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Charles Kuralt goes High Tech

a GPS enabled bus travels the country
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This idea takes Charles Kuralt's "On the Road" series and upgrades it, so it is more high tech -- with a roving GPS enabled bus that does human interest stories. A fuller treatment with pictures can be found at:
nreilly, Oct 15 2000

(?) the bus http://www.geocitie...elsonreilly/sl.html
[nreilly, Oct 15 2000, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       In your webpages, you refer back to the success of reality television shows. I think the reason reality television occasionally works is that editing and player selection leaves us with characters in whose fates we become interested. We tune in to see what becomes of a person, how their relationships develop, and so on.   

       Your concept is one where participants change each week; the episodes are tied together by hardware, not by people. I'm not sure a bus will capture the interest of viewers in the same way that a group of people would.   

       So we'll have to heavily fall back on real journalism and interesting stories, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.   

       That being said, and with the business plan unclear, it still sounds like a wonderful project to be involved in. The technically hard part would be not the GPS but the downlink -- the bus would need constant wireless connectivity while roaming, and that's still difficult.
jutta, Oct 15 2000

       Yes, thanks for the comments. These are all problems I have struggled with. I do believe that real journalism is key, but I want to incorporate something that gives the bus's travel purpose -- without being trite and hokey or too heavy and self-righteous.   

       It needs something more than just that people will be curious to see what another location is like. People at each stage need to feel like they are contributing to some larger purpose. Each stop is somehow important to the mission -- whatever that is. The programming should be interesting enough for non-participants to listen to, and/or watch, but the participants should play a key role.   

       I've considered making it a "viral" bus -- kind of like a "bluemountain" card. dunno.
nreilly, Oct 16 2000

       Yes, that came to my mind as well - have some external purpose to the bus. A circus bus, or a political campaign (Tanner '88 was a fun setting in addition to being well-written), or linguists gathering samples. But then, in writing about it, I got sidetracked into confessing that "Road Rules" didn't do it for me, eithter, and ended up deleting the whole thing.   

       Viral bus? Bluemountain card? I don't understand; please explain.
jutta, Oct 16 2000

       There are several buses like the one I am proposing, although they all suffer from a similar problem.   

       C-SPAN has a bus which tours the country during election time. The Discovery Channel also has a bus which gets kids involved in clean up projects. Probably the most famous bus was Ken Kesey's Merry Prankster bus -- which really didn't have much of a purpose at all. "Further" was its motto. I'm looking up Tanner '88 -- a Robert Altman movie? A circus bus? Sounds interesting...   

       I think Road Rules was lame because you got less psychological drama than in the other shows, plus you watched somebody else involved in a scavenger hunt type adventure. Pretty boring. It's only fun if you are involved. The problem with a lot of these concepts is that the bus has a purpose and people participate in that purpose, but once the bus is gone their is little reason to care about it. Slightly different: the bus has a purpose but the people (not drivers of the bus) construct its unfolding.   

       The bluemountain bus would be sort of like a greeting card, where one person, or community sends the bus to another person or community. For what purpose I don't know yet -- that's why I'm hanging out in the 1/2 bakery! Ideally, each time the bus is sent it contributes to the overall picture...where is the bus going now, why is it going that way, what does it mean to the story? That way people keep tuning in to see the next steps. Perhaps solving a riddle, or constructing something? Still working on it.   

       Since I'm on the subject of baking -- a Brownie Bus -- a definitely trite idea that would only be saved by its goofiness. It delivers hot piping brownies to your door. Who doesn't like a brownie or hot chocolate chip cookie? It would have elements of those daytime shows where some lucky woman is given a "makeover" except here people would vote for the cookie to be delivered to the person in need. Might work as a promotion for Duncan Hines or something.
nreilly, Oct 16 2000

       Jutta: I think the 'bluemountain' thing refers to the web 'greeting cards'. Blue Mountain is one of the larger perpetrators of these things, and promptly put every address run through on a spam list.
StarChaser, Oct 18 2000

       You could put one of those giant Keas on the roof too, just to give it something to do.
Op, Aug 10 2001


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