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Mission: make puppet-fueled videos answering the Internet's clueless questions about media & technology."Gonzo" educational TV.
Mission: make puppet-fueled videos answering the Internet's clueless questions about media & technology."Gonzo" educational TV.
104 backers pledged $5,444 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$5,444

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Since its birth in 2008, The Media Show has been exposing the workings of the technology and media industries that impact our lives -- what is often called "media literacy" and its close cousin "digital literacy." Our episodes have tackled everything from YouTube copyright takedowns, to billboard ads, to email chain letters.

We're puppeteers in the tradition of Avenue Q, Greg The Bunny, or Team America World Police: we write comedy for adult Internet audiences, knowing that the elusive high school audience "watches up," making educational shows for that demographic rare indeed. And when it comes to digital issues, plenty of adults need education as well.

Want a more serious, in-depth description of why The Media Show does what it does? Click here for a more detailed description.

We used to produce the show at AfterEd TV at the Teachers College library, which provided space, equipment, a part-time job, and some funds to support production. This was great, but then AfterEd folded and Gus graduated. Our production now relies on you for funding and support. We produce on a frugal budget, as volunteers, often in our home studio or on cable access. We're unlikely to ever be a "real" show funded by advertising, because we often call advertisers out for their untruths -- and they don't like it when you bite the hand that feeds you.

What we want to do

This Kickstarter-backed "season" will be our biggest yet: fifteen episodes, targeted to answer questions put into search engines by actual people on the Internet.

We anticipate two great results: One, if we respond to actual searches, the episodes are more likely to be seen by more people searching the Internet. And two, educational research tells us that people learn better when they pose their own questions and get them answered -- meaning this season is likely to have a bigger educational impact than we've ever had before.

Does "educational" mean "not fun"? Heck no. Not where we come from. We've already drafted a script or two for this season, and we're laughing pretty hard at them -- a good sign. "Power drill" is one of the things on the prop list for a script about why it's bad for kids to watch too much TV. What could go wrong when you mix power tools with puppets?

Where will the Kickstarter funds go?

Funds this time will mostly go toward paying an editor -- the one position on this production that takes a lot of time, which Gus no longer has because she has an unrelated full-time job. We will also need to purchase minimal equipment and pay for some production costs (materials for props; craft services).

Premiums!

Here's more info on some of the premium packages listed to the right:

Stickers and Shirts! This popular favorite, a parody of the classic Shepard Fairey OBEY series, is designed by Rob Vincent. Stickers have two designs (Erna and Weena); shirts will be black, with the Weena graphic shown below.

Collectors Package: Posters Two posters which have appeared on the set of the show: a rare internal cast party advertisement from Sesame Street and a modified "Successories" poster which now says "Perverse" instead of "Persevere." Plus another Successories poster ("Opportunity") ready for you to modify yourself. It's like having the Internet on your wall! (All posters have some wear and tear from being on the set with rambunctious puppets, including some damage to the image.)

Collectors Package: The Intern One of the show's own hapless Interns -- the puppets we sacrifice regularly for the lulz. Autographed by puppeteers Abby, Gus, and Rob. (May or may not have actually appeared on the show, but will be made of elements which appeared on camera. Trust me, you don't want the one covered in monster blood.) Now you can shoot your own fan videos about red shirting interns in hilarious media-related circumstances -- and if they're funny enough, we might feature them in an episode!

Non-moving image Rob has painted and drawn a series of technology- and media-related works for the radio show Off The Hook and the Hackers On Planet Earth conference. For our rewards, he will also happily tackle advertising-related subjects of your choosing. Here are some previous examples:

 A commemoration of the Commodore 64.

Remembering the Apple IIGS.

Phone-related art for the Last HOPE Conference.

Avenging Angel puppets Some of our backers from the last Kickstarter walked away with puppets we used in our shoots:

 Two lucky backers received Bizarro Weena and Ernabelle!

 We did eventually get Rob to part with our beloved Forever Alone (and if you want your own, we can definitely make another one!)

Trollface is still available to sarcastically lord over your cubicle, nursery, marital bed, etc.

Mad Props Here are some examples of props Rob Vincent has built before:

 From left to right: Multipass based on The Fifth Element, teleport bracelet based on Blake's 7, mask based on The Mask, key based on Return To Oz...

 ... all sitting at the base of a functioning Tom Servo puppet which Rob built. We can't offer a Tom Servo puppet as a reward (they're costly to build and hard to find materials for). This is just to make it clear what Rob is capable of.

 Rob's faithful yet playful re-creation of the obscure flyer held by the "Save the clock tower!" lady in Back To The Future won accolades from that fandom.

 One finished and one in-construction boot from our Super Mario Brothers movie cosplay last year.

So tell us: what small movie prop would you like Rob to build for you?

