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Andrew (R.S Admin) @ajroach42

Fictional reality TV is a genre that I think could be really fun for some experimentation.

Take the Star Trek universe and make it less formal, serious, and competent (or, rather, take The Orville's universe and make it less MacFarlaney), and then imagine a reality TV show that is just, like, Ice Road Truckers but about people doing a difficult space shipping route, or do Swamp People with fourth generation settlers of a far flung, low tech colony.

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@ajroach42 me: "reality tv is awful"

me after reading this post: THIS HAS TO BE MADE REAL

@electricsand my big complaint with reality is how it emphasizes certain parts of reality and ignores others. this, by its nature, doesn't have that so much. @ajroach42

@electricsand I don't get to mention it too often but I've written more than a quarter million words of paid clickbait about the bachelor and have never watched the show @ajroach42

@emsenn @electricsand I read a few pieces about the production of that and a few other similar dating shows and the level of sleazy deception and exploration horrified me so much that I try to forget they exist.

@emsenn @electricsand Oh, I have absolutely no judgement for having written about it. I've given labor to crap I did not respect to put food on the table. The world is hard.

It's just, every time I remember that these shows exist I am reminded of the ways that they have exploited people, and I get sad about it.

@emsenn @electricsand Reality TV isn't about reality. It's about not having to pay writers.

You know this, I expect.

As a result, it's all "capture dozens of hours of footage and then re-edit it as deceptively as possible in order to be scandalous."

Fake TV (as I think I will call this format) doesn't have to be scandalous and sensational. It can be relatively mundane and still tell really interesting stories.

@ajroach42 I'd say Faked TV. It's real television, it's faked. @electricsand

@electricsand Right?

Like, using reality TV as a way to explore the unexplored edges of cannons could be really fun, and wouldn't actually be hard to make (or at least would be more forgiving of mistakes, because it is a quick and dirty genre made by professionals, which means that an amateur being very careful and slow will produce roughly equivalent results.)

@freakazoid Yeah, basically.

With the differences being largely a matter of tone, and a little bit of presentation.

This would enable us to lean on the cliche story telling motifs that Reality TV has normalized (talking directly to the camera, heavy selective editing, poor shot composition, staged interviews, bad acting) as a cover for limited production budget and novice actors and producers.

Hit the same notes as the traditional mocumentary, but have the framing and dressing to do it as a series and on a smaller scale.

Documentaries are these big productions, formal, serious.

Mockumentaries tend to follow those serious conventions, and they play with the forms and motifs of the formal and the serious.

I want something that is unabashedly pedestrian, something that takes advantage of the brazenness that the Reality TV format enables.

Anyway, I really like this idea. I think I might try to do something with it at some point.

I hope you do too.

It was recommended that I call this TV, and I like that.

Now I just gotta set up my green screen and design some Space Corps uniforms, I guess.

Like, less "interviews with peoplenwho.surcived a Kaiju attack" and more "these 7 people survived a Kaiju attack, now they have to cook parts of that Kaiju in order to compete for the chance to win the money they need to rebuild their lives.

That's right, it's chopped Kaiju. Contestants open your baskets. In this round, you'll be preparing an entree with: king Kong's nipples, Bigfoot toes, and Godzilla spines"

"now Melissa, Godzilla's spines are poisonous if prepared incorrectly is that right?"

"No Steve, they are actually corrosive until they've been drained. In fact, just preparing them is incredibly dangerous, that acid will take a finger straight off.

Dilute it with something very fatty, like cream or even Gardo--you know, seasoned fat from Godzilla's loins-- and you can make a delightful sauce that's less corrosive than Coca-Cola."

@ajroach42 I like this idea. The fact of everything being done on the cheap could work diegetically: Everything in the show is off-brand, United Space Corps instead of Starfleet, because it's the show that moved second into the reality-TV market and is trying to cash in. It's not even /Survivor/, it's /opposite worlds/.

(youtube.com/watch?v=JKFgn6tNU6)

@bstacey
That's a solid point too. I already have a few captain ersatzes written up for Jupiter's Ghost, I figured I'd just lean on those.

@ajroach42 I came into this thread late so I had forgotten about your original toot and just thought "wow I need to watch this godzilla movie" so I hope that answers your questions

Or:

The route from altera to zathustra is perilous in the best of times, but every 10 solar weeks it enters in to a cycle of radiation storms not unlike monsoon seasons on many inhabited worlds.

Damage is inevitable, fuel is scarce, stops are rare. But, as they say, the spice must flow.

These four long haul shippers have made their living on Death's Cargo Run.

Get someone to animate a few models of ships and ion storms that I can drop against rendered planets and starscapes. And s few backgrounds to chroma key on to.

