There was a time when a young person with a dream of making it in the entertainment industry would hustle money and favors from everyone they could find to put together a first feature, or even just a short, and shop it around to festivals and, hopefully, distributors. The other choice was working your way from production assistant up through the ranks or winning the pilot lottery. Things have changed.
Brandon Fletcher of New York gained some notoriety by publicly asking YouTube to feature him on the front page, even flying across the country and visiting their offices. The effort, “Can YouTube Hear Me,” did get him a chat, but no promise of feature status. That hasn’t deterred the 20-year-old music and video producer, who has now put together his own reality show, “Date: Unknown.”
It’s a simple concept — present footage the first face-to-face meeting of a young couple who found each other online. A twist on television mainstays like “The Dating Game,” “Blind Date” and even “Elimidate,” it combines a proven format with social networks, and has ample room for sponsorships, tie-ins, clip montages and lively audience interaction.
The first episode features two cute kids from the greater New York area, Mary and Nick, who met over MySpace and chatted for over a month before making a date. Mary’s interested because “he has a good body,” while Nick thinks Mary is “exotic looking.” It’s not exactly a Shakespearean romance, but entertaining nonetheless.
According to the site’s about page, there will be new episode each Monday and other short clips throughout the week. You can subscribe via YouTube, iTunes or RSS. Fletcher is paying for the dates, and invites couples near New York City who’ve been chatting but haven’t met yet to be on the show.
Frankly, I’m surprised nobody had thought of this sooner. It’s a great way to leverage the popularity of social networks, online video and laughing at people put in a timelessly awkward situation.