Risks and challenges

Having run two Kickstarter drives before, we are confident we can pull off a third. For both of our prior Kickstarters, we produced all promised videos and delivered the majority of premiums in a timely fashion.

Previous Kickstarter backers may note that we were slower to deliver some of our premiums than we initially proposed (though the first campaign was run during a time before Kickstarter asked projects to state deadlines). Some discs (including archives), puppets, tote bags, and snow globes took more time to deliver than anticipated. Fortunately, our previous experience has taught us what might go wrong:

-- Puppets, tote bags, and snow globes took a bit more time to create than expected. This time we will adjust the scheduled delivery date accordingly.

-- Individual discs were sometimes slowed down by production problems we don't expect to have again.

-- Creating the archives required significantly more time and technical expertise than we had on our team in previous Kickstarters. The great news is we have developed a workflow to produce archive discs, worked out most of the kinks with old formats that were causing us trouble, and built the older archive discs -- meaning that subsequent episodes will be a breeze to slot into archive discs, and production will go much quicker!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Ohai, Backer! — $1 or more gets you our heartfelt thanks and access to our production blog, full of outtakes and behind-the-scenes updates.

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    Weena Has A Posse — You get 5"x3" stickers with stylized pictures of the puppets, designed by puppeteer Rob Vincent, and access to the special production blog!

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    Monsters of the Week (Download) — Digital downloads of high-quality versions of all episodes produced with your funding, and exclusive outtakes which won't go up online, as well as production blog access. (No stickers.)

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    EHRMAGERD SHERTS — Be the epitome of hip in a black cotton t-shirt adorned with the image of Weena (see picture to the left for example). Plus a digital DOWNLOAD OF THE EPISODES we make this season! And stickers! And blog access!

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    Monsters of the Week (DVD) — One DVD with high-quality versions of the episodes produced with your funding, and exclusive outtakes which won't go up on our channel, as well as access to the episodes as downloads. Plus a shirt, stickers, and production blog access!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    EHRMAGERD SHERTS — Be the epitome of hip in a black cotton t-shirt adorned with the image of Weena (see picture to the left for example). Plus stickers, DVD/download of these episodes, and blog access.

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    The Back Catalog - T-shirt, DVD/download of these episodes AND both previous Kickstarter discs. Plus stickers and blog access.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Collectors Package: Posters. Two posters which have appeared on the set of the show, including Successories (see description to the left.) Plus blog access, DVD/download, shirt, and stickers.

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    Collectors Package: The Intern — DVD/download, stickers, shirt, blog access, plus one of the show's own hapless Interns -- the puppets we sacrifice regularly for the lulz. (See description to left.)

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    Archivist Package — DVDs with every Media Show episode made to date, plus related curriculum materials! Great for colleges, libraries, teachers, and collectors. Also shirt, blog access, and stickers.

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    Non-Moving Image — Puppeteer and artist Rob Vincent will paint you a small canvas in his series on computers, phones, advertising, or media (see additional description to the left). Plus shirt, DVD/download, stickers, and blog access.

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    Avenging Angel of the Internets — Stickers, shirt, DVD/download of these episodes, your name on our website's credits page as one of our Internet Angel sponsors — PLUS a handcrafted PUPPET! Gus will make you a Mini-Weena, Mini-Erna, a meme puppet, or a generic fuzzy li'l guy.

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    Mad Props — Our puppeteer Rob Vincent is also an accomplished prop maker. Rob will consult with you to develop and send you a hand-sized prop inspired by a TV show, movie, game, or other fictional style of your choosing. (See additional information on Rob's previous prop work to the left.) Plus shirt, DVD/download, stickers,

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    Education Sponsors Package — The Archvist Package, plus your name (or school or organization's name) on our website's credits page in the "Education Sponsors" section — and a one-hour presentation and Q&A session about the show and/or a mutually-agreed-upon media/digital literacy topic with producer Gillian "Gus" Andrews, via Skype or a similar technology that works for your school or organization, sometime in the coming year (between the hours of 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. EST).

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    The Puppets Show You A Good Time — Weena, Erna, and the Monster will take you out on the town in New York City. This may include a tour of notable activist media sites, karaoke with the puppets, dinner with fascinating local characters, catching a screening at our favorite art-house cinema, and a short video produced just for you as a memento. (We cover the fun, but you're responsible for transportation to New York City and for lodging.) Plus DVD/download, shirt, stickers, and blog access, naturally!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Education Angel Package — The Archivist Package, your name (or your school or organization's name) on our website's credits page in the "Education Angel" section, and Gus will visit the school or organization of your choice (within commuting distance of LA, San Francisco, New York, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, or Detroit) to give an entertaining presentation/Q&A session on the show and/or a mutually-agreed-upon media/digital literacy topic. Also, we will take and present you with a framed, signed 8x10 glossy photo of you, the pledger, with Weena and Erna!

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Funding period

- (21 days)