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Featured Catalyst Awards Proposal: TV Entertainment

Today we’re featuring a Catalyst Awards proposal from Tim Bonnemann of Intellitics. Learn more about his proposal and get involved at http://ncdd.civicevolution.org/proposal/10101.

Q. Tim – tell us a little about yourself, and where people can learn more about you.

My name is Tim Bonnemann. I’m the founder and CEO of Intellitics, a digital engagement startup based in San José, CA. We help organizations in the public, private and non-profit sector apply the right technology to engage their communities in high-quality dialogue and decision making. We’re developing Zilino, a social web application that enables D&D practitioners to host well structured, well facilitated community conversations and other participatory processes.

I joined NCDD right around the 2006 conference in San Francisco. Since 2007, I’ve also been a member of IAP2 USA where I currently serve on the Board.

I cover the intersection of technology and the process arts over on the Intellitics blog. I’m @planspark on Twitter, or you can look me up on pretty much any other common channel on the social web.

Q. What project are you proposing, in a nutshell?

The one thing I’ve always been a bit worried about is that not enough people know about the amazing work that’s being done by the D&D community. When I attended NCDD 2006, I had only one question: Why isn’t everyone already doing this? Alas, it’s six years later and general awareness is still lacking. And I think as a field we’re missing out big time.

I have a hunch that in order to get this stuff in front of more people everywhere, we need to move out of our own bubble and meet folks where they are, using the channels and formats they prefer.

That’s why I want to explore how we might use a modern mass media entertainment format (TV plus web/mobile) to bring dialogue and deliberation to a much larger audience. In a way, I like to think of it as a strategic PR play for this field.

Q. Can you provide any background info that might help people understand what you’re proposing?

Two years ago, I put forth the idea for a new kind of political talk show where instead of the usual shouting matches and overall lack of dialogue you would apply a healthy dose of good process, facilitation etc. and see if that could get a few people excited. Here’s what I posted to the NCDD listserv on October 31, 2010:

I’m wondering whether there is room for a TV format that provides political discourse based on D&D principles. You know, some kind of well-facilitated talk show where people are enabled to listen and have room to move beyond the usual sound bites, bickering and yelling.  There’s lots of potential for meaningful audience participation as well (before, during and after episodes).

Producing professional TV still costs big bucks, even on the internet.  Something like this might easily require 6-digit budgets.  Not exactly chump change.

I know some of you on this list have had similar thoughts and ideas (at least since NCDD 2008).  Maybe now is a good time to hash this out some more?  I’m happy to host a conference call.

When I started to float the idea again at this year’s conference in the context of the Catalyst Awards, I was also thinking about ways this could be embedded at a local or regional level, e.g. by way of partnering with local media and community foundations.

As it turns out, not only were a number of people at the conference already thinking about D&D and entertainment but they were coming to the same general idea from different and very exciting angles. For example, someone mentioned they had already begun work on a potential reality TV format that would feature D&D elements. Someone else hosted a breakout session exploring the idea for a potential game show around D&D. It was very encouraging to see the energy building, especially the many ideas regarding audience participation. Great stuff!

The goal of my “TV Entertainment” proposal is to figure out which of these options is most feasible given the time and resources we have available and then produce a meaningful pilot project. If successful, this pilot could be used to go after additional funding to produce the real thing.

Q. Is there anything you’d like NCDD members’ help with or involvement on in particular?

Yes! If you have feedback, please let us know. Anyone with experience in the following areas can probably contribute:  Media/journalism, Entertainment, Video/TV production, Graphic design, Marketing/PR, Legal

If you have connections to potential buyers (e.g. a local news channel willing to give this a shot) then by all means let us know. If you’d like to be part of a test audience, that might also an option to contribute.

There’s probably more. Please get in touch if you’d like to be included on future communications.

(Note on the image shared above:  The Hollywood/Dialogue sign was generated by ad_man on Fiverr and shared by Tim.)

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. If you’re pressed for time, feel free to leave your comments here, and I’ll weave them into the CivicEvolution form over the weekend.

  2. […] Over on the NCDD blog, I’ve answered a few questions regarding my proposal for the NCDD Catalyst Awards: Featured Catalyst Awards Proposal: TV Entertainment […]

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