Social media-powered show to hit Web

Chris Caceres · December 17, 2009 · Short URL:

From creator of 'American Idol' comes 'If I Can Dream,' a social media approach to entertainment

This sort of project was bound to happen - a show that will make use of the real-time Web and social media, completely bypassing television but incorporating the traditional narrative and storytelling style we have grown so accustomed to consuming on traditional TV.  

If I Can Dream was thought up by the Simon Fuller, who created the hit television show American Idol.  It will be supported by Pepsi and Ford.  The show will follow the lives of five aspiring actors and musicians who will set out to try and make it in Hollywood.  Sounds like a typical story we're familiar with, but where it differs will be in its use of social media and the real-time Web.

First off, the show will be streamed live 24/7.  Apparently, every move will be streamed as the characters rehearse, write music, socialize and plan their careers.  The whole concept, according to the announcement is "tailor-made for a new generation who broadcast all aspects of their lives to the public via mobile phones, MySpace updates, Facebook updates and their tweets.  It's entertainment for the social networking set -- unfiltered and unvarnished."

This video streaming will be complimented by two way communications with the audience.  Here's where social media and the real-time Web come into play.  Viewers will be able to interact through text, blogs, MySpace, Twitter and Facebook in real-time during the streams.  The audience will determine what happens in the show as well.  For example, if one of the characters leaves the show or makes it and goes on tour, their place will be taken by a new hopeful chosen by the public.

Hulu comes into play as well.  All this footage will be edited into a weekly segment broadcast on the video site.  It makes sense for Hulu since it is focused on longer, more TV-like videos.  Segments will be produced by Fuller's 19 Media and are set to be 30 minutes long.   

"I am determined to continue challenging convention and pushing the boundaries of mainstream entertainment," Fuller said in a statement.  "The next frontier is the video world of authentic real time interaction.  If I Can Dream experiments with technology to provide for the first time a complete open door opportunity that allows the viewer to experience reality in a way never before attempted."

Fuller hopes the show will become an "interactive cultural experiment, opening up the American Dream and democratizing the process of the making of a star."

It's also interesting to note that, if the show's successful online, Fuller hopes to eventually sell it to traditional television, says a report by Variety.  So in the end, even if the show is a cultural experiment, the producers are still looking to make money off it in the old-fashioned manner.

The show is set to air online in early 2010.


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