Tuesday, August 18, 2009

dispatch from the twittertainment frontier

Being a Mad Man on Twitter provides unique opportunities to explore the frontiers of twittertainment. So while AMC was whipping up impressive frenzy for the premiere of Mad Men's Season Three last week, some of us Mad Men on Twitter got together to prepare a "tweaser": a fan-produced event in a parallel universe: a twitter show in which Mad Worlds Collide.

Mad Worlds Collide was a first in twittertainment. A dramatic improv produced, created and aired completely on twitter, it bridged the divide between dimensions by offering tickets and real-world Mad Men-era prizes.

The concept was this: in the hour before the long-awaited Mad Men premiere, our new twitter character Radio City hosted a virtual premiere for 1963 film "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World", preceded by a variety show in which @Jimmy_Barrett appeared "on stage" with stars of the film, @_EthelMerman and @EdieAdams. It was a scenario that allowed for the participation of all Mad Men on Twitter as well any fans game to get in on the fun.

We issued tickets. Prepared the venue. Sent out the word via tweets and Betty's blog. Even lined up some snazzy door prizes.

As showtime got closer, we drew up a timeline so that we could synchronize our (winding) watches:
9:00- 9:10 People hurrying to Radio City, waiting for show to begin or schmoozing in the lobby or backstage. Theater always gets started late.

9:10 Curtain goes up and Rockettes open the show. Lots of opps for tweeted thoughts from the crowd.

9:19 Curtain goes down.

9:20 Curtain comes up. A variety show is "supposed" to feature a lot of actors from the film. But @Jimmy_Barrett (pissed that Stanley Kramer didn't cast him) takes over the show.

9:30 Curtain goes down.

9:30 - 9:45 Intermission. People mingle in lobby. Door prizes are announced.

9:45 People go back to their seats, anxious for the screening to start .

9:50 Lights go out, in preparation for screening. Everyone posts scrowler which turns viewer screen black.
We crafted posts from RadioCity to act as MC to provide narrative structure, carefully timed and pre-posted to a third-party application which would send out the tweets at just the right moments. What we'd overestimated was distance between 1963 and 2009 technology. Pre-posted tweets from @_RadioCity didn't post. Why isn't my speaker system working tonite? (If we were IRL actors, perhaps we'd have known better than to put all our faith in the production crew.)

Without an MC, the "stage" turned into a free-for-all, truly experimental "theater": not only marvelous improv from @Jimmy_Barrett (see it here) but also fun, fast-paced, unscripted, completely organic and sometimes hilarious entertainment from the crowd. Which you can see here. Appropriate, we decided, to a madcap heist film. And to ground-breaking television drama. The audience certainly seemed to enjoy it.


California Girl said...

That is pretty funny. I don't understand Twitter well enough to even consider that scenario.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first program of the season last Sunday. I would not work in that environment for all the tea, etc etc.

Anonymous said...

sounds lame.