Thursday, December 4, 2008

Elaborations on vision for Statewide Movie Signage proposal

When ITD amended the Wood River Mines sign to include a tribute to Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider it was not as much as we had hoped, however, they did recognize the historical significance of the movie. From my previous experience with Idaho Transportation Department personnel, I sense they have some technologically savvy leaders aboard who embrace innovativeness, and would likely be open to a proposal that better honors Idaho films.

We should start with a prototype interactive movie sign, sticking with Pale Rider. After developing it, we then present it to ITD and the Idaho Historical Commission; perhaps even the governor. Besides the gimmick, I suggested earlier, by utilizing Clint Eastwood’s stern voice; we could design the sign to be vandalism resistant. Although millions of tourists have driven by the mountain goat observation telescopes near the same highway area as our proposed Pale Rider tribute, those instruments have been left mostly unscathed, since installed a decade ago. Interactive kiosks featuring short movie clips, designed in a similarly excellent manner, would automatically gain respect from most passerby. An editor I spoke with recently mentioned that arts and humanities grants are readily available to help jumpstart such projects.

Although Idaho faces a budget shortfall, I strongly believe this is the kind of project we need to embrace to enrich Idaho’s future. The team at the Idaho Film Bureau is already aiming to do this, albeit on a larger scale. Although I’ve lived here 16 years, I’m unsure whether Idaho has a technological czar or anything like that. If not, maybe the governor should consider appointing one, along with a research and development team.

Once we install the first interactive sign, we should have a press release. The movie industry will take note and want more of the same. This might be all we need for the project to take on a life of its own. Once the movie signage proposal merges better with Idaho’s already successful Historical Signage program, we can enhance its evolution by doing several things. For one, the film bureau could develop a ‘donate to your favorite movie’ button on their website. Idaho’s Historical Society, Transportation Department and The Internet Movie Data Base ought to consider a similar donation option. After reading a few items about Idaho movies, some fanzines will likely find themselves wanting to contribute to a cool commemoration. Another timely follow-up would be to commission someone to write a guidebook to Idaho movies, including a map of the landmarks. The signs themselves could direct film buffs to other nearby movie signs.

If this highway project takes off, eventually the Idaho Tourism Bureau could develop Idaho or Northwest movie tour packages, including visits to movies under production. After tourists enjoy brief clips or holograms of the movie near the same site where it was filmed, an educated tour guide could speak more about the movie and answer questions. Questions and answers could also be programmed into the interactive signs, along with a suggestion box that sends e-mails to the pertinent film bureau manager, etc.

Anyhow, these are some more of my random thoughts, regarding the Statewide Highway Movie proposal. I hope that we’ll have some more to follow soon.

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