Girls' Generation a.k.a SNSD

It’s always tempting to check out a foreign artist that breaks into the American music scene (like Shakira), so let ME introduce one of the Korean Pop groups that is leading the Korean wave (Hallyu) across America, Girls’ Generation (SNSD). The group consists of Tiffany, Sunny, HyoYeon, TaeYeon, Jessica, Yuri, SooYoung, Yoona, and Seohyun (say that 5 times fast).
Due to the level of fame they have in Korea, Girls’ Generation has a tendency to make it into the public’s eye for things like their chart-topping songs to wearing shorts too short. However, through everything the girls go through, it rarely shakes their determination and ability to perform. They are committed to bringing the world the best performance Girls’ Generation has ever done. Without further a due, let ME show you seven Girls’ Generation videos to watch. 

1. The Boys (English Version)  
The girls really showed their interest in breaking into the U.S. music scene by deciding to make a video and song especially for their international fans. This song is a complete stray from what most people assume girl groups in K-pop reflect, which is being cute. Girls’ Generation made sure their comeback song reflected their confidence, attitude and maturity. This song was produced by famous American producer Teddy Riley, who has worked with artists like Snoop Dogg and Lady Gaga!

2. Gee
“Gee” shows the utter joy and worries of having a crush on someone but being too shy to tell them. How can you not get up and dance to this fun and catchy tune? On a side note, it’s not hard to imagine that a group like SNSD sets trends, but what if you found out “Gee” caused several stores to sell out of colorful skinny jeans? It goes to show the power of funky tune. 

3. Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)
Contrary to their previous song, “Gee,” “Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)” became the more mature and sexy song that defined the girls. With the cute outfits and seductive voices that the girls taken on, it’s really no wonder they are causing a sensation all over the world. Every song and video that SNSD makes shows that they can adapt their singing and image to the music.

4. Oh!
Although most of the more successful songs talk about love, (whether it’s about losing it or finding it) “Oh!” manages to send a similar message, but with a twist. “Oh!” focuses on the minor details like confessing to someone who only sees you as a sister, friend, or worse, not taking you seriously! By mixing a cute-meets-sexy theme for the video and high-pitched young voices, “Oh!” becomes a super catchy hit!

5. Hoot

“Hoot” is mix of a modern take on a 60s Bond girl and cowgirls (featuring hottie Siwon Choi from the also popular K-pop group, Super Junior). But wait: Where does the cowgirl theme fit in? Well, in Korean “훗” or “Hoot” looks like a cowboy. Pretty clever huh? Lucky for us, the chorus is pretty repetitive with a few English words which let us sing along to the mellow tune.

6. Run Devil Run
“Run Devil Run” is one of Girls’ Generations surprise songs and videos because it shows a completely different side to the K-Pop sensation. This song focuses on a girl getting over a playboy who took her for granted, but she’s fed up. The girls’ voices adjust amazingly to the theme and video, making you experience the dark tone of the song.

7. Mr. Taxi
Girls’ Generation bring their catchy dances and smooth vocals to Japan. After becoming a big name in South Korea, the girls expanded to Japan. A taxi-inspired outfit has never looked so good!

Tell ME: What’s your favorite Girls’ Generation video?
—Gabriela Castelan

Ryan Higa and Arden Cho in "Agents of Secret Stuff"Aden (played by Ryan Higa) is an A.S.S. An Agent of Secret Stuff, that is. He’s the main character, writer and producer (along with Wong Fu Productions) of the hit YouTube movie “Agents of Secret Stuff. The movie has more than 14 million views, and I can definitely see why so many people enjoy it. I have to admit that at first the title kind of turned me off. I’m not really into the secret agent/ninja thing, but I watched the movie with an open mind, and I’m glad I did.
The movie is absolutely hilarious. It opens with Aden lying on the floor with a shoe on his face and then it takes us back to find out how he got there. Aden is almost finished with his A.S.S training and is about to get his Honorary Operative License Entitlement (H.O.L.E., get it?), but he is left with one more mission— to protect a girl named Taylor (played by Arden Cho) from the Society Involving Not-so-good Stuff (S.I.N.S.) who are out to get her. But to do this, Aden has to pose as a high school student, even though he doesn’t seem to posses any social skills. At all. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, right? So, Aden goes under the name of Jose McDonald (yes, I know, very…interesting name) and enters the life of a “regular” high school student.
Now, high school is hard enough for most people, but for a secret spy, it’s even more tough. Aden meets Taylor for the first time in class after creepily staring at her, and pretending not to. Taylor is nice enough though and tolerates Aden’s creepy antics. We begin to notice Aden’s increasing weirdness when he yells at their teacher for keeping Taylor after class and Taylor sees how freaky he is when Aden shows up in her bedroom closet. However, Taylor and Aden form a friendship, but when trouble hits, their friendship is taken to a new level.

