Monday, May 4, 2015

"LiamKyleSullivan"'s YouTube channel (comedy review)

Visit The Liam Show's channel at:

YouTube Channel
Naja's Morality Policing: PG-13 (crude language and sexual references)

I'm highlighting this channel because it showcases a great technique for ordinary people like you or me who want to act or make videos that can make someone laugh! Most people who want to be filmmakers will want to make at least one college comedy at some point. There's nothing wrong with this, despite how many screenwriting/filmmaking books will advise new filmmakers not to do so. Most of the books about filmmaking that I read about 9 years ago suggested that new filmmakers make horror or documentaries to start off with if they want to become successful.

But material success has nothing to do with either art or having fun. Anything good at not alienating anyone it doesn't have to in order to reap the most profit, will suck the most people in. I've never seen the point of being desperate to fit in when it comes to art. All day, every day, unless we are fortunate to be surrounded by good friends and family all the time, we are expected to desperately attempt to figure out and conform to social norms in order to be seen as these things that add to others' lives without taking too much- like high quality toaster ovens from Bed Bath and Beyond. This is not a negative or positive thing, but it is tiring for anyone seeking authenticity. I'm either blindly idealistic or this quest for truth and authenticity is the driving motivation of anyone who attempts to tell a story with words, pictures, or their own body.

Most people will only be able to make films in their spare time as a hobby. (I think the US Bureau of Labor's statistics are a bit rosy in their portrait of how many people can get involved in making big-budget films.) Even making a decent short film tends to be expensive, time-consuming and requires a tremendous amount of trust and emotional endurance. One must find dozens and dozens of extremely dedicated and enthusiastic participants willing to sacrifice large chunks of their schedules and privacy. These people must offer more vulnerability than most are able to sacrifice. And none of this reaps any financial reward except for maybe .0001% of the people who do set out to do it. 

It's helpful to remain realistic about these kinds of things, because there are a lot of wonderful aspects to knowing that most people aren't going to be filmmakers, even with the best training and the most support. For instance, we all might as well do what we want now that cameras are so affordable and distribution is instant and global!

Ethos and pathos are somewhat lacking on most of the internet (if you haven't yet, please see this TED video for a good, concise explanation of ethos, pathos and logos- the three main rhetorical devices), but the internet has far more democratic options for us than we have have had in the past. Everyone has a camera phone, even if it's not the Red Epic or another camera with an image quality that endures when projected onto a large screen. There are a lot of politics involved in making a feature film with the intent of getting it distributed, and that means more time and expense. But there isn't nearly as much risk involved if one is unable to recoup the money spent to make a video on YouTube. 

There is less risk still if one plays all the characters in a script, which is essentially what Liam Kyle Sullivan does (although he has a small handful of people in his videos helping too). Actors are risks. They must be navigated very, very carefully. More than one filmmaking book will mention that the largest barrier to directors and writers' manifesting their story are actors. There are more actors involved at certain points in Liam Kyle's videos, so it does feel "bigger" than if it were a one-blonde-only show, but these are pretty good videos for one actor to put together with a couple of friends! I think almost anyone can tap into their acting and writing talent to make fun videos like the ones on this channel if they have the time and dedication.  

So here's his most popular video, "Shoes," which went viral in 2006. It has about 56 million views so far. But again, my favorite part about this channel's approach is how it wouldn't matter if... no one watched. Very few resources are lost and the real purposes of art- self-expression, exploring human nature, sharing a side of humanity that has taken us captive, have all been achieved in a relatively efficient way. The most efficient form of self-expression is writing, in my opinion, but writing isn't a universal format which can express all creative ideas. Different ideas are going to want to flow through different mediums.

Here's a sample of Liam Kyle Sullivan's sketches with the "Kelly" character. One guy playing a bunch of different parts can be pretty entertaining! It doesn't confine him to doing one-man shows to show case his talent. Those can also be great, but that is a format requiring a different style of writing and acting that may not be right for people who would prefer to write sketches more in this channel's style (which is probably most people).

For more information, please visit his official site at