We sat down with Drew Olanoff (in email), creator and producer of Scriggity to discuss the show’s new season, what it was like to sit in front of the quick edits of the Scriggity webcam for a change, and where Shauna’s at now.
We also snagged a few answers from the show’s new host, Alex, who’s been dubbed “the new Scriggity.” Apparently, Alex just finished shooting a film coming out later this year called “Second Coming,” involving twins, identity-swapping, and murders in a contented suburban community, which is a combination that sounds awesome.
Check out the interview after the jump.
TILZY: So what were you looking for in a new host that was different from Shauna?
DREW: I really wasn’t focused on the person being different than Shauna. Everyone is different in their own way. I wanted to find someone who understood what I was trying to do, someone who really wanted to take on the responsibility of being involved with a project of mine, and someone who was comfortable with being who they really are.
T: Besides being hot, pouty, and online savvy, what made Alex stand out to you?
D: None of those things stood out to me, honestly. She was honest in that she had never really watched Scriggity before. She took time to check out the site and the show. And in her audition, she told me a piece of news that I had never heard before. In fact, that news was what I used to write her first full news show script. It was real and it came from a real person. I had tons of auditions from “Hollywood actresses to be” and they were all too similar.
T: You mentioned getting a lot of wacky audition tapes in your last update. What was the most memorable?
D: Someone took a video camera to an audition in LA and said that this was the type of audition she was most used to. So when she read my Craigslist ad, she figured she would audition for Scriggity during her regular audition process. It was cute and pretty unique. Most of the people who auditioned had never heard of Scriggity and clearly never even looked at the site or any episodes. I had auditions from classically trained actors/actresses who read pieces from plays I had never heard of that clearly were not a fit for the type of stuff I write. I wouldn’t even call my stuff comedy or humor. It’s just quirky.
D: Hahaha. Thanks. I hated it, actually. I love writing and creating and collaborating, but having it all on my shoulders was not very fun. It’s hard to write for yourself. It’s even harder to edit your own footage. I was overly critical of myself. For other people, once I see a few hours of footage, I know what their best faces are, their best laugh, look, etc. I am frankly tired of seeing myself at this point.
T: How did you come up with the idea for Scriggity?
D: I was tired of watching news on TV. The news they picked were obviously the most outrageous, the pieces that would get them viewership. I wanted to take real news from real people and make it a little more interesting, rather than pick and choose stuff that was already interesting. It’s challenging, but fun. Plus, it’s how my brain works. When people talk to me, I’m constantly running a backstory in my head. I’m kind of ADD in that way. It’s never to be rude—I’m actually doing them a favor.
T: Do you think of Scriggity as citizen journalism?
D: Definitely. We had one news story last year where someone had gotten an inbound warning call from 911 about a toxic spill in the area. I checked it out—it was real news. I hadn’t heard about it and a lot of other people hadn’t heard about it either. I see no difference between that kind of story and a story about someone’s 32-pound cat. It’s all news to me.
T: Sites like Scriggity, Minnesota Stories, and Current TV are all part of the “Real People, Real Stories” video movement that’s been developing for a while now. In a culture where programming like yours is gaining increasing popularity, what impact do you think it will have? Will traditional media have to get more personal to compensate?
D: Yes. Traditional media will adapt. Look at sites like Digg. That type of popularity/user-driven news model is being adapted to major news sites now. The unfortunate events at Virginia Tech showed how important citizen journalism was. The best reporting was done via CNN’s “iReport” citizen journalism section.
T: Besides Scriggity, what are some new sites out there that really excite you?
D: As far as web shows, Rocketboom has me hooked, Amanda Congdon’s ABCNews pieces are a must watch, and Justin.TV interests me—but only because how people are reacting to it. (I don’t personally care whether Justin gets laid or goes to the bathroom.) Blip.tv, which hosts Scriggity and my other work, is a company who is doing right by content creators. They have me pumped.
T: Do you have any other big changes planned for season two?
D: Hell yeah. Eventually, the show will be daily. Will it be news every single day? Probably not. I am exploring other formats, styles, and collaborations that will knock people over. Right now, we’re inviting people to do intro’s for the show. That’s something new you’ll see in season two for sure. Also, the work spent on building our community is already out of control. We’re going to have cool places for our viewers to hang out, chat, and share news.
T: And here’s my last question for you: Where’s Shauna now?
D: Last time I talked to her a few days ago, she was geeking out on Guitar Hero II. Visit her at Chonchos.
Tilzy: How was filming your first episode?
Alex: I would have to say that shooting my first episode was truly a learning experience. I’ve had experience being in front of the camera before, but I had never been in a situation which allowed me to be so inventive and free to express my true personality. Working on Scriggity allows me to be really creative with the material, and that’s an amazing new concept to me.
T: So what made you want to be the new Scriggity host?
A: Honestly? I liked the material.
T: Drew said you have a history in TV and film. If I knew your last name and I could IMDB you, what are some of the things I would find?
A: I actually just finished working on a movie project called “Second Coming,” which was shot in Orlando. It’s a psychological thriller directed by Jose Zambrano Cassella and it’s due out in theatres this year.
T: How did you get started in entertainment?
A: I’ve always been into acting and directing my own films, but then I took a class on film and learned the wonders of editing and I was hooked. When I learned about the YouTube craze a year ago, it was a godsend. To be finally able to share my videos with the world is thrilling to me.
T: What are some of your favorite websites?
A: There are so many good ones out there! It’s going to sound cliché, but YouTube and MySpace are big favorites of mine as far as websites go. They keep me connected to friends and family, so they’re vital to me. I’m not too big on internet television right now, or rather, none have really caught my attention yet. But I do watch a YouTuber friend of mine, Brigitte, on TV Squad to get my daily fix of Hollywood gossip.
T: What’s your favorite viral video right now?
A: I’ve always been a big fan of the Smosh boys, probably because they remind me so much of my San Diego buddies.
T: I asked Drew this question too, so now it’s your turn. Do you think of Scriggity as a form of citizen journalism?
A: Definitely. The point of Scriggity is to be “for the people, by the people,” and that’s what we aim to do with each episode.
T: Sites like Scriggity, Minnesota Stories, and Current TV are all part of the “Real People, Real Stories” video movement that’s developed on the web. In a culture where video programming like yours is gaining increasing popularity, what effects do you think it will have? Will traditional media have to get more personal to compensate?
A: Absolutely. As society becomes more and more technologically empowered, we are gaining more access to what people are really watching and that’s revolutionizing traditional media.