So what’s next?
Well, we’re continuing to work on projects whether we end up continuing our partnership with MUTV or not. Frankly, the censorship and disorganization there is getting pretty tiring. I think it’s fair to say that we enjoy working with a lot of the people there, but we’re not sure at this point that it’s a worthwhile arrangement from our perspective. Allow me to elaborate!
Johnny portraying a “G” in the “MUTV Memories” short
For example: The episode we announced in the post for Week 7 required a pretty significant investment in time. I wrote that post as soon as we completed it. We understand that we have responsibilities when it comes to our show – we need to turn in a few episodes each semester to make sure we’re pulling our weight at the station. However, not surprisingly, schoolwork comes first. We were struggling to get everything else in our lives accomplished, but the leadership at MUTV was pressuring us to get an episode finished for them. We took a good deal of our time to put the episode together, even if it was sub-par, and turned it in. We were relatively satisfied with it, though it was nothing earth-shattering. Unfortunately, the management at MUTV did not feel that way. They told us we were making a mockery of the station and ordered us to re-edit it to be less offensive to them. What they were referring to, as I’ve explained before, was the mock-interview in “MUTV Memories” in which Johnny and I degrade our show and by proxy (I guess) the station itself. We were required to make that segment for the Spring MUTV party, which we were also required to attend. Since we had no choice but to make it, we had a little fun with it. We put it into our episode because it was already done – there was no reason not to include it. Anyway, as a result of their complaints, we cut a new version of the episode that didn’t include the offending segment.
Big Robbie Z giving an interview in 1966 – pretty funny stuff
In place of “MUTV Memories,” we included a classic interview with Bob Dylan and some high school pictures of our favorite punching bag, Wes Gordon. Naturally, this was not as entertaining, but it worked.
Fast forward a month and a half. The episode FINALLY airs on MUTV. We had been waiting for our work to be shown for all that time, having even rushed to the lab a week before spring break to put our episode on the computers because they had instructed us to turn in the edited version by the end of the week of March 15th. We were considering quitting our work with the station for most of this time, and we had just about made up our minds when the new episode finally appeared on the channel. The problem was that the version which they aired was the original – the one they had complained about. Thus, they had either changed their mind about the offensiveness of the show and wasted the time I put into re-editing, re-compressing, and turning it in a second time, or they had put the wrong version on the air by mistake.
This was pretty offensive to us. They complained until we rushed out an episode, they disliked the (truly very mild) content so we made them a new one, they failed to air it for a month and a half, and when they did they aired the wrong one.
So let’s get into the other aspects of working at MUTV. If you have a show, your show has to have Executive Producers. Executive Producers have to attend “Exec” meetings, where an amazingly small amount of business gets done.
A typical exec meeting might go like this: Johnny and I arrive 15 minutes early, but don’t enter the meeting room until right before the meeting. When we enter, there are not enough seats at the table, so we sit in a ring of chairs outside the table. That’s just as well, because none of this meeting will pertain to us in any way. Katy will begin the meeting earnestly enough, telling us about a few announcements – upcoming events that will require a few volunteers – and then she might hand out some sort of survey. As a rule of thumb, nothing discussed at the meeting couldn’t be done just as easily over email. Finally, we get to something important about 15 minutes into the meeting. Katy begins to discuss the resources we’ll have available to us in the new MUTV studio in the new addition to the student center.
Suddenly, Nick Balogh barges in covered in rain. He is wearing a big coat and holding an umbrella that he did not use while he was outside. He exclaims at a snail’s pace, “Hey guys! Sorry I’m late! I had the thing and the stuff! What did I miss?! Have we taken the survey yet?! Let me tell you guys about the upcoming events we have. We’ll need some volunteers.” The room sits quietly and waits for Nick Balogh to choose every word in his explanation in the same manner that he would choose a child to adopt. He covers everything we have discussed so far, but speaks at one-forth the speed and conveys one-eighth the information. His meandering over all of the topics we’ve already covered finally ends, and Katy thanks him for showing up. She then begins to dismiss the meeting, but then remembers that Nick was going to show us something on the computer. Rather than meeting in the auditorium where the computer could be projected onto a screen, we had met in the meeting room. Whoops!
So, we all walk to the other side of the building and find seats in the auditorium. At this point, Johnny and I are ready to pull the hair out of our heads, so we sit in the far back and twiddle our thumbs. Meanwhile, Nick Balogh cannot figure out how to get the computer to project on the screen because he had not gotten the equipment ready ahead of time. When Nick Balogh finally gets the projector working, he realizes that the server program he needs is not installed. He visits the vendor’s website and tries to install it, but the restrictions on public University computers refuse to grant him the permission to install programs. He then tries to explain the process of backing up video to the server with his hands. After ten more minutes pass, we are allowed to leave.
Thinking about the future
Johnny and I have long been considering setting up a new agreement with MUTV. I think we will propose this arrangement to the management next semester and if they refuse it, we’ll leave the station. We’d like to avoid meetings and episode submission deadlines from now on. This is an arrangement that shows have had before, so we don’t see why we can’t do business this way. Academics come first, so it makes no sense to worry about getting an episode of Reacharound Clubhouse to the station by their arbitrary deadline when matters of importance to one’s GPA await. We’ll send them episodes whenever we can finish them, and they can air them on the next convenient cycle of shows. If they don’t like that, we’ll be on our way.
We simply don’t have the time to waste going to “required” parties, meetings, and other events. We can’t make videos for their parties whenever they feel like requiring them. We can’t go to recruitment meetings and hold our own meetings for our staffs. We don’t have that kind of time. The management at MUTV, none of whom are seniors, probably don’t understand how busy academics can get yet. They can assume that we’re lazy with the rest of our time if they like, but that doesn’t disprove the fact that MUTV just can’t be a student’s highest priority.
That said, I truly wish them the best and hope that MUTV is a successful learning experience for underclassmen Journalism and Communication students. I wish also that they were a bit more flexible when it comes to people who are donating their time to the network. Johnny and I are not being paid to provide them with free content (which they own once we hand it over to them). If we work for free, we expect a certain level of gratefulness and respect. We don’t see being hassled all the time and having our time wasted as a very good way to ensure that we keep coming back.
Anyway, that’s my rant on MUTV. Felt nice to get that out.
We’re currently working on a segment in which we have a bit of fun with sci-fi fan culture. If you weren’t aware, people who collect action figures and other trinkets from sci-fi franchises are typically VERY devoted. When Star Wars documentaries poke too much fun at George Lucas, the filmmakers often get death threats from outraged fans. No fan base, perhaps, is more obsessive about their action figures than fans of Transformers.
“It’s a thirty-minute toy commercial,” Johnny Hoelting says of the original animated Transformers series.
A popular trend on YouTube is to create videos in which fans do “product reviews” of Transformers action figures. The videos are extremely bland and the people doing the reviews typically do them from their bedroom at their mom’s house. They are not, shall we say, “well socialized.” Here’s an example:
It’s horrific. Listen to how quickly he talks. He must be reading from a script.
Anyway, we decided to do a product review of our own. Our version is so terrible, though, that we’re fairly confident it will receive some pretty brutal comments from over-zealous fans. We can’t wait. Johnny pronounces the name of the transformer incorrectly, transforms it incorrectly, and appears to be a complete idiot in general. We posted the video on Transformers message boards and now we’re waiting to get comments. When we have enough, we plan to make a segment for the show in which we pick our favorites from the crop of offensive comments. Here’s OUR Transformers review.
We’ll see how things pan out in the future. Keep watching the show and send me your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!