If I can dream, Green Eyed World and The Real World – real-time interactive docu soaps

If I can dream of a real-time worldwide and interactive audience…then I am Simon Fuller. Fuller’s new reality show “If I can dream” circumvents regular TV stations and gets a straight Hulu/MySpace release (worldwide). Which – given the heavyweights behind the project and the sponsoring brands Pepsi and Ford – does raise some eyebrows in the TV and marketing world. Apparently it will mark the beginning of Disney’s Hulu being available beyond the US market.

If I can dream

If I can dream Trailer

Its concept fuses shows like MTV’s “Real World” (currently in its 22nd iteration) together with a global real-time, interactive audience. Reminiscent of  Sprite-supported “Green-Eyed World” that cleverly integrated, emulated and (to a certain extent) faked real-time interaction with its viewers. Not being 100%  live naturally has advantages for footage, editing and story lining quality. Especially when you are so much on the road as Katie Vogel and the production team were in their show.

Green Eyed World

Green Eyed World with Katie Vogel

But participating as a real-time-interactive audience will have a strong appeal. Additionally, the attractiveness of “If I can dream” contestants, narrative and set will easily outshine the average hapless Big Brother cast and their demeaning challenges in their drab cage container.

Big Brother shenanigans

Big Brother shenanigans

I happen to have worked on the first “The Real World” in Germany, so I have a soft spot for any kind of “let’s stick some talented and aspirational kids under one roof and see what happens”. Our production under the title of “Das wahre Leben” (background in German) ran in 1994 and pretty much set the scene for Big Brother and the like. It employed one of the first large scale digital post productions with all Avid systems available in Germany at the time crammed into our editing rooms. Post Production on the 12 episodes happened on 4-5 episodes in parallel, and under the same roof as the set. We were only a couple of weeks behind the “reality” happening in the fancy loft next door in Berlin Mitte (Linienstrasse).

"Das wahre Leben" German TV series 1994

"Das wahre Leben" German TV series 1994

"Das wahre Leben" German TV series 1994

"Das wahre Leben" German TV series 1994

This episode shows (in German) the extraordinary circumstances and the frantic pace with which we produced the show at the time. Excuse the heavy compression, I did it at the time so my movies would all fit onto one CD-ROM.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

It was extraordinary because hardly anyone knew exactly how to produce such a show. It was a process of rapid-prototyping with constant refinement loops over the course of the episodes. It was also extraordinary because in our 12 hour / 7 days a week style of production, we were rapidly feeling like we were living the lives of the cast, only with a delay of a week or so. Unbeknown to the cast, we were working next door in former rooms of the Nationale Volksarmee (the East German ‘National People’s Army’). Quite a clash of (at the time) cutting edge technology with socialist-style interior. Btw, I am the guy rocking it at the Apple Performa computer in the second shot.

Post production on "Das wahre Leben"

Post production on "Das wahre Leben"

Post production at "Das wahre Leben"

Post production at "Das wahre Leben"

I am sure that even though in the last 15 years the world has become very used to docu-soaps and real-time interactions with a cast through the web, it must still be a surreal experience for the production team on “If I can dream”. The result soon to be found here:


Hulu website


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