The Web Is Not A Stepping Stone (Or Things To Keep In Mind As You Try To Crossover Into Mainstream Media Or Why Most VideoBloggers Hate This Blog)

I love ZeFrank, Amanda, Lisa Nova and the Galacticast crew.

I love their videos and watch everything put out.

But the reason I mention them is because they are part of a meme I find disturbing.

They are trying to use the web as a way to move on into mainstream media.

Unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to work.

And here’s why.

The web is not a stepping stone.

Computers are nothing like TV.

Computers are personal.

It’s hard to share a computer.

Computers are more like phones than television.

Television is more like the movies.

The experience between the two is different but both have big group dynamics.

Computers, on the other hand, are personal. Everything about them are personal.

And that includes videocasts.

I love ZeFrank.

I enjoy immensely his 2 minute rants.

He gets the medium.

It’s in your face, up close and personal.

Would it work on a big screen? For 30 minutes? No fucking way.

You have to understand how your audience relates to you.

Rush Limbaugh is the biggest thing on radio. He also got the tv bug.

And the show failed.

Not even the faithful watched.

The transition from internet video star to television star is going to be harder than television star to movie star.

But wait a second Char, what about musicians? Nothing is more personal than a song, yet musicians cross over all the time.

But here’s the difference. Musicians are actors. Successful singers have to convince you of their belief in a song for it to work.

Successful vlog stars are not actors. They are successful because we believe them. They are anti-actors. It’s the realness of them which make them successful in the first place.

It’s why reality TV stars find it difficult to crossover, too.

Now does this mean that todays internet video stars are destined to have their big media dreams crushed?

Of course not.

It just means that when big media decides to rape and pillage the internet for talent you should feel free to take as much of their money as possible.

But don’t lose your broadband connection.

Explore posts in the same categories: Amanda Congdon, blog networks, fans, galacticast, LisaNova, MoBuzz, new media, old media, radio, Rush Limbaugh, television, videoblogs, Will Smith, zeFrank

25 Comments on “The Web Is Not A Stepping Stone (Or Things To Keep In Mind As You Try To Crossover Into Mainstream Media Or Why Most VideoBloggers Hate This Blog)”

  1. Brian Says:

    Nice. How boring to take a step backwards anyway.

  2. Phillip Lauridsen Says:

    A lot of good points in this post. Computers are more like phones and internet video stars are just like reality tv stars. Amanda should have read this before she quit Rocketboom.
    But there will be exceptions. There always are.
    Nice post.

  3. Amanda Says:

    I never quit Rocketboom.

    I hear what you are saying, Char. But I don’t agree at all. I think there is room for dabbling all over the place…. I will stay online but I will also play around other places… and I’m not just talking about TV or movies.

    Guess time will tell. πŸ™‚

  4. chartreuse Says:


    If everyone agreed with me there would be no conversation. πŸ™‚

    Dabbling all over the place is not really what I’m talking about. What I am talking about is what I implied in the title. The thought among a lot of videobloggers that the web is just a stepping stone to something else. They don’t want to treat it the web as if it’s a legitimate medium for their art.

    Dig this.

    No one loves you more than me.

    I’ve spent my entire adult life dealing with artists so I think I understand the pull of a wanting a bigger audience. Dabbling in other forms of media is exactly what you should be doing. But never forget your core audience ( or as I so confusingly put it in my post, your broadband connection) those are the ones who still come to the shows when you stop making hits.

  5. Amanda Says:

    Trudat!! The internet will always be my #1.

    The stepping stone thing is bullshit. Totally agree with you on that:

  6. chartreuse Says:

    whew. πŸ™‚

    Glad we’re cool.

    And I forgot all about that post!

  7. CharlesG Says:

    Too many videobloggers want to go mainstream. That is a slap in the face to the audience that made them popular in the first place.
    You and Amanda may be cool, Char, but some of us still have a problem with her and those like her who don’t really care about their fans.

  8. Terry Says:

    People just need to make money Charles. I don’t see you offering to pay to watch any videoblogger.

  9. Luke Says:

    In support of CharlesG… let’s start a movement to bring back Amanda online!!! This is where you belong!!! πŸ™‚

  10. Brian Says:

    What are you guys talking about? Amanda hasn’t gone offline at all.

    In fact, she’s diversifying and expanding her online presence.

    But that’s not for me to announce. πŸ™‚

  11. Robert Bruce Says:

    I don’t get the attraction to the mess of Hollywood anymore. Yeah, yeah, cash and fame or the empty promise of it, but like many, I’ve seen both sides and this is where the action is now.

    If it’s art, work, fire, belly laughs, blood and the circus you’re looking for, come on in.

    If you want to spend 5-25 years waiting in stagnant beige rooms with 13 other people that oddly look just like you to deliver someone else’s line to 3 people who are only thinking about lunch somewhere on Wilshire Blvd., go to Hollywood.

    The weapons are firing over here, not locking up on us.

    Of course, had I made millions in a film or television career, you’d just need to reverse everything I just said and then run with it.

  12. Mr Angry Says:

    ZeFrank’s “The Show” is, as you put, extremely unlikely to translate directly to a 30 minute show. But, he might have skills totally outside of that medium and just getting noticed could work. Or he might get paid to do 2 minutes spots on (for instance) the Daily Show. Or maybe he’s making enough revenue from ads to make online a very enjoyable and profitable world for him.

    But I really like the advice of grabbing handfuls of cash while being raped and pillaged should the opportunity arise. A sensible and possibly realisable goal.

