Wednesday, May 14, 2008

From YouTube to the Boob Tube

This is an interesting little tidbit. An amateur videographer captured an incredible wild life sequence while on Safari and it was uploaded to YouTube where it quickly became one of the most popular clips on the site with millions of hits.

The sequence shows a 3-way confrontation between a herd of water buffalos, a pride of young lions and a very sneaky crocodile. A lot of people don't realize that professional wildlife photographers spend most of their lives planning, waiting weks and months and praying to capture such a rare and spectacular moment in nature and this lucky video hobbyist just stumbled upon it.

Not only that, but the clips popularity on YouTube got the interest of Nation Geographic who bought it and turned it into a one-hour special called "Battle at Kruger" which is now showing.

I was a little skeptical about how they would milk an 8-minute clip to make a one-hour show. And while there was the plenty of the expected repetition of of the footage, it actually offerd plenty of new insight and clearly put the YouTube clip into context. (And a YouTube clip actually seen in context is always a good thing.)

Check out the original uncut sequence here:

Read an article on the history of the clip here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hey You Guyyyyyyyys!!!

Okay, this has little to do with filmmaking and I'm definitely, gonna date myself with this entry, but I just read that the classic children's tv show, The Electric Company is returning to PBS. They are currently shooting here in NYC and have updated the show to reflect today's sensibilities.

For those of you who have never heard of the show, it's essentially a funkier, musical and joke-filled cross between Sesame Street, Saturday Night Live and Soul Train. Bill Cosby was also on of the regular cast members. (He's in the green shirt in the picture to the right.)

There's lots of music, dancing and skits and somewhere in between all that, kids are actually tricked into learning to read. We used to watch it all the time when I was in the second and third grades and I always preferred it to Sesame Street, which wasn't nearly as cool or funky.

It was also a major influence on my work when I got my first real job in the industry and moved up to producing children's television for The Education Channel. Of all the various types of projects, films and shows that I've worked on, I still feel that working in kids tv was by far the most rewarding and I hope one day to return to the genre. (Puppets are so much easier to work with than people.)

Anyway, read the NY Times article yourself here and set your DVR's if you have kids. Here's a video clip of the opening from the classic show. I can't believe I still get a little giddy listening to this catchy song..."Hey you guyyyyyyyyyys!!!":