Wow, what a night it’s been, we just broke $10,000 as I’m writing this, and still going strong. With this kind of momentum, we should top the $13,000 10-spot goal in the next day or two! You’ll excuse the length of this post, but a lot of news and questions have built up over the last half-day, and I’m going to try and clear it all off my desk in one fell swoop.
Where We Are at the Moment
Let’s start with a project update. As I said, we’re steaming right along, my email alert was dinging once a second or more for a good part of the night. Since we crossed the magic $2,000 boundary, the funds have started flowing into my Paypal account, and I can start spending some of it on things like getting the art print made (once we select art to print, that is…) The vast bulk of it, of course, will be going to fund the ad run. Once question to ask is if we want to stop at a 10-spot prime-time run, or go back to the Hub and ask for a bigger package, assuming the funds keep coming in. The other possibility is to just bundle up the remained and give it to charity. I’ll ping my sales contact at the Hub just to get a feel for what might be available beyond what we’ve discussed, but it’s also getting to be time to select a charity. This is definitely something I’ll be putting up to a vote of the contributors, but we can start putting together a list of the nominees. I’d actually lean (personally) toward something equine-related. One example (totally not checked out beyond finding them on Google) would be these folks: http://ac4h.com/. Another might be a big buy of MLP merch to donate to Toys for Tots, or the like. What do people think?
Bronies as Role Models
I’d like to take a moment to address the folks posting “OMG, parents will think we’re creepy” comments, that seem to be drifting in now, perhaps from 4chan who apparently doesn’t like the idea. I see this as a chance to do something really positive. Imagine an 8 year old girl seeing a fireman or soldier or doctor saying how much they like MLP. The message it sends is that just because you “grow up”, you don’t need to give up the things you love. The people in the ad can be (dare I use the term) role models, something we need a lot more of. I keep a quote from C. S. Lewis on my phone (not that I’m a huge Lewis fan, just that I like the quote…)
“Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” I’d like at least one of the spokespeople to be a parent with their child, for that very reason.
We do want to take some basic steps to protect ourselves, however, which leads to a touchy subject. I intend to spend some of the money to run background checks on the folks who are selected to appear in the ad. It’s a sad reality, but the last thing we need is that one of our ‘role models’ turns out to be a registered sex offender in the state of <insert state>.
Making the Ad a Reality
Now on the nitty gritty of getting this stuff done, and the fun news. First off, a bit of philosophy. The position I’m taking is that by donating to this project, you were implicitly giving me the authority to get this thing done. Now, that’s a lot of trust to put in the hands of someone who most of you have never heard of before, and I respect that. On the other hand, this is in the end a creative project, and creative projects run by committee turn out (as our friends in the UK like to put it) as shite. So when push comes to shove, I’m going to make the hard calls, where they happen. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to listen to your advice, or solicit ideas, but it does mean that not everything is going to get put up to a vote. For another thing, we need to execute this relatively quickly, so decisions will have to be made in a timely fashion.
On the other hand, I’m old and wise enough (and have been involved in enough major projects) to understand the need to delegate. I’m already looking for folks to help out in designing the join-the-herd.org web site (which currently has the mother of all ugly WordPress generic templates on it.) There’s also a very good chance I’ll be looking for media-savvy bronies in local areas who can do production-quality reshoots for brony submissions from spokespeople with great stories, but lousy production values.
As I’ve also mentioned, we need an 11×17″ piece of art to go out to the funders as a perk, if you’re an artist and want to contribute a piece, contact me.
One delegation I can announce right now is that William Anderson has agreed to work on the music production side of the ad. For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Anderson is the person responsible for the awesome background music on Friendship is Magic, and we are honored that he is volunteering his time to work with whomever we get to do the score to make the music awesome. For the record, he would have done the score for us gratis, but we both agreed that writing the music for an ad that’s partially thanking yourself would have been a bit weird.
So, what’s the timeline from here out? The first thing to do is to get a shooting script ready, so Hub S&P can give it the green light. I plan to have this phase done by mid-next week (and yes, the “place we’d like to live” verbage is coming out, it was just a first draft…) Look for a post later today that will serve as a jumping off point for discussion on the script.
Once we have the script in hand, I’m going to get some hardy souls together and shoot a rough scratch version of the ad. This will do several things. Firstly, we can make sure it times out well. Secondly, we can run that by S&P as well. Lastly, people who want to audition to do the backing music can use it as a dummy to lay down their audition submission on top of. Let’s shoot for mid-May for the scratch version.
Then, the real floodgates open. We’ll start accepting video submissions for the ad itself. Technical quality will be a key factor here, so if you’re interested, you might want to start lining up resources like a 1080p-capable camera, people to help out, a boom mike, etc. I’m still figuring out how we’ll accept submissions, Google Drive is one possibility, but I’m open to suggestions. It can’t be anything that degrades the original video, though.
On our tentative timeline, let’s say we close submissions mid-June. In a perfect world, I’d love to have a rough-cut to show at BronyCon, but that will depend on things such as reshoots. I have a fair amount of experience in video production (going back over 30 years), and have the full CS5 suite of production tools available, as well as several professionals who have already volunteers to help in post.
Ok, that’s enough for now, hopefully it didn’t get too TL;DR for most of you. Keep spreading the word!