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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 )

TOTL Comic #1

This first weekly installment of the Truth On The Line comic strip introduces one of the main characters of the show.
Truth On The Line comics #1

The Cost of Life

While we move closer to the final edit of Truth On The Line's pilot episode(s), we're going to periodically point out here on the site a variety of other media that's out there that is relevant to the project and its goals. This might include, books, music, films, whatever resonates.

Today we have an excellent music video by Juan Luis Guerra, to a song of his called "El Costo De La Vida" - The Cost of Life. Watching the video it will be easy to see some of what it's about, even without knowing much Spanish: topics like the media, the truth, trust in official institutions for your knowledge, thinking for yourself, government oppression, and more - all concerns of Truth On The Line as well. At the start of the video we see Guerra (a Dominican super-popstar, by the way), in the role of a news anchor on TV, tossing his papers casually behind him as he finishes with each, while his backup vocalists sing in screens behind him. He chants "it's the truth" again and again and then in english "do you understand?" At the end he literally pulls the plug on a political leader's speech.


Despite the seriousness of some of the lyrics and imagery, which includes montages of riots and military and police actions, the song also has a bright and happy feel to it. TOTL has a similar format - we're intent on providing engrossing, dramatic entertainment that also asks some hard questions and conveys serious ideas about our society and world: what is truth? what is journalism? How are stories told and who can and does tell them? Truth On The Line is about news and people who deliver the news, but who resist, or try to resist, the status quo. ...Read more>>>

Post-Production Proceeding

This is an exciting time in the creation of the Truth On the Line pilot episode.
Truth On The Line framegrab boards #2

We have a first assembly rough cut and the story is finally all there together. But of course there is still lots of work at the edit suite left to do. Alternate takes and shots must be assessed, sound must be cleaned, music selected, graphics needs to be generated and placed, and color correction will be necessary.

From the beginning of post, 5 large "frame grab boards" have hung on the wall of the edit room. These boards are a practice inspired by famed editor Walter Murch. Each camera set up in the show is represented by one or more printed still photos, arranged roughly in shot order. As we work, the boards on the wall provide a quick and easy visual representation of the project and what material is available to us.

This week has been a busy time of meetings with department heads and trusted advisors. Decisions and discussions that will determine the shape and future of the show are underway.

As we go forward from here, we'll also ramp up our efforts to get the word out about this project and start talking with interested allies. Expect to see more and more activity on this website as the final cut approaches! To be sure you stay up to date, be sure to get on the mailing list (on the front page of the web site) or join the facebook group if you're reading this there. ...Read more>>>

Production!

For a little over 2 weeks, we've been in production for Truth On The Line, the new project I'm directing (and wrote). It's been very exciting, and things are going quite well other than feeling like each shoot is very rushed.

We have been shooting at quite a speed - an average of 6 script pages a day. Usually 5 is a good rule of thumb for an "indie" project. We've been pressured by time constraints involving the location and the natural light, as well as my own inexperience at scheduling, but for other shoots coming up I'm hoping that we can have things be a little more relaxed.

However, as I said, things are going well, and I'm quite happy with the performances of all the cast, as well as the look of all the footage we've shot. I've started to put together some of the footage into rough edits to make sure I have what I need, and it is working! I'd like to have a little more coverage, and more takes, so that's another reason to try to relax the shoot velocity, if possible.


We've been blessed to have the help of 2 very cool local establishments here in Tucson: BICAS, the non-profit bicycle repair and education collective, let us use their 4-wheeled bicycle-car, which we put to work as a dolly and which functioned great as such!

Also, Revolutionary Grounds Books and Coffee was our wonderful location for the 3 cafe scenes in this pilot episode. Many many thanks to Joy, the generous proprietor, and to Matthew, the amazing barista who opened up early for us at 5am on 2 mornings, and also to Diana, another barista there who had utmost patience for us and makes a great iced americano.

I'm having a great time, it's wonderful working with all these actors and the extremely talented and helpful crew, and i'm looking forward to cutting it all together and seeing the story we're creating unfold.

See http://www.flickr.com/photos/steev/sets/72157620097751914/ for more production stills.

Here's a great behind-the-scenes clip (shot by Ryn) of us shooting at the cafe, which I hope will be a location for many great encounters and dialogues during future episodes of the show.

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Truth On The Line is a unique video project, telling the story of a varied group of characters who produce media and live their lives in the U.S./Mexico borderlands. The web mini-series version of the project launched in October 2012. You can use this site to follow our progress. Sign up for the mailing list to stay updated, and if you have questions, please get in touch. Truth On The Line, presented by Liminal Communications and Pan Left Productions, is written and directed by Steev Hise.