Get a basic profeciency with animation software so I can drag the rigs around space. Do some space trucker costumes.

Record the conversations via Skype or whatever.

@lordbowlich
Indeed I have. Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon.

Great economy of style and effects. Punched well above their weight class for what was essentially a student film.

@erosdiscordia
I'm glad to hear it!

Do you have my email address? I'm going to start a group chat for this idea.

Of course, the best use of that I can think of is this:

Pro wrestling meets costumed heroes.

Heroes and villains in masks and capes cutting promos on one another and doing talking heads and interviews about fights we never see.

So I think I'm going to start a group chat via email/deltachat about these ideas tomorrow.

Specifically, about producing things quickly and sharing production responsibilities and stuff.

Going to use the kanban board I already have and am not using for this.

Going to tie it back to if I can, so we can get that moving soon too.

@ajroach42 one of the few legitimately innovative things Firefly did was introduce the grammar of the handheld camera into effects shots. Not only does it add to the immediacy of spaceships zooming around if you can see the camera struggling to keep them centered and in focus, but it also dramatically reduces the necessary effects budget to make it believable.

@robotcarsley @ajroach42 after reading this I thought "wow if Firefly started it, Battlestar Galactica picked up on it REALLY fast" and then I discovered they used the same effects company. Heh.

@mike @ajroach42 yeah I'm pretty sure they were the ones who developed the idea, Whedon was too busy writing monologues about how barefoot is legal to be concerned with that

@hummingrain
Do I have your email address? I do I think from when you sent me writing samples. I'll look for it and add you to the fakedTV group message tomorrow.

@ajroach42
That was my first idea for Eight Heads In A Duffel. Like there was a conspiracy to kill the world's richest man happening right in plain sight. I just couldn't bring myself to do that in this time and place

@ajroach42 I really wish Axanar wasn't nerfed by the CBS lawsuit, It looks great. The 'Prelude' video itself is worth seeing:

youtube.com/watch?v=1W1_8IV8uh

@ajroach42 "What We Do in the Shadows" has two mocumentary TV shows: "Wellington Paranormal" and one set on Statten Island (you Americans couldn't let us keep this as a kiwi thing).

I found it works great for showing off the local culture, and these shows could good inspiration for you.

Though I don't know if you can get Wellington Paranormal in the US without pirating it.

@alcinnz @ajroach42 I feel like I have to download this now. I loved What We Do in the Shadows and I actually had a dream about Wellington last night .. involving the farmers who ran my college ministry, serial killers and camping, but also trying to see all my old NZ friends. .. I miss Wellington.

@alcinnz I was unaware of this, so I guess I gotta check it out.

I have a copy of What We Do In the Shadows, but I have not seen it yet.

@ajroach42 The core humor of What We Do In the Shadows and Wellington Paranormal is that they take supernatural horror creatures we're all familiar with and make it mundane.

For example Wellington Paranormal depicts the New Zealand police as being super polite to everyone even if you say your name is "Bazuel From The Unholy Realm".

Of any mocumentaries this sounds like what you're going for.

@alcinnz
I have been meaning to watch it for a bit. I'll out it on while I work on my video toaster tomorrow.

@ajroach42
I joined a Marvel FASERIP system campaign set in WW2. We only met for 2 sessions before the DM realized he had too much going on to continue, but I had started a wiki that combined images from WW2 with fictionalized accounts of paranormal investigations into events like the Nanking Massacre

It's that kind of collaboration that I want. Narratives of fictional events and fictionalisation of historical events cast as eye witness accounts. Tales of intergalactic warfare reconstructed through letters from the front. Create a fake contemporary conspiracy site so convincing that it gets quoted or subpoenaed. Multimedia shitpost compilations with production values so thoroughly and believably consistent with the content that you can smell the steam over the internet

@yaaps
That's basically the goal of

A self sustaining shared universe of deeply personal and ever evolving sci-fi stories.

I just gotta get there.

@ajroach42
I have a couple games where players have historically gotten immersed and generated a lot of content, but the infrastructure wasn't there to preserve it. A lot of it went away with GeoCities and the monetization of DelphiForums

@ajroach42 I don't understand The Orville. It's addictive. I watched all of season1/2, but I realized just how bad it was. It was bad at Sci-Fi and it was bad as a comedy/sitcom, but it had enough interesting elements that I kept watching. It's kinda like Trailer Park Boys in that sense.

@djsumdog I don't think it was bad at sci-fi! It was just dated sci-fi. It was late 80s sci-fi. It was TNG.

The base concepts were all reasonably solid and not horribly executed. They just had a mediocre sitcom bolted on.

