• Olive and Mocha

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

THE HOTSPOT

Olive and Mocha
Olive and Mocha is a Kickstarter-funded Web series produced and directed by Suzi Yoonessi and co-written with Molly Hale. The main characters, Olive and Mocha, are early teens effectively portrayed by young actors April Marshall-Miller and Sophia Laurelin. The series started as a TV development project for NBC. When the rights of ownership came back to the creators, four episodes were shot and then launched on YouTube. It currently can be seen on Funny or Die.


WEB SERIES

TheLeBrons
The LeBrons is a YouTube animated series based on characters appearing in a series of popular Nike TV commercials starring basketball superstar LeBron James. The three seasons were produced by Believe Entertainment and Spring Hill Productions. In all, there are 10 episodes in season one, six for season two, and six for season three streaming on YouTube. Storylines are typically drawn from James’ day-to-day life. Each of the four cartoon family members represents four different aspects of his personality: Wise, Kid, Athlete, and Business.


MOVIE/VIDEO REVIEW PODCASTS

We Hate Movies
We Hate Movies is a humorous film criticism podcast hosted by members of Private Cabin, a New York City-based comedy collective. Chief participants include Andrew Jupin, Stephen Sajdak, Eric Szyszk, and group namesake Chris Cabin. Each show mercilessly dissects one film, usually a deeply flawed commercial film or an obscure good/bad cult film such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.

Talk Without Rhythm
Talk Without Rhythm is subtitled "the only podcast that will not attract the worm." This alone is an indicator of the offbeat nature of this weekly movie review podcast. The hosts describe themselves as “two geeks from Ohio”: EL GORO and THE CANCER MAN. As often as not, they might review films that they’ve never seen. Needless to say, irreverent humor is the emphasis. For this reason, it may not be for those who are easily offended.

Proudly Resents: The cult movie podcast
Proudly Resents: The cult movie podcast describes itself as “a podcast for fans of films, crazy filmmakers, funny comedies, and typos.” The show is hosted and produced by Adam Spiegelman. Show writers include veterans of The Daily Show and Colbert Report. Guest interviewees have included comedians like Jimmy Pardo, Al Madrigal, and Bobcat Goldthwaite, as well as Troma Films’ Lloyd Kaufman. Each podcast topic focuses on their recaps of “favorite good/bad and cult film.”

The Rialto Report
The Rialto Report is a weekly podcast discussing films from what show hosts Ashley West and April Hall call “the Golden Age of Porn,” primarily the ‘70s and ‘80s. Podcast guests include early adult entertainment industry performers, producers, and distributors that include Georgina Spelvin, Annie Sprinkle, Jennifer Welles, and producer Al Goldstein. WARNING: As expected the subject matter and language may not for the easily offended.


EXPERIMENTAL

Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things
Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things is a multimedia storytelling experiment led by Lance Weiler and Nick Fortuno, Columbia University journalism grad school associates and part of COPYLEFT. The project began as a live interactive part of the New York Film Fest sponsored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and developed and run by Columbia’s Digital Storytelling Lab. After the event, it became an “ongoing prototype” expanding on multiple platforms where participants add their own stories to a string of stories that are told using detective fiction narratives. Each story examines issues related to “the Internet of Things,” which can be loosely defined as the internetworking of physical household devices including appliances, mobile phones, computers, Internet and more. There are currently over 2000 project collaborators worldwide.

BBC Taster
Taster describes itself as “BBC’s home of new ideas.” Sponsored by BBC’s Connected Studio, it’s a series of online entertainment and informational pilot programs “designed for testing and audience feedback.” They, however, WARN that individual Taster experimental content “may not work on all platforms and may have glitches.” Above all, they take no responsibility for Google Tools and other third party developer tools used to create Taster’s individual experimental content. To give examples of the offbeat nature of current Taster program pilots, show titles include “Doctor Who Don’t Blink,” “Crossrail: The Musical,” “Hugh and the Ivory War,” “How to Make a Ken Loach Film,” and “Gaga for Dada Cut Up.”


INDUSTRY INFORMATION PODCASTS

Digital Production BUZZ
Digital Production BUZZ is an informational entertainment industry podcast covering “trends and technologies, people and practice” within the fields of digital production, post-production, and content distribution. The weekly podcast is produced by Larry Jordan & Associates. The shows are typically media professional roundtable discussions hosted by Jordan, a veteran post-production consultant working in multiple media platforms including video, television, and film.

Remote Controlled with Debra Birnbaum
Debra Birnbaum is a 20-year entertainment media veteran, currently the executive TV editor for Variety and formerly president/editor-in-chief of TV Guide magazine. Remote Controlled with Debra Birnbaum is her Variety-sponsored podcast. It features discussions with “the best and brightest in television, both in front and behind the camera.” Guests have included Shameless star Emmy Rossum, Westworld star Thandie Newton, and Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail.


DIGITAL JOURNALISM RESOURCES

JOURNALISM TOOLS
JOURNALISM TOOLS describes itself as “a new platform to discover tools for journalists”, as well as newsrooms, and content creators. The message in bold letters on its landing page: “Upgrade your skillset!” The website is a project supported by The Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, a part of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism. The project supports journalism startup businesses, and offers an education process that fosters survivable business models for quality journalism in the face of ongoing rapid change in the world of digital information delivery.

Diversity Style Guide
Diversity Style Guide has a mission to help media professionals write with “accuracy, authority, sensitivity” while covering “a complex multicultural world.” This online Guide is a project of The Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism, a part of San Francisco State University’s journalism department. While they stress that this resource is “not a guide to political correctness,” they do offer an extensive list of diversity-sensitive terms taken from reliable sources that include the Asian American Journalists Association, GLAAD, and the National Association of Black Journalists. The website is currently edited by associate professor Rachel Kanigel.

Maynard Institute for Journalism Education
The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education is the oldest organization aimed at “helping the news media to accurately portray all segments of society,” particularly communities of color, since 1977. Their website features a “Minorities in the Media: 1900 – Present” interactive timeline, an online interactive Diversity Game, and a long list of links to journalist resource sites, that include media organizations and publications.

Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma
The Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma is a project of Columbia University’s journalism grad school. Its mission is to provide a professional forum for journalists from multiple media platforms to share knowledge related to the craft of reporting on violence and tragic events such as September 11, the Oklahoma City Bombing, and Hurricane Katrina. Forum participants come from a global network of journalists, journalism educators, and health professionals. Bruce Shapiro is the project’s executive director.

Journalist’s Toolbox
Journalist’s Toolbox is a part of the Society for Professional Journalists website. It is an information resource for “reporters, editors, journalism teachers, and students.” The project was created by DePaul University instructor and former Los Angeles Times reporter Mike Reilley. The website offers a curated collection of links to research search tools, First Amendment discussion sites, as well as unusual informational topics for journalists that include Google tools training, journalism using Virtual Reality and drones, and statistics for journalists.

Media College
Media College is a free educational website that presents a collection of “hundreds of tutorials” and resource materials that address “all areas of electronic media production.” This New Zealand-based project is a part of multimedia production company Wavelength Media’s website.