The Hotlist: August 2015
A Guide to the Web’s Most Cutting Edge New Media Content

Compiled by Elliot Feldman

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The Hotspot
The Hotspot highlights Web content created by writers working under a WGA contract.


BlackBoxTV is a YouTube Channel that offers original horror, thriller, and sci-fi scripted genre programming. It was launched in 2012 by writer-director Tony E. Valenzuela. BlackBoxTV series collaborators have included Anthony Zuiker, creator of the CSI television series. Its longest running series is the anthology BlackBoxTV Presents; in fact, it is the longest running scripted drama online, BlackBoxTV has over 60 million views.

World Away
World Away is a Toronto-based sci-fi Web series created by Elias Campbell and Maxim Gertler-Jaffee and co-produced with Tabitha Grove. This six-part series is about a one-way trip to Mars in the year 2022. Although each episode is only 5-6 minutes long, the quality of the writing and production make up for its brevity.

Created by Alex Calleros and Michael Tucker and produced by Finite Films, ANAMNESIS is a sci-fi series about a phenomenon called "lucid dreaming" where real events from a subject's past life are revealed to that subject in dreams. The project started as a 22-minute film and developed into a five-episode Web series. The plot includes four characters whose lives intersect due to their lucid dreams.

MisSpelled describes itself as a Web series that's about "murder, mystery, and magic collided." It's a tale of five ethnically diverse witches that are community college classmates. It was created by and stars Lindsey McDowell. There are currently two episodes available. Despite a small budget, the production values are high and the stories are well acted.


Chrome Experiments
Chrome Experiments is Google's own online showcase for multi-media experiments using cutting-edge Web technologies geared for their Chrome browser. Technologies include Javascript, WebGL, HTML5, and Cascading Style Sheets. Chrome Experiments was launched in 2009. There are currently 23 multimedia experiments available for view. Of course, they are best experienced via the Google Chrome browser. In 2013, they introduced multimedia experiments for the Chrome app for mobile devices.

Blast Theory
Blast Theory is a UK-based multimedia artists group. It provides an unusual mix of live performances with digital broadcasting. Founding performers include Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr, and Nick Tandavanitj. The online audience can participate via text messaging on mobile devices. This project is in collaboration with the University of Nottingham.

Inanimate Alice
Inanimate Alice is a fictional saga of a young girl living in China and her journey from adolescence (age 8) to adulthood (mid-20s). It consists of 10 interactive episodes created by Ian Harper, and written and directed by Kate Pullinger. The multimedia includes text content in multiple languages (English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish), as well as photographs, video, games, music, and puzzles. It is produced and developed by the Bradfield Company and sponsored by Scootle, an Australian university. The project is intended as a teaching tool for students and educators promoting children's literacy skills.

With Those We Love Alive
With Those We Love Alive is a hypertext browser game by New Jersey-based game developer Porpentine Charity Heartscape for the Twine storytelling platform. In this game, players become the main character, a transgender woman.


Black Gold Boom
The full title of this interactive documentary is Black Gold Boom: How Oil Changed North Dakota. The project is sponsored by Prairie Public Radio and AIR (Association of Independents in Radio), and has been financed by the Corporation for Public Radio, National Endowment for the Arts, and others. Black Gold Boom is the brainchild of reporter/interactive producer Todd Melby. It "explores North Dakota's oil boom through the changing geography and the lives of its people." The site's primary feature is a 20-minute documentary with seven diverse chapters. The multimedia content includes rich photo sets, interactive tours of different locations, as well as YouTube videos from a variety of contributing producers.

Hollow is a West Virginia-based interactive documentary. In some ways, it's a diametric opposite of the previously mentioned documentary, Black Gold Boom. Hollow is a story of boom and bust in the coal industry, tracking the population growth and decline of the West Virginia rural communities of McDowell County from the 1950s to the present day. This project, directed by Elaine McMillion, offers the stories of 30 residents of the area via interviews, text content, Instagram photos, and user-generated content. Jeff Soyk is the project's art director and multimedia designer. Sponsors include the Tribeca Film Institute, the West Virginia Humanities Council, and a successful Kickstarter campaign. The exquisite multimedia is best experience via Google Chrome.

