Now that the Al Gore story is in print, I can no longer pretend that the hours I spend watching Current TV, the network he started with partner Joel Hyatt, is for reporting purposes. I’ve morphed into a bona fide fan, and I’m always delighted by the strength of the storytelling and the consistency of the programming voice. Within a half an hour of watching, I’ve typically laughed, been moved to tears and learned something interesting; any moments of boredom or disinterest pass quickly because, well, the pods are short. It really isn’t like anything else that you see on television, and it’s getting better all the time.
They’re also getting creative about the ways that ordinary people can get their own images and ideas on the air.
One of my recent favorite initiatives is a collective music video shot entirely by fans at a concert. The band is My Morning Jacket, who recently performed at Lollapalooza. The call for entries:
Make history with Current TV and My Morning Jacket by helping to create a new kind of concert video. How? By using the video from YOUR cell phone or digital camera to film a classic My Morning Jacket song at Lollapalooza. This will be a special performance as MMJ will be joined by The Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. After we get everybody’s clips we will put it all together into one concert video called All Eyes On My Morning Jacket.
The concert was on Sunday, but if you happen to have footage, you have until September 4th to upload your goods.
This has a pretty cool precendent. Last year, producers Douglas Caballero and Alex Simmons talked The Shins into doing something similar at the Austin City Limits Festival. The song had yet to be released, which was a nice touch. There were 200 entries, everyone got at least one frame in. (They even got the band to shill for Current.) What it lacks in production values, it makes up for in sincerity and I-was-there-ness:
Up until now, Current seems to have kept Gore’s involvement in the background. In what appears to be their first overtly “Goreish” initiative, they’ve launched a video contest with the Alliance for Climate Protection. The challenge: Create a 15, 30 or 60 second message supporting responsible climate change practices, and possibly win one of a slew of cool prizes. Friend of Gore, Cameron Diaz, did a promo from Current HQ.
They’ve got several examples already on the site, including one from my not so secret addiction, Ask A Ninja.