Takes to Throw a Convention:
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Vote for Hollywood
There is a sign on the door outside the 2000 Democratic National Convention: Anyone Who Enters This Event Consents To Be Filmed for Any Type of Medium to be Transmitted in Any Way.
While some are thrilled
by the constitutional freedom of the press this convention supports,
others feel that what was once a necessary process for nominating a
presidential candidate has become a reality-based Hollywood movie.
"Media has gotten much bigger in the last 10 years," said David Hunter, deputy director of media operations for the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC).
Feeding the Beast
1996, MSNBC or FOX news channel did not exist. So they're trying to
feed the beast, so to speak, with more and more things to put on."
Hunter agrees that
the conventions lean toward entertainment.
"It makes it fun because of the every day delegates from Ohio and Michigan get to walk around next to [CNN anchor] Wolf Blitzer or Peter Jennings. If you take that away then who wants to come?"
The people who are
watching the party at home are aware of the changes as well. "We
need something pretty to pay attention to," said Daniel Deniz,
whose been watching the convention on television. "They kinda go
for the dirt, the sleeze."
"Oh, this is show business, are you kidding?" exclaimed Christopher Augustine, teleprompter operator for the convention. "The Republican and Democratic conventions, they're both great show biz. It's great entertainment."
"It's a little more sinister than entertainment though," said Elizabeth Bingly, a University of Southern California grad student. "It's sort of manipulative theater show."
To Bingly the point of the conventions is not political involvement, it's "mass manipulation."
But it wasn't always
"In the beginning there was no music," said Hunter. "It was a small platform. Someone would go up there and speak. Whereas now there's music and video and streamers. They have art directors. They have televised directors so it's changed."
The set design falls into Rene Lagler's field. The Emmy winning production designer has worked on more than 5,000 television shows, the Academy and Grammy awards. As the convention's designer, he is responsible for building the interior of the hall.
Tom Goreman, director of production for the DNCC, puts on the show. "If I've done my job right, the framework we've built helps [Al Gore] project his message to as many people as possible."
He said that his goal is to make sure that the convention is "open and accessible" to as many people possible using the broadcast medium and the Internet. "The viewer at home expects something."
With producers, scripts, make-up and lights, this year's political gathering should prove to be a blockbuster.
--contributed by Samantha Coulter, 14, Marquette, Mich.; Elizabeth Daley, 16, New York and Joel Solow, 12, New York
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