@ajroach42 Hmm, that's an interesting way to look at it. Some things were crazy high budget, like the animation. Some things were just bolt on crap, like using gaming/racing chairs in the shuttles.

I felt some over the oversimplification of the sci-fi elements just hurt any believably, and took you back to it being a sitcom. Still I can see it being better than TNG/DS9 tech-babble in some regards. I dunno. Like I kept watching it addictively, but I agree with your use of "MacFarlaney" 😋

@ajroach42 did you ever see Total Drama Island? It was an animated fictional reality show on CN, and I was very fond of it in high school. It did exactly what you describe: leaned on the tropes we're all used to, pretended to be a Survivor-like challenge show, and used viewer familiarity to create something lovable, funny, and reflective.

@bedap I did not. I remember the big brother style show, and I remember not enjoying it.

Drawn Together, I think it was called?

But I don't think I've ever seen Total Drama Island.

@ajroach42 The total drama franchise is really well done and fun to watch even as an adult. @bedap

@ajroach42 @bedap Drawn Together wasn't even Big Brother, it was too big on the hijinx and gross factor IMHO.

@ajroach42 Yeah. ST is too optimistic to be believable with respect to its crew.

And a lot of The Orville's humor falls flat. Still better than ST's complete lack of it.

The Expanse could be good - the Roci's crew are originally ordinary citizens working a blue-collar mining and shipping job - but things don't stay ordinary for long.

@octet33 @ajroach42 Star Trek can be optimistic but still believable and interesting - Deep Space 9 at its later seasons was the absolutely greatest because it found a good balance in showing the optimistic world mixed with the realistic, dirty factors peeking out at the seam. And the alien cultures helped as well!

Orville has gotten much better in the second season when most of the humor got taken out. I recommend checking that one.

@polychrome Oh yeah, the second season is a lot better.

@ajroach42 Like mockumentaries! Didn't they just make a TV series version of What We Do In the Shadows?

I would also love to see a Schitt's Creek prequel spinoff that is "A Little Bit Alexis", Alexis's (fictional) reality TV show when she was a jet-setting socialite.

@nev
Someone else mentioned the (two?) Wwdits shows, yeah.

@ajroach42 one of the short stories in Love÷Death & Robots (Netflix anthology series) is called "Suits" and exactly what I wanna make kinda somehow someday.

@Username_Here_ASAP
I haven't seen it. Mind giving me a short synopsis?

@ajroach42 Short story shorter, farmers in space besieged by bargain bin xenomorphs, defend homestead with customized mech suits and heroism.

@ajroach42 This is probably an asinine comparison, but Angry Video Game nerd did some aggressively homemade-looking fake sci-fi movie a few years ago, and everyone looked like they had so much fun making it.

Perhaps a bit more vulgar than you're going for.

But DIY scifi is an amazing idea.

@ajroach42 Not the AVGN Movie. It was like "The Astro Bastards" or something like that.

@ajroach42 I mean, it's 15 minutes of funny trash, be warned. But it really got under my skin and made me think of how fun it might be to make something like that. As if I didnt have enough projects.

@ajroach42 I think fictional reality TV is a thing though? Duck Dynasty?

@dwc
Duck dynasty purported to be real. The fact that it was mostly scripted and fake was incidental.

Most reality TV is staged to some degree, that's not the bit I care about.

I want set pieces from another universe.

@dwc
Or sci-fi, yeah. There are examples in the thread.

@ajroach42 I've been arguing for a long time for a TV show about a family or a small Federation colony where life is good but not perfect, people are actually people, and not everything has galaxy threatening consequences. Just small stories about the smaller people in the UFP - no less interesting than the big heroes in star ships and space stations.

A reality or "The Office" style editing could work great!

@polychrome @ajroach42 "A Ferengi offers to 'buy' one of my paintings, like, what even is money?"
1fQN.gif

@alexandria @ajroach42 "I looked up 'Latinum' and apparently it's this toxic liquid that's completely useless and you can't even replicate lol i dunno"

@polychrome @ajroach42 Opened the morning news and apparently someone crashed the flagship of the Federation into a fucking planet?? And I thought *I* was bad doing drugs while driving a shuttlecraft
BitterSereneChimpanzee-size_res…

@alexandria @ajroach42 This is from Orville but there's a scene where Gordon reminscs about his academy days when him and other cadets turned a stolen shuttle into a cloaked party-bus and everything went fine until they crashed into a tree. I can actually see this happening in Star Trek.

@polychrome @ajroach42

I wanna say that, for scifi books where the characters are just actual nice people existing, Becky Chambers' novels were really enjoyable to me.