The Hotlist: January 2016
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. 

Firsts the Series

Firsts is a Web comedy series created by and starring actor Courtney Rackley. The plotline follows the "firsts" in a new romantic relationship between a man and a woman. The so-called firsts in the 23 episodes include first date, first kiss, first meet-the-parents, and so on. Another example of "firsts" for this series was that each episode had a new writer, director, and crew.

Your Dad's Friends
Your Dad's Friends is a Web comedy series that follows the character Ben Hurwitz (played by Aaron Eisenberg) on a quest to find a job in television or movie production in L.A. His Dad's Friends are his father's alleged show business connections that Ben meets along the way. Guest stars include Richard Kind and The Sopranos’ Vincent Pastore. The six episodes were created by Eisenberg, Alex Forstenhausler, and Austin Breslow. Some have compared this Web series to HBO's Girls.

Kicking Dan Out
Kicking Dan Out is a comedy series on the My Damn Channel online entertainment network. It's written by, created by, and stars standup comic Dan St. Germain.

Big Country Blues
Grayson "Big Country" Ricker (played by Jayson McComb) is an aspiring country music star auditioning for a fictional Nashville-based reality TV series. It is written, directed, and created by Brian A. Ross. The first season's five episodes won first prize at the L.A. Web Fest.

Divine the Series
Divine – the Series is a horror series about three young priests that lose faith and then regain it after witnessing the resurrection of an angelic being named Divine. The series is produced by Vancouver-based Maple Blood Productions, and created by Ivan Hayden, who co-wrote with Kirk Jacques.

Awkward Black Girl
"The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl" is a comedy series created by and starring Issa Rae. Singer Pharrell Williams is the executive producer. Each episode shows the main character in awkward and uncomfortable situations with co-workers and love interests.

Sugarboy is a Web comedy series on the Above Average online entertainment network. It is co-produced by Broadway Video (Lorne Michael's production company) and Holiday Road (Jimmy Fallon's company). It's created, written, and directed by Dan Opsal, a sketch writer for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The series protagonist is a 7-year-old boy who is sent to his room for being too hopped up on sugar. His imagination runs wild during his detention.


Newsonomics is Ken Doctor's blog. He is a noted writer/contributor to publications that include CNN Money and Politico. The focus of his media industry news and views blog is "the transformation of consumer media in the digital age, from The New York Times to Netflix and from Comcast to Conde Nast." His blog tracks "the money flow within the print and broadcast transition to digital."

steve cheney – technology, business & strategy
Steve Cheney is an information technology industry veteran. He's long been a part of Integrated Device Technology whose clients have included Apple, Cisco, Intel and Google. Cheney's insightful blog offers an industry insider view on the latest financial news from leading Silicon Valley high tech companies.

Monday Note
Monday Note is a blog from Paris-based journalist Frederic Filloux, director of digital operations for Groupe Les Echos, France's main business news organization. His weekly tech and media column focuses on business cultural problems that face legacy media companies, like The New York Times, and how they deal with popular online competitors like Buzzfeed.

Benedict Evans
Ben Evans is a venture capitalist working with Andreessen Horowitz, a leading Silicon Valley VC company. His blog focuses on news and views about mobile computing and its effect on technology-driven businesses. Evans' blog also offers an email newsletter, podcasts, and a Twitter feed.


NextDraft is Dave Pell's daily current events newsletter. Pell often contributes to the likes of NPR, Gizmodo, Forbes, and Huffington Post. Each day he visits 50 news sites and picks "the top ten most fascinating items of the day" for his newsletter.

Now I Know
Dan Lewis is Director of New Media for Sesame Workshop, sponsor of the television series Sesame Street. According to Lewis, everyday his newsletter shares "something interesting" that he "has learned." His topics focus primarily on odd news and views with a historical and scientific slant.


The Conversation
The Conversation is an Australia-based non-profit Web site that offers news and editorial content gleaned from international academic and research communities. It's the brainchild of Editor-in-chief Andrew Jaspan. The Conversation launched in 2011, and was initially sponsored by the University of Melbourne. The U.K. version launched in 2013. And the U.S. version was launched in 2014, sponsored by Boston College.


Good Luck Soup
Good Luck Soup describes itself as "a transmedia diversity project" that tells stories from "Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians before, during and after World War II." Good Luck Soup is the brainchild of Japanese-American filmmaker Matthew Hashiguchi. Besides the stories that the filmmaker collected for the project, story submissions from the public have also been included.

Million Dollar Shack
Million Dollar Shack is a 22-minute online documentary that looks at the insane growth of San Francisco's housing market. It's subtitled "Trapped inside Silicon Valley's housing bubble." Million Dollar Shack was created almost out of necessity by Michelle Joyce and Steven Fyffe, a married couple with two kids. The film tells the story of their quest to buy a house in the Bay Area.

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.