By SHANNON FARLEY, Executive Director
You’ve probably seen MADE. It’s a MTV staple in which they transform an invariably gawky teenager into a beauty queen or motocross racer. Recently, Spark got a call from MADE. They had young woman who wanted to be MADE into a philanthropist.
We were thrilled by the prospect. Teenage protagonists who want to be philanthropists, governors, human rights activists, or Fortune 500 CEOs. That’s progress.
Here’s the catch—the two-minute webisode had to be shot over the course of one week. The producer believed to make it work the audience needed to witness a complete story arc. Meet a homeless family, build a house, and watch them move it. The whole thing seemed a bit like speed dating.
If you are doing philanthropy right, it should take more than a week. It took a long time to create these problems and it’s going to take awhile to fix them. That doesn’t mean they are not worthy of our attention.
So, I took two minutes to share a couple Spark story arcs with the producer–an economic empowerment program in Ghana run by former sex-slaves and a shelter for human trafficking survivors in San Francisco. He was moved and commented, “Man, if you only built a house, too.” We laughed—together. He was struggling to push a television program to consider different story lines and we’re trying to push philanthropy beyond speed-giving. Neither task is easy but both are worthy.