Even though some may question the acting in a YouTube video, the acting in this one was outstanding. The actor who stood out to me the most was Arden Cho. She’s stunning, but she’s more than just a pretty face. Besides being a terrific actress, Arden Cho is a singer and a model who has been featured in many ads including Clinique’s ad campaigns in Asia. Obviously, Arden is on her way to becoming a big star and we will be seeing much more of her in the future.
Overall, the movie was great. It was funny and well-paced, it had a good soundtrack, and it was highly entertaining. I would recommend it to anyone. So what are you waiting for? Go check it out (it’s right here :D)! And Ryan, can we get an “Agents of Secret Stuff 2?”
—Ama Kwarteng

Have you ever wondered what the Jonas Brothers do when they’re not on tour? Or what the plot of a “Glee” movie might be? Quinton and Ian Williams, the two brothers behind Pixies Production Inc.,
are constantly pondering these ideas when they think of the next celebrity or TV show to parody. With more than 5 million upload views, these videos are more than silly jokes, but hard work. Especially since Quinton and Ian do all of the characters, writing, props, costumes, editing and camera work themselves.

As kids, Quinton and Ian spent their spare time making “Star Wars” remakes and filming pranks they pulled on friends. Since 2006, they started taking their hobby more seriously and uploaded their student work and extracurricular videos on YouTube. Before they knew it, views sky-rocketed and fans came pouring in from around the world. Now that they have found their niche in parodies and started making revenue on advertisements, they are ready to look for representation and turn their comedy over to television and movies.

Pixies Productions Inc. has covered the basics, Jonas Brothers, “Drake and Josh” and even the X-Men character, Wolverine. Right now you can check out their new skit, “Glee: The Movie.”

ME: What made you two want to make videos?
It started out of boredom really. At first, we just filmed to document things.
Quinton: Yeah, like me throwing a pumpkin off the roof. We were so into movies we thought it would be fun to create our own.

ME: What don’t you like about the filming process?
The time it takes.
Quinton: Arguing [both laugh].

ME: What’s your favorite part of the filming process?
Creating the character and changing into a different person.
Ian: Building the scene then altering it when it doesn’t work.

ME: What was a discouraging moment for Pixies Production Inc?
We were asked by an MTVU marketing manager to enter a contest in which you submit a pitch for a TV show. After weeks of editing and re-editing and pouring our hearts out we never got a call back.

ME: What has that moment taught you?
To pick yourself back up. Give up or keep going.
Ian: It taught us to stick to our guns.
Quinton: Making videos and trying to work in entertainment means having faith. Videos cost a lot of money. I spent $3000 dollars on my camera and another $1000 on my computer in 2005. Our latest skit has cost us $550 so far. We’re constantly taking chances.

ME: Quinton, you graduated from the University of West Florida Magna Cum Laude and Ian, you will graduate later in April, but you’ve managed to maintain an above average GPA. How did you make time for school and videos?
We tried to incorporate school work with our YouTube videos. We were both taking film classes so we made projects with the intent of putting them online.

ME: What is your advice to students entering college wanting to major in film?
Know what it is you want out of college and find a school that offers that.
Quinton: Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Be a leader, not a follower. Focus on schoolwork it should be the number one priority. I studied for my Java class hours on end. And because of that, I was able to build my own Web site.

ME: Back to your videos, how has YouTube launched your talent?
We not only gained popularity, but an international audience. We would never be able to do that anywhere else but YouTube.
Quinton: We now have an online resume and revenue to fund our videos.

ME: You do parodies of existing characters, but they’re still different thanks to the Pixies Production Inc. touch. Where do the ideas for these characters come from?
My beautiful brain. [Laughs] We imagine ourselves in the character.
Quinton: We have gut feelings and inside jokes about the people we parody.

ME: Which characters have you had the most fun with?
Joe Jonas and Count Chocula.
Ian: Any character that is annoying and screams really loud.

ME: Who are some celebrities you would never want to parody?
Snickers…I mean Snooki. Any woman really, I never do them justice.
Quinton: Bob Villa and the Target dog.

ME: How do you create the plots for your skit?
We have two different methods. One, we build a script off of a few one-liners and work backwards. Two, we have an idea and build one-liners off that. Multiple times we don’t even follow the script.

ME: What is your advice to fellow YouTubers who would like to make their own videos?
Quinton: Put videos into a story, have a point. Find your narrative voice.

ME: What or who have been your biggest influences?
Ian: The vibe of the 1990s, “Star Wars,” Ramen Noodles. (Turns to Quinton) I saw you make videos and it made me want to make them too.
Quinton: “Star Wars” always was and always will be an influence. Charlie Chaplin and Jim Carrey are others. I always wanted to be like Jim Carrey.

