tech technology media reviews breakthrough documentary film video youtube sookie 416style television Susanne Jespersen visual researcher photographer writer


BlogTV Fails to Engage

It wasn't long ago (no relation) announced its TV portal of the future by cruising the city in obnoxious Hummers screaming out for attention, and 'viewers'. Initially business was good for the social networking slash video site, owned and operated by Alliance Atlantis. However, since the launch in March, traffic had dropped steadily and sales never really got off the ground. Today, a memo explaining this and declaring that the end is in sight was circulated to employees in the interactive department. There's no future for these kids. Playback speculates several execs may go down with the ship too.

I can't say I'm upset about this. My first experience with the site was one of disgust. I'd attended Ron Jeremy's book launch at The Gladstone and suffered some audio issues with my camera. I needed some video fast. Since I knew the crew from blogTV had been there I scoped their site for some video of the event. The first I came across was a pre-Jeremy interview with two lovely ladies in the back of the blogTV limo, er, Hummer. The backseat sleazeball from the site kept zooming in on the girl's boobs then began asking them to take their tops off for the camera. It didn't seem like these girls had expected the 'interview' to take this direction. They politely declined, and then it just got gross. The 'interviewer' was fixated on getting his money shot and wouldn't take no for an answer. He kept repeating his proposal. They held firm, surely hoping Jeremy would soon arrive and break-up the routine. It was uncomfortable for me, so I can only imagine how these ladies felt. Next time I saw the blogTV Hummer parked on College Street I made a point of telling them how horrible I thought they were and never visited their site again. Adios sleazeballs.

According to the memo the site will cease operating on the 28th. As of yet no plans are in place to maintain or move user-generated content. Read what people think about the demise of blogTV on blogTO.


HBO's Flight of the Conchords

I've got a favourite new show - Flight of the Conchords produced by HBO. I've been watching them on TMN on Demand. Problem is I've watched the whole first season over a week or two and now I'm hungry for more. I find myself cruising through YouTube to get a fix of the Conchords.

If I pitch it to you you may not be sold, you're gonna have to watch the video. It's just that the concept doesn't sound all that original, at first. I used to get similar pitches a fair bit when I worked in development.

Here it is anyway: A couple guys in a band struggle to make something of themselves in the big city. Difference is these are a couple of idiots from New Zealand living in New York City, they've got one fan and they're not actually any good when they perform - unless you're into hearing the lyrics "I Like to Rock The Party" repeated endlessly. Yet, when they break into lyrical reverie mid-conversation these guys are brilliant, and hilarious. Their musical paradoies rival anything Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake could dream up. Hopefully the show's duo, Jemaine and Bret, will one day have their big breakthrough too.


Trapped Premiers on History Canada 8PM Saturday Night

On the 13th of October 1972 a turboprop plane carrying a rugby team from Uruguay crashed deep in the Andes mountains. Those who’d managed to make it out alive were stranded in one of the harshest places on earth. In the months that followed these men lived out one of the greatest survival stories of our time. Tomorrow night at 8PM, in the premier episode of the series Trapped, you can hear the stories of those that survived first hand. Nando Parrado will share details of his grueling trek across the mountains to find help, while Carlos Paez will reveal how he never gave up looking for his son, Carlitos, who’d also been a passenger on the plane.

Like many of you, I'd seen the movie Alive with Ethan Hawke years ago, but it came nowhere near in inspiring me as much as the real accounts of these men have. Working on the show as visual researcher I confronted the story daily, sourcing long forgotten footage of the rescue and the reunion with loved ones. I found photos of the survivors struggling to survive in such a desperate climate, living within a fuselage they’d made their home. Every bit I saw revealed an incredible strength of spirit, the kind of spirit that has now led each one of the survivors to positions of wealth and great personal success.

In a bizarre bit of irony, the film crew who was shooting dramatic reenactments at a rock quarry north of Toronto found themselves trapped by a severe snowstorm. Dangerous conditions such as white-outs had closed all roads in the area. Location Manager, Craig Williams took on the task of arranging a police escort for all film crew and their vehicles. Fortunately for them, this time help was close at hand.

Trapped will air on History Channel in Canada Saturday, September 8 at 8PM, Monday the 10th and Tuesday the 11th at 2AM and again next Saturday the 15th at 8PM.

National Geographic Channel will broadcast the series in most other countries in the world.

The UK premier on National Geographic is Monday, October 1 at 9PM.

All photos above borrowed from the DOP's flickr site.