Whiteness Project
The Whiteness Project is a documentary made as an interactive companion for the PBS television documentary series POV. It consists of video interviews with 21 Caucasian participants living in the Buffalo, New York area. They are asked what it's like to be white in an increasingly diverse country. As The Whiteness Project expands over the years, producers intend to gradually add the 1,000 additional interviews that they've amassed. Visitors use the site's interactivity by selecting a project participant one by one to hear their point of view. Whitney Dow is the project manager.

History of Icons
History of Icons is an interactive documentary created by Futuramo, a computer icon design development company from Poland. They describe their project as "a visual brief on icon history through different graphical user interfaces in different operating systems." For example, the documentary traces the history of computer icons from the 1981 trashcan icon used in the Xerox 8010 Star to icons currently used for mobile devices in the 2010s. The site's scrolling animated navigation is used to its best advantage.

4Stelle Hotel
4Stelle Hotel is a Web documentary about a real life hotel in Rome that is currently inhabited by 250 migrant families, refugees from political conflict in other countries. The video and text content is available in both English and Italian languages. The project conveys a typical day at the hotel. Chapters are divided into different times of day: Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night. Each time period consists of photos and text reflecting the lives of hotel inhabitants. 4Stelle Hotel is artfully designed by multimedia developers Paolo Palermo and Valerio Muscella.

Firearms in the Family
Firearms in the Family is a longform multimedia journalism piece sponsored by Digital First Media, a multiple platform content management company delivering news on the platform of a customer's choice including Web, mobile, and social media. In Firearms in the Family, journalist Bianca Prieto and photojournalist David Freid interviewed families in California, Colorado, and Michigan. Family members were asked about the role that guns play in their children's lives. Each video interview is four to five minutes long.


VIEWFIND is a crowd-funded Kickstarter competition to find and showcase five photojournalists from across the U.S., where each competitor's photo set captures an underreported news feature story. This project was created by photographers Zheng Huang and Justin Mears as a response to the crumbling traditional news media business by transitioning underfunded photojournalists into a 21st century new journalism business model. VIEWFIND's additional objective is to build a community base for fans of photojournalism.


The Bugle Podcast used to be a weekly comedy podcast but is now monthly due to the growing popularity of co-founder comedian John Oliver's HBO show Last Week Tonight. The satirical news podcast was launched in 2007 by Oliver and U.K.-based comedy partner Andy Zaltzman. It was originally sponsored by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, but went independent in 2011. The Bugle Podcast is downloaded 500,000 times per month.

Kermode and Mayo's Film Review
Kermode and Mayo's Film Review is the podcast companion to BBC Radio 5's popular long-running broadcast starring Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo. Each broadcast is accompanied by a streaming Webcam feed that can also be downloaded as podcasts. Kermode and Mayo present reviews of the current week's films plus interviews with celebrities that include Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Poehler.

The New Yorker: Fiction
Deborah Treisman has been the fiction editor for the print version of the venerable New Yorker magazine for 15 years. She also runs the magazine's companion fiction podcast, New Yorker: Fiction, available via the Web site and iTunes. On the podcast, Treisman herself often reads short stories that have already appeared in the magazine. And she also interviews authors about their stories.


Advertolog is an online advertising archive with "more than two million adverts for easy browsing and quick download." Note that visitors can browse for free as guests, but they'll need to register for a paid subscription for full access. Advertisements in the archive include videos and print ads.

Webby Fifty
The Webby Fifty is co-sponsored by the Webby Awards and Grey Goose vodka on the Webby Awards Web site. It's a special series presentation that tells stories of the creative trials and tribulations behind the Web sites of 50 Webby Award winners and nominees.

The WGAW encourages New Media projects to respect content creators through Guild contracts. If you’re working in New Media and would like information on getting your project covered, contact Shelagh Wagener or call (323) 782-4511.

Elliot Feldman's novel, Sitting Shiva, was published in 2003 -- ISBN: 0964374064. And check out his comics at Scene4 Magazine - WARNING: Not for the easily offended.