ME: What do you hope your audience learns from your videos? What do you want to say to them?
You can create something with a limited budget. Find something you’re good at.
Quinton: We want to inspire them to make their own videos. It’s fun to see the things our fans make.
-Jennie McKeon

Ever dreamed of a bunch of your favorite YouTube stars coming to your neighborhood?  Well, it’s happening! Greenhouse Entertainment and The Cloud Media got together and rounded up your favorite YouTube artists for a six-week  national tour called The DigiTour! Throughout April and May, your favorite artists like Dave Days, David Choi, Destorm, Ricky Ficarelli, Christina Grimmie,  The Gregory Brothers   (Hide yo’ kids!), Mystery Guitar Man and many more will stop by 27 cities and perform for you live (not behind a computer screen)! We caught up with drummer Ricky Ficarelli  and got the inside scoop on The DigiTour and the next beat in his career. 
 Ricky Ficarelli

ME: When did you realize you had a talent for playing the drums?
RF: My dad played drums when he was younger so there was alw
ays a drum set in my house. When I got into middle school I started doing band and got involved in the school programs. I thought to myself, well I have a drum set so I might as well use it.

ME: How did you get signed to The DigiTour?
RF: I started putting up YouTube videos about ten or eleven months ago. After I put up my second video, the co-producers of The DigiTour, Chris Rojas and Meridith Valiando signed me to their production company. I just kind of got thrown into this awesome circle of YouTube performers an
d I’m lucky enough to have gotten a spot on the tour and be a part of all of it.

ME: How has your life changed since you’ve started getting lots of viewers?
RF: My life has changed a lot. The first half of this year I was in normal high school and when all this crazy stuff started happening I relocated out to California. I’m doing an online school and running around town with all of these meetings and to different studios. My life has taken a really big turn, and I’m really blessed. I’ve been living in LA for a few weeks and I’ll be here up until the tour. After the tou
r my family is going to try and relocate out to LA.

ME: What’s it like transitioning to California from Florida?
RF: They’re both awesome, I think the only difference— well there [are] a lot of differences. It’s just that back home in Florida I have all of my friends and It’s just more chill and out here I’m running around and I’m busy. The weather is different and it’s a lot more dry out here. It’s two different feels. It’ll be nice to switch back in between and the DigiTour actually ends in Florida so when it ends I’ll be back home.

ME: What can the audience expect from your performance on the DigiTour? I know you posted a video about searching for band members to play along with you. How’s that coming along?
RF: As of right now we’re doing a band search. There [are] hundreds of awesome submissions so final decisions are being made. I’m also getting the privilege to play drums with the headliner on the tour, Dave Days. What I’m doing for my own performance and my opening act, all of that is coming down to the wire and all of the final decisions are being made.

ME: Your videos look awesome! Where are they recorded?
RF: Me and my dad turned my garage into a recording studio and we decked it out. Really it’s been a process since middle school. I’ve dabbled with recording softwares. Over the years I’ve been getting more equipment and I’ve been learning how to record. This year I started making videos and I have a few friends that went to high school for film and are continuing that in college.  I do all of the audio and they record. It’s a bunch of team work.

ME: Have you ever been faced with people putting you down?
RF: Yeah of course, being on YouTube people post on your videos and say whatever they want. Of course I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback but from time to time you get people that are, lack of a better word, haters. I just try to focus on the positive energy and just don’t focus on it. You just have to do what you’re passionate about and have fun and if you’re doing that, nothing can stop you.

ME: How do you decide which songs to cover?
RF: I get emails, tweets and Facebook messages and comments. I get tons of stuff. What I really try to do is try to play songs that get requested most often.

ME: Have you any worked with any bands or musicians?
A few months ago I put drums on Cymphonique’s record, Master P’s daughter. She has a show coming out on Nickelodeon later this year. As of right now I haven’t worked with any other artists.

ME: Which is the most difficult cover you’ve done?
RF: You mean skill-wise? I would say I spiced up my Ke$ha cover the most. It’s all about having fun, but I would say that one kind of has the most spiced up drumming in it.

ME: Do you have any other talents?
RF: My main passion is drums but I can play guitar, bass and I did band all throughout middle and what I went to of high school. I can play all of orchestral and classical and stuff like that. I’ve dabbled around with acting, but because of all this DigiTour stuff and music, I’ve put acting off to the side.

ME: Do you plan on going to college or is this what you want to pursue?
RF: Well right now I’m halfway through my junior year so after this year I have another year of school to go through. My plan is to keep my grades up  and see where music takes me and I’ll just have to see where I am a year from now and see if I want to go to college.

ME: Where you starstruck when you found out who you would be performing with on The DigiTour?
Yeah, I’m a big fan of YouTube so when I started getting involved in all of this, at first I was like, ‘Alright I used to watch these guys all the time, and now I’m hanging out with them.’ I’m pretty good friends with all of them now. Yesterday I did a video shoot with Dave Days for a couple of music videos. I’m very excited for the DigiTour, and it’s gonna an awesome time.

ME: What do you want to do in the long run? Join a band?
RF: I would say the ultimate goal is to one day find the right band that works and honestly I’m living out one of my dreams right now which is going on tour and playing drums. The ultimate goal would be to go on tour and find the right band and work on with music.

Check out Ricky’s cover of Ke$ha’s “We Are Who We Are” and tell ME what you think!
-Marjorie Yan

Photo Courtesy of The DigiTour