GIVING YOUR (WEB-BASED) BRAIN A BREAK

Entertainment and news media has changed drastically, there’s no denying it. While both sides of the political spectrum may pontificate about “fake news,” the entertainment factor of online productions is irrefutable. In fact, many TV and film productions are taking step towards the template of online entertainment. The length, the style, the tone of online media encompasses the everyday individual as well as the most successful and creative artists. You’re just as likely to see a video from your best friend as from Academy Award Winner Steven Soderbergh. We all utilize the digital world in some fashion. This trend has led to many professionals from the world of traditional entertainment trying their wares with online offerings. Writer Rajendra Thakurathi created two productions for Buzzfeed and delivered them with the wit and insight that his award-winning films have also possessed. It’s a simple fact that artists interact with the methods of delivering entertainment and Rajendra has proven himself to be a motivating force in any production to which he sets his mind. While he has worked on films with guidance under some of the most recognized professionals in the film industry (with Primetime Emmy winner Jeremy Kagan on 2014’s The Dishwasher and Academy Award-nominee Michael Uno on Being Kicked), Thakurathi embraces all modern mediums of storytelling essential to become the best current day artists.

In the world of online presence that encompasses information and entertainment, Buzzfeed is one of the most prominent players. With its quick rise globally in media and culture, it is considered a trendsetter in how the new generation consumes internet content. And for this, it’s a great allure for content creators and writers, like Thakurathi. Following years of investment into investigative journalism, Buzzfeed News won the National Magazine Award, the George Polk Award, and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Michael Kelly Award. This increasing prominence and respect has led the elite of online writers to work with Buzzfeed, including Rajendra. Because it is presented in so many languages (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, German, Portuguese, and Japanese) the platform gives writers an immediate massive global audience.

Writing for a more nontraditional format like Buzzfeed affords a writer like Rajendra the opportunity to stretch his creative muscles a bit differently. Always a fan of switching things up and experimenting new things, he created a duo of videos which received immense attention and reaction for Buzzfeed. The first of these, “Moments We All Need an Undo Button For,” received approximately 800,000 views. Displayed in the video are a number of office workers who experience embarrassing moments from everyday life that anyone can relate to. Whether it’s a workplace crush or an awkward handshake, these are moments we’d all prefer to deny but are something we all share. Rajendra relates, “It was my own vulnerability that came out in this video. I think that’s why it was so universally appealing and relatable. Comedy is so cultural. What’s funny in the US may not necessarily be funny in my culture in Nepal or in South Asia. While thinking about all the awkward moments for this specific video, I also thought of moments that would be awkward and funny not just to the American audience but also to my Nepali audience, which I think helped make the video more universal.” On the other hand receiving about 870,000 views was the ironic “People Give Up Social Media For a Week” which was written for the writer as much as the audience. In this piece, he communicated his own personal obsession with social media and week-long fast from it. The paramount idea was that too much of a good thing can be a genuinely bad thing. As with any idea presented on the internet, the comments to the video ranged from heaping praise to mocking discontent about the idea of presenting a video about refraining from being online via an online format.

Entertainment, information, and attention spans have most certainly changed. While that’s not always a good thing, it’s not inherently bad either. As Rajendra Thakurathi presents in his work with Buzzfeed, it’s about personal awareness and responsibility. Most all of us share a similar course in life and it’s up to us to steer towards rough or tranquil waters when given the option.