I had taken on too much during the 202020 Secret Experimental Events Series for the Austin Events wall calendars. With the pandemic, I’m not even sure if I’ll do any promotional things for the 2021 title.
But I let myself think about it a couple days. Here’s some notes from the brainstorming sessions:
Calendar Mission: Make it easy for people to connect with their community in ways they will find fun, surprising and meaningful.
It needs to be:
- Safe to do at home.
- Not like other stuff.
- Nearly the opposite of other stuff. No obvious shit.
- Genuinely fun.
- EASY TO IMPLEMENT.
Must be SIMPLE! No fancy video ads, no music, no need to buy stuff, no hauling stuff around, no having to create stuff. SIMPLE.
Things people can do right now in a pandemic: make stuff, share video audio photos, think things. watch stuff.
I won’t share all the ideas I came up with, but here’s a few of the events I came up with:
- Oops, I spilled it!
- Maybe cans of beans have toys at the bottom?
- Wish for a pig. Or potato?
- What’s in your garbage can?
- Who’s scab is this?
Clearly the competition was stiff.
I also considered repurposing some of the ideas from 202020 that never happened, such as “how many extension cords can we connect” and a redux of the improbably prescient “Stationary 5k” that was held in January. (I still have about 400 runners’ bibs leftover from the event, despite massive success).
I bounced some of my ideas around with my friend and published author Leila Sales. She had done an interesting interactive event via instagram called Ada and The Lost Horizon. I had tried a similar model with Singularity Now, and she had some good ideas on how to make it a success.
Her main thought was that if it’s not interactive and live then people will not care as much and will “watch it later” which usually means not watch it at all. I agreed. It’s just another TV show if I can’t interact with anything or anyone.
After this initial talk, the Messy Homes Tour became the favorite. I pictured it being us interviewing people and their messy homes, while livestreaming. Viewers could comment and ask questions.
Leila emailed a suggestion of a home scavenger hunt. We’d have a zoom room and people would have to find things quickly that would be judged for quality.
I liked this idea. And then I decided to twist it up into the Messy Homes Tour. Instead of finding random stuff you would have to find messy, gross, stuff. Or better yet – make a mess.
It wasn’t until I wrote this post (a month later), that I realized my ideas of “What’s in your garbage can?” and “Oops, I spilled it!” had snuck their ethos into final idea. (In case you’re wondering, “Who’s scab is this?” will not be making the cut. No pun intended but I wish it had been.)
My friend, artist Ann Armstrong suggested getting related sponsors. Molly Maid, perhaps? (Obviously, the main sponsor was the calendar).
The idea was coming together.
I talked to my performer/videowiz friend Rebecca about being involved in the idea (her being MC and me learning and running the tech part of it).
We’re doing a completely improv’ed run with some friends this week.
I’m picturing a Zoom “studio audience” to draw contestants (the people who find and spill things to win prizes), that is streamed onto Facebook (or other platform) where viewers can comment. For the real version I think we’d pre-record and edit visits to homes to reduce the technical issues of someone walking around their home giving a tour. But they would be available to Q&A after the short clip.
Instead of going all out on this project, I’ve designed it in stages. As it passes/fails each stage I’ll decide if/how to go forward. Stay tuned.