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Web Comedy "Homeland Insecurity" Picked Up By CBS TV

A pilot originally shot for the web has been picked up by CBS for adaptation to a television series. It's a comedy about security at an airport. You can see their trailer on vimeo.
According to Deadline, the budget was $70K, though it's unclear to us if that's just to shoot the above trailer or if there's more to it (actual episodes) that were produced.

TOTL is not a screwball comedy like this, but it's interesting that producers are producing for cheap and then pitching up from there, and it's somewhat interesting that some treatment of immigration/customs/security are showing up in mainstream television without the sort of jingoistic hyperpatriotic "Cops" "reality" slant that we've seen so far from Nat Geo and Fox so far.

So Close! Kinda! No Really! Kinda.

It's been awhile since we've posted news of the process of making Truth On The Line. This post is about where the TOTL project is at but also the meta issue of how communication is done between creators and "fans" of work like this.

We like to promote and support other great creative projects. Kickstarter is a great way to do this and we've thrown down a little green toward a small number of worthy efforts - not a lot of money, just enough to say "hey, I care, you're cool, send me a t-shirt". We've been following with great attention the progress of one microbudget film that we helped fund, and were struck by a recent update from the filmmakers:

It is taking longer than we had originally planned, but that's because we are working very hard to make this the best film possible, and that takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of commitment. It has slowed down the process, but we feell (sic) like we are producing a much better movie as we take our time with production. But we are close!

What struck us about this? Well, the cynical, old, tired part of us was struck by the sheer innocence and freshness and, frankly, lack of originality of this rather, frankly, cliched justification for production delays. Doesn't everybody know, already, that making "the best film possible" involves "a lot of effort" and "commitment"?

A less jaded part of us, though, respects this honest, though probably incomplete, attempt to keep everyone posted and placated. ...Read more>>>

TimesCast: Metaboring

The New York Times has started an innovative new daily video feature called "TimesCast". the idea is that the viewer gets to see a glimpse into the news room and meetings as the paper's staff briefly run through the big stories of the new day.

This at first seems kind of neat until you actually watch it and realize it's actually sort of boring. Newspaper journalists aren't necesarily the most interesting on-camera personalities, and most of the segments are not adding any extra information or juicy behind-the-scenes, making-of angle to the stories. Where's the staffers arguing about whether a story should really be covered? Where's the editor relegating some writer's hard work to page 23 at the last minute?

In a sense, TimesCast is like the opposite of Truth On The Line. Instead of using a fictional narrative and characters to add new interest to an issue, The NYT is taking some interesting reporting and writing and making it LESS interesting with some dull personalities.

Interview #3: Steev Hise

In this clip you'll see Steev wearing his best guayabera and that he just can't stop being a director, even to the person interviewing him. He also talks about the concepts behind the Truth On The Line project, what its goals are, and why he's doing it.

Meta TV News Story

In the category of inspiring stuff that resonates with some of the questions and ideas TOTL will be tackling, here's a brilliant and clever meta-take on the trite and cliched tropes common to many TV news stories:


(via the excellent blog Sociological Images )

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