About Zadi Diaz

Zadi Diaz

Zadi Diaz is co-founder and principal of Smashface Productions, a new media production focused on developing original online video content, creating co-productions with traditional media, building and cultivating online communities and providing interactive consulting services.

Zadi is also the Executive Producer of several internet shows, vlogs and audio podcasts, including: EPIC-FU, New Mediacracy, Vidlicious, ZadiDiaz.com and others. Her coverage focus and interests include new media, social media, digital Hollywood, video, education, online collaboration, emerging technologies & aesthetics in video & film-making, and online youth culture.

Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Forbes Magazine, CBS Evening News, Business Week, and The Independent, among others. Recent work on EPIC-FU, a site about Internet culture, has garnered a Webby Award. She is the co-founder of Pixeloden, an annual screening festival held in LA recognizing innovation in global online video.

Previously, she worked as a theater producer/director, playwright and art director. She is also a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences (IADAS), as well as a member of the Transatlantic Network 2020, an international cultural initiative founded by the British Council.


Latest Posts by Zadi Diaz

Should Culture and Creativity be a Human Right?

February 12, 2011 by  

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This month, I’ll be heading to Paris to meet up with thirty-nine other young cultural leaders and misfits to discuss the notion of cultural rights as a fundamental right for every citizen.

The democratization of art and culture has never before been more possible than it is now with the web. It’s why we were able to create an independent show like Epic Fu. It’s why many of us are now able to make a living online. It’s also why we must do everything in our power to protect it as a platform for creativity and innovation.

I’m excited to be included in these talks and want to make sure that I include you as well. I’d like to hear what your thoughts are on this subject, so I can share it with the group in Paris.

I’ll be keeping this blog, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr/Instagram updated with information videos and photos as they come along. So make sure to check in if you’re interested in this topic.

Should cultural rights be a fundamental human right? Should we be able to create without restriction? How does it tie into the current state of politics and technology? And what does it mean as cultural experiences becomes more fractured? How does it separate, how does it unify? Should be a very interesting discussion. :)

*Cultural Leadership International program, the British Council aims to help a new generation of cultural leaders play an active role in building a more open and tolerant society.

To Talk or to Text?

January 6, 2011 by  

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So the question of the day (well, late night) is: Do you prefer to talk or text?

When I first moved out to Los Angeles a neighbor told me that within the first year I would lose 25% of my vocabulary. “The sun,” he said, “it burns the words right off of your brain.” I laughed.

A few years later I realized that he was right, but it wasn’t the sun, it was the 140 character limits, the IMing and texting. I became very used to short bursts of conversation. Impatient to write or read more than a paragraph or two – unless I was reading a book. Even then, my stacks of books started collecting dust on the bookshelf. Production time and video overtook any time I had to write, unless it was a script for the show.

In business, I communicate through email and social networks…

I like talking. I like hearing people’s voices – their intonations. Picking up the phone and talking is so much easier and quicker than going back and forth on IM, which is a time waster when you have coordinate and clarify messages. Also, talking is just a better emotional connector.

But, there is still a part of me, the multi-tasking part, that just finds it easier to text. I can carry on multiple conversations at once. I also find it creatively challenging to construct an IM or a tweet; like a quick and beautiful haiku. Is that just the evolution of communication? Sometimes I imagine that in the far future, thousands of years from now, we will have evolved with no mouths at all.

Our path is toward efficiency and speed. Writing in a journal or hand-writing a long letter to someone you care about – when was the last time you did that? I’ve been urged to keep a hand-written journal, to connect me back to the analog world. I used to keep journals from the time I was in fourth grade to the time I started using the Internet… then my writing and thoughts just became scattered across the web. Some I can no longer find.

Perhaps that’s an entirely different post.

So, what is it? To talk or to text?

Be Wild Girls, Be Wild

January 5, 2011 by  

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Just a little something that made me smile on my birthday. A mantra for 2011, perhaps? ;)

Angry Pigs on TWIT

November 30, 2010 by  

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Episode 275 of TWiT includes host Leo Laporte, Kevin Rose, David Prager and myself talking about the week’s happenings in the tech world. It was my first time on TWiT, so it was a lot of fun chatting with folks I’ve been watching since The Screen Savers days (used to watch it religiously). Throughout the years we’ve run in similar circles (Epic Fu was on Rev3 for a bit), but this was the first time I got to (virtually) sit down and have a conversation with Leo.

This episode is also pretty funny because my connection keeps dropping out. So embarrassing! Check the video out at the 16:53 mark. Haha! Leo and the crew were pretty understanding… but my rage for Time Warner continues to burn. :)

You can check out what’s happening Live now at live.twit.tv.  A repost from Tumblr.

The IAWTV in the Coming Years

November 11, 2010 by  

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Recent IAWTV member meeting

As an IAWTV member who also serves on its board, and who has been a part of the web video community for many years, I wanted to take some time to write about recent news regarding the organization’s decision to create a new non-profit awards show.

The decision came after months of serious deliberation between Tubefilter, owner of the Streamy Awards, and the IAWTV, the volunteer-run, nonprofit organization which made up the voting body for the Streamys.

