Dan 3.0 update

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May 10, 2011 - 7:00pm

A little more than six months ago, a young Lincoln resident started a new internet television show. What's different about Dan 3.0, is the story line for each episode is decided by viewers of the program.

It's something called a decision engine' that tells Dan Brown what to do. Ideas are submitted to it by viewers of the internet television program, Dan 3.0. The 21 year-old Brown explains it started last August.

"The concept was my viewers, this on-line following that I've been growing over the last three years would be in control of my life for a year. Anyone could submit anything that they want, vote on the submissions and then whatever had the highest rating would be what I would do next."

That process put Brown's life into a whirlwind. Not so much from the tasks viewers gave the Lincoln East High School graduate, but producing, videotaping and editing a short video five days a week left him overwhelmed.

"Shortly into the project, I had to stop. I had to take a break 'cause it was too much for me. And so, I realized that as much as I loved Lincoln, Nebraska, as much as I miss it right now too, it probably wasn't the right place for the project. I realized that I probably needed some help on the editing side of things so I began looking into that."

So of course Brown had his viewers help to decide to where he should move. The last two locations came down to the unincorporated community of Gay, West Virginia, and San Francisco, California. Brown says it's worked out better that San Francisco won.

"It's also the center of the tech universe, San Francisco is. I mean U-Tube is based here. Google is based here. Apple is based here, so just the networking possibilities that exist, therefore, I mean either for Dan 3.0 or for whatever I want to do after Dan 3.0. I mean this just feels like the right place to me on a number of levels. But perhaps, the biggest advantage to living here in San Francisco is Revision 3 Internet Television."

The proximity to Revision Three turned Brown's process of delivering his episodes from a two-to-four hour internet upload to a 15 minute drive. The tasks viewers have him doing and the produced video about them, range from the silly to the serious. One silly one occurred just after he moved to San Francisco in January.

"One of the tasks that I had to do was construct a suit out of duct tape and walk around town looking like a tourist. That was one of the first things I did after moving here. And like in the Midwest or in any other city like I would probably get some pretty weird looks and I would just feel really awkward about it, but here I mean people see weirder stuff than that everyday."

On the more serious side, viewers have asked Brown to raise money and awareness for Japan following the earthquake. They also want to hear his thoughts on current events around the world, including the death of Osama Bin Laden.

"I'm seeing some really interesting things submitted there," Brown says looking at his computer. "Today, I've blogged about Egypt. And well, I mean all the protests and revolutions happening throughout all of the Arab world. The very first continuous task that the audience voted on was for me to volunteer regularly. And so that gives you an idea of kind of where their head's at. I mean there's plenty of silliness. But I think that the audience wants to do cool things, not just goofy things."

The most memorable task Brown's done so far is likely a coast-to-coast car trip.

"We went on a ten thousand mile cross-country road trip. It started in Los Angeles, went up to San Francisco, went up to Seattle, and then to Minneapolis, and then to Chicago, and then to Boston and to New York, and then to Philadelphia, and then to Atlanta and then to Dallas, and then back up to Lincoln, Nebraska, for Thanksgiving. And so that was chaos."

But there was a benefit to getting out around America. It gave Brown the opportunity to meet many of his 30,000 per episode viewers. "I hosted gatherings at every city, where viewers could show up and yeah, I got to meet with hundreds of Dan 3.0 viewers and that was really cool, so a lot of times people will ask what's been my favorite task? What's been my least favorite task? I think the road trip qualifies as both. It was awesome to meet the viewers. It was also just ridiculous to drive that far and this was in the period of less than a month, we drove ten thousand miles."

In early May, Dan 3.0 won a Webby as People's Voice award for best reality program on the web. What's next for the grand experiment? A trip to England and an attempt to break the world record for jumping on a pogo stick are possibilities. Brown's not sure what will come after the year-long run of the program. It could continue or he could be on to his next venture. It's a decision he, his program sponsors and of course viewers have yet to decide.


Revision 3 Internet Television

Dan 3.0

The coast-to-coast trip

The duct tape episode



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