Alex Leo: A Video Designer Who Shows Us What The Internet Can Achieve
In the age of open-ended media, we all have the ability to discover something new every day. No matter who you are & where you come from, you have the potential to find more information than you've previously known. We truly live in an age where Endless Discovery can be a mouse-click away.
But one of the biggest problems in the internet age is that we tend to stick to the websites we are currently comfortable with. We all view our friends lives through Facebook. Most of the time we use Netflix & Hulu to binge-watch our favorite T.V. shows. And we all use Google to search the web. Obviously, we all have websites that are Unique & Special to the individual person. But we must be honest & tell ourselves that we all cluster together as a species on certain popular websites.
One of these websites is the Video-Sharing Platform Youtube. According to Alexa, Youtube is the second largest website in the world. Bigger than Facebook & Twitter. Bigger than Yahoo & Amazon. In the realm of the internet, Youtube can only be beaten by it's Parent Company Google. And there is a great reason why.
Youtube began a culture that gave the underground a voice. In no other time has a Video-Streaming Website garnered so much success while having its own content. And in the early days, Youtube was a site that showed it's creative stride. Sure the Videos were low in Visual Quality. But the early days of Youtube were the years where you could create unique content & possibly make a living for that work.
This all ended in March of 2012. To make a long, complicated Story Short, the Video Content became more important than the Creator. When in the Previous Years, both seemed to equal. This led to the popularity of Let's Plays, Podcasts & other forms of long content that was easy to Produce.
I enjoy a lot of Podcasts on Youtube. I've even enjoyed a Let's Play here & there. But there is no denying that Creative Content took a huge nosedive once this change happened on the website. Animators, Filmmakers, Wanna-Be Personalities all had to work around the system or suffer a huge loss. An excellent example of this is when Popular Newgrounds Animator Egoraptor & New-Age Video Game Reviewer JonTron created Game Grumps (which happened right after the Youtube Change).
The worst loss from this change was the ability to view creative content. 90% of all Content Creators that grew after the March 2012 change either leached off a video trend (Let's Play of Popular Game) or were famous from another website. It doesn't leave much room for those who want to do something new & succeed. And unfortunately, it looks like Youtube isn't changing this mindset anytime soon. It's actually so bad that channels with millions of subscribers are calling the website out on it. That would be the equivalent if Tom Hanks & Steven Spielberg called out Hollywood for only promoting their type of work (which would be Awesome if that ever happened).
It's a real shame as well because Creative Content still comes pouring into the website. It's obvious that everybody I've talked about has had their work on Youtube at one time or another (although Vimeo is far more popular among the Short Film Scene). But none are getting any recognition from the website itself.
Our guest today is an example of how Youtube could Revolutionize an entire generation if it cared more abut Creative Content than it did about monetization. He owns 3 Youtube Channels that ultimately stand out from one another. All of his work is Experimental in the most possible way. Every Video he creates stands out from one another. And his only Philosophy (to explain in the simplest way possible) is to stay Unique in the Ocean of Old-Ideas.
In other words, he is a perfect content creator for a website like Youtube. He Always offers his Audience something fresh & inspirational. Unfortunately, Youtube doesn't seem to promote his work. But luckily we have the ability to support his work on this website. And none of my readers are going to be disappointed.
Alex Leo is a 22-Year-Old Experimental Filmmaker from Niagara Falls, New York. His work is the antithesis of Ordinary Bland Content. In fact, the best term to describe Alex would be the "Obscure Designer." He can't be controlled or talked about. He creates the new-age blueprints that can change the internet landscape for years to come.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Alex Leo, and in that interview, we discussed a bunch of topics. The biggest though was how important it was for him to stand-out in the internet age. His work is easy to understand yet kinetic enough to allow you to return.
Right now Alex owns & controls 3 Youtube Channels. All of them deal with creating content that has a distinct personality from one another. The first is his main channel, Alex's Moving Pictures. This channel mainly deals with Experimental Films that deal with Actors (or characters if you are watching his Animated Shorts). All of these are less than 15 Minutes long & every second is engaging.
His second channel is the ironically named "Another Failed Channel." These Videos are little snippet clips that showcase a list of Video-Art like Experiences. None of these videos showcase any Actors & you have to interpret the video & guess what it means.
His third & final channel is "Crack Stove." These videos are way less Produced & Edited than his previous two channels. But they are also longer, spanning an Average of 11 Minutes & 10 Seconds. The Videos on this Channel act the most like Traditional Youtube Videos the most. Yet he always adds a Filter and/or Video, so the viewer will never get bored. It's a great way to turn an Internet-Video Style on its head.
You'll notice that none of these three Video Channels sound the same, and you'd be correct. Alex is truly one of these Artists that puts "Experimentation" in Experimental Filmmaking. But he always does it so well that you'll be engaged. Even if the Video sounds annoying at first, he uses the Experimental format to intrigue his audience.
For the first example, we will talk about "Owen In The Woods." From the title alone we all know that the movie is about a man named Owen who is walking & exploring the woods. A basic premise that would sound boring in a traditional sense. Yet he has a Kinetic Editing spirit that creates one of the most engaging shorts you can discover. And we can break down why this is the case.
