Zefrankie goes to Hollywood

Zefrankie goes to HollywoodSeriously/hysterically-smartypants videoblogger ZeFrank is profiled in this remarkably (ze)frank New York Observer piece on what comes next for Ze (his year-long, five-days-a-week videoblogging project ‘the show with zefrank‘ ends on March 17th). Ironically, the show’s end will surely create enough vlog-ripples to result in a whole bunch of “new viewers” discovering the show, just in time to find out they’ve missed out on the daily spectacle of it (Ze’s made a habit of creating deliberately obtuse shows designed to mis-direct new viewers as to the true nature of the show – complete with the question, “have the new viewers gone yet?“)

Already the show’s online Forum is filled with new viewers asking questions designed to put veteran fans’ teeth on edge (why doesn’t he blink? what’s the deal with his pupils? is the show really, really going to end?). Well, yes it is, and Ze man already has meetings with the likes of Jeffrey Katzenberg under his belt.

“The one thing I took away from my meeting with Jeffrey Katzenberg is that the work begins now,” said Mr. Frank, who was accidentally rewarded with fame after a jokey video, “How to Dance Properly,” went utterly viral in 2001.

Apparently, Ze’s Hollywood agent discovered him via scobelizer.com, which seems every bit as Web2.0 as getting your start-up funded after a good write-up in TechCrunch or GigaOm.

And once Ze spent 10 days in Hollywood, taking meetings?

(Mr. Katzenberg advised him) “to stay kind of close to the system, but outside of it—to develop content, develop ideas, instead of trying to play to the game as it exists out there.”

Which apparently means – a movie? According to the Observer piece, yes.

Given that Ze tries to cap his show at around the two-minute mark, the idea of 90 minutes of brain-crack in one sitting seems perversely counter-intuitive. With Amanda Congdon taking the leap to ABC, the vlog-to mainstream path seems to run directly to television, and given the quick turn-around time of Ze’s online work, you’d think Ze could deliver a serious shot in the arm to MTV, Comedy Central or the Discovery Channel, to name a few of the more obvious outlets.

But it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that ‘the show with zefrank’ was a challenge to himself (could he do a show a day for a year?), and as much about the process as the end result (indeed, the process and the end result are inseperable).

You have to hope that Ze’s going to bring the same sensibility to the big screen as he does to that little window he lives in on my browser. The last person who immersed himself deeply in the process and came up big? Sasha Baron Cohen.

Zefrank the ying to Borat’s yang (ahem)? Probably not, but both share a lazer-beam focus on their subject matter, and an ability to marry the cerebral and the silly. If there is a ZeFrank feature film in the works, you have to hope it’s closer to Baron Cohen’s ultimate-outsider hijinks than it is to, say, Dane Cook in ‘Employee of the Month‘.

Meanwhile, given that my own online show once got me described on the ZeFrank Forum as the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Ze” (a backhanded compiment at best, but I’ll take it…) I can only hope that when Roger Corman or Troma Films are looking for the cheaper off-brand product, they know where to find me. It’s either that or the inevitable porno knock-off, right? (zehump with zespanks, maybe…)

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2 Comments on “Zefrankie goes to Hollywood”

  1. nalts Says:

    I don’t claim to be better, but ZeFrank is like Candycorns. A handful a day is fine, but eat them for more than 5 minutes and they taste like candles.

  2. nalts Says:

    Oh- I got my SFI mug today. Check YouTube.


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