First of all, thank you to those who posted and PMed me your kind thoughts.
Unfortunately, not even a death in the family could provide me with a break from campaigning or talking shop, as one of my mom's co-workers attended my grandmother's funeral and wanted to talk to me about the "Rifftrax."
I apologize for being relatively quiet since the petition was sent off. Rest assured, I haven't been slacking off and have been working on a couple of fun little promotional things that will hopefully be ready for this summer. Seriously, there's rarely a moment of my free time when I'm not looking up something, trying to establish contact with someone or some venue, or involved in some other activity not connected in some way to this campaign.
So now it's time to roll up our sleeves and get back to work...onto the next project!
To answer a question from a while ago, no, there will not be a petition this year. I probably wouldn't want to revisit a petition project again for quite a while, though I will most likely keep some pages handy in case I ever get an eye-poppingly major e-mail like "Michael Jackson wants to sign it" or something.
And not to try to jump too far ahead, but I already have the hatchling of an idea for next year, something that will be all the more successful if Al does another (knock on wood) tour next year for a (knock on more wood) new album.
But as for this year, the main project will be a video documentary. I essentially just want to get as many fans as possible on camera explaining why they like Al, how long they've been a fan, and why they feel he should be inducted into the Rock Hall, but if at all possible I also want to try to snag some celebrity interviews as well, such as from those he's parodied, etc. Meanwhile, I would like to chronicle Al's career, mirror that with the history of the Rock Hall, and examine why it's doubtful that there will ever be another mainstream rock artist quite like Al again. And of course, being a video focusing on Weird Al, I am planning on also including a scant couple of obvious, intentional segments parodying other known documentaries.
Now, I realize how ambitious this idea sounds, and realistically it may be something that will simply never be completed for a number of reasons, but I think there are enough creative and video-savvy fans on here willing to give it a try and see what we can put together. It might end up looking like nothing more than a high school video yearbook, but it should be fun to attempt.
And also, I'm trying to think of a way to not exclude those who aren't into filmmaking or simply cannot invest the same kind of time or energy to a project like this. I certainly don't want this to be a campaign only done by an elite, select few. Ultimately, I might just need to beg and plead with non-video fans to simply amp up your letter-writing. Even if we need to set up some sort of timetable like we did during the postcard project, we will need for there to be a constant flow of pro-Al letters (stressing "letters" this time) going to the Rock Hall this summer. You will need to be on the frontlines while the rest of us are taping and editing.
But as for the video, I will definitely need help with this, and I am open to any kind of suggestion or idea. I simply cannot do this alone, nor would I even want to try.
And honestly, I'm still unsure exactly what I want this documentary to be or to say. Should it essentially be an open video letter to the nominating committee? Should it target a random general audience in the hopes of getting them on our side? It's going to depend a great deal on what kind of footage we end up with. Should we make some sort of goal, like "100 fans on camera," to emulate the "activity" feel the petition had? Something I had been wanting to do forever is find and interview an elementary teacher who may use Al's parodies to help get children interested in popular music, but how to find one is another challenge. In many ways, we'll be jumping into the deep end.
What I do know is that I am not looking to make "Trekkies," which really kind of jumped back and forth between showcasing what "Star Trek" means to fans and simply making fun of them. I want the moments with us fans to be sincere and genuine, because otherwise then the message and the campaign are in danger of coming off as tongue-in-cheek.
At the last Youngstown show, I mentioned to Al the idea that was floating around the forum about doing a Q&A video with him, a la "An Evening with Kevin Smith." Al kindly explained that he didn't think something like that would have much of a general audience appeal to justify a release, and in a way I can agree with that, but then again, is there really much of a general audience appeal for a Q&A video (or two, really) with an overrated indie director who pretty much got lucky once? Should that same rationale apply to this project? Where is that fine line between a special interest documentary and a vanity project by a bunch of fans pushing a very specific cause? These are just some of the thoughts I've been pondering for a while now.
And far as how we'll be able to pull the video off, I'm thinking we could do pretty much what we did last year with the petition, having "field operatives" at concerts, only this time with a camera instead of a petition. I suggest anyone interested in this project to watch Kristine's video of the SOL album signing for an idea of how this can be done.
Nancy here was sort of on the right track at one of the Pennsylvania shows by camping out in their parking lot with the petition. I hate to use the word "tailgate" only because that usually has an association with drinking, rowdiness, and just general lummoxity, but that would essentially be what these are: Al tailgate parties.
But still, these would probably be the best way to maximize the results. Those who are interested beforehand can find us (hopefully) easily in the parking lots, passersby or fans who don't know can simply see us and ask what's going on, and those who don't care (is anyone else stunned that so many Al fans going to Al concerts on this last Al tour were so rude to other Al fans about an Al project?) can easily leave us be. And for those who show up, we can tape interviews with them, pass out info postcards with the Rock Hall address, hold little costume contests (I so wanted to use a "Show Your Lynwood Colors!" tagline on the petition tour), etc.
I will be at both the Toledo and Columbus shows, and hopefully I'll be able to film a little at each. The Columbus venue is surrounded by public parking lots, so there should be no trouble there, and I'm currently playing phone tag with the Toledo Zoo, so we'll see what they have to say.
So...thoughts? Questions? Comments? Concerns? The floor's open!