The American Dream
An original treatment for the documentary / television special
Diversity. Inclusion. Immigration. Opportunity. Income inequality. Political. Emotional. Opinion.
Is America still the "Land of Opportunity"? Does “The American Dream” still exist? Is it only for the 1%, the “have’s” vs. “the have not’s”? Is it a Republican vs. Democrat vs. Libertarian issue?
Is the “American Dream” "the charm of anticipated success" as Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in his book Democracy in America? Or is the ability to climb the economic ladder and achieve more than one’s parents did— less and less a reality with every decade that goes by?
Is the American Dream the pursuit of “life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness”? Is it a quest for entrepreneurial success or a life of activism and political participation… Shark Tank™ or Black Lives Matter? Or is it a focus on more of what really matters, such as creating a meaningful life, contributing to your community and society, valuing nature, and spending time with family and friends?
The American Dream will be a one hour, television special produced through a continuous, eight-week, cross-country production schedule. We will travel across this nation to various cities via motor coach and a mobile studio to capture long-form, produced stories and hundreds of stand-up commentary designed to explore and showcase a collection of perspectives and stories ranging from profoundly personal and thought provoking to potentially controversial and enormously patriotic. Each story we tell will be introduced and punctuated with a captivating montage of numerous people from all walks of life describing their collective views culminating to the penetrating insight into what may well be the lasting legacy of our time that defines the axiom, “Living The American Dream”.
“It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” – George Carlin
“I am the American Dream. I am the epitome of what the American Dream basically said. It said, you could come from anywhere and be anything you want in this country. That’s exactly what I’ve done.” – Whoopi Goldberg
"When we describe this land of ours, in deep-down essence and everyday spirit, it is the phrase we reach for most often. As an idea, it is older even than the nation and the words that give it name. It has reﬂected and informed what is best in us as a country and as a people from the beginning and it has been there to remind us that we should be doing better when we have failed to live up to the ideal it describes. It is the American dream and it has ﬁlled me with awe for as long as I can remember." - Dan Rather, from the book, The American Dream
From the immigrants who ﬁrst set their feet upon the docks of Ellis Island, to the nations classrooms ﬁlled with children pledging their allegiance to a ﬂag and country that is The United States of America, freedom is the passion that makes this country great. It started as an ideal and a pursuit of a dream. The ﬁrst of its kind. To be a place where basic rights such as the pursuit of happiness, the freedom of religion and speech and the freedom to dream, as they are granted by our creator, would be given the opportunity to ﬂourish and grow. That vision, with the blood of countless patriots, is now and forever, inextricably woven into the fabric of this country as the American Dream.
From the signing of The Declaration of Independence to a present day voter casting a ballot to a young couple planning to build a home or a family going to church on Sunday, Americans have embraced their right to not only dream the American dream, but actively pursue it as well. Our nation is made up of over 318.9 million (2014) citizens who start each day with a personal perspective on the opportunity this country affords. Today, the realities of world conﬂicts and terrorism have arrived on American soil along with home grown political, racial and income divisions that have, for the ﬁrst time, given cause to the question of meaning in America. Because of this, some things have forever changed. But is the American Dream alive and well? The American Dream, will be more than a shallow, optimistic view of ourselves or a montage of instant gratiﬁcation, but a deﬁnition of the liberties we hold dear and the courage and character that will forever make this country a beacon for those who pursue freedom, their civil rights and the right to dream, the American Dream.
Visual Style / Format
The power of The American Dream is in the diversity, simplicity and reality of the stories being told and through the melding of two very distinctive yet magically intermixable formats: topical assembly of images and sound bites photographed before a white seamless backdrop and long-form produced segments.
Interview montage: In an energetic style, The American Dream will be guided by the various personalities coming and standing before its cameras creating an intimate portrait of revealed perspectives and emotions. Shown outside of their respective environments and in contrast to a stark white background, the full character and humanity of this country will be represented. From the barber on Main St. to the politician in Washington, the white-collar worker on Wall St. to the union representative in Chicago, the famous and the not so famous, each persons unscripted and unrehearsed statements and responses to a live interview on the American Dream will be photographed. The ﬁnal assembly will follow a salient and topical composition allowing a dynamic and artistic approach to editing through the diversity of its parts and yet the harmony of the sum.
An example of this amazing yet intimate style of ﬁlm making was given during the four-minute intro to The 2002 Academy Awards telecast by acclaimed ﬁlm maker, Errol Morris with his ﬁlm, "The Art of Film" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEsoSR2npes) . Utilizing a combination of two Teleprompters and video cameras, a device known as The Interrotron, each participant will be interviewed while looking directly into the lens of the camera. This device projects a live image and the audio of the person off camera conducting the interview, allowing non-professional interview subjects the ease of simply having a relaxed conversation and the viewer seemingly eye-to-eye contact.
Long-form produced segments: In contrast, poignant longer formatted stories, photographed documentary style and relating to the various themes within the tapestry of The American Dream, will be shown in their entirety. Portraits or glimpses into stories of people showing faith, giving, protest, success, spirit, adversity and triumph are all potential subjects. To each person who calls The United States home, the freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is given. To show the make-up of our country and the varied responses to the very simple yet powerful principle and right of freedom is the point of this experience, The American Dream.
The unique approach to storytelling that is The American Dream, is not just in the substance of the topic or the style of the approach but more specifically in the diversity of the perspectives captured. Therefore, it was concluded that the entire principal photography for this project would be shot in various locations across the United States.
