About this project
DO I NEED THIS
A quirky film about consumerism, excess, and what we really need in life.
After the recent release of her award-winning film about modern marriage, The San Francisco Chronicle said filmmaker Kate Schermerhorn "has been labeled everything from the next cultural crusader to the ant at the honeymoon picnic..."
The honeymoon is over now and the Northern California Emmy-winner is invading a new picnic... this time she's looking into our closets...
We are targeted by over 1,500 commercial messages a day, and they seem to work... Americans spend about $21.5 billion a year on toys alone.
We Americans just love our stuff, we can't get enough of it. Until the economy started falling apart a few years ago, we didn’t even care whether we had money to pay for it (much of the time we really didn’t). But what will happen to all this stuff in 100 years, 200 years, 1000 years, 1,000,000 years? And does that stuff actually improve the quality of our lives anyway?
Do I Need This examines our culture’s excessive, often questionable acquisition of possessions and asks the viewer to stop and examine what they buy and whether they actually need what they are purchasing - does your newborn really need that baby wipe warmer? Does your dog need another overpriced squeeky toy...do you need that hot dog cooker you found in the Sky Mall catalog...will that uncomfortable pair of new shoes be a good idea simply because they were on sale?
Using humor, quirky and engaging characters, and no preaching, Do I Need This pushes viewers to think beyond today, beyond the instant gratification of walking away with a shopping bag or carload of stuff and to look at the impacts of our endless world of purchases, on ourselves as well as on our planet. The film will engage viewers who may not view themselves as environmentalists but can still make a world of difference with changes to their buying habits.
Do I Need This is broken down into five chapters:
1. Wow, We Sure Have a Lot of Stuff - Subjects include a lively bunch - a woman with a closet the size of an average living room, a bachelor with all the latest gadgets, tortured Christmas shoppers, new moms driven by maternal guilt, hoarders who can’t move for all of their belongings, this list goes on...
2. Why do we buy all this stuff and is it improving our lives? - Companies spend more than $200 billion on advertising in the U.S. each year, playing at our guilt, our insecurities, our quest for happiness, and our desire to keep up with the Joneses. We have been highly trained to spend, and we, as a nation, have become very obedient in doing so. There is just so much to discuss here, and we'll start by interviewing psychologists, economists, marketing experts and more.
3. Where does all our stuff go? - While many films have successfully addressed mankind's impact on the planet... Do I Need This attempts to reach the viewer in a new way, focusing primarily on our own country, our own communities, our own beaches, and our very own overflowing landfills.
4. How can we get reduce what we take? - We look at creative and practical ways to reduce what we 'take' - from reusing, to repurposing, to completely rethinking.
5. How can we reduce what we make? - Thinking about a total revamping of our consumer culture, rethinking planned obsolescence and objects that are no longer made to last and/or be passed down through the generations. We also look at responsible advertising and marketing and seek ways to change the economic motivators that have been driving businesses, large and small, to sell us more stuff.
Ultimately, Do I Need This will send viewers back to their own lives and shopping malls with one very simple but life-changing phrase in mind... Do I need this?
Outreach - Do I Need This will have an extensive website with games, resources and ideas on how to cut down on what we use and what we buy. It will include forums for children to discuss their ideas about the future of the planet.
We will hold screenings and discussions and will both overtly and covertly distribute informative and provocative literature at shopping malls and superstores.
Thank you for making this project a reality!
Follow us on Twitter @do_i_need_this
Garbage 1 by Kate Schermerhorn
Useless Objects by Kate Schermerhorn
We love this song kindly donated by Sven Eberlein... we definitely need some funny music like this to use in the film. Thank you Sven!
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