Rejected by MTV

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.

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One response to “Rejected by MTV

  1. Really enjoyed this post!

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