Saturday, April 2, 2011

"Made Possible by Pop Culture" As A Reality Show?...

In honor of HBO's newest original film, Cinema Verite, a dramatic (and fictional) behind-the-scenes look at the 1970s documentary series An American Family, My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture has decided to take a look at my own life and see what about it (if anything) is interesting enough to warrant a telling on reality television. After all, the real life Louds of An American Family ended up catapulting that whole new genre of television, without even trying. Obviously since then the genre has evolved in ways they, nor their producers, probably ever would have imagined, and these days just about anything and everything could make a hit reality show, from rich socialites to the inner workings of a nail salon. So why not a young, enthusiastic blogger??

The tagline:

The TMZ that cares!

The basic premise:

To get an inside look at the world of entertainment blogging through the eyes of someone who truly loves what she does and would do it even if she wasn't getting paid (because let's face it, she isn't getting paid much!). This particular story is very specific because I am an independent contractor and I work from home, often alone. Sometimes it's all about pre-screening episodes, sometimes it's phone interviews and conference calls, sometimes it's heading out to junkets or set visits, and sometimes it's just gathering together with other blogger friends to create some sort of makeshift creative office where we sit around, talk TV...and sometimes talk about our competition. But all of the time it's about real work, and this would showcase the real time, effort, blood, sweat, and tears I leave on every (web) page.

The objective:

To show that you don't have to be snarky or scandalous to get ahead. To celebrate television and those who love it, not try to tear them down.

The cast of characters:

DanielleTBD: A twenty-something pop culture and television junkie who has been known to set up really good "That's what she saids" without even trying and drop quotes from her favorite childhood shows into just about every conversation.

Mr. Madison Chandler: A cute and cuddly little canine assistant who begs for treats and belly rubs almost interchangeably. He also wears the hell out of a bandana, a tie, and a Snuggie!

(other recurring characters would be blogger friends to showcase the differences in process and approach, as well as those celebrities who come to play Wii with the Stars during the time frame the reality cameras were rolling-- but I don't yet know who would have such interest)

Where the drama lies:

Well, for one thing, the self-reflexiveness of it all is a pretty interesting statement. A reality show about someone who basically sits around and watches TV all day. But above and beyond that, there is an interesting side to the industry to be showcased here. More and more entertainment blogs crop up every day. Anyone can throw something online, especially if it's just about expressing opinions, and that can be a step in the right direction for creative expression but a giant leap backwards for professionalism. The story of this website, and this particular entertainment blogger, is that it was started from the fan angle but from someone who worked in film and television for a few years before beginning to write, so it always walked the thin line of personal, editorial blog and professional review or interview source. And furthermore, the struggle for a "small" site such as this to maintain integrity and work its way up the ladder of legitimacy in publicists', studios', and networks' eyes, not to mention other entertainment sites' can be a struggle in and of itself. On a daily basis, there is that push-pull of what I want this site to be versus how others see it and even what it could be.

Potential story arcs:

- Following the evolution of a big feature, such as one on stunt work in television or a set visit to an up-and-coming show. See an up-close-and-overtly-personal look at how a story gets pitched to the people who can help make it happen, how an actual interview gets scheduled and conducted, and then the not-so-glamorous post process of transcribing, writing, editing. Rinse. Repeat.
- The juggling act of multiple stories at once, working on longer lead features while breaking news still pops up, freelancing for multiple publications at once all the while still not wanting to neglect this blog or turn it into something it was never intended to be.
- How does one stay motivated, even when emails go unanswered? How does one create new pitches and story ideas, even when creativity feels tapped out? How does one create the hook that keeps people coming back, even when multiple sites all have the same story?
- The competition aspect is key, too. Competing not only to get certain interviews but also the best quotes on certain topics, as well as to be one of the first ones to post the content that so many others also have. But maybe that's just me; I've always challenged myself to solitary races to beat my previous times when working on a variety of things. It's a way to keep myself energized and interested. And maybe if it only me that worries about such things the inner look at my messed up psyche is interesting enough to warrant some screen time!
- Branding-- learning to be your own biggest (most enthusiastic and most consistent) cheerleader to promote yourself, your site, your work.

What do you think? Is the idea interesting enough to be reality-TV worthy? And if so, do you think multiple bloggers should be featured in order to show different points of view and work styles? I might be ready to put together a sizzle reel...or at least start a VODcast!

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