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

Compiled by Elliot Feldman

If you’d like your site to be featured on the Hotlist, send an e-mail to elliotfeldman@yahoo.com.

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


Venice the Series

Veteran soap opera star Crystal Chappell is known for her Guiding Light character Olivia Spencer who spawned controversy for her involvement in a bisexual relationship, a topic only newly explored on daytime television. In recent years, Crystal Chappell is further exploring this topic by creating her online soap, Venice the Series. The series plot revolves around a single gay female character named Gina Brogno, an interior designer living in Venice Beach, California. In 2011, Venice the Series won a Emmy for Outstanding Special Class Formal Daytime. In 2014, it won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series New Approaches. Seasons One and Two can be viewed on its YouTube channel. Seasons Three and Four can be rented or bought for download at its Vimeo channel.
ONLINE CREATIVE COMPETITIONS

Mash Stories
Mash Stories began as a nonprofit short story writing competition "with a community soul." It then evolved to include a weekly podcast and blog about "the craft of writing and ways to navigate a writing career." The inspiration for the short story writing competition came from a writing challenge idea developed by the noted fiction author Anthony Burgess. The contest description: participants construct a quality short story (500 words or less) from three random words offered by Mash Stories staff. A winning story is then selected every three months by a jury of internationally known professional writers. Each winning story is awarded $100 and is then narrated by professional actors to air on the Mash Stories podcast.

DevArt. Art Made With Code
In 2014, Google Creative Lab engineers led by Steve Vranakis and co-sponsored by London's Barbican Centre put together an online showcase of their artworks created solely from computer code. Eventually, it turned into a submission competition for outside coders, and then a community for these visually creative coders. The stunning geometric experiments shown in the DevArt gallery are best viewed via the Google Chrome browser.

hitREcord
hitREcord describes itself as an "open collaborative production company" offering contributing artists from the public "a way to get paid." The brainchild of actor/director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, hitREcord has over 80,000 members, and offers user-submitted text, video, images and audio files from many of these members. hitREcord's participants not only create and record their content, but participants can freely remix content from other contributors. While submissions are open to all, it is hitREcord's "operating committee" that selects all content worthy of financial reward. hitREcord's mission statement: it's not "about having your art seen but having your art be used in collaborative projects."


TRANSMEDIA PROJECTS

Anatomy of a Pitch
Anatomy of a Pitch is a transmedia project from ESPN Digital and Print, in collaboration with the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. It's a stunning multimedia demonstration of a variety of baseball pitching styles including curveballs, sinkers, and sliders as illustrated by eight Diamondback pitchers who serve as project narrators. The project's multimedia includes beautiful photography, as well as slow motion animation and graphics.

ROME - 3 Dreams in Black
ROME - 3 Dreams in Black is a transmedia project from multimedia artist Chris Milk. It is an online multimedia extension of a music video from Danger Mouse's ROME album. Vocals are from Norah Jones. The project's cutting-edge WebGL and HTML5 technology allows users to create their own 3D objects and landscapes that interact online with the music video.

Question Bridge
The Question Bridge Project is a transmedia art project with a daunting goal of "redefining black identity," more specifically black males. It premiered in 2012 at the Sundance Film Festival New Frontier as a video art installation created by Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, and an additional group of participating artists. Its initial intent was to ask 160 diverse self-identifying black males a series of about 1500 questions. The installation went on to travel cross-country to be seen at museums, galleries, and other venues. It then expanded into a Web site and mobile app. The future goal of the online project is to recruit up to 200,000 black male participants. The Question Bridge Project is supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the Sundance Institute New Frontiers Story Lab, among others.

The National Archives Experience
The National Archives Experience is a transmedia project from the Archives' Digital Vaults Web site. It is an online multimedia gallery that samples and displays 1200 documents, photos, maps, and other materials from the more than 10 billion records stored in the U.S. National Archives.

Do Not Track
Do Not Track began as a Tribeca Film Festival interactive art installation presenting video interviews with Internet privacy experts such as danah boyd, Cory Doctorow, and Ethan Zuckerman. The brainchild of multimedia developer Brett Gaylor, the project expanded into an online interactive series co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada, French-German media company Arte, and Bayerischer Rundfunk. The Web site project allows users to see in real-time how their own personal data is being tracked by various online entities.

The Bloody Truth
The Bloody Truth is a multimedia long-form feature serving as online companion to a science television documentary produced by Arte.TV for the Smithsonian Channel in the U.S. The online project, co-sponsored by The Pulitzer Center, explores the origins and 100 year history of HIV in Africa, particularly in relationship to European colonization in Central Africa. The story is presented as a scrolling long-form multimedia feature as part of Arte.tv's Web site.


ONLINE DOCUMENTARY

Reinvention Stories
Reinvention Stories is an interactive documentary that "explores the renaissance of rustbelt town Dayton, Ohio." Produced and created by filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, Reinvention Stories is a Localore Initiative project from the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR). The project includes success stories of seven Dayton residents, their interviews presented in three acts. Many of these residents had lost manufacturing or construction jobs and then rebuilt their lives by starting small businesses. The Web site also includes an interactive city map. It also allows additional Dayton residents to submit their own reinvention stories.

The perils at Great Falls
The perils at Great Falls is a long-form interactive journalism feature from The Washington Post. Text is by reporter Bonnie Berkowitz; and multimedia elements are by cartographer Laris Karklis, illustrator Todd Lindeman, motion graphics designer Sohail Al-Jamea, and web designer Emily Chow. The feature story examines reasons why 27 lives were lost in recreational accidents on the Potomac River Gorge. The unique multimedia offers clickable markers on the river map that show the scientific reasons why the deceptively calm river gorge at Great Falls is so dangerous.

A virtual reality tour of the NASDAQ
A virtual reality tour of the NASDAQ is a Wall Street Journal sponsored three-dimensional virtual reality view of 21 years (1994-2015) in the economic ups and downs of America's second largest stock exchange. The unique multimedia design theme is an infographic NASDAQ chart animated to emulate a rollercoaster ride experience. Designers Roger Kenny and Ana Asnes Becker have used cutting-edge D3 Javascript technology for this feature design.


VLOGS

Vsauce
With over three million viewers, Vsauce is a popular video log YouTube channel hosted by Internet personality Michael Stevens. Its topics, presented in an entertaining manner, focus primarily on science oddities. And the success of Vsauce has spawned two more channels. Vsauce2 hosted by Kevin Lieber offers news and opinions about cutting-edge technology; and Vsauce3 hosted by Jake Roper offers news and opinions about video games.


TUMBLR BLOGS

Things Organized Neatly
Things Organized Neatly is an original photographic collection of artfully arranged "clutter," mostly inanimate objects as presented via the tumblr content platform. The brainchild of Indianapolis-based multimedia designer Austin Radcliffe, Things Organized Neatly is much more interesting and beautiful than its theme presents itself. While it is mostly Radcliffe's work, other photographers can also contribute their variations on the theme.

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.