VH1 World Alert
Okay. We know these clips are not great looking, but they’re among the oldest pieces in our archives, and date from a time long before we started assimilating samples for the archive shelves. We’re lucky to have them in any condition.
There were originally 10-spots in this package, but these few are among our very favorites, and not just for the celebrity content, but also because of the way they came into being. “First off,” Gary Rosenthal, now O-Zone chief—but then, a trusted VH1 Producer—explains, “because of the high visibility of this project, it suffered from a classic too-many-chefs-spoiling-the-broth scenario. All above-the-line talent contributed their time and talents pro bono for a cause in which we believed; Greenpeace, the largest independent nonprofit direct-action environmental organization in the world." Everyone considered the work important, but overlapping areas of responsibility led to confusion. There were four producers and two executive producers from VH1. There were teams of people—including more producers—from Greenpeace. Additionally, each celebrity spokesperson worked as their own “producer” for each spot. Too many producers pulled in too many different directions, each laboring under an unclear chain-of-command. “We were not on the same page; we weren’t even reading the same book,” Rosenthal continued. Chaos reigned. A production schedule that ran intermittently over several months called for us to book a number of different facilities, and shoot as (celebrity) schedules permitted. We weren’t surprised that the confusion carried over into editing; we discovered that the camera original film for the Jeff Goldblum piece was missing. We had a lot to fix in post, but the creative challenge of posting Goldblum’s spot included a new and somewhat infamous creative decision and a (then) unique look; for cutaway material, we shot video off of the 3/4-inch U-matic confidence monitor recording, the only surviving footage of the shoot.
In the end, this now notorious effort resulted in an award winning campaign that boosted general awareness of the Greenpeace mission, and enhanced their public image. “In retrospect, it was a great experience,” Mr. Rosenthal concluded.