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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dirty Work

A new technology that intergrates your text messaging, your phone, Facebook, Twitter and other interative services as you solve crime, work with a comic team of Crime Scene Investigators, in ways that have never been done before.
The technology from was developed for video gaming, but was found to be too distracting. A half hour comedy format seems to work. More from Marketplace, American Contemporary Radio. 

    DIRTY WORK is a dark comedy that follows the gruesome misadventures of a Los Angeles based crime-scene clean-up crew. Each episode finds our team wading through the muck of a new assignment, a new location, and new set of toxic predicaments. Calling themselves “bioremediation engineers” is a just a fancy way of saying they scrape up brains for a living. But the carnage they’re mopping up is nothing compared to the wreckage of their personal lives.

    DIRTY WORK is a gritty and immersive storytelling experience, delivered through Fourth Wall Studios’ RIDES platform. Each installment of the series is told through your computer and smartphone, a combination of video, audio, text and images – putting you, the viewer, in the center of the insanity.

    Watch Episode 1 – Temporary Midnight
    Watch Episode 2 – Beast
    Watch Episode 3 – Armadillo

  • Key Actors: Mary-Lynn Rajskub, Hank Harris, Jamie Clayton, Matt L. Jones, Moira Quirk
  • Directors: Eric Appel, Aaron Shure
  • Writers: Aaron Shure and John Newman
  • Show Genre: Comedy

Immersing viewers in 'Dirty Work'

A screenshot from RIDES' tutorial on its interactive media.
Kai Ryssdal: Consider for just a second how we watch TV now. Maybe you, definitely your teenage kids. Smartphone in one hand, iPad close by. Facebooking and texting and searching.

It's never been so hard for an entertainment company to get somebody's full attention. Rather than fight the device war, though, some companies are embracing it.

Noah Nelson of Turnstyle News brings us the story of one company going all in.

Noah Nelson: Don't you just hate it when the phone rings in the middle of a good show? But what if it's the show calling?
"Dirty Work" clip: 911. What's the nature of your emergency? I think my friends were murdered. OK, are you with the victims? Yeah -- with one of them.
That's how the new web series "Dirty Work" begins. Your cell phone rings. You answer. And as you eavesdrop on a call between an operator and an eyewitness, crime scene footage unspools on the screen. Then comes a text message from a character whose about to join the story. Later you might get an email. You get the idea.

"Dirty Work" traces the lives of a crime scene cleanup crew. But their story is only half the story. Dirty Work is the first series to use a new platform known as RIDES. And it's designed for viewers who have, well, attention deficit disorder.

Here's how it works. You register at with your email, or you can sign in through Facebook. RIDES does the rest.
Elan Lee: It collects all of those things together: your Facebook account, your Twitter account and what you're looking at the moment and your telephone number and your ability to receive text messages, and on and on it goes.
That's Elan Lee. He's the chief creative officer of Fourth Wall Studios, where RIDES was developed.
Lee: And it synchronizes them all together so that they all work in unison to tell a really, really good story.
And suck you in with all of your devices. You'll be so focused interacting with "Dirty Work," you won't have time for Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

This is where entertainment is headed, with giants like Microsoft and Sony looking to create more immersive experiences.

The founders of Fourth Wall Studios have a lot of practice telling stories this way. They pioneered something known as Alternate Reality Games -- ARGs.
Lee: They were stories that would reach out to you and live in the same world that you lived in. So all of a sudden, you'd be playing the game and in the middle of the night, a character from the game would call you on your cell phone and that's how the next chapter would begin.
The problem is the players got so good so fast, designers had trouble making the games complex enough.

But a half-hour web show is a whole lot easier to understand. So Fourth Wall created "Dirty Work," and last year, the company landed $15 million in backing -- enough to bring in experienced film and TV production people, Emmy-winning writers and recognizable actors from shows like "24" and "Breaking Bad."

Liz Shannon Miller writes about online video for the tech blog GigaOm.
Liz Shannon Miller: What's going to be key to them succeeding is to figure out how to monetize it.
The main ways that web series do that are with product placement and advertising or subscription fees. And Miller says RIDES has the potential to succeed.
Miller: The transmedia platform that Fourth Wall is developing here encourages a much more engaged viewer. That could be much more interesting to advertisers than say, throwing a 30-second spot at the beginning of a YouTube video.
Fourth Wall has produced three episodes of "Dirty Work" for the web so far. There's no word on viewers or ads yet, but they have a stack of shows in development across all kinds of genres. But the big question remains: Can anyone survive long-term on the strength of short attention spans?
In Los Angeles, I'm Noah Nelson for Marketplace.

Ryssdal: Noah Nelson is a reporter for, a project of Youth Radio.
“You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.”
― John Lennon

Hollywood lawsuit leads to comic jousting

At least they're laughing now. CBS, which has tried unsuccessfully to get ABC's new reality series "Glass House" pulled because of its alleged similarities to the network's own "Big Brother" series, issued a mock press release Wednesday making fun of ABC. CBS said it was launching a new show called "Dancing on the Stars" in which "moderately famous and sort of well-known people you almost recognize competing for big prizes by dancing on the graves of some of Hollywood’s most iconic and well-beloved stars of stage and screen." Actually, that doesn't sound like such a bad idea. More on the prank from Entertainment Weekly. (source LA Times Company Town Blog)

Support CSN. Attend and speak out for a community affordable education

At the last legislative Funding of Higher Education meeting, the committee created three subcommittees to address a number of outstanding issues this summer in relation to how the funding formula and performance pool should work to fund the Nevada System of Higher Education’s seven teaching colleges and universities. This means there are many highly important legislative meetings this summer that you can impact.

I encourage you to come and participate in this public process if your schedule allows.

Here is the schedule of meetings this month (Changes will be noted at

Funding of Higher Education's Performance Pool, Economic and Workforce Development, and Research Subcommittee
June 26, 1 p.m.
Room 4401 of the Grant Sawyer State Office Building

The Full Funding of Higher Education Committee:
June 27, 9 a.m.
Rm. 4401 Grant Sawyer Building

Reference Letter from Ed Luckett

June 21, 2012

Art Lynch has been a friend and associate since I served as Lead Faculty for the Humanities Core at Regis University’s Henderson campus, and he applied to become a member of our faculty in 2008.

Since that time, I have been impressed by his energy, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. Having been a career consultant for a time after retiring from the Air Force, I recognized that he was continually in the flow of seeing and seizing opportunities, and more – that he was actively creating them for himself.

In my ten years in adult education, I have observed first-hand that adult students commonly need more from their instructors than subject-matter knowledge; they see us as sources of insight into how the world works, and as resources for their personal projects of self improvement.

Art has been an inspiration to me, and a source of encouragement as a peer.

I have every confidence in his knowledge and gifts as an instructor. I am convinced, too, that he will serve in this unstated role of guide and mentor.


B. Edward Luckett, Jr., M.Div., M.A.