Understanding Orlova: Youtube producers, Hot for Words, and some pitfalls of production studies

Patrick Vonderau


In 2009 Pelle Snickars and I edited a book entitled The YouTube Reader (Snickars and Vonderau 2009). One of the essays in the collection discussed the ways in which YouTube brings together media companies, new media entrepreneurs and users in its "co-creative" culture. In their article, "The Entrepreneurial Vlogger: Participatory Culture Beyond the Professional- Amateur Divide," Jean Burgess and Joshua Green pointed to the dynamics inherent in YouTube as a platform for "participatory culture." There was ample evidence in Burgess' and Green's analysis of YouTube star Marina Orlova's channel Hot for Words (hotforwords.com) that "produsage" was more than a hollow catchphrase. The interview I conducted with Marina and the research preceding it once again challenged my conception of a "produser" in the YouTube economy and also, on a methodological level, the usefulness of doing interviews with media producers generally. The lessons Marina taught refer to our general capability as media scholars to analyse how YouTube and production on and via YouTube operates.


Film Theory; Aesthetics; Cinema; Film Studies; Cultural Studies; Politics; Sociology; History; Popular Culture; Stardom; Stars; Film Production; Video Production; Film Festivals; Films

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