Monday, July 24, 2006

Web auteurs

Even as David Lehre’s “MySpace: The Movie,” an 11-minute parody of the social-networking Web site, spawned a high-profile feeding frenzy, some of the Hollywood agents, managers and lawyers who were clamoring to represent him didn’t know much about who he was, what he did or what they would do if they got him. But they wanted him anyway.

“It’s their fear of not being a part of it,” said Scott Vener, Mr. Lehre’s manager, who first discovered him on the video-sharing Web site YouTube, where “MySpace” became an Internet phenomenon.
In The New York Times, John Clark investigates Hollywood's new interest in film-makers who use MySpace and YouTube to make their mark.
“MySpace: The Movie” first appeared on YouTube on Jan. 31 and since then has had millions of hits, enough viewers to rival big-budget films or TV shows. Mr. Lehre, who is 21 and lived at his parents’ home in Washington, Mich., when he created the video, shot it there with friends. He scored the music himself so he wouldn’t have to deal with copyright issues, designed the graphics and Googled any technical questions he had. This development and distribution process makes even independent films, with their retinue of maxed-out credit cards and frenzied film festivals, look positively mainstream in comparison.

The Net is particularly conducive to short-form comedy — skits, parodies, satires, even stand-up acts — because surfers tend to look at video in small increments. But so far television, especially cable, has been more receptive than the feature film world to these possibilities. Mr. Lehre signed with Fox and will produce a sketch-oriented television show that is set in his hometown and features his friends.

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