Ze Frank and the poetics of Web video


  • Michael Z. Newman University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee




This article initiates a poetics of Web video by considering the central features of one kind of video on the Web, the amateur videoblog, in terms of its functions, which include various affordances of use, and constraints, which include economics, technology, and viewing conditions. It takes as its central example an American videoblog called The Show With Ze Frank, which ran from 2006-2007, and which drew a passionate community of fans into collaborating in its creation. This article considers amateur Web video as a potentially democratic space for media production, offering an alternative to commercial media that involves ordinary citizens as participants and champions their creativity.

Author Biography

Michael Z. Newman, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Michael Z. Newman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He earned a PhD from the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Film Studies, Film Criticism, The Velvet Light Trap, Flow, and Cinema Journal. He is working on a book (under contract from Columbia University Press) on American independent cinema. He blogs about movies, television, and internet culture at Zigzigger: On the Audiovisual and Beyond (http://zigzigger.blogspot.com).




How to Cite

Newman, M. Z. (2008). Ze Frank and the poetics of Web video. First Monday, 13(5). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v13i5.2102