During a continuous, eight-week schedule the production will travel across this nation to various cities via motor coach and a mobile studio. Through an online, pre-production casting call and on-site casting calls within each pre-selected location, The American Dream, will have the mission of discovering the essence of freedom and becoming a collective portrait of the diversity the American dream has become. From farmers to accountants, blue collar workers to celebrities, politicians to political activists, our goal is to make an intimate connection and to let the subjects speak for themselves, unscripted and unrehearsed. What does the American Dream, this country, patriotism and the experience of being an American citizen mean to you? Is the opportunity it affords enough without personal sacrifice? Has it evolved? Does the American Dream still exist? Is it the same opportunity for everyone?
Casting Call / 360° Marketing / Public Relations
Long before the ﬁrst mile is driven or an image is captured, the pre-production of this project will begin in part with an online “casting call”. This site will allow anyone within the country an opportunity to connect with us through an individual profile to tell us about themselves or someone they know who has a unique perspective on the American Dream. Some of these profiles may be selected for the long-form segments or for a VIP invitation to an on-site production date within a city near their location.
The online, social media and traditional PR campaign that accompany this casting call will run approximately sixty (60) days. We will retain 42 West, a digital media and traditional PR agency for this portion of the project. This campaign along with our actual tour cities / dates will also be heavily marketed through our extensive, national relationship with Cumulus Broadcasting / Westwood One & People Magazine / people.com. Other marketing partners, will be pursued towards this marketing strategy.
The belief of opportunity is fundamental to the pursuit of the American Dream. As such, it is our belief that the opportunity of this project transcends normal funding relationships to a one-on-one, grass—roots, public relations, brand building opportunity for select corporate sponsors. Branding will not, however, be integrated within the finished film. Our goal is to do more than acquire underwriting for the creation of this ﬁlm. But rather, to develop a relationship with brand sponsors who not only understands and respects the American Dream but are looking for a unique way to interact with and show support to the people pursuing their personal dream on a daily basis. It is our mission to create an environment where the value of the capital expended is returned in signiﬁcant and measurable ways. To this point, along with our national radio and online campaign through Cumulus Media / Westwood One & People Magazine, within each and every city our "branded" motor coaches and mobile studio arrives, the opportunity for "grass-roots" marketing, personal interaction, sampling and multiple genre media exposure will be present. Select sponsorship levels include an invitation for company representation throughout the eight weeks which is not only extended but suggested for optimum results. The potential for a synergistic image campaign of one of the sponsors, its product and their commitment to the American dream exists within the concept of extrapolating portions of the project (non-celebrity interviews) to a series of broadcast or online commercials. After the completion of the online casting call, the website is intended to remain live during production and for an extended period of time after broadcast. The site will include links and content supplied by associated brand partners, site exclusive content, clips, unused material and/or interviews from the project. It is also our intention to engage the established online audience as well as the additional, collected audience of companion social pages to follow production “news” and create anticipation for its premiere. This can build the site and brand integration into a longer-term asset. Further, it will bring an eager audience to the network airing of the project.
The option for branding of a project companion, hard-bound book will also be extended to select sponsorship levels (see below).
Our primary goal in establishing a relationship with a distribution outlet is finding a relationship wherein both the creative of the project and the unique 360°, multi-platform, experiential marketing campaign developed around the production of this project is seen as a mutual, synergistic match and dynamic marketing opportunity for the brands of both entities.
The distribution of this project is anticipated as being either a network airing as a one-hour special or through an extended, two-hour feature quality documentary as an Original on a top-tier SVOD.
A.M.P.A.S. - As part of our goal to meld art & film as an intimate snapshot of America, its politics, people and The American Dream, we intend to engage a Day & Date, dual coast, four-walling , PR campaign for Academy consideration within the documentary category.
“One Night Only” Events
The American Dream is as unique for each person that lives it as one person is different from another. That difference, that perspective and the emotion with which it is held is what we are striving to capture with this exercise in art & film.
In the tradition of art & film, we intend to hold a "One Night Only" Event - on separate dates in both New York & Los Angeles to premiere a longer formatted, theatrical version of The American Dream. This extended version will allow for a more expressive and creative telling of the contained stories and inclusion of more "stand-up" interviews.
These events will be a showcase for the brands and network that supported The American Dream. On-site, in-theatre pre-show and after-show opportunities to connect to the audience will be implemented. Each event will be open to the public along with invited guests. Regional participants of the "stand-up" interviews during our eight weeks of production will be notified of the pre-event ticket availability.
Hard Cover Book
During the production of this project more interviews may be completed than may fit within the finished time restraints of the finished project. To preserve the diversity, texture and value of these contributions, we intend to pursue the creation of a hardcover, coffee table style book to compliment the production of this project. The concept of the book is such, that every person that participates would be shown along with highlights of their remarks. We feel that this would not only serve as a phenomenal collection of art and history, but as a complete portrait of this endeavor.
This presentation and treatment has been prepared by Main St. Marquee, Ltd. (referred to herein as the “Company” or “Main St. Marquee”) for the purposes of generating interest and raising capital to finance the production of the content defined (referred to herein as “the Project”). This Proposal is the property and copyright of the Company and shall not be reproduced or used for any purpose other than as stated above. This presentation / treatment constitutes solely an invitation for further discussions relative to underwriting of or professional involvement in the Project. Except as set forth above, neither the Company nor any prospective underwriter will be committed or obligated in any way unless and until an appropriate written document is executed. This Proposal has been prepared from information provided by the Company and other sources believed to be reliable. The Company makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein.
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