In the golden age of television, TV Guide arrived on newsstands to let viewers know what was being broadcast and when.
Whether this is the golden age of Web videos is debatable. But a new Hollywood-based site, eGuiders.com, launches Tuesday with the intention of becoming a modern guide to the best clips among thousands uploaded daily on dozens of sites.
"There are other sites that say, 'We have the best videos.' But it's done by an algorithm or user-rating tool," says filmmaker and new-media producer Marc Ostrick, who co-founded the site with Columbia University film professor and producer Evangeline Morphos. "We thought actually taking the approach of using experts to guide people to content was going to be the best approach."
Its secret weapon: Among the experts recommending videos are pop-culture luminaries such as 24 executive producer Jon Cassar, Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof and Private Practice executive producer Mark Tinker. "The idea there is a more structured environment where any video that is available there is already vetted and is being presented by someone you trust, I think, is pretty inspired," Lindelof says.
Last year, Ostrick and Morphos were discussing an idea for a book on the evolution of online video as a storytelling medium. When Morphos mentioned TV Guide's role in television history, Ostrick noted "that's the same problem everyone has with the Internet.
They set aside the book idea and began work on eGuiders, gathering a group of friends and colleagues as curators: "core" eGuiders such as Ostrick, Morphos and her husband, historian Alan Brinkley, as well as "guest" eGuiders such as Cassar and Lindelof.
Also enlisted as an adviser: David Milch (Deadwood and NYPD Blue), whom Ostrick worked with on HBO's John From Cincinnati. "If sharing stories makes us unique as humans, how do you humanize the Internet? I think eGuiders is a good start," Milch says.
Videos are categorized by comedy, drama, animation, documentary/non-fiction, music, viral and spinoffs of TV and film. Also promoted: a video pick of the day, and regular interviews and articles on video trends.
"We are trying to reach people who are maybe (ages) 24 to 49 who don't have time to cut through that clutter and go through various websites to find that gem," Ostrick says. "We want to do the searching so our audience can do the watching."