We receive a ton of tips every day from independent creators, unaffiliated with any major motion picture studios, television networks, new media studios, or other well-funded online video entities. The Indie Spotlight is where we’ll write about and shout out to a select few of them and bring you up to speed on the great (and sometimes not-so-great) attention-grabbing series you probably haven’t heard about until now. Read previous installments here.
More than a decade after the heyday of Lonelygirl15, its spirit is alive in the body of a fake horror movie reviewer. Cheryl Burniston portrays the titular character in Paz Vs. Stuff, a show that purports to be about a vlogger dealing with her personal troll but is in fact a scripted project set up years in advance.
Paz’s vlogs, which first launched in September 2016, detail her love of horror movies, her personal life, and her interactions with a stalker named “Pig Man.” Pig Man’s weird, cryptic ramblings appear in many of Paz’s comment sections, and his channel contains a jarring array of videos. In Paz’s most recent vlog, she details the twists in her Pig Man story, while resolving to get to the bottom of his identity.
Pig Man, however, has no identity, because he’s not real. Neither is Paz. Instead, Paz Vs. Stuff creator Chris Regan has spent two years building up his star’s identity across YouTube, Twitter, and her blog. This bait-and-switch gives fans a deep connection to Paz as she battles with her stalker. Those of us who are in on the joke can use our knowledge of Paz’s identity to think critically about the show’s themes, which include the relationship between creators and fans as well as the difficulty of promoting one’s art.
Paz Vs. Stuff may be more successful as a concept than an actual show, but it’s mighty clever. The reveal of Paz’s secret changes the whole dynamic of her channel, but her videos are still worth a look.
OTHER UNDER-THE-RADAR SERIES TO CHECK OUT
- Riley. A former teen pop star and current over-the-phone psychic looks to reinvent herself.
- The Uncanny Upshurs. Teenage witches vlog about their experiences with magic.
- You My Ride?. Stories begin in the back seat of a Los Angeles rideshare.
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