In a Traditional Youtube Video/ Short Film, we would hear somebody explain that they are going to the woods. Then we would have a forced plot and/or situation in which the person has to do something of significance in those woods. Obviously, when most of us go through the woods, it's more calm & contemplative. And in Alex's film, we see what is is really like to walk through the woods. But his editing style also allows us to see how the character thinks & what he's trying to accomplish throughout the film. All without any forced Dialogue or Conflict. Just Kinetic Editing that matches with the song at hand (which you can find here). What Alex was able to achieve was a sense of humanity in this short film. A Sense that multi-million dollar Blockbusters could only dream of.
This sort of Kinetic Editing Style can be traced in most Experimental Films by the way. If you were to ask what tool Experimental Filmmakers use that most Traditional Filmmakers ignore, it's editing. Editing is generally used for Story Purposes & is often invisible in Traditional Filmmaking. But Experimental Filmmakers (for the most part) use Editing as a tool to help showcase what a film is all about without any sort of explanation. For the purposes of this Website, I will call this style "Poetic Editing." (Meaning expect me to use the term again in future Articles).
Alex is one of the most prolific "Poetic Editors" I have talked to so far. Every Video (no matter what it's about) plays around with the Editing Process in order to achieve something Unique. We can see this in the short film "The Louie Show Part 1" (Part 2 is also up if you want to check it out).
Here the basic premise of the video is just a guy named Louie who says random stuff into a microphone. Kind of Entertaining, but nothing new (especially on Youtube). But Alex's Editing Tricks turns this overdone trope into something special. Here we kind of see what Louie is thinking about while they are talking. It adds a sense of depth that most of these Podcast-Like shows simply don't have. We also get a sense of how Louie is as a person while seeing these images. Poetic Editing can change the course and turn any video into a charming one (as long as you don't copy certain editing tricks from other Filmmakers).
Going back to Youtube, we can see certain methods of Poetic Editing in popular videos as well. Obviously, they aren't as robust as Alex's videos, but they do exist. PewDiePie (the most famous Youtuber in the world for those who've lived under a rock) uses a trick called "Awkward Close-Ups." What this basically does is when a Personality speaks their opinion & they say something that is Awkward or Depressing, we will see a Jump-Cut to a closer version of that shot. A Jump-Cut to the same shot is the least invisible type of editing trick one can possess. Yet thousands of famous Youtubers use it all of the time, so they clearly don't follow Traditional Editing Styles either. Some other famous Youtubers that use this trick are (but not limited to) Red Letter Media, h3h3, ShoeOnHead, Ray William Johnson, Fine Bros, ETC. It was even used by Tim & Eric back in their prime (I don't have a Clip, but enjoy the Photo below & pretend I gave you all an example).
In other words, Poetic Editing isn't on the fringe. In fact, it's pretty mainstream (even if these creators don't know that they are using it). The Editing Style just hasn't been explored by the most Popular Youtubers. In other words, Alex is the innovator of how this type of Editing Style can transform the online landscape. At the very least, we can all agree that he is ahead of the curb.
And that is the best word to describe Alex's work. He always thinks ahead of everybody else, never follows what others want to do. In fact, he is so open-minded that there is a chance that he can set-up the trends of tomorrow's media. Not in terms of Hollywoods 6 Studio System, but regarding where it really matters, the internet. He has set-up so many tricks & stunts that all popular videos can end up looking like his in 10 Years (or less). And he isn't even aware.
It's this Philosophy in which I give him the reign of Designer. By never Conforming to any notion of Style (even ones he set up for himself) he always tricks the old-fashioned notion of what a Video should be. He must come up with an Innovative, Fresh Approach to Filmmaking with every video he produces. In that way, he is setting up what others will follow & copy in the years to come. And because of that, we should all be thankful that we got to discover his work before anybody else.
To end this Article off, I just wanted to go back on Youtube. You see, it might seem random to start an Article stating the History of Youtube. But we all must remember that Youtube was designed by people & became popular. There wasn't a pre-conceived notion of how a Video Streaming Website should operate. And now it is the biggest media platform in History, garnering views that Hollywood could only dream of. But in the realm of all that success, Youtube rarely showcases Videos from people who thought like their original creators. We see Entertainers, Personalities, Comedians, Journalists, Podcasters, Teachers, Film Directors ETC. But we really don't focus on Content-Creators who think outside the box & Design their way through a Video.
Alex Leo is a designer who thought just like the Original Creators of Youtube. And while the Website might never showcase his work, I'm sure glad we did. It's time that Bold, Innovative Minds step into the limelight. If you want a constant stream of Creative Content, Subscribe to Alex Leo. You will be thanking yourself down the road once you see his blueprints in other people's videos. The real question is, will you try to be a Video Designer? Or will you stay the course and allow the world to progress without your input? Only time can tell if you took the necessary steps towards real success.
Thanks so much for Reading My Article on Alex Leo. He is a great guy with a Vision of changing the way we view Videos. I couldn't have been happier to find a person in my own age group who wants to see Media Change the same way I do. I wish Alex The Best with all of his future endeavors.
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