Archive for October, 2008

Calm in the face of the storm

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Sunday Stanley Fish published a report of the campaign that points out how this election, and others in the past, is being won by the person saying the least.
Last night I attended a presentation by Will Steger, polar explorer and climate change activist. Steger has witnessed ‘on the ground’ the extraordinary changes at either pole during the recent decade. He has before and after pictures with himself in the picture! Both during his presentation and the Q& A he repeatedly used a moderate voice and deflected questions of blame. He recommended ‘putting on a coat and in order to convince the most resistant.
Certainly since early in this century, we have been subjected to the politics of fear. Most of the existing productions on climate focus on the scary outcomes. It is hard to avoid, given that the scale of climate is so big- beyond the horizon of either our experience or lifetimes. When something the size of the Larsen Ice Shelf can collapse and dissipate in a short time, it definitely is sobering.
But the calm response, as evidenced by Obama in the presidential campaign, is what creates positive response. This was the creative choice made during the production.
We are now in the process of finding out whether those controlling the distribution channels will respond as the public has.

Is Green the right color for the ‘green economy’?

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Bob Metcalf asked this question in presentations he made all spring and summer this year. Green is the color of envy, and inexperience. It is also the color of environmentalists that oppose capitalism, technology and well, progress.
There are plenty of voices suggesting that inexperience combined with the crises in confidence in that other green ( you know the kind with “in God we trust” on it) spells strong headwinds for those flying the reinvention of the economy flag.
Well, I can’t find it online, so I am going to suggest you go buy “The Green Collar Economy” so that you can read Robert Kennedy Jr’s forward, in which he cites a remarkable precedent (cribbed from Lord David Puttnam no less).
Two hundred years ago, Parliament debated abolition of slavery. One significant aspect of resistance to the idea was that it would, in eliminating the cheapest form of energy at the time, ruin the economy. It only took a year in those non electronic times for them to make the moral decision. The result was exactly opposite.
In searching to replace slave energy, innovators instead harnessed steam, organized the use of debt to finance all manner of new scales of business, and unleashed the manufacturing boom that made it possible for people to give up scratchy underwear, and the industrial age. That in turn has made humans incredibly successful. Too successful according to the most extreme factions of environmentalism.
Today you can find voices that suggest that we are on the brink of the same opportunity today. Some of them are in “Proof or Propaganda”, and some are in the NYTimes.
It’s great to see the message out there. Eager for the CU version to reach the public.

Screening the public

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

With the election looming, and the two candidates both pitching some variation of rebuilding the US economy with green business, the crisis of confidence will be focusing on the how and what of reinventing how we live. With this in mind, we staged a screening of “Proof or Propaganda” for a large group. We gathered about 140 people in a room, showed them the production, and asked them to comment, rate, and discuss.
The result was that the presentation was graded highly, averaging an ‘8’ among those who filled out the questionnaire. To the question “would you recommend’ the average was 9.5, meaning that whatever reservation they had about the program, they thought their friends should see it. That strong endorsement is a great indicator.
Also, people liked the people on screen. They may not have registered just who the people were, but they got exactly what they know, and like how it was expressed. They found the scientists and business people likable, trustworthy and believable. While a certain small percentage thought there was too much ‘marketing’ from business people, far more were excited and encouraged to hear people speak optimistically about the challenges. By a wide margin, people found PG&E CEO Peter Darbee to be their favorite, even if they didn’t get what company he was from correct.
The negatives were around the narrative character, the only fictional person in the program, and the quality of the presentation.
The first requires some finessing of the part, both in writing and execution. The second is a matter of remastering the program in HD and using a delivery mechanism appropriate to the size of the screen and room we were in.

Meanwhile the film has been submitted to several festivals, especially those with markets associated. It is also in the process of being submitted to distribution channels of various sorts. More news when we have some!