New to DVD and VOD this week:
WILL WORK FOR VIEWS: THE LO-FI LIFE OF WEIRD PAUL
Joseph Litzinger and Eric Michael Schrader
NH Docs 2018
Philadelphia Unnamed, Covellite
After 30 years of making funny videos and recording songs, a pre-YouTube vlogger is still looking to catch his big break and make a living off of his work.
Litzinger and Schrader introduce viewers to Paul Petroskey, 45 years old, who has been making videos since the age of 13, initially with an early consumer video camera. Known as Weird Paul, the quirky Petroskey is convinced he will be famous through his work, which includes a range of silly songs/music videos, unusual observations, responding to viewer messages – pretty typical YouTuber fare. The difference here is that he’s been doing this since before the Internet existed, and bills himself as the “original vlogger.” Weird Paul works at a Spencer’s Gifts to make ends meet, but otherwise is obsessive about creating content for his YouTube channel, checking his stats, and reading and responding to comments – but he doesn’t make any money from it. He does have the support of his oddball girlfriend, parents, son from a previous marriage, and local suburban Pennsylvania fans. The film draws from his 30-year archive to give a sense of his humor and output, but primarily is focused on Weird Paul’s excitement over being offered a gig in Hollywood, something he’s always dreamed of, even if it’s not a paid gig. There’s something appealing in Weird Paul’s haplessness and quirkiness, making for a generally watchable portrait of an eccentric personality, but the film remains a surface affair, never generating any real drama or much surprise.