On scripting experiences April 3, 2009

(sent to a group of people who attended a discussion on the future of ‘flashmobs’)

I just thought I should explain for a moment the idea behind my flow chart.What’s interesting to me isn’t the logistics of the individual events, it’s the overarching patterns, and how we can harness those patterns to create ‘script building scripts’ or ‘metascripts’. Then it’s not about us organizing things anymore, but about everyone creating scripts for themselves. We can make is easy for normal people to experience ‘the zone’ by giving them the tools and the wisdom they need to create their own scripts. (For those of you that don’t know, this is the basic concept behind the work Scott and I have been doing for the last 7 years. We call it ‘Beauty Engine’ )

So I realized after the meeting and hearing everyone talk that there are 4 basic variables on creating a script
-Durability
-Size
-Social responsibility
-Production value
There are a few more less significant ones, but these are the ones that really effect the logistics.

So I put these 4 variables in all their configurations to get the 16 basic script types. And I created a flow chart that asks the questions in simple language and reveals your event type at the end. I thought this might easily be translated into an online tool. It’s not designed to be read all at once, but rather to be a tool that helps you understand the inevitable truths about the kind of event you want to create.

The descriptions of each type are in no way finished. I just threw some rough ideas out there so I could start with something. If anyone else is interested in working on this with me perhaps it could become a wiki?

Click here for larger picture of flow chart

Select your type of script wisely. Understand the repercussions and be prepared for inevitable outcomes. Fuck with people. Make people smile. Change people’s lives.

TYPE A
Durable
Large
Socially irresponsible
Requires no production

All large scale scripts are more work and more difficult to manage, but they reach many more people than small scripts.
This script will be very challenging to pull off again and again. If it’s not socially responsible and there is nobody required to takes responsibility to make it happen, then it will likely end up out of control, make a big mess, degenerate to the lowest common denominator, piss a lot of people off and be shut down by the cops. In an anarchistic way, this script could feel very freeing to a lot of people.
The only way to make this kind of script durable is to appeal to the city and argue it’s artistic merit, and it’s worthiness to the powers that be. (example- pillow fight)

TYPE B
Durable
Large
Socially irresponsible
Requires production

This script is also very challenging to pull off again and again. But, because it requires some people to take responsibility in producing it, that means that there are at least a few people at the event who are helping make it happen, and those people are the ones who can keep the original vision of the event alive, stopping it from degenerating to the lowest common denominator. They are also the ones who can take responsibility for talking to the cops or people who are upset. The people taking responsibility might also make sure people don’t get hurt. At some point this event could also attract the attention of the powers that be and require an appeal to the city arguing artistic merit and worthiness. (example santacon)

TYPE C
Durable
Large
Socially responsible
Requires no production

This script will require some organization if it’s going to be socially responsible. It will take a group of people to make sure that it doesn’t make a mess, that nobody gets hurt, and that the local community is happy and it doesn’t piss people off too much. Because it requires no production to pull it off, the organization team is just there to deal with the aftermath. This script could stand the test of time and transform many people’s lives. (example: Zombie swarm)

TYPE D
Durable
Large
Socially responsible
Requires production

This script requires an even bigger organization team. If it is going to be both socially responsible and require production, there will need to be people dedicated to make it happen. It will require resources and funds to be gathered, or a benefactor or sponsor making it happen. People will need a before/during/after plan to make sure everything is dealt with. Volunteers will need to be coordinated and work will need to be done. This type will result in a large scale, durable, script which will stand the test of time and could transform many people’s lives. (example BYOBW). Although it may feel a little ‘controlled’ for some more anarchistic people’s taste.

TYPE E
Durable
Small
Socially responsible
Requires no production

A small group of people is much easier to manage than a large one, but their impact is less. Smaller scripts will be easier to organize but won’t reach as many people.
This script would be relatively easy to pull of again and again. Small, socially responsible scripts requiring no production will take very few resources and organization to make them happen. They won’t piss many people off, they won’t make a mess, they will just bring some experience of ‘the zone’ to a few people’s lives.

