• Harvard Sailing Team

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

THE HOTSPOT

Harvard Sailing Team
The Harvard Sailing Team is a sketch comedy group not a sailing team, and none of its members went to Harvard. The group started with NYU Tisch Communications School roommates Chris Smith and Billy Scafuri. Their group members then expanded to include Jen Curran, Clayton Early, Faryn Einhorn, Katie Larsen, Adam Lustick, Rebecca Delgado Smith, and Sara Taylor. They describe what they do as "singing, dancing, and making ourselves look like assholes." They perform live at the Peoples Improv Theater in NYC and post their performances on their popular YouTube comedy channel.


HUMOR

WHOHAHA
WHOHAHA is the brainchild of actor-director-producer Elizabeth Banks along with production entity Digital Media Management. The aim of WHOHAHA is showcasing female comedy stars as well as supporting rising stars. Participants in the entertainment site include actors Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, and Julianne Moore, as well as popular Internet stars like Hannah Hart (My Drunk Kitchen).

Rhett and Link
Rhett James McLaughlin and Charles "Link" Neal III are best known as the comedy duo Rhett and Link. North Carolina friends since first grade, they call themselves "Internetainers." Rhett and Link's popular YouTube channel and website offers satirical songs and comedy sketches. Regularly contributed sketches include "Ear Biscuits" and "Good Mythical Morning." Their channel has 13 million subscribers.

GRIDLOCKED
Gridlocked is created by, written by, and starring actor-producer Zack Gold. The series is directed by Scott M. Brown. It's about daily traffic gridlock on LA's 405 freeway. Each webisode focuses on the foibles and fantasies of drivers and passengers one car at a time amidst the traffic jam. Gold plays a different character in each webisode. The series is entertaining and inventive despite the claustrophobic nature of the subject matter. Gridlocked is basically a love/hate portrayal of the city of Los Angeles.


CANADIAN WEB SERIES

The Amazing Gayl Pile
The Amazing Gayl Pile is a Web series on NBC's online comedy network Seeso. It's a spoof of the Home Shopping Network starring Morgan Waters and Brooks Gray. Show producers include actor Paul Scheer, Andrew Ferguson, MattKing, Jonathan Stern, and Becca Kinskey with support from Canada's Independent Production Fund. The series is subtitled "One Man's Quest to Conquer the World of Home Shopping." There are ten 15-minute webisodes available by subscription streaming via Xbox and Amazon Video.

BUT I'M CHRIS JERICHO
Chris Jericho is a former WWE superstar wrestler as well as a comedian/actor. " But I'm Chris Jericho" is a Web sitcom about Jericho's struggles to break into the entertainment industry as a working actor. Guest stars on the 10 webisodes include Andy Kindler and Scott Thompson. The series was co-created by Jericho, Bob Kerr, Gary Rideout Jr. Craig Brown; and exec produced by Canadian Screen Award winners John Brunton and Barbara Bowlby.

The Runner
The Runner is a dramatic series described as an "action-adventure murder mystery," each webisode an ongoing chase reminiscent of The Fugitive. Stuntman Will Erichson stands in for star Brendan Penny. Erichson's acrobatic and skateboarding stunt skills are showcased as Penny's character Josh Rundell attempts to escape his pursuers. The Vancouver-based 11 webisodes are produced by writer Liz Scully and Leonard Terhoch.

BunnyBop
BunnyBop is a Canadian Web series aimed at pre-schoolers. It's created and exec produced by Cheryl Wagner, best known as the creator of the popular kids TV series Big Comfy Couch. Its characters are kids dressed in bunny suits having gentle adventures in a "wondrous garden setting." Afiliated production entities include Periscope Pictures and Innovations PEI.


FILM CRITICISM BLOGS

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas is the publisher-editor of video review magazine Video Watchdog. Video WatchBlog is its online companion. It is an ongoing essay examination of those indie and theatrical films (mostly horror and fantasy) that have been released on home video. Director Quentin Tarantino has called it "the only reliable film magazine in the world."

Strictly Film School
Acquarella is the pseudonym for quirky film critic Pascual Espiritu, who describes herselfas a "cinephile, mad scientist, and wanderer." Strictly Film School is her personal journal that includes an extensive database of directors famous and obscure, accompanied by her reviews of specific films from each director.

MOVING IMAGE SOURCE
Moving Image Source is The Museum of the Moving Image's website devoted to the history of film, television, and digital media. The site also includes original articles from "leading critics, authors, and scholars" as well as an in-depth calendar of upcoming film and video festivals, and retrospectives from around the world. It also includes the Pinewood Dialogues, a series of discussions with important filmmakers that include Francis Coppola, George A. Romero, and Harold Ramis. Moving Image Source is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Hazen Polsky Foundation.

FIPRESCI
FIPRESCI is the website for the International Federation of Film Critics, an almost 90 year old organization that sponsors leading critic awards for film festivals such as Cannes and Venice. Their website includes Undercurrents, an online journal founded by critic Chris Fujiwara. It is devoted to essays and examinations of film festival winners as well as their films. The journal is rich in content even if it is only published online once or twice a year.

ludic despair
ludic despair is the oddly humorous and macabre blog of Northwestern University professor of media and film Jeffrey Sconce. He describes it as "an index of Co-Morbid Symptoms." His area of criticism mostly focuses on areas of "psychotronic" or "trash" cinema. Article titles include "Violent Jeff Foxworthy Breakfast Swipes" and "Your Fantasies and My Fantasies."

Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule
Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule is Dennis Cozzalio's 10 year-old film criticism blog. He describes it as "the place I go to express my thoughts on the movies and (occasionally) on baseball."


CROWDFUNDED FILMMAKING

Seed&Spark
Film producer Emily Best and partners Caroline Von Kuhn and Liam Brady created Seed&Spark as a film crowdfunding platform as well as a Video on Demand distribution platform. They originally created it while trying to raise funds for their own feature film Like the Water. What's unique about their process is that funds are raised item-by-item for specified goods, services, and festival waivers needed for individual film projects. They even offer an online class on crowdfunding for indie filmmakers.