co-sponsored with the New America Foundation and Arizona State University. It explores "emerging technologies and their effects on society and public policy" with a focus on Washington D.C. Future Tense also sponsors live events with "policymakers, scientists, journalists, and interested members of the public."


On July 11, 2008, the Apple App Store launched and so did the AppAdvice blog. AppAdvice is also offered as an iOS (iPhone operating system) app. AppAdvice describes itself as the "ideal resource on the web for people looking to discover iOS apps." It is primarily an aggregator of "the latest iOS news, reviews, and iDevice accessories."

Lauched in 2012, Quartz describes itself as a "digitally native news outlet" offered primarily for tablets and mobile phone platforms. Owned by Atlantic Media, publisher of the venerable Atlantic Magazine, it further describes itself as a "digital guide to the new global economy, designed to serve business professionals who travel the world." The staff is composed of veteran journalists and information technology experts.

Now This News
Now This News is a short form news video service created for social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Vine. The news videos are also offered on Android and Apple mobile devices. Founded by Huffington Post executives Kenneth Lerer and Eric Hippeau, Now This News describes itself as "the news in your pocket." Staff includes veteran journalists from the Washington Post, ABC News, CNN, and VICE Media.

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.