Pretend you’re a robot god in a mountain liquid dreamscape, dancing to infectious electronic beats while sparkly purple kittens float around you.
Oh, and there’s champagne too.
Enter the psychedelic world of Chocolate, an animated virtual reality (VR) music experience created for the song of the same name by San Francisco based musician Giraffage. Born from the wildly imaginative mind of 3D animator Tyler Hurd and executive produced by Viacom NEXT – the company’s emerging technology group – Chocolate was selected to premiere today at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in the New Frontier showcase of VR productions. It runs until Jan. 29.
The first season of Teachers, TV Land’s hilarious comedy series, earned an A with The Hollywood Reporter’s chief TV critic Tim Goodman, who ranked it among the best television of 2016. It made LA Weekly‘s Best TV of 2016 list as well.
Why the high grade? Let’s hear more from the critics.
Influencers are an important part of the media landscape, and Velocity is partnering with them on an ever-growing number of programs through its Social Talent Platform. At #nofilter: Influencers Show Us How It’s Done, a presentation and panel discussion organized by Tom De Napoli, who leads the Social Talent Platform under Lydia Daly’s Velocity Social team, Velocity staffers heard from some of the biggest influencers and industry experts in the field.
The panel included:
Shannon Boodram, YouTube sexologist and recent star of MTV’s summer-long #ResponsibleAF campaign for Trojan:
ChrisErwin, one of Variety’s “New Leaders” and COO of Big Frame (a division of Awesomeness TV)
Sarah Weichel, CEO of Sarah Weichel MGMT, which reps clients like Lilly Singh and Jon Cozart
Courtney Carter, CAA digital agent, whose client FouseyTube recently starred in Tyler Perry’s newest Madea movie
Tess Finkle, CEO of Metro Public Relations, whose clients include YouTube megastars Hannah Hart and Colleen Ballinger (aka Miranda Sings).
De Napoli and Lauren Elias – the team’s Social Talent Manager – recapped the team’s success in working with social influencers over the past year, delivering best practices on creating “Fans First” social campaigns. To identify what worked, they drew on the Social Talent Platform’s successes as distilled through original research conducted by Juliette Snyder, a member of De Napoli’s Content & Platform Strategy team, who surveyed every influencer and Velocity employee who has worked on the team’s 25 campaigns over the past 12 months.
“Viacom is a brand name that everyone trusts, it’s a really, really, really big deal— and I knew my fans felt the same way,” – Shannon Boodram, YouTube sexologist.
Among their insights: partner with influencers early in creative development to guarantee authenticity of message; respect talent’s posting cadence when distributing content through their channels; and find ways to integrate influencers’ creative processes with ours and our advertisers’. These learnings will inform the Social Talent Platform team’s iterative approach to constantly improving upon its model as they support future Velocity campaigns.
Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg team up on VH1 – really – for what is likely to be the dopest cooking show around. America’s Next Top Model returns to the same net. We wave goodbye to MTV’s Teen Wolf, but meet a pair of bad-ass campus vigilantes on Sweet/Vicious.
Vin Diesel is exploding back into his role as Xander Cage this January in xXx: Return of Xander Cage. He is skiing into jungles off of cell phone towers and launching fools out the back of airplanes. He’s skateboarding off the sides of buses. He is riding his motorcycle over water. Oh, and he’s also saving the world.
As if the new trailer weren’t cool enough, the way Vin dropped it on the world was even cooler: through a Facebook Live stream that featured cameos from costars Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, Donnie Yen, and others.
Standing on the Paramount Lot in Hollywood, Diesel explained why he decided to deliver the latest promo on Facebook. “Part of the reason I was excited to be doing this with Facebook, is that none other than [Facebook founder] Mark Zuckerberg actually requested me to make another Triple X.”
Vin’s affection for his castmates and the process of making the movie is infectious. “I needed to do a movie where I could smile again,” he says on the stream. “I needed a movie where I enjoyed the laughter, where the laughter would fill me, where the laughter was bursting out. I needed to do a movie where I could get into some of these extreme sports stunts again. I had so much fun just training for these stunts. … When we started filming and I was with this incredible cast, and this atmosphere, and everyone was so excited, everyone was like, ‘Vin, I’ve never seen you so happy.’ I needed it, and you know it.”
It’s easy to see why he’s so excited when you check out the trailer. You can watch the entire Facebook Live stream, in which Vin himself sees the promo for the first time, here:
You don’t share a language or an alphabet. You have never encountered anyone quite like this before. They seem so different from you. But it is imperative that you communicate. How do you do it?
This is the premise of Paramount’s upcoming Arrival, a Denis Villeneuve-directed film in which linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) must decode the intentions of an alien race that just dropped through Earth’s atmosphere and anchored their spherical ships around the planet.
We see glimpses of Adams scratching English words on a whiteboard and frantically decoding the aliens’ scrawled symbols as the world tilts frantically toward violent repulsion of the spacecraft. It is clear that some kind of fuse has been lit, and it may run out before Adams can accomplish this seemingly impossible task.
But Adams’ encounter may not be so alien after all. Human cultures are tremendously diverse, with enormous and complex languages dropping huge barriers to mutual understanding.
Those barriers, it turns out, are not insurmountable. In this touching video from Paramount, we can witness how two people, seemingly irreconcilably split by differences in language and culture, establish common ground by trying all the modes of communication that transcend language and speech. An understanding of how they are similar is established with surprising speed and emotional resonance.
Whether this will give us any hints as to how and if Adams’ character will succeed in establishing a dialogue with our mystery visitors is uncertain. We’ll find out on Nov. 11, when the movie touches down in theaters.
They are shows that celebrate drag culture and America’s oldest gay ski week. They mine the early days of hip-hop and toast its ripple effect throughout our culture. They erase our differences by showing that we’re not so different when we’re… naked.
As varied as these shows and their subjects are, they have one thing in common: each one highlights the programming on a Viacom network.
Actually, they have another thing in common: each was honored by the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity In Communications (NAMIC) last month. For the 30th consecutive year, the organization hosted the Excellence in Multicultural Marketing Awards (EMMA) to acknowledge the very best in multicultural marketing.
CMT continued its charge into original programming by picking up Nashvilleearlier this year, and we finally have a little preview of what we’ll see when the show returns in January. The nashie_cmt team released this promo video on Instagram recently:
Tomorrow night, the 20th season of South Parklaunches on Comedy Central. This is somewhat incredible for those of us who have been watching Eric, Kenny, Kyle and Stan and the rest of the mountain-bound gang since they first tottered across our tube TVs back in 1997, but here we are.
To celebrate, the ever-inventive folks pulling the South Park creative levers have given us a new toy to warm up with while we wait for that milestone episode to drop: an avatar creator that allows you to build a custom character to drop onto your social media pages.
First, you pick your body, then your eyes, ear and hair. And then things get interesting. Want to gear up with a grappling hook, a battle axe and a pair of fairy wings? Go for it, then drop yourself in a classic South Park setting and see what goes down.
Me? I decided to rock my same spikey real-life haircut, then roll with a South Park jersey and a goblet to toast the 20th. I dropped my doppelganger in front of the panoramic town view to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The jet pack? Man, you just never know when you might need a jet pack, and you’ll be damn glad you have it when the time comes.
My South Park avatar stands over the legendary town, ready to jet pack off to the mountains and toast the 20th season premiere on Sept. 14.