A New Model for Social Media / by Chris Weigl

When we were first conceptualizing what Living History could become we had a very precise model for what we thought was possible over social media.  The show Living History follows a historical re-enactor and his cadre of re-enactor friends who portray the Founding Fathers as they run a George Washington re-enactor as a candidate for public office.  No one has attempted this level of historical satire on a television show before and no one has tried this in the age of social media either.  Traditional studios and production companies have told us time and time again that this presents a problem in terms of the level of difficulty in executing this concept that it is not worth the risk for them.  We believe that what studios view as a “problem” is really an opportunity.

Imagine a world where you can sit down and watch a TV show while you interact with the characters on social media and share information, statuses, and feedback in real time.  Would you like to talk to Benjamin Franklin during a critical moment in the show?  No problem because Ben Franklin is on Twitter ready and able to talk to you about his experience.  Have a question about the historical accuracy of the show in general?  Great, historical consultants will tell you what went into making the choices that we did when shooting the show.  The idea of the show is to create something that is both interactive and funny, but creative and thought-provoking as well.

Our concept for social media is that every character would have a Twitter account, a Tumblr page, a profile on Facebook, and perhaps engage in a few Google hangouts.  The design of the show is for the main characters to be played by actual historical re-enactors so that the audience can interact with someone who knows the person they are portraying intimately enough so that they can give you reasonable conjecture should you ask for it.  We realize that this is a lot of work to put together, but we believe that entertainment should strive to create big things and change with the times, which is why Living History is perfect for this historical moment.  Thomas Jefferson should be sharing his Tumblr page with the world and Alexander Hamilton should be available for last minute campaign advice on Facebook.

Great art challenges conventions it never conforms to them.  What we have in entertainment right now is a measure of conformity that only challenges your patience.  Our goal is to challenge minds, engage our audience, and provoke the kind of questions that a new generation of social media savvy people can feel comfortable in.  @Midnight does a very good job of this by successfully integrating funny hastags on Twitter, but we believe that the potential is bigger than funny hashtags.  We believe our audience is capable of the kind of revolution across social media that previous generations brought about across the internet.  We are putting together a show that will exist across multiple mediums in real time.  We don’t do this for ratings and we don’t this for popularity (although we wouldn’t mind if both of those things ensued), we’re doing this because audiences deserve an entertainment experience that mirrors their lives and we’re prepared to give this to them.