I've got some good news and bad news to share. Bad first: The film isn't going to be ready by September 2 when I promised. Some 11th hour shooting delays cascaded into postproduction delays, compounded by lost time because my toddler got sick and I had to take care of her instead of work. So it's going to be a bit longer, but I'll keep you updated--and I'm sorry for breaking my promise.
Now some good news--here's some raw footage I have to share with you. Did you ever wonder what those rings on the red cup were for? There are tons of urban legends out there, and I even got different answers from some of the folks I met who actually worked for Solo. But Edwin Holzhauer, a former engineering manager at the manufacturing plant in Urbana, Ill., told me his answer: When the cups are running off the line one after another, you don't want them to stack together TOO well, or else...
Enjoy the clip, and I'll talk to you soon.
Hi Team Party Cup,
I just got a DVD full of old commercials and weird internal marketing videos from the former Solo company, now owned by Dart Container. (Yes, it turns out they were willing to share something with us.) I'll be using them in the film, and I thought you might like a little preview of one of them. This is one of the first TV commercials for … well, you know what. Amazingly, "peach" didn't turn out to be a hit color.
(One favor to ask: please don't re-post this on Youtube. The folks at Dart didn't say we *couldn't* do that, but I don't want them to sic their lawyers on me when we're almost done with the project!)
As we zoom towards completion of the film, I had an idea that you might find interesting.
We've all encountered this iconic red cup here and there in our lives. And we usually pay it no mind. But what if, the next time you did encounter it, you DID pay it a bit of attention--and recorded your "encounter" and sent it to me, to possibly be used in the film?
This could be as simple as recording a little video clip with your phone the next time you see or buy a package of red party cups in the supermarket -- or notice one smashed up in a garbage can or on the curb -- or pour yourself a drink into one at a backyard barbecue -- or ANYTHING, really! (You may recall from the trailer that I often used a red cup as a bath toy with my daughter. I bet Solo never intended that…)
It doesn't have to be a video clip, either. It could be a picture, an Instagram, an audio recording of an old memory or story of something involving a red party cup… really, it can be anything that you can upload. All you have to do is email it to me at:
And if you want to send something larger than 25MB, you can go to:
It will let you upload anything up to 2GB. Just make sure to put firstname.lastname@example.org in the space where it says "friend's email".
What will I do with the stuff you share? Honestly, I'm not sure yet! I just think it'd be neat to have this kind of personal material, from the folks who backed the film, actually IN the film. It is called "I, Party Cup" after all -- and what better way to visually get that personal-ness across, than by incorporating material from YOU? (But there's no obligation, of course.)
If you want to record and share something for possible inclusion in the short film, just make sure to read the legal stuff below -- we have to put that in here. (The short version: if you use that Dropbox link above to upload something, you're granting me legal permission to use that material in the film, and that what you're uploading isn't breaking any copyright laws.)
I'm excited to see what you end up sharing. More soon!
By emailing files to email@example.com ("Licensed Material"), you ("Licensor") hereby grant to Small Mammal (“Producer”), its successors and assigns, the non-exclusive right to reproduce the Licensed Material, to record and edit the Licensed Material as desired on film, tape or otherwise (the “Recording”), and to use the Licensed Material, in whole or in part, in and in connection with the Film (working title: "I, Party Cup") and all versions thereof and all materials relating thereto, including promotion. Producer, and its successors and assigns, shall own all right, title and interest, including the copyright, in and to the Film, including the Recording, to be used and disposed of throughout the world in perpetuity without limitation as Producer shall determine in its sole discretion, including without limitation to distribute the Film in all manner, format and media, whether now known or hereinafter developed.
Licensor represents and warrants that Licensor possesses or has obtained all rights to the Licensed Material necessary for the grant of this license and that the rights granted hereunder will not conflict with or violate any commitment, agreement, or understanding Licensor has or will have to or with, nor infringe upon any rights of, any person or entity. Licensor shall pay and indemnify and hold Producer and its grantors, officers, directors, assignees, agents, licensees, and employees harmless from and against all claims, losses, costs, expenses, settlements, demands, and liabilities of every kind, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses, arising out of or incurred by reason of the use of the Licensed Material set forth herein or the inaccuracy, alleged breach, or actual breach of any representation, warranty, covenant, agreement, or undertaking Licensor has made herein.
We've had a productive spring! We're zeroing in on some great characters -- like a family of six in Illinois, two generations of whom worked on the Solo Cup factory floor, from the day the cup first started rolling off the line, to the day that the classic design got thrown out the window, to the day that Solo itself went belly up. (Extra special thanks to Grist Intern Daniel Penner, whose truly intrepid research made that breakthrough possible.)
We've also set a "no ifs, ands, or buts" deadline for the film to be finished and ready for you to check out. By September 2, 2013 or sooner -- which also coincides with the anniversary of our funding campaign -- you'll be watching the story we've put together. I think it'll be worth the wait. And of course you'll hear more from me throughout the summer.
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