Reality Is a News Show (and a Work in Progress)
A couple of months ago I made a mock issue of a newsletter that would use the old school, dry, simply-reporting-the-facts journalistic voice to summarize the weirdest of the recent events.
Now I’m working on an animated news show with the same premise.
One idea for the title is End Times News. (It’s Russian in origin: I used to keep a magazine-like journal titled Posledneye Vremya, which can be translated either as “Lately” or “The End Times.”)
Another idea for the title is Reality.
The term is meant as a kind of a one-word oxymoron: on the one hand, it highlights the high and all-to-rare journalistic standards we would hold our reporting to—straight facts only, no emotional or moralistic slant to the wording; but on the other, it’s a nod to my psychedelic, Buddhist, and Gnostic influences—my crowd considers the very notion of reality as suspicious, and reality-as-presented-in-news even more so.
In Terence McKenna’s famous phrasing,
The felt presence of immediate experience—this is all you know. This is all you will ever know. Everything else comes as unconfirmed rumor, innuendo, unrealized possibility, fading memory, conjecture, lie, hope—who knows.
It’s also an homage to one of the boldest brands in the history of propaganda, Pravda (“Truth”). You may take this as an admission that our show too is propagandist in nature. What ideology are we trying to advance?
When faced with the question of whose voice the show should speak with, I thought of Jason Novak (line drawings for Limits and How Lenin and Stalin Killed God), whose deep voice seemed just as detached/authoritative as needed.
Here’s a sample, in which he talks about illustrating creation stories.
To make this body loop animation, I filmed myself holding a page and then rotoscoped the video using EbSynth.
I also asked Giorgos to sketch a new talk show host character. Here’s what he came up with:
One of ETN/Reality’s possible editors Clark McGillis made a pencil sketch of the Saint, and I colored it in, trying out a different palette.
Jason played with the setting:
I did some doodling too, putting Buddha’s Eyes you may see on a stupa in Tibet or Nepal on the face of a Gray Alien:
Trying to put these unfinished pieces together, I recorded a news story about a German video blogger with a mild case of Tourette’s who, scientists claim, was a source of the first-ever “mass social media-induced illness.”
That’s where we are as of today.
If you’d like to become a part of this project—as a writer, artist, animator, voice over actor, sound designer, or if you want to fund the venture—find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.