Monday, May 17, 2010

The New Thing Part 2 is coming in 1 day

Tomorrow, I'm going to start posting the first of four pitches for projects that I'm thinking about working on, and I'm going to invite you to help me play a game with me to figure out which one of them I'll tackle next.

I'm doing this because I spent seven years developing The Limit in secrecy; at most 5 or 6 people knew about that script's details. That was tough: the amount of feedback I could get was extremely limited, and I couldn't tell if people would be interested in it when I finally got around to putting it on the market. This time I want to create a bit more openly, and I want to figure out which ideas might have an audience - which simply means figuring out if you're interested in a particular idea, and whether you'd want to tell other people about it.

So, over the next two weeks I'm going to publish these pitches and I'd like to talk with you about them. Now: I think it'd be boring for everyone and pretty much useless if this conversation turns into some serious, high-stakes thing where everybody (including myself) expresses their opinions, invests a lot of status in 'being right', and the whole thing ends up in a cluster-fck where we're judging each other's creative ability.

I think we can agree that that would suck. And therefore I would like to do the opposite.

Let's pretend to be interviewers

Inspired by Tim Brown's TED talk, I want to play a game. I would like you to pretend to be interviewers, interviewing me about each of these ideas (or, at least, the ones that interest you). Rather than opinions, let's have a conversation where I listen and answer your questions, and think about your points and engage with them.

Questions, not monologues. That's my goal. (I have reasons for this, which I can go into in Comments if you're curious.)

Inviting you to discuss stuff with me like this implies a few things:
  • You're a guest here. Since I've invited you in, it's up to me to make sure people are playing nice and positive, and that these interviews are good. In fact, I'll adopt the Lurkers Rule from Mo Ryan's TV blog: the environment here should be so accepting, so calm and so non-screechy that most timid lurker should feel safe about commenting. Upshot: I'll be moderating these conversations, as well as participating in them.
  • What does 'nice' mean? Simply that I'm expecting people to be courteous and empowering. I'm fine with disagreement - it's valuable! - but I'd like that disagreement to encourage creativity, rather than be a blunt 'No' that blocks all further conversation and discourages me (or anyone else from working on it).
  • You can share what you'd do with the idea, but - you know - phrase it like an interviewer would.
  • I'm looking forward to discussing this with you! And I'm interested in your opinion ... but I guess I'll have to decide on a case-by-case basis whether I care about it. In other words: I'm not asking for your permission to create something.

Hopefully, if this is successful, three things will have happened:
  1. I will have learned something
  2. I will be more likely to create something
  3. I will have a guideline about which ideas have the potential to create an audience (As a rough guide, I'm going to base that on how vigourous the conversation is)

What would I like you to do?

My goals for this are pretty simple. I want to gauge if people are interested in any of these ideas - and if they are, then what are they interested in?

That means if you like one of these upcoming ideas, or if you feel you've got something to say about them, or even if you don't like them - I'd love you to comment. And if you don't like one, or aren't interested and don't comment, then that silence is helpful too.

(And if you've never commented before, please feel free to.)

So, comment. Ask questions. Be yourself, but pretend to interview me. Let's try to create something that's fun and positive. Will this work? I have no idea, but let's play the game and find out.

For the first time, I'm going to really use twitter and facebook to continue the conversation. I'm going to post and reply on these more than I normally would. If you're not on twitter, you can check the sidebar on my blog's main page to follow along.

So here we go. First up - tomorrow - an idea for a web-series about a nasty little situation that many of us will have seen in our everyday work and flatting lives ...

Let's get ready to start the conversation!

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