  13. tattletale Says:

    I totally disagree with you. Real talent breaks through in ANY media. In fact if you can attract a following in the rough and tumble street-level web you are BETTER than most of the “professional” pablum the media corporations pass off as entertainment. Case in point- that cerealbox trinket Jessica Simpson.

  14. You’re right…and you’re wrong.

    Some people can cross over, up, sideways and back because they Get It. They know who they are and what they have to say and how to adjust the message for the medium. You don’t talk to a friend the way you talk to a crowd; you don’t use your outside voice inside.

    My suspicion is that the people who cannot or will not cross over (a) do not have an intimate understanding of the medium into which they want to leap next; (b) the good sense to surround themselves with people who DO already understand BOTH media; and (c) the talent/humility to learn.

    Never underestimate humility. It beats brute force and arrogance every time.

  15. Hi Charteuse,
    Amanda sent me.

    I love this blog.

    Googling Lisa Nova…

  16. MCM Says:

    I think your points are dead-on, and that a simple translation of vidcast->TV would (largely) be doomed to failure. Probably part of that is due to the fact that vidcasters grab a niche of a market that doesn’t work through broadcast… you may have thousands of fans online, but how many of them are in Australia or the UK or even Germany? and how many does that leave you at home in the US?

    I think part of the solution here is to appreciate that this is a new subset of content being developed… the 22-minute sitcom is a product of the TV age, and the 3-minute hyper-edited monologue is a product of the internet age. The ideal shouldn’t be to try and adapt the web artists to the broadcast world, it should be to professionalize the internet. The sooner the web’s seen less as a marketing medium (or playground for amateurs), the faster it will evolve, creatively.

    I ramble about this more here:

  17. I think the web most certainly can be used as a stepping stone, but I think its a shame for any popular videoblogger who does so. I think they may have missed the point and be missing out on the future. I suspect many, like the Jerky Boyz of old will transfer out of their main medium, flop and then will never be heard from again.

    The web is the place to be actually. For artists, we could never have hoped for a better age!

  18. W.O. Says:

    I think the mini media is a stepping stone , but not in the conventional since. This is the first time in my lifetime that any artist can “let it all hang out” for the world. No longer is the casting couch. or big money, or powerful Hollywood production companies, deciding who is talented and who is not or who deserves a break. The audience does that now.
    That is the reason the 3 minute spots are so popular. The audience can watch more artist in a short time and choose their favorites. Its like the 45 RPM records as opposed to the Long Play Album where you have to sit through a bunch of songs you may not like, just to hear the one favorite.
    When you decide on your favorite artist, you can support them.

  19. I’m not treating my vlog as a stepping-stone. I’m enjoying it for what it is… for the freedom to produce what I want AND for it’s limitations. And really I don’t think that the mainstream will come take away our vlog stars, I think that the mainstream is/has become part of us. They’re already moving into this space very quickly. I don’t believe that TV will go away but I believe that a certain television age has past, and it will become much less influential than it has been in the past. It will likely become something like what the AM band is to radio. It’s not gone, but it sure ain’t what it used to be.

    But I don’t necessarily argree that vlogs can’t work for a large audience or the big screen. I screen videoblog content regularly and it gets a pretty good response in front of an audience–it actually works remarkably well–even Zefrank with his ipod cropped extreme close ups.

  20. Zadi Says:

    Been reading your blog for a while – I’m a videoblogger, and I don’t hate it. πŸ™‚

    interesting post. online video will carve out it’s place, just like theatre, radio, movies, and tv have… some vloggers will cross over, some will not, some don’t want to. it’s not exclusive and not symptomatic of the medium… plenty of theatre actors cannot act on film – but many do very well.

    and ot all vlog stars are real, it’s just another sandbox, just another commnication tool.

  21. chuck Says:

    i think good content is good content.

    sure, you might switchup how close the camera is or how long people watch on different platforms — but a good story is a good story on *any* screen. see lonelygirl15 on YouTube.

    i’ve also screened vlog videos in a theater many times, and i love it.
    i miss that communal dark room experience. it does feel different because of that awareness though.

    you mention that vlogs are personal – i agree completely. but the major difference online is they are also potentially networked, social, participatory. i think ze frank could be entertaining on any screen if he put his mind to it — but letting his audience write episodes? that’s freaking crazy. good idea or no, it’s a social experiment that feels *native* to vlogging. (that was my intent with Vlog Santa, too.)

    anyway — love your blog too, long time. πŸ™‚

  22. chartreuse Says:

    I think some really smart people are making some very good points. I don’t agree with all of them though.

    The point of my post was the title.

    Books that are written solely to be sold and made into movies are usually not very good books.

    And just like it’s rare for a great book to be made into a great movie I think the same will be true for vlogs. It’s a different medium than any other. I’m sure there will be many crossovers. But maybe not the best ones.

    I appreciate the comments. And can’t wait to be proven wrong!

  23. […] Update: here’s a nice viewpoint at chartreuse (BETA) that debunks the idea of artists from video casts (people who publish their videos on the Internet) trying to cross over to the mainstream media, for instance, films and television. A slightly disagree. I think any medium can be used to achieve whatever you want to achieve. The author says: The transition from Internet video star to television star is going to be harder than television star to movie star. […]

  24. Tim Klanica Says:

    I see what is being written here, and as a current internet star (more or less) with ideas of going to LA and hopefully having some sort of success in movies, I must disagree.

    If anything, I think that the 151 episodes of my own webshow ( Online Video at ) has better prepared me for on-camera work than most LA actors who can’t or don’t do it.

    Will it help me when I’m in an audition? I don’t know, but there’s only one way to find out!

    Tim Klanica, creator of “Online Video” at

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