First, I have to say that this decision did not come lightly. After the 2010 Streamy Awards in April, both Tubefilter and the IAWTV came together to talk about next steps in creating an awards show that would better represent the web television community. It’s no secret how much the community felt the 2010 Streamy Awards fell short on representing an incredibly creative community that was proud to create shows for a web audience. Both Tubefilter and the IAWTV made it a goal to figure out how and if we can “make it right.”

IAWTV producer's workshop

I was elected as a board member three months ago along with Miles Beckett, Jim Louderback, Chris McCaleb and Timothy Shey, after it was decided by IAWTV members that the board should be more balanced and representative of the web television community. At the time, there was an imbalance of representatives from Tubefilter which also presented a conflict of interest.

Since then, both parties have had many phone calls and in-person meetings, some going for several hours, regarding not only how we would come together with an awards show but also how our relationship would work going forward. There was nothing more that we wanted than to make this relationship work, especially since we are fans of the Tubefilter guys. I personally recognize Marc, Drew, Josh, Jamison and Brady’s immense contribution to bringing a physical community together in the Los Angeles area through their many parties, meetups and panels. This was previously a community that had known of each others work online but gained a better sense of camaraderie through face-to-face interactions.

Unfortunately, after much talking and hashing out the possible working relationships we could have, the IAWTV’s legal structure as a non-profit organization and Tubefilter’s for-profit status created an impasse in negotiations. In order for us to move forward together, the IAWTV would have to change its legal structure or the IAWTV would need to buy the Streamys.

IAWTV producer's workshop

Though the IAWTV/Streamys relationship will not continue, I hope (as a web show creator) that the Streamy Awards continue. I say this as a two-time Streamy Award winner for Epic Fu, an independent web culture show I’ve co-produced since 2006. I would imagine it’s not easy for many past award winners to hear that there’s a shift in direction to something that they’ve held up as symbolic of their accomplishments. I also know that this kind of fundamental change in our relationship is in the best interest of the community it serves. This change will allow the IAWTV to focus on investing all of its efforts into providing valuable resources to its membership.

Three months (six for veteran board members) and dozens of meetings (between the board and all the committees) later and I am confident that we are on a path to creating an organization that will provide great value to our community as a whole. In addition to currently opening up membership to better represent the medium in which we all work, volunteers within each committee have been working diligently on member benefits, events, discounts, workshops, standards, and a web site that will bring it all together and create a hub for those who seek support and encouragement as they begin or continue their careers in web television.

We also know how important it is to the growth of an industry to recognize its leaders so the IAWTV is looking at an awards show for the Fall of 2011. It will be a non-profit event by the community, for the community. All proceeds to go back into the non-profit organization, which will funnel it to further engage our community in member and public workshops, as well as develop educational resources. More details regarding the process will be released in the coming weeks.

IAWTV producer's workshop

I’m looking forward to continuing to help develop and enact membership benefits alongside the membership committee, attending the immensely helpful writer’s and producer’s workshops (some pictured above) which have already helped in refining my skills and making great working connections, and helping others beyond the IAWTV by example.

Someone recently asked me why they should join the IAWTV; it’s the web after all. And I agree. The web has given us all the opportunity to bypass the gatekeepers and make real the ideas we have in our heads with a camera and an Internet connection. The web is also wide. What the IAWTV provides for me is a place where I can look to for support from people who are on a similar path. A place I can point to for a collection of people who have a similar need for community, interaction and helping one another hone their craft. It’s my hope that I can give back what throughout the years this community has given to me.

World TV and Video versus The Real World

October 30, 2010 by  

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I’m really happy to announce that I’ve been commissioned to create a narrative video series for World TV, a national broadcast channel and part of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. The series will also be distributed on the web at WORLDcompass.

The thematic monthly series extends into 2011, will be short in format and will generally include me exploring how technology and the web is affecting our lives. This is great because it’s something I’m deeply interested in and a topic I’ve been exploring for quite some time now. It’s also great because documentaries and non-fiction work is part of my blood, so to merge it with the work I’ve been doing online is more than I can ask for!

Below is a preview of the video work that I’ll be doing for WORLDcompass/World TV. This one is titled Video vs the Real World and explores my push and pull with creating personal videos for the web.

Brett and Craig Do The Internet

September 8, 2010 by  

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Recently, Brett Register invited Steve Woolf, Chris McCaleb, Barrett Garese, and I to be on an episode of Brett and Craig Do the Internet. According to their site, “it’s a weekly podcast filled with the insane ramblings of two web darlings.” Craig Frank wasn’t able to physically be there, but somehow his spirit showed up as both Kermit the Frog and Bill Cosby. Yes, it got pretty out of control, especially as this was recorded right after an episode of New Mediacracy – so we were full of cheap wine and sugary donuts. The most awesome combination on a late summer night, ever. We ramble on about bad movies, ghostly producers, and our holy trinities.

Production Secrets of Epic Fu

September 7, 2010 by  

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Thanks to Steve Garfield for inviting me to be the first guest on his new Live show on The Pulse Network, which airs every Thursday at 2:30pm EST. In this episode, I give away a few Epic Fu production secrets. It originally aired 09/02/10.

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