TYPE F
Durable
Small
Socially responsible
Requires production

Again, this script is relatively easy to pull off. Even with some production and being socially responsible, a small script is easier to make happen. Being socially responsible means people won’t get upset or get hurt or get arrested. It’s just some fun around town with some friends. (example Peepshow Minigolf)

TYPE G
Durable
Small
Socially irresponsible
Requires no production

Being a small event makes you less visible to the powers that be, but being socially irresponsible puts you back in the ‘you might be arrested’ category. Luckily we live in San Francisco, so we don’t get in huge amounts of trouble for doing things like gluing toasters to walls, even if you are damaging property.

TYPE H
Durable
Small
Socially irresponsible
Requires production

A small, irresponsible script with some production value has every chance of surviving the test of time. The production value means that some people will have to give some time and resources to make it happen, so even if it is generally socially irresponsible, there are still people taking responsibility, and putting resources into making it happen and therefor giving a shit about it.

TYPE I
One off
Large
Socially irresponsible
Requires no production

A large event with no social responsibility and no production value is likely to degenerate to the lowest common denominator pretty fast. Although as it is only designed to happen once, it’s pretty likely that nobody will get in too much trouble for it, even if it is not taking responsibility for itself. A large, one off event, that causes a mess and pisses people off is quickly forgotten in the eyes of the authorities. It could well transform many people’s lives.

TYPE J
One off
Large
Socially irresponsible
Requires production

When an even requires production it means that some people need to take responsibility for it. Someone needs to find the resources to make it happen. Therefore someone cares. Because it is designed to only happen once, it doesnt matter about being durable, just make it happen by any means possible.

TYPE K
One off
Large
Socially responsible
Requires no production

A one off script is relatively easy to pull off, because you dont have to worry about pissing people off. But if you care about being socially responsible with your one off script, then you need to consider all the angles. Don’t make a mess, don’t be dangerous, don’t upset people. Having no production necessary means that all you need to do is worry about the aftermath. Clean up, make sure people are happy.

TYPE L
One off
Large
Socially responsible
Requires production

A large, one off script that’s socially responsible and requires production takes a lot of work. Not as much as a durable script, because you don’t have to worry about ‘next time’. Just keep people happy in the moment and don’t upset people. With this kind of script you are likely to reach a lot of people, make it into ‘the zone’ and enjoy good feedback from your script. Although it may feel a little ‘controlled’ for some more anarchistic people’s taste.

TYPE M
One off
Small
Socially responsible
Requires no production

This one is easy! Small, just do it once, be socially responsible and no production required. Create a magic moment, don’t piss people off, takes very little resources and responsibility. We should be doing this every day!

TYPE N
One off
Small
Socially responsible
Requires production

This script is a little more work than type M, as it requires some production. That means someone takes responsibility and it needs to find some resources to make it happen. But seeing as its a small scale script it’s not going to be too much of a drain on anyone. It just needs a couple of people to make it happen. It’s socially responsible, so it’ll be smiles all around with the people it reaches

TYPE O
One off
Small
Socially irresponsible
Requires no production

This is no work for anyone. Just an idea that’s put into action by a few people, requiring no resources to make it happen. Being socially irresponsible means you might piss a few people off, but it’s just small scale, so its not going to do too much damage. As a one off script, its easy to avoid getting into trouble and you dont have to really figure out many logistics. This is probably the lowest maintenance kind of script you can enact.

TYPE P
One off
Small
Socially irresponsible
Requires production

This script requires some minimal resources to put together, but very little compared to the other scripts we have looked at. Being socially irresponsible means there’s no need to worry about clean up or whether a few people are upset, so all the resources go directly to the ‘art’. Just get in, do your thing, and get out.

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Polly

Polly Whittaker is a 21st century sex culture revolutionary. She has dedicated her life to sexually progressive community, as an acclaimed latex fashion designer, a creator of arty, sexy parties, and a spokesperson for sex culture. Born in London, England, in 1974, she is the daughter of a hot air balloon pilot and a sex therapist. She relocated to San Francisco—home of the sexual revolution—in 1999. Her award-winning event, Kinky Salon, takes place in a dozen cities across Europe and North America. She recently joined forces with Christopher Ryan, Author of NYT Bestselling Book Sex at Dawn to create Kotango.com—a social network for global sex culture.

On scripting experiences April 3, 2009

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