It’s Wednesday, so it’s time again to check out the super-creative Women of YouTube that we so dearly love and highlight some of our favorites! This week, we decided to check out what’s going on behind the camera and find the talents that have been running this town!
Any one who has ever met me, pretty much ever, knows that I’m kind of a fandom nerd. So, it should be no surprise that I tend to hang out in the fandom sections of YouTube. One of those shows that always speaks to me is a team of talented ladies who founded the channel NotLiterally Ginny DiGuiseppi and Dana Ritterbusch — with Erik Tande as well on the VFX side. (Ginny decided to move on from NotLiterally earlier this year.) A combination of fanmixes and scripted shows, it’s about as nerdy as you can get without being at Comic Con.
These girls started with their show “Ask Hogwarts,” about four girls from each of the different houses giving advice. But what really put them on the charts was their music video “Sorted This Way,” a Lady Gaga parody about being a Hufflepuff. Their next video “I Ship It,” did even better, appealing to the masses of nerdy people on Tumblr in particular.
Over the last two years they’ve raised the scope and quality of all their videos, and recently launched their new show “Ask Westeros,” a Game of Thrones styled ask-me videos. With their recent success, these talented ladies have been able to move to the creation side of the camera, hiring actors and continuing to raise their production values.
If you’re looking for talented, funny, nerdy ladies, NotLiterally needs to be one of your first stops. Things are only to get bigger, and hopefully more nerdy, from here.
I was psyched this week to learn that we would have the chance to highlight some of the amazing women behind the camera who make the onscreen magic happen. I’ve been a fan of Daryn Strauss since 2009 when I first discovered her web series Downsized. The show, which Strauss wrote/produced/directed herself, is a funny but also poignant look at the Great Recession and the effect unemployment had on the American middle class. It was a story that was being told in the media, but not one that I had seen represented on film in a complex way. It was also one of my first encounters with online video and the range of content you could create there.
Daryn doesn’t confine her work to the screen. She’s also a tireless advocate for online video behind the scenes. Her blog, Digital Chick TV was the ultimate #WCW highlighting the work of female web series creators and raising awareness for their projects. She’s also served as a producer for the Digital Content NewFronts which bring together content creators together with brands and marketers to help build up and support the growing web video community.
Her latest series Weight which she crowdfunded earlier this year will turn her keen humanizing eye on a uniquely modern circumstance. The story centers on a woman trying to re-enter her normal life after a turn on a reality weight loss competition transforms her body and her identity. To my knowledge it’s the first show ever to take on what could be called Post-Realty TV Stress Disorder. Knowing Daryn it’ll be both funny and real.
Sarah Penna was the first big name I met when I entered the YouTube sphere. She was on location for our coverage of Overly Attached Girlfriend star Laina Walker, and it was roughly my second week on the job. I remember being introduced and thinking, “Hmm, I’ve never heard of this YouTuber …” Over the coming years, I’ve heard a lot about — and from — Sarah Penna. She’s a YouTube star alright — but it’s all behind the camera.
Before co-founding Big Frame (and helping to orchestrate its sale to AwesomenessTV), Sarah was Philip DeFranco’s manager — one of the first manager’s in the history of YouTube. She’s since parlayed those actions into a career as one of the most respected and savvy women working in YouTube — or all of media for that matter. Be sure to read up on the numerous articles she’s written concerning the YouTube space and and her theories behind succeeding in it — they’re some of the most apt and accurate treatises on the medium.
Mystery Guitar Man is a lucky fellow to be married to this titan of industry, but I bet he already knows that. And just because we didn’t mention it before: congratulations Sarah and Joe on the birth of your first child — son Jonah, born earlier this September. Businesswoman, talent, manager, wife, writer and mom. Wow! Great things happen to those who make great things happen.
Scripted web series always have a difficult time managing the acting-writing-directing axes, sacrificing quality on one to boost another, or a showrunner putting on too many hats, or simply budgetary constraints making you have to choose between good visuals or better acting.
Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward created Anyone But Me in 2008, which could make this piece double as a Throwback Thursday (yeesh), in the midst of The Guild’s second season (yeeeesh), debuting on Strike.TV. If you are younger than, say, twenty-five, probably none of those words mean anything to you. But Miller (as writer) and Ward (as director) brought some of their traditional filmmaking prowess as well as playwright experience to bear on the show.
The funny thing is that the gutsiest part of this series isn’t its subject matter — an openly gay teen romance with the lingering effects of 9/11, which was pretty damn gutsy in 2008 (same-sex marriage then was only allowed in Massachusetts, and California was in the process passing Prop. 8). But the medium had already proven itself to be open to the content, if the comments perhaps were not so. No, what was risky was the willingness to shoot episodes surpassing five minutes, the pilot going a little over eight minutes. By the third season, episodes could get as long as twelve minutes, with the season finale running twenty-one minutes long. In 2008.
And it was successful, both critically and in viewership. With LGBT outlets championing it and the web series community celebrating this new voice, the finale has pulled over 1.5 million views. Consider that: an independent web series from a team in New York in early 2012 releasing a finale video that’s as long as a network half hour, and still pulling seven figures in viewership. For scripted series, that’s a towering achievement.
Like our Women Creative Wednesday series? Tell your friends! Tweet, Facebook, or post on Reddit from our links to the left!