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Bay Area Media Makers Message Board › TWENTY DOLLARS: A Project Pitch for the SF/Current Group

TWENTY DOLLARS: A Project Pitch for the SF/Current Group

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A former member
Post #: 3
Hi Everyone.

This afternoon, Josh and I were talking about ways to get the SF Current Group to start working together.

In our Yahoo! group, I have posted a pitch to all those interested in taking part in a collaborative SF/Current series of videos.

I think the discussion will be best held via that list-serv, which is stationed at: http://movies.groups....­

For your convenience, I'll post the text of the pitch here. If you are interested in collaborating, please post your interests on the Yahoo! board.

Thanks. Have a great weekend, everyone.

David Bobrow

Friday May 27, 2005.

A pitch for the SF/Current Meetup Group.


Originally, I intended to pitch this concept to Current’s Original Programming department, but since our group is full of talented people primed and ready for a collaborative project, I have a pitch to propose to our group.

When I came up with this idea, I thought this could be a mandatory assignment for all the “Current Citizen Journalists” that are on their payroll, when they are adventurously traveling all over this planet. They would cover their assigned story, and then go out and spend 20 dollars on tape and send in the results, as a second story. The idea was to give viewers an alternate sense of what places and cultures are like – based on what we consume, or give away.

This is an idea that allows EVERYONE to participate, and it can only get better as more and more people get involved.

So the Assignment is:

Pick a unique neighborhood. Find a theme that makes sense. Spend 20 dollars of your hard-earned cash, pursuing that theme. What is key is that there are no right or wrong answers here. You are simply - or elaborately - telling a story of how twenty dollars gets spent. Find irony. Find humanity. Find something that will make the story interesting to you, and interesting to people you respect.

Start with a goal: Decide that you “want to spend 20 dollars on _______.” And stick to your goal. Show us what you see, learn, experience. Show us what you couldn’t buy. Or what you chose not to buy.

To get started, here are the steps.

1. Post a message on the Yahoo! Board, saying you’d like to team up with someone – and share your idea of how you’d spend the 20 bucks. Suggest a date/time for your excursion. All you need is an idea, a DV camcorder, one tape, and a partner.

2. If you get a response – team up and go at it!

3. If you are left with a great idea and no collaborator, decide if you can do the story yourself. I envisioned this as a way of getting the SF group to begin to work together in small teams, but don’t let that stop you from producing the work solo.

Notes on storytelling:

Make it something YOU would want to see on TV. Hold the work to YOUR highest critical standards. And if you need inspiration as to how to tell short stories on video, then watch VH1 or E! for a glossy, short-attention-span approach, or watch the evening news or Frontline on PBS for a more deliberate, articulated way of telling your story. Either way is great – just have fun while you are at it.

Next consideration – it is key that so we have structural consistency for each of the pods…make sure you have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Beginning: 15 seconds:
“I want to spend 20 dollars on________” (your big idea)

Middle: 60-120 seconds:
“This is what I did, and what I got” (the bulk of the story is told here)

End: 30 seconds:
“This is the total tally, dollar by dollar, cent by cent. “ (summarize/create closure)

Post production:

If you don’t have the capability to edit the piece, once you have the footage shot, post a request for an editor on the Yahoo! Board. Partner up again, as necessary, and finish the story you sought out to tell.

A few other tips:

Bring plenty of talent releases with you. If it looks dicey to get releases signed by the people you are interacting with, you will have to adjust what you shoot/edit to ensure that your piece is airable by a big corporation that has no interest in lawsuits. Releases are available on the Current website.

Remember, the idea here is to make pieces of high enough quality for broadcast. To that end, great audio is as important as great video. If you end up with lots of ambient street noise, or other things that distract from your big idea on your tape, consider doing a narration in post. Also, if you want to use music, try Garage Band on the Mac. Some of the samples are really cool, especially if you mix/match up loops from different genres. And all of the loops are royalty-free.

Our next meetup is Wednesday, June 15, 2005.

Assuming you are up for this project, then let’s plan on showing our work then – in whatever phase of completion your project is at.

If you are interested in doing this, then please just post your own message on the Yahoo! Board, stating your big idea, and if you need help with a cameraperson, an on-camera host, or whatever else you think would be appropriate to post.

I spoke to Josh Wolf about this and he already has a great idea he is going to pursue. So Josh, please post your idea and ask for any help if you need it. I’ll do the same.

Best of luck everyone. I hope this project gets us collaborating on pieces we’d like to see on TV.

David Bobrow

Sample ideas follow…

Sample ideas:

Like music? Hate buying CDs at retail? Do you use iTunes? Napster? BitTorrent? Do you shop at Amoeba? How do you get the most for your music dollar?

Are you perpetually hungry? Do you like Chinese food? Go to a dim sum palace in Chinatown and show how far you can stuff your face for 20 bucks.

Like to haggle? Go places that you wouldn’t expect to negotiate for something, and, for the sake of art, try to get the most for your haggling dollar.

Do you have a family to feed? How many healthy meals can you get for $20? How many unhealthy fast-food meals can you get?

Do you like to wander around? Take BART and AC Transit and GG Transit as far as you can/would want to go…report on what you see and make sure you get back home before you spend your $20.

Care to help others in need? What would you learn if you gave 20 people who live on the streets one dollar? Would it be better to give one needy person $20? Tell that story.

Do you need a pedicure? Go get a 20 dollar spa treatment and document it.

Throwing a party? Buy all the booze for $20 and see how far the party goes.

Wanna spoil your dog? Buy $20 worth of toys and treats and document the canine love.

Fill everyone’s parking meter.

Set up a table, like a lemonade stand, offering a free dollar for a 60 second interview. Document the results.

These are merely starting points. And not necessarily great ones.
So, above all else, tell your story.
A former member
Post #: 1
Hi, David, I just got finished with the virtual meeting with you and the L.A. group then I clicked over read your pitch. I really love this concept. You have something here that could really take off big-time. I'll start thinking of ideas for the L.A. people and we'll get some stuff shot. Alyssa biggrin
A former member
Post #: 6
Thanks Alyssa!

I look forward to seeing your work.

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