Summary: Las Vegas Meeting, June 12-18 (Part Two)

Added on by PS Cat02.
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A week of meetings generates quite a lot of minutes. I did take notes but it's not a verbatim transcript per se, so my apologies to everyone if this summary contains inaccuracies or misinterpretations of what was actually said.

Looking Back: The First Two Years.

• All of us agree that working on the Pinky Show project has been a good learning experience for us. It's really pushed us to learn how to do things we never would have otherwise attempted (none of us actually enjoy working with computers) - for example, we've had to learn how to: build and run a web site; record sound and music on a computer; draw cats; edit video; make t-shirts; and so on.

• It's kind of amazing to us how much of the time we've spent during the first two years has been just trying to learn how to do all the technical stuff necessary to produce the Pinky Show. It may not always be apparent to viewers, but in every episode we usually try to experiment a little in order to improve on at least a couple of things. As we get more comfortable with the 'production' side of things, we'll be able to make new episodes faster and more efficiently.

• The most rewarding thing about working on this project however has been the 'non-technical' aspects: doing research; drafting and editing scripts; searching for or creating illustrations; talking to all kinds of knowledgeable people. It's really been the kind of 'education' we were looking for.

• We all agree that the best part about making The Pinky Show has actually turned out to be the part that no one else gets to see. After we do our preliminary research ('information gathering'), we all sit down and start discussing how we should present the information. We argue about the implications of presenting this way and that way. We map out all the ways we imagine what we say could possibly be interpreted by different audiences (and the logical consequences of each). It probably doesn't look like it when people see the final result, but behind the scenes we actually do a lot of fighting (and yelling and biting and scratching) about what matters and why. We have a lot of arguments about wording. Each discussion inevitably sends us back to do more research; we repeat this until we feel like we can make an episode that has what we call 'instrumentality'. Ultimately we make decisions based on whether or not something will make an episode more useful as a political weapon. Even if it's a very small weapon. Anyway, the working process we've developed is not a methodology per se and it's certainly not efficient. But it's been the most enjoyable part and being able to slug it out on a daily basis is having a profound effect on all of us.

• Our episodes have slowly (technically) improved. One day we'd like to re-do some of our earlier episodes (version 2.0), especially the Columbian Exposition one and the Vietnam War episode.

• We've experimented with different formats for presenting information and will continue to do this using formats we haven't tried yet - for example: music videos, slide shows, tutorials, street interviews, and so on.

• Our favorite episode type so far is the ones where we start out with a 'simple' question and do the research in order to try to find an answer - for example, the Vietnam War episode, the Iraq War episode, etc. Unfortunately episodes like these also take the longest to produce and so they are also the most expensive to produce. Runner-up is we like the merging of travel diary with research, such as in the Columbian Exposition episode. We like this format but of course these also tend to be expensive because of the additional costs associated with travel. We like interview-based episodes and they are much faster (and therefore cost less) to make, but since they are telephone interviews we think maybe it is visually a little boring. In the future, whenever possible, we would like to do some in-person interviews.

[ Bunny's note: If we do in-person interviews that also adds travel costs because we're in the fucking desert. ]

• Originially we had intended the Pinky Show to be a very short-form program (approx. 3 to 5 minutes per episode), with a new episode released every few days. Although we still like the concept, we quickly found out that that format didn't really suit our personality-types. We tend to like to be very careful in our research (which takes a lot of time) and also we tend to like to look at the relationships between things (which also tends to be not-so-easy to explain). All of these things made our episodes longer and longer and basically we have really struggled to keep our episodes short and 'tight' rather than go on and on in a discursive fashion. We always joke that pretty soon we'll be making 2-hour documentaries, then after that 10-hour, 5 part mini-series.

• Most of our episodes thus far have centered on pretty dark subject matter. This was not our original intention but considering the current state of world affairs (and the fact that with the exception of Kim we are basically a serious bunch), we're not surprised it's gone this way.

• Mimi & Kim originally intended to be more actively involved in research and writing. However for various reasons this hasn't really happened (yet) and Mimi's PS work has mostly been limited to financial and organizational paperwork and some grant writing. We wouldn't have been able to continue work on the Pinky Show, however, if it weren't for Mimi & Kim's outside work and financial contributions that have allowed us to pay for equipment, bills, and all our other expenses. Hopefully in the near future they will be able to be more directly involved in creating content.

• Bunny & I have also had to spend lots of hours away from Pinky Show work in order to take on (paying) outside projects. Based on our calculations we would have been able to produce at least 50% more episodes over the last year if we were able to dedicate all our time towards the Pinky Show.

• The relatively large number of international viewers has been an unexpected but nice surprise. The question has arisen about whether or not we should provide translations (subtitles) in other languages.

• Viewer feedback has (generally) been far more positive than we had anticipated. Which is nice, but it makes us wonder if people are really understanding the implications of what we are saying.

• Lack of funding continues to be our largest problem.

Okay, just like yesterday, this entry turned out to be really long. So I'm going to stop right here and tomorrow I'll conclude my report by summarizing some of the stuff we discussed that relates to what our plans are for the future. Hugs to everybody.

~ pinky