This Friday, April 20, The Pop Culture Experiment will kick off a project for designers, illustrators, writers, musicians, comedians, videographers, artists, and creators of all kinds. We’re calling it… The Pop Culture Mashup!
Cool! What is The Pop Culture Mashup?
There will be a master spreadsheet of 200+ pop culture entities. The individual participants will each be e-mailed a random list of 10 of those pop culture entities at 7 p.m. Boston time on Friday, April 20. Then, over the next week, the challenge for these creators will be to make something that incorporates at least 2 of the 10 things on their lists. What that “something” is will depend on the individual participant: It could be an image, a five minute comedy set, a 3 minute video or song, a fictional piece, a non-fiction think-piece or blog post, a game, a sculpture, or something else not mentioned here.
Oh, cool! What then?
Then, by 7 p.m. Boston time on Friday, April 27, each participant will submit whatever they created over the previous week.
How should these be submitted? Any preferred formats?
All submissions should be e-mailed to email@example.com, but the specific formats will depend on the medium. Written pieces can be submitted either in a Microsoft Word document or in the body of an e-mail. Audio files — be it songs, radio shows, dramatic readings, mini-podcasts, comedy sketches, performed poetry, and so on — should be sent in the form of Soundcloud links. Videos of those things — or whatever — can be sent as Youtube links. Designs and illustrations — album covers, movie posters, designs, and so on — can be e-mailed, either as GIF, PNG, PDF, or JPG files. If you make a sculpture or some sort of physical thing, then a picture or video of it would be fine.
How long or big should these creations be?
That is up to the individual creator.
What if I’m not an artist?
That’s the thing: You don’t have to be! You just have to be willing to create something.
That’s the thing: I don’t think of myself as artistic or creative. I can’t draw or paint.
Have you not been reading this? You do not have to be “artistic,” however you might define that. You just have to be willing to make something. SOMETHING! You can write a poem, or a monologue, or fan-fiction, or you can write a think piece about which members of The Beatles would would have mutant powers if they were in the “X-Men” universe. Or how J.J. Abrams is to “Star Wars” what Bob Rock is to Metallica. Except don’t do that one, because I have already written that.
So how do we sign up?
Drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org, and that way, I will have your e-mail so that I can send your individual 10 things on Friday at 7 p.m. Boston time! Additionally, in your e-mail feel free to include up to three pop culture entities that you think should be on the overall list of 200+ entities.
What is Boston time?
Ya know, the time zone of the east coast. Same as New York, or D.C.
Then what happens after I submit what I have made?
So then, over the weekend of April 28th, I will put these up on Pop Culture Experiment, and will then promote on Pop Culture Experiment’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds.
What is Pop Culture Experiment?
Um, Pop Culture Experiment is the site you’re reading right now. Here’s the About section to help you learn more.
Will I win anything? Who judges the final results?
This is a challenge, rather than a competition. You won’t be judged or ranked against anyone else’s competition. You’ll just get to make something quirky and share it with the world. This is about pushing yourself to create something rather than competing against other people.
When it goes on Pop Culture Experiment, will it be edited?
What does “not really” mean?
It means I will change it to Pop Culture Experiment style, which is more or less AP Style. I will put any reference to compositions in quotes. So if you reference “Anne of Green Gables,” I will change your italicized Anne of Green Gables to “Anne of Green Gables.”
OK, so all movie titles, book titles, TV show titles, and so forth will be in quotes, not italics.
And I will post an intro to each post, so no need to say, “I got these 10 things, so I decided to write about…” The premise will already be explained for the readers, so you won’t need to spell that out for them.
Got it. But otherwise, I can make just about anything I want?
As long as it incorporates two of the 10 pop culture things on your list. And as long as it’s new, and not something you’ve already made.
Oh, man. I was hoping I could submit a comic I made last year of Olivia Pope from “Scandal” fighting with Gomer Pyle over which Beyoncé song would be best performed at karaoke by Jessica Fletcher of “Murder, She Wrote”?
Whoa, that’s a little intense. The ultimate right answer would be “Crazy In Love,” right? Seeing as “If I Were A Boy” was not originally her song, right?
Right, that’s exactly how it ended! Anywho, what will those 10 things be?
