Carpe Kilimanjaro: An Alzheimer’s Project

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There is a new epidemic upon us.  It doesn’t matter where you live in the world today, what language you speak, or how old you are.  Chances are, you’ve either heard of Alzheimer’s or have been unfortunately touched by this crippling disease of the mind.  After our own experiences over the last decade, we set out to create an ambitious story project, that we hope might help expedite a cure.  The Carpe Kilimanjaro project is a feature-length documentary, website, and mobile experience.  The entire project sets out to address the three main challenges facing the Alzheimer’s community:

  1. Remove the stigma
  2. Raise more money for research
  3. Get more people into clinical trials.

Over the next few months, we’ll be finishing up post-production on the film, building up interest on our social media and traditional PR campaign, and submitting to major film festivals around the world.  We will also be holding private screenings and forming partnerships with like-minded organizations.    It certainly takes a village, which is why we are reaching out to you and everyone we know, in the hopes you might feel compelled to help.  So if you’re moved by the power of story, please head on over to the project website and let us know how you would like to get involved.

Please Kickstart Me Veronica Mars

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Your favorite, cancelled TV shows can now become movies – IF you pay to make it happen.  Crowdsourcing our entertainment is here to stay and Kickstarter is making dreams come true.  In 2013, close to 100,000 diehard Veronica Mars fans ponied up nearly $5.7 million on Kickstarter, to realize Rob Thomas’ dream of turning the popular CW show, into a feature length movie.

We haven’t heard a peep from any of the producers of our favorite shows.  But we can certainly dream, so here are a few suggestions in case they’re listening.

BLURRED LINES: What is “Television”?

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If you are watching a great dramatic series on a streaming service, on your iPad, on your phone, on your laptop, or all of the above, is it still television?

In the days of yore, we had the television networks, limited content choices, and we liked it.  Then came cable and we liked the networks a little less. Then came satellite and hundreds of channels and we were able to pick and choose to our hearts’ content (whilst paying for 878 channels we could care less about). Then we had VCRs and DVRs and television execs were faced with time-shifting, new audience metrics, and the lucky ones were able to retire. Then came that thing called the internet and, suddenly, our micro-interests in cat videos and our longing for a chubby Korean vocal / dance artist, were finally served.

Each time, the wise men of news and entertainment pondered the death of “television” as we knew it.

And then along came Netflix, cutting the cord, second screen viewing on mobile, and the top of the content production and distribution pyramid widened forever. And then Netflix pivoted from VOD to content production.  And then, “House of Cards” was nominated for an Emmy.  What?  THAT’s not television?

The death of television?  No, just the recognition that it’s all about content and story, on demand, and on our terms. You want to define the content vis a vis the type of screen or who made it?  Fine.  Call it television, or an online series, or, well, whatever.   It’s just content. And if you build it well and provide great story, they will come.  Just ask Kevin Spacey.

Spacey’s recent keynote at the Edinburgh Television Festival, summed this up well.  The business models, monetization, and how series and other content get to see the light of day, have changed, but the bottom line of great content = audience engagement, stays the same.

Parks and Recreation” is great network content.  “Breaking Bad” is great cable content.  “Boardwalk Empire” is great subscription-based content.  “House of Cards” is great online content.  “Bite Me” is great YouTube content.  Oh, and by the way, you can watch all of this great content, when, where, and how you wish.

Will the success of “Arrested Development” and other content coming to you courtesy of these upstart production / distribution entities like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. change how the purported dinosaurs in cable and network television develop and produce content? Will the networks toss their traditional shotgun approach and focus on developing fewer, better, content offerings (e.g., instead of 30 pilots to make 2)?  Will the new platforms like Netflix broaden their current original content focus from scripted to other genres (reality, live events, etc.) a la their traditional media brethren? Will all content providers have to customize what they produce based on demand, consumption patterns, and where things are being watched? You bet.  The lines are blurred and good luck defining news and entertainment the old fashioned way.

In the end, somewhere down the line, those kids in your house who watch everything on every conceivable screen, even when they are supposed to be studying, will change the lexicon forever, as the concept of “cool stuff” and “awesome show” are no longer labeled based on where the “dreamy werewolf guy” is watched.  To them, it’s just great content.