Sunday, June 24, 2007

Music: Ship of Fools Productions - The Channel 101 Musical.

What I love about this video is that it really goes for a full blown desktop musical with original music and everyone singing on the recording and then acting it out with simple DV production values. In this case it is a little cheezy and "insider" but it is really a concept that could strike a bigger chord if it is done correctly.

Ship of Fools Productions is a project that began in 1999 and it is a collaboration of 3 men: Actor Mike McCafferty who has had some success as a Hollywood actor, Jason Makiaris, who is a collaborator and composer, and Ben Plummier who is a writer and director of photography. Together they have made over 25 short films and counting. There motto is to always be shooting which I think is good advice [YouTube posts HERE]. The above playlist is all 5 parts of an episodic series that was submitted to a web competition known as Channel 101.

Channel 101 is an interesting story in itself. It is a website presenting itself like a TV channel that always has 5 shows running. The shows come from a competition where producers submit a pilot to be reviewed. Not all of them get past that stage. If the pilot is accepted, it is then screened before a large audience that meets regularly to review the submissions. Each show is rated and they are either canceled or greenlighted based on the ratings that this audience gives. If it is greenlighted, it goes on the front page of the Channel 101 website which is what they call their "Prime Time" spots. They then have a deadline to create a new episode which is then rated by the same audience in the same manner except it is competing with all the past winners and new submissions all over again. Eventually the show gets canceled but the trick is to see how long you can keep it running in the competitive bloodbath.

Now, back to Ship Of Fools Productions. Ship of Fools created a full blown musical about people trying to come up with a great idea for a Channel 101 TV show. It was so unique and clever that it became incredibly popular. They did several more episodes and claim that they were the only show ever in the history of Channel 101 to make as many episodes as they want and then walk away on their own terms. Quite an accomplishment.

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