Well, that’s a surprise, and each person will have a unique list. I am creating a spreadsheet of 200+ entities. I’ve written code that will pick 10 random items from that spreadsheet.
Can you give us a hint?
Oh, for sure. This will include movies, TV shows, cartoon characters, comic book characters, celebrities, musicians, games, and other pop culture entities.
That’s a far-reaching collection right there.
To be sure! And it will include all sorts of genres, eras, and types. You might get a musician of today, a comic movie of today, plus a few franchises from the 90s, a popular game, a couple random celebrities from the 80s, and a movie from the ’70s. Or any random mix. There will be more than 200 things on the master list, with some stuff that dates back to the 1930s.
So I can make whatever I want, as long as it incorporates at least two of the things on my list?
Can I introduce things that are NOT on the list of 10?
Sure, as long as you also include two things that are on your list. So maybe your list includes Marilyn Monroe, “Alvin & The Chipmunks,” King Kong, and “Parks & Recreation.” And you want to draw King Kong as Marilyn Monroe, but in the style of the art from the Gorillaz album. You can do that.
What if I make a sculpture of Garfield dressed up as Leia from “Star Wars,” using vegetables from my garden next to a sculpture of Yoda made out of Velveeta?
That sounds very creative! And a little weird. But that’s cool! We won’t judge! That’s fine to submit, as long as at least two of those things are on your list.
If I get Spider-Man on my list, which of the 37 variations should I use? The original comic? The most recent movie?
It’s up to you. In the time it’s taken you to get this far in the post, there have already been five new Spider-Man movies, plus 10 comics released. Close your eyes and count to five. In that time, the 11th comic was released.
So if I get a franchise or character that exists across multiple media, I can choose whichever version I want?
Right! Whether it’s “Game of Thrones,” “Star Trek,” “Nancy Drew,” “My Little Pony,” “Wizard of Oz” or —
Oh! If I get “Wizard of Oz,” does that mean I have to use that movie? Or can I use something from “Wicked”?
I mean, as I was just trying to say, you can treat these entities by their universes. So if you get “Black Panther,” you don’t have to be beholden to just that character. You can use anyone from Wakanda.
OK, so if I get “Black Panther,” I can use the title character, or anyone from Wakanda, but not any of the characters not from Wakanda?
What? No, you can use any character from the “Black Panther” universe.
Well, that would mean just about any of the Marvel characters, right?
Not necessarily. There were lots of people not from Wakanda. But on a broader scale, I’m glad you brought that up. There are some universes that are wider than others. For example, if you get The Jackson 5, you could use all of the Jackson 5 members, or any of the individual movies. Or if you got Thor, you might be tempted to use Hulk, since Hulk appeared in a movie. I will leave it up to you, but I would say to follow your own instincts.
OK, so what if my list includes Jessica Jones, The X-Men, Luke Cage, and Spider-Man? Or let’s say I get “Space Jam” and Michael Jordan? Could I make something that just focuses on those overlapping things?
I’ll try to avoid those things happening, but if it should happen, I’ll leave that up to you. Those will technically be two different items on your list, so it wouldn’t be against the rules. But that would feel like low-hanging fruit, right? Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have already been shown on screen together. And in the comics. Wouldn’t it be more fun to make a Michael Jordan/Wolverine/”Mama’s Family” thing instead?
OMG, I love “Mama’s Family”! Could I make something that has Iola Boylen of “Mama’s Family” having a torrid love affair with Bret Michaels of Poison, only for her to leave him for Chance the Rapper or Shangela of “Drag Race”?
I mean, sure. As long as you incorporate two things that appear on your list.
And it’s OK if I include things NOT on my list, too?
I mean, haven’t we been over this? Yes, you can include things not on your list, as long as you also incorporate two things that are on your list.
So, basically, it seems like as long as I e-mail email@example.com before April 20…
Then get my list of 10 from at 7 p.m. April 20, then create something in the week after that—
And then e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org by 7 p.m. Boston time on April 27, I am good?
Right, as long as it incorporates at least two of the things on my list, and I haven’t made it before? Right? Bueller?
That’s it! Now you’re on the trolley.
Sign up for the weekly newsletter here.