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.
@ajroach42 me: "reality tv is awful"
me after reading this post: THIS HAS TO BE MADE REAL
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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/.
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.
@ajroach42 If you uh, need some help, I'm down.
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 #JupitersGhost 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.
@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.
@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.
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
@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.
@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.
@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.
@ajroach42 I would. LOVE. This.
@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'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!