The Hotlist: September 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. 

GIGI: Almost American

GIGI: Almost American is a slapstick Web comedy starring former Daily Show correspondent Josh Gad. It is produced by video platform My Damn Channel, and BBC Worldwide. GIGI: Almost American is written and produced by improv troupe The Lost Nomads. Gad plays an immigrant who dreams of being an assimilated American. Some have compared his character to Borat.

Jan (featuring Caitlin Gerard)
Jan (featuring Caitlin Gerard) is an online dramatic series starring actress Caitlin Gerard (The Social Network), Virginia Madsen (Sideways), and Stephen Moyer (True Blood). The 15 episodes of its season one first appeared on YouTube, and then moved to the WIGS video platform in three 45-minute episodes. It's written and directed by veteran producer Jon Avnet (Black Swan). The WIGS platform was launched in 2012 by Avnet and producer Rodrigo Garcia (Albert Nobbs) in affiliation with Fox Broadcasting.

MyMusic is a Web comedy created and produced by Benny and Rafi Fine aka The Fine Brothers. Told across multiple media platforms, MyMusic is a mockumentary series that follows co-workers at a fictional multimedia company. In reality, the fictional multimedia production company became a real multimedia production company with the success of the series.

The Johnny Dynamo Web Series
Johnny Dynamo is about a character that's a has-been ‘80s TV action star as played by fictional actor Robert Pierce Mitchell (played by real actor Rick Wells). Mitchell (aka Johnny Dynamo) lives in a Nashville suburb and dreams of making a comeback. This web dramedy is produced by Nashville-based Left Brain Digital and was created by Joe Thomas and Dennis Marino.

Pursuit of Sexiness
Pursuit of Sexiness is an online sitcom starring Sasheer Zamata (Saturday Night Live) and Nicole Byer as two young African-American best girlfriends looking for love in New York City. The characters were written as fictional versions of themselves. Both actresses met as performers in The Upright Citizens Brigade improv group.

Little Horribles
Little Horribles is a Web sitcom created by writer/producer Amy York Rubin. It is has been called "the lesbian answer to Girls,” the popular HBO series. Little Horribles came about through Barnacle Studios, a crowd-sourced "video platform and talent network."

Standup comedian Grace Helbig had over two million viewers on the My Damn Channel video platform. She took a chance by leaving her super-popular My Damn Channel series Daily Grace in 2013 and then launching a new series, ItsGrace, on YouTube in 2014.


Mikey Please
UK-based stop-motion animator Mikey Please has a simple and beautiful portfolio website that includes his cutting edge cartoons, illustrations, and blog posts.


Sponsored by longtime online zine, RIYL (Recommended If You Like) is a podcast by veteran writer Brian Heater (Spin, Wired, The Onion, The Daily Beast). The podcast consists of weekly "long-form conversations with musicians, cartoonists, writers and other creative types." Interviewees have included punk rock legend Richard Hell, and cartoonists Shannon Wheeler, Peter Bagge, and Molly Crabapple.


Kino Obscura
Kino Obscura is University of Southern California MFA candidate and writer David Liu's entertainment blog. It has been named "Best Review Blog" by UK magazine Total Film. Kino Obscura includes well written reviews of international, classic, and cult films.

Daily Grail
Since 1998, Greg Taylor's blog Daily Grail has been "devoted to news on science and history and anything on the fringes of the mainstream." It consists of in-depth long-form articles covering "fortean" esoteric aspects of science.


Geekwire" is a Seattle-based independent technology news site and online community founded by former Seattle Post-Intelligencer tech news reporters John Cook and Todd Bishop. Geekwire's subject matter includes "startups, entrepreneurs, mobile technologies, social networking, online commerce, geek culture." They also cover major corporate players in the tech industry including Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Google.


Half the Sky
Half the Sky is a project created by married Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The Web site is the online companion to their bestselling 2009 book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. It serves as a multi-platform initiative that includes a PBS TV series, online videos, blogs, and Facebook and mobile games.

HelloGiggles was founded by actress Zooey Deschanel, producer Sophia Rossi, and Internet personality Molly McAleer. They describe their site as an online community with a "no gossip" policy aimed at "smart, independent, and creative females." Topics discussed include "pop culture, love, friendship, female empowerment, careers, style, food, and daily news important to women's lives."

The "Jane" in xoJane is Jane Pratt, the former founding editor of Sassy Magazine. xoJane describes itself as a women's lifestyle site "where women go when they are being selfish and where their selfishness is applauded." And they also state that "the amount and depth of the interaction between writers and readers on is unprecedented and the lines between them are intentionally blurred."

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.