We are pretty excited to be working with the fine people over at The Marshall Project, a new digital-first journalism initiative. We will be collaborating with them on their new look and feel and a tool kit of feature sets. We will be posting along the way so check back soon!
Montreal-based writer/filmmaker Mark Slutsky might be the only person who reads the YouTube comments on a regular basis. As the curator of Sad YouTube, a feed of surprisingly moving stories culled from the video site's chatter, he estimates that he has spent hundreds of hours researching since starting the project two years ago.
"The more I looked, the more I found," Mark writes in a Buzzfeed article. "And I discovered that, secretly, the YouTube comment box had become the strangest and most wonderful place on the internet. A place that was fascinating, endlessly moving, and heartbreakingly human."
We are firm believers that great curation is one of the most powerful tools that storytellers have today. Jon Rafman's 9Eyes, a brilliant selection of found moments from Google street view, exemplifies this. And while the YouTube comment box might not be known as a destination for quality writing, we love that Mark recognized that in every haystack there must be a few needles and that he is now dedicated to capturing some of those moments before new comments push them into oblivion.
morel: Why "sad" YouTube? Why not odd, happy or mad?
Mark: The site is called Sad YouTube, but the word I prefer to use in describing the comments I choose is saudade. It's a Portuguese word that doesn't exactly translate to English, but which means an ineffable nostalgia for something forever lost. That is the feeling I look for when I read YouTube comments. Sometimes they shade happy, sometimes they shade sad, but there is always that feeling of saudade.
m: What is your earliest YouTube memory?
M: I can't remember my first encounter with YouTube, but I did recently dig up the first comment I thought was worth memorializing, on my personal blog. I had totally forgotten about it; it's a really sweet memory. You can read it here.
m: In general, do you leave comments? Or just read them?
M: I almost never leave comments, especially on YouTube. I prefer to dig 'em up.
m: What are you inspired by at the moment?
M: Right now I'm inspired by the wonderful non-fiction writing of John Jeremiah Sullivan, here's a couple of his pieces —Piece #1 and Piece #2 — and the music of Todd Terje and the films of Chris Marker.
m: If you had to write a fortune cookie, what would it say?
M: “There’s a lotta things about me you don’t know anything about, Dottie. Things you wouldn’t understand. Things you couldn’t understand. Things you shouldn’t understand.” — Pee-Wee Herman
We are working on an interactive documentary with the National Film Board around Ocean Falls, B.C., a ghost town with people in it. More updates soon. Stay tuned!
In hono(u)r of both Canada Day and Independence Day this week, we have culled some of our most patriotic iPhonography from both sides of the border. May your BBQs be tasty and your fireworks bright.
We are thrilled to announce that we are working with producer, editor, professor and beard enthusiast Chad Stevens on his upcoming documentary Overburden. With projects like these the best part is who you get to make stuff with, we've managed to pull in designer Vince Diga and are excited to work with sound designer Tyler Strickland. We've included some work-in-progress below. Expect an update in July.