Saturday, February 09, 2008


John Grant is looking for some ideas to spread the news about a piece of climate change research that escalates the current thinking to say that what we could instead be facing is more of a tipping point of no return scenario. This factors in the role of positive feedback which basically says that the worse it gets, the worse it gets. In this scenario climate change will be spiralling, permanent and catastrophic. The first step is to make a compelling film that tells the story of the research. I am a bit of a newcomer to all this but this would be my take on how to make this film famous. If you want to read the research presentation it us attached here.


“Presentation 5”
The research itself is somewhat innocuously headed as presentation 5 (from a day of presentations that were given to government I think.) My first reaction was to think about how the naming and communication of the research needed some added drama and apocalyptic language. However in my head this started to sound like standing in the street with a sign saying ‘the end it nigh,’ rather than what this needs which is arguably a calmer clearer and more official communication. In this light an honest perhaps more unassuming title seemed to make more sense. Innocuous enough to plausibly be the document that changed the world. No drum roll - just the facts. For example… “The Dossier,”“Clause 4,” or “E=MC2.”

With this in mind ‘Presentation 5’ seemed to have more integrity then anything else I could think of. I could imagine an intrigue around “what is ‘Presentation 5?’ “Why is it so important?” “what does it mean for me?” The end of the world is paradoxically something that we hear far more often to the extent that we are used to it. It also begins to tell the story of a day at Westminster.

I was just about ok with the science but it needs some kind of democratisation to make it something that is easy to grasp and easy to share from person to person.
A greenhouse as a metaphor does not tell the story that there will be a point where it irreversibly escalates out of control. Maybe this is the wrong model to explain the research.

The core idea is that as climate change factors intensify, they in turn cause feedback that accelerates the process even further. I understand it best as being like a guitar held too close to an amplifier. The reverberation means that the sound just gets louder and louder until you have to move it away or the amp blows. This model is something that people need to grasp because at the moment you would more naturally assume that everything is proportional which leads to what seems like a logical ‘I’ll wait and see,’ philosophy i.e. the belief that if we take two steps the wrong way and it starts to look bleak then we can simply take two steps back to correct this.

Some new easy mental models would be required such as an;
- Echo chamber climate
- The Deafening Feedback effect
- The point of no return system

These examples all seem to explain the science a little bit more. This certainly needs to be brought to life.

Anyone can make a viral film these days and pass it round. The 'You-tube' nature of the medium could mean that it may only be viewed as one marginal point of view, a group of opinions etc… I would suggest that to give it gravitas and the kind of necessary PR value more is needed and that it must be aired on Television. We all know that television is not a medium that is not just open to everyone and this is an important behaviour for this project. This will be in line with a public information film that would normally (or should be given to us by government.) A public information film by the public for the public which would add some meaning or even romance to the idea that this was the day that normal people mentally shifted into action mode.

I would suggest that the online movement should focus its attention on two things:
1. Getting the film aired on Television.
2. Turning this airing into a social monument

1. Getting the film aired on Television.
Use the digital space to start a movement to collect money towards the objective of a 90” primetime TV spot. The world wide media plan could visually take shape as the fund grew.
-Would Sky not show it for free?
-Would Richard Branson not fund it to be aired on domestic TV?
-Could we create a facebook widget selling a kooky icon that can be bought and given to other people as a contribution to the media budget?
-Could £1 contribution mean that everyone can feel mobilised?
-Would brands donate airtime to get it shown?

2. Turning it into a social monument
This is about turning that moment when the film is aired into a cultural landmark; a line in the sand. Ideas could revolve around…
-Where were you when ‘presentation 5’ was aired?
- Debate around the right to see the film versus the choice not too.
- Conversations around how do you feel before and after
-Marking the occasion through a behavior that goes with it like turning lights off when its on TV
-Twelve monkeys style ideas around looking forward to look back on the day that the world changed (which seemed innocuous at the time.) Why not talk to climate change aware actors and filmmakers to make a Hollywood movie that starts on the day this film was aired around the world as the trailer for the real airing.
-Big screens public viewings.
- Making the date famous.
-A new time frame perpetuated by the website i.e. BC, AD, “AP5”.
- Making it air simultaneously around the world i.e. the day the world integrated its consciousness.
- News around how it was information for the people by the people (funded by them not by government.)
- Name an era or epoch around the film the ‘POST P5 world’
-A special google home page icon to mark the day
-Set up the ambition that this film should be seen by all of the shareholders of the world i.e. the 6 billion ticket movie.
- Story of how the film was taken to all the corners of the earth to give as many people as possible the chance to see it.
-The story of how it was aired as on online broadcast in countries where it was not permitted to end up on TV.

Think that must be a record word count. In the end I think John just wants to make a simple film that does the science justice but its always worth thinking big before you adopt a sense of perspective : )

No comments: