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YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts Paperback – Dec 1 2008
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About the Author
Alan Lastufka a.k.a. fallofautumndistro (YouTube user name), is one of the Top 100 Most Subscribed Comedians on YouTube. His YouTube videos have had more than three million total views. One of his early short films received multiple airings on the Independent Film Channel.
On YouTube, Lastufka is widely praised for his collaboration videos. One of the most popular is the "iPwn" iPhone parody commercial, starring MadTV cast member LisaNova (as well as some narration at the end that was engineered and produced by Michael Dean).
CNN and YouTube held presidential debates on national television comprised solely of questions submitted by YouTubers via video. On July 23, 2007 U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-Connecticut) made a YouTube video response answering a question on the subject of Net Neutrality submitted by Alan Lastufka:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiiCR0USyJg
Lastufka has contributed articles to numerous international magazines and zines, while co-running a popular independent publishing project in Chicago, IL.:www.fallofautumn.com
Alan is currently a teacher and skills coach for a non-profit social services agency.
Michael W. Dean is very active on YouTube. His DIY or DIE video( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtX09q9SCXw ) was featured by the YouTube staff, and has had over 28,000 views.
DIY or DIE was one of four staff-featured vodcasts on the launch of the Zune Marketplace (along with "Ask A Ninja" and "Diggnation").
Dean is an independent filmmaker who has written for Make Magazine, writes for the O'Reilly Digital Media site and runs the pop culture blog, StinkFight.com. He was a contributor to the O'Reilly book Digital Video Hacks, and edited the O'Reilly book DV Filmmaking: From Start to Finish.
Michael has sold over a million dollars' worth of books. He is the author of the how-to books $30 Film School, $30 Music School and $30 Writing School. $30 Film School has gained a substantial cult following, just went into the third printing of the second edition, and is taught in colleges. Michael wrote the novels, The Simple Pleasures of a Complex Girl and Starving in the Company of Beautiful Women, and the popular Creative Commons eBook Digital Music - DIY Now! (released via blog post on BoingBoing.net to 50,000 downloads in the first week):http://www.boingboing.net/2007/07/19/free-ebook-digital-m.html
Michael directed the documentary films D.I.Y. OR DIE: How To Survive as an Independent Artist and HUBERT SELBY JR: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow (narrated by Robert Downey Jr.). The Selby film was a featured selection in the 2005 Deauville Film Festival in France, and Michael traveled to present the film in person. This film was released on DVD by MVD in America. It was released as a two-disc set with Requiem for a Dream in the UK, and in Australia as a two-disc set with Last Exit To Brooklyn.
Review of the film in Variety Magazine:http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117928194.html?categoryid=31&cs=1
Michael toured America and Europe as the singer in the band BOMB (Warner Brothers). And more recently, he's toured America and Europe showing films and lecturing at youth centers, colleges and museums. Dean has been interviewed on NPR, BBC radio and CBC radio. He has been featured in Spin magazine and on VH1. He does three podcasts, and was a speaker at 2007 Podcast and New Media Expo.
Michael has collaborated with co-author Alan Lastufka on several videos, by providing advice, as well as creating music and doing narration. Michael did the voiceover for Alan's popular parody video,"Now That's What I Call Emo: YouTube Edition":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RDw9yx7gEMwhich has had over 346,000 unique views.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It is not a techie book. There's a long chapter called "99-Cent Film School" that covers the mechanics of creating a video, but it's very basic and deals mostly with the selection of equipment, with some discussion of editing. The book is unusual in that it is not Macintosh-centric: the authors use Windows and claim there's no need to consider Macintosh because Windows is cheaper and has more software.
The authors summarize their position on p. 248 as "Don't watch the media, be the media." This is a good sound bite and gives the flavor of the book, although it is not really accurate since they encourage watching and commenting on the videos of other YouTubers. (Besides, if no one watched the media, would there be any media left?) The authors detest traditional media, especially television, and they detest much of the new media too. This doesn't have much impact on the book, except to cause occasional outbursts of gratuitous nastiness. For example, on p. 244 we read, "Social networking provides websites to people who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a computer." Although there's some truth in this, it is unnecessary to state it here. The isolation from other media also gives the impression that YouTube is its own universe, with no connection to anything else.
The nastiness comes out in concentrated form in the Preface, which attempts to explain "Why You Should Buy This Book" by trashing the competition. Be sure to skip this section of the book! It's not representative of the rest and reading it will turn you off from an otherwise-good book.
There are a number of rough spots that could have been improved by better copy-editing. The book is somewhat rambling. Although it does explain all the YouTube and computer jargon, it may use a term many times before defining it. For example, the term "partner" is used throughout the book but is not explained until Chapter 11. The index is often no help; "partner" is not in the index as such (you have to look under YouTube Partners), and acronyms such as RSS and NLE are not indexed at all.
YouTube URLs are cryptic pseudo-random character strings, and a Very Good Feature of the book is that the authors have placed every URL as a hyperlink on one page on their web site, so you just have to click it. This is not quite as good as feature as it could be, because the cryptic URLs on that page are not annotated other than with a cross-reference number such as "URL 9.3"; if each had a short description or title the page would be easier to navigate and would also be great for browsing.
I have found some of the information I was looking for mostly in Chapter7(Building Your Audience),Chapter 8(The Community:Where Do You Fit In?),Chapter 12(Beyond the 'Tube) and Chapter 113 (Becoming a Success Story).
I think the book might be useful to an absolute beginner who do not have the time to sit in front of his computer and learn online how to start with YouTube.
In the end, and the book states this explicitly, you have to be likable, cool, and a great communicator to become popular on youtube. This book just gets you started on the right path.
Having a BA from Temple University's School of Communication & Theater, I have some experience with learning how to communicate via film & video. Ok, so most of my experience was 16mm film, but that's another story.
What I liked about this book was that it didn't start with any technology advice or how to shoot video. After a quick overview of YouTube it dives into storytelling. Storytelling is one of the most important tools you need to be aware of (and potentially master) to not only make great videos, but to thrive in our current economy. Don't skip that chapter.... Read it 3-4 times. It is the foundation of all that you will be doing going forward.
The rest of the book is solid information, guidance and/or advice on how to best utilize YouTube for your needs. The 99 cent film school chapter covers the technical aspects of filming. There's really not enough room to get all of the details you'll need to shoot high quality footage... Experience will teach you that (and right quick too). But at least in these days of digital recording you don't have to suffer the same loss as a flashed can of film, you just tape over the bad stuff with better stuff.
So pickup this title, get the basics going & start shooting.
What makes this book really stand out is the authors' tips on "climbing the charts" with your quality videos. He talks about everything from tagging to communities on this issue. Finally, the author talks about "Them Tube", the mainstream media, and how it becomes more and more the antithesis of everything that You Tube is about and that makes it a success. With the onset of this latest recession perhaps depression, one thing you can be sure of is that "Them Tube" will become more and more homogenized - more reality TV, less quality films, fewer mainstream filmmakers and their financiers willing to take a chance. You Tube is the answer to that and this book shows you how you can be a part of it.
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