The Phenomenon of the Internet

Sitting around talking about ourselves in the last update sure was fun. Afterward, when the cameras were turned off and the footage was safely pulled off the card, backed up, and started converting, we really started talking about the last three years. About how lucky we’ve been, how circumstances change, and the guys talked at me about expanding my expectations at a consistently mushrooming volume until my wife had to use her stern librarian voice on us. It was a great night. One provided me by the power of the internet.

The first NexTV blog post I ever wrote was about how it feels to suddenly find an audience for your work without ever getting a studio gig or an agent or an internship or any of the many steps that used to have to happen first. I used to write and direct shorts and small series projects in the hopes of getting them into festivals so that SOMEONE would be watching what I was doing. Now I know that the thing that I’m working on is going to be seen by tens of thousands of people, publicly discussed by at least hundreds, and looked to as a source of inspiration. Oh, man, I would never say that out loud. That sounds so pompous, but I’ve received many “PoPS is my inspiration” messages and emails. That’s just unbelievable. I love that. But I’ve written about that before.

Today I’d like to address the other phenomenon created by the internet: Donald Glover syndrome. Donald Glover is an actor on the show Community. He’s a really funny, charismatic guy. He’s also a writer. He does stand-up and he was a writer on 30 Rock before he was on Community. He was (is?) a member of Derrick Comedy, a comedy trio that made internet videos and the indie movie Mystery Team. All of these things say comedy. Then you hear that Donald Glover is also a rapper by the name of Childish Gambino. What do you expect? Comedy rap, right? Nope. Dude is a real rapper. His stuff isn’t geared to be comedic. It’s only funny because it’s very cleverly written, but it’s not there to make you laugh. Here he is talking about his success and what he raps about.

What he’s talking about was practically impossible before the internet. Someone who had branded themselves as a comedian wouldn’t be able to simultaneously re-brand themselves as a serious rapper. But he was releasing his own music on the internet for years before that, so it wasn’t like there was this TV comedian and his ill-fated vanity project. It flew because he had been working on it for years and people were listening. He showed everyone that he could draw an audience with just himself and the internet, so imagine if someone threw a marketing campaign behind him. I call it Donald Glover syndrome, simply because Donald Glover is awesome. It’s just another way of saying that once you’ve created a presence on the internet, you’ve really opened up your options for what you can explore. It’s a weird time. It’s badass.

Speaking of badass:

How’s about that for some sound design? Go, Joss, go!

Happy Whedon Wednesday, everyone. Thanks for reading.

–Jarvi

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