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Epic Fu‘s Return: Same Flavor, Slightly More Focus

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[show=epic-fu size=large]The Internet is a place for reinvention, and there are few who understand that quite so well as Steve Woolf and Zadi Diaz, who last night relaunched their groundbreaking web series Epic Fu — making this the fourth iteration of the show since its launch in June 2006, when it was known as The Jetset Show and targeted towards 8-to-10 year olds. Since then, Fu has had deals with both Next New Networks and Revision 3, nearly made a TV show and continued to push the possibilities of interactivity inherent to

As opposed to earlier incarnations, which celebrated the Internet’s wacky breadth, Fu‘s new format features greater focus on specific areas, with two new episodes every week focusing on music on Mondays and film on Thursdays. However, in the first episode, the definition of film in this case has been broadened to include discussion of Conan O’Brien’s online possibilities and other more memeish projects, such as Tumblr-famous fiance Justin Johnson’s Film Fights project.

Diaz’s signature high-octane editing style remains constant, however, as well as Woolf’s sharply-worded, self-deprecating scripting — the episode is soaked with frank acknowledgment of the fact that producing content for the web isn’t exactly a path to fame and fortune, with jokes focusing on the joys of the unemployment line and YouTube commenters.

The irony is that Woolf and Diaz stand out as some of the community’s most successful creators, which shone out clearly at last night’s Tubefilter-organized event in Los Angeles. There, Woolf and Diaz discussed the ups and downs of the show’s history, including why they left Next New to join Revision 3 — a decision due in part to the fact that NNN “wasn’t on the same page” with them in regards to factors like a potential television deal, while Rev3 “didn’t care.”

Fu‘s secrets to success, according to the pair, are two-fold: One, they worked hard early on to champion interesting bands and videos, and as a result developed a reputation for being tastemakers that made brands excited to be associated with them (HP and Intel are currently sponsoring the new season). Two, they created and nurtured a community around the show, and the Ning-based Mix forum not only gives the Fu audience a chance to interact directly with Woolf and Diaz, but enables them to influence the direction of the show. The plan in future weeks is to build this out even further with a new blogging project, created in partnership with the British Council, which will help give Fu a truly international flavor while also bringing new voices onto the site.

They also spoke publicly on why their TV deal with a “cable news network” didn’t end up happening — the factors being that the money wasn’t quite enough to justify the amount of work that would have been involved, and that the contract was far too restrictive, keeping Diaz from being involved with any other projects beyond the web show for a period of two years. They admitted that in the early years of their career, their neighbors — after seeing the camera setups in their apartment and hearing that they “made a video show for the internet” — thought they did porn. “If we did porn, we’d be driving a better car,” Woolf joked.

10 Responses to “Epic Fu‘s Return: Same Flavor, Slightly More Focus”

  1. David –

    We’re incorporating feedback we’ve received from our viewers about the new shows and the new format and retooling a couple of things. We will have the show back on schedule early next week.


  2. so they say they are relaunching with new shows twice a week, after nearly a year lay off, and now after a couple of weeks I see they have no episodes for 18 days…

    reckon it’s had it’s day..move on …time to create something new

  3. Yup! Nicely said, Steve and Zadi.

    Todd, from the comments you made it sounds like you were at the relaunch meetup/party. That was a positive and professional gathering, so I’m surprised to read such bashing. And what’s with the political labels? Not everything in life is “liberal vs. conservative”. Just calling Epic Fu a liberal show or progressive show misses the point…

    Bite Me TV

  4. Zadi Diaz

    Hi Todd,

    Thank you for your input. I would like to address some key issues:

    1. We don’t ban people from our community site if they do not agree with us. We ban them if they are being racist, homophobic, sexist, spamming our members, or if we receive notice from our community members regarding disruption. We welcome healthy debate.

    2. As Steve mentioned, when asked advice about making a show for tweens, I recommended that the producer use tween talent. Sorry if that was not clear to you.

    3. We have never recommended stealing content. Any fan of Epic Fu knows that we support artists and their right to make a living from the work they produce. The “Your Copyright Can Kiss my A$$” episode is about the current state of copyright law, and how big studios need to think outside of the box and find innovative ways to adapt to the changing landscape. Content on the web is fluid and free-traveling, but it doesn’t mean people won’t pay for quality content if you make it easy for them to do so. There are many people who do want to support their favorite artist or program.

    Thanks again Todd. No hard feelings at all. :)

  5. Hey Todd –

    Speaking of trolls, I’m not going to feed you much. Just want to set the record straight in case anyone comes across this and thinks you might actually have a clue about what we represent.

    The episode you saw, presumably the one about copyright, was not saying it is ok to steal anyone’s anything. Our point, had you actually listened to the words being spoken, was that the studios have been so slothlike to adapt to new business models that they are missing huge opportunities, and as a result, people are finding other ways to get the things they would pay for if there was an easy, convienient, and unrestricted way to do so. People are pirating because artificial scarcity has been forced upon them, not because everyone is inherently a criminal. It’s change or die right now for media. Instead of embracing these changes and looking for ways to exploit them and innovate, they are instead concerned with draining every last cent out of a dying business model. Doesn’t sound like good business to me, but what do I know. I haven’t taken “business 101.”

    To be clear: we do not advocate stealing copyrighted material.

    Second, your comment referring to Zadi hiring people that look like her is completely incorrect. At Thursday night’s event, we were asked a question about making a show for tween girls. Zadi recommended that the producer use hosts who actually ARE tween girls, rather than adults who might be perceived as talking down to their intended audience. She was not talking about herself in any way.

  6. “Lame”

    These guys claim independence and freedom, yet they are as progressive as you can get. They claim they ban people from their site who don’t agree with them. I believe the producers called them “trolls”. The host even prescribed to other producers that they hire people that look like her because she can only watch people who look like her and think like her. Make no mistake about it. This is a show for liberal progressives made by liberal progressives. And good for them. They have every right to that opinion. But take heed, true liberals will probably be better off with Gore’s

    The only Epic FU show I ever saw included the show’s host condemning studios for not distributing their content for free. So according to Epic FU (which probably means; Epic Fuck You) producers/studios are stupid and stingy if they don’t give in to copyright infringement on the internet. They described the music industry fallout as a litmus test for this policy. So I ask Epic Fuck You, where do you expect to make your money? I mean, you have to be relevant to make any money with advertising. So where then? Donations? And these Epic Fuck You people actually tried to convince us that stealing copyrighted material on the internet is fair game and a comeuppance for profitable studios. They actually made claim that copyright infringement will be your demise if you don’t offer your content for free.

    I’ll suggest here and now a “business 101” class for the Epic Fuck You’ers. Maybe film school or a broadcasting education might enlighten them a little.

    Can you say “Progressive”?

    • Can you say “Reading Comprehension”?

      How about “Listening Comprehension”?

      At this rate I’m frankly amazed you were even able to find the internet in the first place. Thank God “stupid” isn’t contagious, we’d have the makings of an epidemic above.