The creative minds behind MPLS.TV

Local designers, producers and editors are congregating to cover the Mpls. scene with stylish, and most importantly, free videos.

Kevin Albertson watches Ryan Warner, executive producer of MPLS.TV, while rehearsing for a skit.

Kevin Albertson watches Ryan Warner, executive producer of MPLS.TV, while rehearsing for a skit.

Rebecca Lang

ItâÄôs Saturday afternoon, and the core unit of MPLS.TVâÄôs 100-plus volunteers is standing in a hot studio sipping cans of Coke and preparing for nudity âÄî lots of it. Ryan Warner , their executive creative producer, is hiding in a curtain, naked, with only a green piece of construction paper taped on like a palm leaf. The leaf will be turned into flesh-colored pixels upon editing. No, MPLS.TV has not sold out and started shooting porn to earn extra cash. TheyâÄôre shooting a 45-second comedy segment for their upcoming fundraising week/launch of daily supported content. Part of the purpose of the fundraiser is to raise awareness of just what MPLS.TV is. You may have seen their stickers plastered all over Dinkytown business establishments, or you may have caught a few of their segments on which they collaborated with City Pages, like âÄúHip Hop HighâÄù or their âÄúBest of The Twin Cities âÄù series. The group is approaching their one-year anniversary but has only recently gained mass attention due to the switch from monthly episodes to daily segments. Their coverage has grown so expansive that any event you may have missed, chances are MPLS.TV was on the scene, from a Gayngs show rehearsal to the painting over of the Deuce Seven mural at Cult Status Gallery. The core members include creative types like Chris Cloud from advertising firm Carmichael Lynch , Warner, who does sales for Thrifty Hipster and First Avenue poster designer Josh Carlon . Some of the volunteers maintain âÄúday jobsâÄù and find an outlet in MPLS.TV, while others are bearing the spare time burden of recession-era unemployment, for which MPLS.TV provides a perfect opportunity for résumé-building and networking. While they sit somewhere on the media spectrum between the new public television art show âÄúmn originalâÄù and Minneapolis Television NetworkâÄôs hodgepodge of user-driven content, MPLS.TV has hollowed out their own niche in edgy, timely content, producing segments about events as they happen. The group believes their expanding influence has to do with MinneapolisâÄô uniquely small and specialized culture. âÄúCollectives can exist here because thereâÄôs no big established groups. ThereâÄôs always room for people to support something new,âÄù explained University senior Hannah Silk Champagne, who is majoring in youth studies and African American studies (If you are starting to wonder if the MPLS.TV crew receives comic book monikers upon entry, know that names like Silk Champagne and Cloud are merely coincidental. A&E made sure to check out their driversâÄô licenses for confirmation). MPLS.TVâÄôs crew has high ambitions for the growth of their project, but they promise that theyâÄôll never fill up their website with advertising in order to put money in their own pockets. Instead, the group seeks to gain sponsorship from local press outlets and businesses âÄî not to make money, but to draw viewers their way. âÄúEverything we do is free and thatâÄôs the new marketing model,âÄù explained Warner, âÄúIf you charge for something, your audience is diminished. The only thing we charge for is sponsorship of the show.âÄù Their pro-bono ethic draws musicians and artists from all genres into working with them. As Carlon explained, âÄúPeople are more willing to volunteer their time if they know that you are volunteering.âÄù So whatâÄôs their motivation? âÄúI do it because I love the city,âÄù Cloud said, âÄúWe want to document the city like no one else has.âÄù Cloud said he believes that MPLS.TVâÄôs project has only reached 20 percent of its potential, and that itâÄôs currently growing âÄúlike an avalanche rolling down a hill.âÄù In order to sustain their increased exposure (literally!), the group is always looking for volunteers. Thinking of volunteering and wondering if you fit the bill? As Warner put it, âÄúWe take your tired, your weary, anyone creative.âÄù