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What I Learned Today

This is just a lazy man's blog. Things I found out about today that I though others might enjoy hearing about.


You Overheard What?


The following is a proposal for a reality TV show. Four unknown experts overhear the same material from a guest sitting near them at the Sunset Grill bar. After the guest has left, they venture their opinions about the “whole story” with the bar tender as MC. The audience gets to vote on which story they think is correct and all is revealed at the end of the segment.


Everyone likes to play the restaurant game “how are they related and what are they talking about”. This reality TV show allows you to listen to what experts think and then vote for who you think is correct.

A guest is recruited. Tape is recorded of the fragments that make up “their incomplete story”. The audio can be of them talking to another person that they know or don’t, or them talking to the bar tender or of them talking on the phone or any combination thereof.

The tape is then edited into 3 segments. The first segment is shown on the large screen TV and the 4 experts expound on what they think is going on. The MC bar tender has no inside information. She is not the same bar tender who served the guest. She acts as one of the experts but at the same time serves and tells them about different beers. This sequence of viewing the video, drinking and talking continues twice more to cover all 3 segments. After the 3ed segment, the experts need to really firm up their opinions and the MC pushes them to really come down on one side or the other.

The home audience then votes. The votes are revealed and the guest appears in a clip to tell the “real story”. The MC and experts appear once more to sum up and vote on the best beers.

The creative department here has been hard at work on the difficult question of permissions. When are the attained and what do they cover. Here is a first cut.

Lets refer to the people who actually are over heard as the talkers. Talkers are recruited in the normal reality show tradition of friends of friends and advertisements. Before talkers are invited to an initial interview, they are warned that the interview itself will be video taped. They will be asked at the beginning of the interview to sign a release form that says the taped interview can be used only for internal purposes, such as evaluation of talkers and training of interviewers. This permission does not cover any public broadcast of the video. It is possible that at some later time we will want to produce an actual broadcast video that chronicles the "behind the scenes" making of episodes of YouOverHeardWhat. Obviously we would want to use interview tapes in such an episode. However, the form you are now signing DOES NOT cover such use and we would have to return to you for such permission.

Once a talker has been accepted to appear in an episode, they will need to sign a further permission form. This second form lays out the following steps. We own the video we are about to shoot. We will edit it to our liking. We will then show it to you and ask you to sign a third form giving the broadcast rights to this video to us. Again, before you see and approve the edited video, the video belongs to us BUT broadcast rights are not included until you specifically authorize them after seeing the final cut. The final cut of course is the one that is shown on the show and to the panel of experts who answer questions and elaborate on what they have overheard.

The set up for the actual talkers is the following. They sit down at the bar, order and eat a normal meal and leave. Usually they will have someone with them or they can interact with a cell phone or the bar tender. They are directed to completely ignore the presence of the two cameras. They are asked to speak clearly but not in a lecturing mode. They are reminded that they should not discuss things and people that they would not like to see on prime time television. Of course some editing can be done to remove an unwanted phone call from a mistress but lets try to avoid any topics that the talker will later ask the removal of.

A common question will be, what do you want me to say? In the case where you have someone to talk to, we ask that you just pretend we are not present. We also sometimes will provide another talker for you to talk to. In this case, we would again ask you to behave exactly as you would in a non-video situation. Talk when you are so moved and be quiet when you are so moved. Remember that you are going to be videoed for at least a half hour. We may only want to use a few minutes of that video. Less is likely to be better than more. Blabing on just to fill up the air, unless that is what you normally do!, is probably not helpful.

In the event that you are going to use a cell phone conversation, the directions are different. We will not record the other voice because of course people in the bar would not be able to overhear that voice. It works best if you have 2-3 phone calls to make during the meal. They can be work related or private. Generally it is best to not tell the callie that you are being recorded. They are not being recorded. If the conversation starts down a path that you are not comfortable going, just tell them that you are in a public place and will talk about that later.

We will try one other scenario. We will try the bar tender being the reason for the conversation. Again, we ask you to act just the way you would if not being recorded. Answer and ask questions or don't, just as you would normally.

The End.