Week 7: Surprise! A new episode.

18 03 2010

A new episode… but not what I expected.

So I was approached by the team and we decided that something needed to get done soon.  The “The Surprise” episode is simply taking too long to rotoscope, so it may have to wait until spring break.  In the meantime, it was proposed that we finish a whole different episode in three days.  Done.  We attacked a lot of old footage we had in the can and threw something together to make sure that, as a show, we didn’t drift into obscurity over at MUTV.  One sequence we used for the new episode was “Dinosaurs,” a visit to a Tea Party Rally where we decided to avoid politics if we could.

We were very much concerned with the idea that if we shot something at a Tea Party, we could be offending and alienating part of our audience.  We took great precautions to be sure that we didn’t get political with our piece, which is no easy task.  Unlike a news package, there’s definitely room for partisanship with a show like The RC, we just didn’t want to go that direction.  The approach we ended up taking was to have Johnny ask our subjects a few simple questions about their politics and then to take a turn toward the completely ridiculous.  We figured the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs was a pretty good debate to have, since few people feel very strongly about it.  Then, we just tried to make it a political topic, which either perplexed people or got them even more riled up about their cause (interestingly).  Hopefully we succeeded in making “Dinosaurs” fairly neutral.  It could be argued that we confused our subjects to deliberately make them look stupid, but I think most rational people understand that anyone who is confused on camera, not just Tea Party-ers, would look a bit silly.  We certainly treated a lot of the reactions we got very conservatively, in terms of what was and wasn’t part of the final piece.  We didn’t use the most ridiculous stuff we had.

For most of the episode, things were hastily thrown together.  They’re still fairly amusing, at least to us, but the level of quality isn’t nearly what it usually ought to be.  That’s alright, though, as we just needed to be producing more than we were.  Every episode we produce contains parodies of existing PSAs or commericals.  One that we chose for this episode was the Iron Gym commercials, which clearly use professional bodybuilders as their actors.  It’s always a laugh to see the original commercial, so we decided to re-narrate the commercial the way it really should sound.  In about 30 minutes, we had another short piece for the episode.

Another quick piece we threw together was lifted from one of Johnny’s endless lists of random ideas for RC material.  It’s really pretty straightforward.  I suppose it could be offensive, but since it basically applies to us and therefore falls under the category of self-deprecating humor, society’s rules tells me that it’s okay.  Again, this one was shot in about 30 minutes and cut together as quickly.  We may try to accomplish more in this way in the future, being that some of the simplest ideas can speak the loudest.  We don’t have to riddle every sequence with lots of effects, although that can be important to the perception of professional quality for our show.  I’m sure we’ll revisit Johnny’s list of simple ideas whenever we next get the chance.

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