Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Futures video clips from HRCFS

As regular readers of t.s.f. already know, at the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies we continue to seek alternative ways to communicate our thinking around alternative scenarios. (It has been suggested that we need to find other hobbies. We're currently examining those options.)

Meanwhile, however, the "Showdown in Chinatown" in Honolulu each month, gives participants 48 hours to conceive, shoot and edit a completed video, up to seven minutes in length, on a given theme. So far, we've seized this opportunity twice (this month and last month), to produce no-budget short films addressing possible futures, with the help of our friends in the Political Science department, and beyond. Our hope is that they may be considered entertaining, or thought-provoking, or possibly both... that goes for our friends, as well as the films. These two short pieces join the four clips from "Hawaii 2050" featured here in an earlier post.

Neural rights management, Hawaii-style
This concept, and the structure (based on MasterCard's long-running "Priceless" advertising campaign) were generated over an energetic discussion at Manoa Garden, our campus bar. Jake Dunagan, armed with his PhD dissertation research about the political implications of new brain technologies, was the ideal candidate to step in and direct. The "Showdown" requirements for the month were worked into the mix along the way -- topic being "the last chance", a tree and a car as featured items, and the required line of dialogue, "...of course you are". (Cast and crew credits appear on this clip's YouTube page.)

"Aloha Tonight" investigates...
This time the parameters included the topic "addiction", the line "that's it", and two items; an apple and a pencil. We brainstormed an outline on this basis, shot it all on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, and edited through Saturday evening, again narrowly missing the deadline for screening in the official "Showdown" competition. Everyone improvised their dialogue with a minimum of direction, and fortunately our five year-old star proved willing to appear onscreen in exchange for handfuls of M&Ms. The late, great comic actor W.C. Fields famously warned against working with animals and children -- so this one's dedicated to him. (The rest of the credits appear in the film.)

Thanks to all who helped make these experimental forays into quick-draw filmmaking possible -- we're looking forward to doing this on a regular basis. Watch this space, the HRCFS blog, or this YouTube channel for future releases.

Update (17/11/08): YouTube has withdrawn access to the "Neural Rights Management" clip. The link now goes to a message that "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by a third party", although oddly enough, at the time of writing the embedded version above still plays back. In any case, for now the video can be viewed (and is discussed in a little more detail) here.