I suggested hooks. Niches. Angles. No. He wanted to do a beg-a-thon.
Me: “Why are people going to give you food?”
Him: “Because I ask them to.”
So I came up with a story. A premise. A reason for this to be occurring. It would be some theater and some characters and some acting that would over 72 hours evolve into this guy having to raise a dial position thousand pounds of food or have to repeat 6th grade.
He balked at the acting and the set-up. “I like to be real”.
What is “real” in 2014? People think the Kardashians are real, so really, real is kind of intangible.Great Radio contests and Promotions are not that far evolved from Reality TV which is a genre of programming where people are put into situations and prodded and nudged towards an outcome that will be entertaining and compelling to watch and where “conflict” is a key ingredient.
Has there ever been a successful Reality program where everyone got along? Of course not. Because that’s boring.
Watch enough of this crap and you’ll see a formula. I was actually on a plane back from the UK last week and one of the inflight offerings was this horrible show called “Million Dollar Listing” with three (obviously failed actors) guys who are trying to get rich in the NY realty market.
Bored and jetlagged, it was fun to play two chess moves ahead of the actors. “She’s going to grab the bag of flour and hit him with it.” She did. Hijinks ensued. “Ryan is going to think he lost the listing, there will be three to four minutes of angst and then he’ll get it at a slightly lower than requested price”. He did. “Luis is going to spontaneously start to Samba with his parents”. They did.
But…it works. It’s entertaining. People watch this crap. But it’s because it was tweaked and enhanced because real life is boring. Why the Hell do you think people watch TV?
The receptionist at the station in Greensboro was great. Sassy. From New Jersey. A bit of a bitch when she wanted to be. Generally…a total riot to hang out with. So she went up to MTV in New York and auditioned for season two of “The Real World” and came back crushed.
“They were all actors! They all had agents and portfolios!”
Brian, the PD, I think summed it up best for all of us: “Gee? You think?”
Real “real” can be painful. It reminds of when radio stations webcammed their studios and thought it would be incredibly exciting to let people behind the magic curtain to see what Radio Life was really like. What a horrible mistake. KSFM in Sacramento was actually brilliant about it and staged stuff. The receptionist Jenny, seemingly topless, walking in to deliver paperwork to the DJ. A mummy shuffling past the window. A possible murder by strangulation through the glass in Prod. For a while, it was fun. You had to watch because you knew that “stuff” was going to happen.
So, the “I like to be real” morning guy did his food drive, it was lost in the clutter, it was boring, few people donated and probably millions of homeless people starved to death because of it.
We’re in Showbiz but because our “visual” is limited, we have Theater. And it’s an amazing part of our arsenal and it’s free and it’s entertaining.
Embrace your inner Spielberg or Scorcese. But probably not Polanski.