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Many many people in Toronto’s television community volunteered time and talent or worked at near slave wages to make the little Story2Oh! experiments happen. I want to say thanks to them.
Karen Hill is off in Halifax at the moment working on the third season of G-Spot but she’s been at my side in spirit — if not in body — every step of the way. She is smart and funny and has collaborated with me in a very fundamental level.
Katherine Miller and Cole Bastedo lent their faces and acting ability to make Ali and Simon come alive. Both of them are very talented, very generous and a lot of fun to work with.
Briane Nasimok and Julie Strassman-Cohn also contributed a tremendous amount to this project. In addition to everything else, Briane directed the first three videos and helped to make them so funny. Craig David Wallace directed the second set of three videos with incredible calm and competence.
Both the editors who worked on the videos were geniuses. Jennifer Essex-Chew cut the first three and Greg Ng cut the second three.
When I first talked about doing a project on the internet, Jenn Schachter (who isn’t actually in the tv business) was the first person who thought it was a good idea. Katherine Emslie of the Canadian Film Centre was the second. She and Jessica Weller gave me the wonderful opportunity of runnintg the alt.story department at the CFC with a creative group of residents. Together We developed the second week-long 2.0 storytelling experiment. Jessica let us shoot it at her house.
All the people who worked for virtually nothing or for free are listed on the credit pages here and here, but I want to say how grateful I am to all of them once again. I am responsible for everything that went wrong with this project, but they are responsible for everything that went right.
The thing we know from television is that collaboration works. Everything is better, funnier, stronger when lots of people apply their skills and talents.
Who wants to do it again?
Tags: Ali, blog wars, peaces, Peaches, Simon
Eli Singer has a comment way down there that more people need to see. He points to the storyline of the second round of Story2Oh! — the one you didn’t see at CaseCamp. Ali and Simon are a couple now and they have decided posting about each other is fair game. Of course things go awry. Ali has a post on her blog that Simon doesn’t like so he retalitiates with this video and then Ali returns fire here. Then comes this video:
I agree with Eli, let’s put on some Peaches.
Wow. I really thought my little experiments were done yielding results. But the really good stuff is coming in now.
The emotion behind the opinions is the biggest surprise to me. There are many points of view and a ton of anger.
I wish I were smarter and could make sense of all this, but that’s one of the great and amazing things about the internet. So many smart and articulate people get focused on a topic and you can learn so much from them. Not to mention all the wonderful new swear words that come to light.
There are people out there who think I shouldn’t apologize, those who think I’ve apologized for the wrong thing and those think I’m not taking responsibility. I’ll just say now, I am responsible and the thing I’m sorry about is the distress that this caused people. Saul Colt says that people’s sense of trust was involved. I certainly don’t want to contribute to the level of cynicism in the world. If I have, I am truly truly sorry.
Then comes the charge of lack of transparency. I think of transparency as a business concept. I don’t want to play the A-card because I don’t want to give myself airs, but this is way closer to Art than it is to Business. One of the things art does is confuse, blur lines, make people think and feel and react. Mission accomplished.
I am not selling anything. I haven’t made a penny on Story2Oh! However I have spent quite a bit of my own money doing this.
Oh yes, I do hope to make some money with it one day. And I really think that businesses with lots of money and clients should be the ones who pay me to do it. I think it should be part of their deal with the people who buy their products and services that they offer them a little free entertainment in return.
I do NOT want to make extended ads for products and pretend it’s entertainment. I want to create stories and invite companies to give them away for the benefit of their clients.
One of the things that so interesting about this little flurry around Story2Oh! is that people aren’t upset at sneaky underhanded sales tactics. They’re not all upset that I was trying to sell them something. They’re angry because art infiltrated their lives. They got swept up into a story and didn’t realize till later that these were characters and not real people. The characters didn’t do anything to them, they weren’t evil or malicious. They just tried to be friendly, funny and entertaining.
The blurring of the lines between reality and fiction caused a lot of this furor.
Going back to CaseCamp, no one in that room minded that the TD Bank used Facebook to market to 18-24 year olds — a sort of vulnerable age group. The bank rented buses to take kids away from home for the first time shopping, they plied them with coupons and gifts, all in the hopes of making them bank customers. A roomful of 400 marketers didn’t bat an eyelash.
But when a fictional character sent them a friend request on Facebook?! That was stepping over the line.
I’m not saying the bank is wrong. And I’m not failing to take responsibility. I’m musing, processing, looking at the world we live in and at the digital space and how we’re using it.
I still plan to use the Internet to tell stories. I’m so glad I am getting to hear what all of you think and feel about that and I will take it under advisement. That’s what I love about the Internet, you can’t get closer to the audience than this.
Categories: Ali Barrett, Facebook, Simon
Tags: Ali Bar
Facebook just deleted the profiles for Ali Barrett, Simon Beals, Devon Ross and Jory Goudge. Coincidentally these are all of the characters I mentioned during last night’s CaseCamp presentation. Apparently some of the people who got friended by Ali and Simon were very offended and blew the whistle on the project.
It’s sad because it was fun having them on Facebook and using Facebook for storytelling way back in January was a really effective way to communicate with the audience. But even by early March when we ran the second experiment, Facebook was already too crowded an environment and we did very little storytelling in that venue.
It seems to me that early this year, Facebook took a strong cultural shift. Instead of being an underground play space it turned into a business must-have. People are serious about and on Facebook.
I made a rather large boo-boo in not taking this cultural shift into account. Some of the attendees had gotten friendship requests from Simon and Ali and were upset to learn that imaginary people were rubbing shoulders with them. I did apologize to them, from stage and again in person — rather profusely in fact. But too little too late apparently.
If any of them are reading this, I do apologize once again and especially the woman with dark hair who questioned me from the audience. I would have sent flowers this morning if I knew who you are.
In order to attract an audience from now on, there will be no push, only pull.
Important lesson learned.
But the show must go on. This is show biz, baby.
Ali’s and Simon’s blogs still live. And the boytellsall videos can be found on your favourite video sharing site whatever it may be. I will have Facebook fan pages up shortly for Ali and Simon. They were always sketched in because as I said, I knew this would happen eventually.
But as we look forward to expanding this kind of storytelling into three month season, I do not think Facebook will be a useful forum for our storytelling. It is media rich and it is well populated, but it isn’t quite the fun-loving environment it once was.
There are lots of other sites, new ones coming onboard all the time. And when we tell our next story, we’ll be trying out some new platforms.
Tags: kalan porter, knitting, nertacular, stash
This is a video you won’t see there. It’s from the second week of Story2Oh!
Check out CaseCamp.
The goal: spread story everywhere. Give people a few good hits of drama a day, some laughs, some romance, a sexy little quiver and a good hit of emotion. The Story2Oh! characters will tell their tale in whatever webspaces they can. We can already be found on Facebook, Blogger, WordPress, Digg, Delicious, Twitter, Metacafe, Revver, Blip, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr and a whole lot more.