Progressive Place

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Grassroots Action+ Reality TV+ Music Video= Street Media

Progressive media can accelerate a movement whose time has come. Examples include West Side Story, Motown, and Dylan. It provides the images and language, even the theme music, that moves caring hearts to action. Progressive media that supports the person-to-person influence of a grassroots movement can halt the radical right's Orwellian media juggernaut.

And it's free!

Powerful, free content is everywhere, channels are nowhere.
Terrific music tracks, and powerful, but underutilized, media assets are clogging progressive hard drives and shared servers the world over. That's essentially free content. What's needed is a reliable production and distribution channel, with a creative, progressive vision, to put the best of that stuff to good use grabbing guts and hearts.

A timely political statement, expressed in music, movement, and images, has tremendous power. Shown at a recent GeoClan conference, Guerrilla News Network's intense Drug Trade video danced right up the steps to Music Video's front door, then didn't go in. What would it be like, I wondered, if the GNN documentary danced right through that door, and delivered it's potent message as 21st Century musical theatre? With a reality media twist?

This could become a new genre of activist entertainment, like West Side Story was in the late 50s. That musical was part of a re-invented Broadway that brought progressive thinking into the mainstream, and laid some of the groundwork for mass acceptance of the Civil Rights movement in the early 60s. Not to mention opening doors for a generation of progressive, popular theatre and films.

A scenario
Start with a quality piece like the GNN video, updated to focus on a current topic. Create a dialog and lyrics script from the pivotal phrases in the piece. Sample and loop thru those phrases and images of the talking heads and newsreel clips, with repeated sequences reinforced by a crescendo beat that builds to a point of impact. Then soften the tone and imagery. Let the impact sink in on the audience. Shift the theme to recovery, possibilities, and good work that real people are doing. Rinse and repeat.

Initial Launch
Distribute it free, as Creative Commons material, to all the progressive web media outlets.
Email segments widely, to be re-distributed virally as email media attachments.
Package it with follow-up surveys to find out how people are, or think they could be, using it as a tool to organize around, and generate action.
Grow the process into a systematic infrastructure (see Pachamama Alliance as example)
Get DJs to slip samples and excerpts into dancehall mixes and multimedia podcast channels.
Create an alternative, non-commercial Pixar of persuasive multimedia entertainment. (Whoops-- poor example. No, I don't recommend selling it to Disney after a few years.)

Growth Curve
As soon as the first production is circulating, do another one about some other political hot potato. Get the most positive survey respondents from the first to submit outcome stories, and to send hard copies to potential funding sources. The respondents will have great stories to tell, but might not be real good at telling them. Use your network to enlist a progressive marketer and writers in their local area to help them, pro bono. They'd do it-- it's a solid investment.

I'd like to explore this further with you and/or anyone else who might help make it happen.



AudiKnow LLC-- Listening Between the Lines
Home of "Ben Franklin, Creative Revolutionary"