Day 11 of 'Mastering YouTube in Fifteen Days' by Jessica Kellgren-Hayes





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Published on May 16, 2011

Mastering YouTube in Fifteen Days

Jessica Kellgren-Hayes
University of Brighton
Film and Screen Studies, Year 2
HD2111; Screen History 1985-Present

'Discuss the way in which YouTube has been adopted by the public, and assess whether 'user generated content' offers any viable alternatives to corporate and commercial filmmaking.'

'Fame' on YouTube comes in two parts: (1) a connection to celebrities and current events (2) the promise that we can become famous ourselves.

By 'current events' I mean that we are now able to both break news stories and share our thoughts on the world. By watching different clips and reading different posts on the BBC news website we are creating our own news programme, based on what we want to see and what feels relevant to us as individuals.

YouTube also hosts things which were televised once and which the general public would have no access to without it. Such clips, from before the YouTube era, allows fans to see things they might have been too young to experience at the time.

'Becoming famous via YouTube' however is a little stickier... Burgess and Green's 'YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture' distinguishes between the 'ordinary world' and the 'media world'. YouTube is a platform where the ordinary man can post a video or the media man can post a video. But the media world holds to a slightly higher calibre;

"The promise that talented but undiscovered YouTubers can make the leap from their 'ordinary worlds' to the bona fide 'media world' is firmly embedded in YouTube itself, evident in a number of YouTube's talent discovery competitions and initiatives... the marker of success for these new forms, paradoxically, is measured not only by their own popularity [on the site] but by their subsequent ability to pass through the gate-keeping mechanisms of old media- the recording contract, the film festival, the television pilot, the advertising deal." (23-24)

Justin Bieber may have been 'popular' as an ordinary person on YouTube but he wasn't 'famous' until he had become part of the 'media world'. YouTube can bring you notoriety as the common man but, until the mass media takes you up and does something with you, you are, in effect, a 'sham celebrity'.

Like Justin Bieber, Rebecca Flint was discovered through YouTube. She began filming herself dancing to Japanese pop-songs in her bedroom, became hugely popular within the subculture and was then signed to an agency in Japan. She has released three albums as 'Beckii Cruel' and BBC3 have made a documentary charting her rise to fame.

Which is not to say that YouTube cannot be a good place to find people 'before they are famous', merely that they won't become famous until they have done something within the circle of the mass media. There is an awful lot of talent on YouTube but it is an incredibly large wasteland as well. Which facilitates it as a social network, because once you find something or someone great you pass the news along!

YouTube also gives young filmmakers who are just starting their careers the opportunity to get their work seen and heard. Which in turn leads to being taken up by a mass media distribution company.

Fame Theme "Baby Remember My Name"

BBC Weekend News
BBC iPlayer

BtVS and Angel - Summer 99 Press Tour

Burgess, Jean and Joshua Green. YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture. Cambridge and Malden; Polity Press, 2009

Cry me a River - Justin Timberlake cover - Justin singing (Justin Bieber)

Baby/Never Say Never/OMG (GRAMMYs on CBS)

California On Virginity

恋愛サーキュレーション dance cover by xBextahx

Beckii Cruel on GMTV with Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) - August 12th 2010

Power Up Films

Rebecca Black - Friday (OFFICIAL VIDEO)


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