Hot Spots: Behind the Scenes

Next week, after the run of our show has come to an end,  I plan to upload my short film onto something like YouTube, Vimeo, or Funny or Die. I haven’t decided which, but people with bigger thoughts than mine are being asked for their opinions and suggestions.  All those sites play videos, right? BUT before that even happens, I thought I’d give you some background on the short I created since it’s a little Austin inside-jokey. You see, there’s a rumor going around that some of you may not be from Austin.  It’s ok, your cities are good, too.  I bet they even have their own inside jokes.  They’re probably even funny, too.

Every year around March Austin hosts a film, music and media festival called South by Southwest (or SXSW)   It’s a festival that draws people from all over the world and showcases great talent.  Movies are premiered.  Favorite bands perform. Panels on a variety of topics are held.  From the mainstream to the off-beat, you can see it all (with a wristband and a great deal of luck).

This past year a clever ad agency had an idea to employ some of Austin’s homeless and turn them into Wi-Fi hotspots.  How it worked: Let’s say you were a hipster in need of internet access and Starbucks was packed, all you had to do was consult your trusty hotspot map, locate a homeless guy, pay them a recommended $2/15 minutes and log in.  It was a way to create needed hotspots during the festival, directly benefit the homeless involved and, as the ad agency argued, help make those individuals visible.

Needless to say, Austin earned a certain amount of attention over this creative use of the homeless.  We were even mentioned in The Daily Show.  (I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear Texas is getting any kind of national, or even worse, international (or Daily Show) attention I tend to cringe.  It’s usually for a good reason. One that  makes me want to point east and say, “Hey guys, look over there.  I think Alabama is doing something crazy!  Did you hear that guy in Missouri?  Insane, right? RIGHT?”)

When all of this was happening, I was starting one of my sketch classes and in need of material.  This topic looked perfect. Plus, I reckoned everyone else had taken their shot at it.  It was only fair that I got my turn.

That’s how Hot Spots came to be.

If you’re new to this controversy, I encourage you to read a bit more about it and watch the testimonials from the homeless involved.  You’ll then be armed and ready for my short. You see, I don’t want you blinking confusedly at your monitor and wandering aimlessly throughout your house. That would make me sad… especially if you bumped into things.

The Atlantic
Wi-Fi Hotspots Made of Homeless People: Not As Horrible as They Seem

The New York Times
Use of Homeless as Internet Hot Spots Backfires on Marketer

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4 thoughts on “Hot Spots: Behind the Scenes

  1. […] my earlier post: Hot Spots: Behind the Scenes if you’re not sure what’s going on. Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  2. There was a reference to the human hotspots on another show last night – had to giggle
    (And we all do cringe a bit when TX is mentioned anywhere….)
    Austin, of course, is worth any trip

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