Final Presentation–Slides


  • Intro
  • Film
    • Call comes in from Dean Kirschner
    • Everyone rushes/freaks out
    • Personal Intros–location, map, time, distance, mode of transport, cost
    • On May 2–film our arrival here (e-mail Prof. Peters w/anticipated time of commute)
  • Slides
    • Congestion (Hsi)
    • Cost vs Speed (Vishal)
    • Headway (Sandy)
    • Connections (Goldie)
    • Dwell Time (Preeya)

Project Plotline

Opening: a call from the Dean

An establishing shot of each person–text with basic information (location, mode of transportation, cost)


Pedestrian Safety


Dwell Time


Health & Safety


Service Headway

For next session: start filming!!  choose your theme music and bring in your clips.


City Counsil Approves Congestion Pricing in NYC

Well, I was reading this and thought I’d post it up on the blog.



Project! Notes

Starting Point: Home

Ending Point: Macaulay Building
Issues: Dwell Time (Preeya), Cars vs Transit (Goldie), Street Safety, Length vs Cost (Vishal), Congestion, Biking, Access? (Lisa), Pedestrian Issues (Vishal)


Dodge Taxi

Cost of commute–Vishal buying ticket

Preeya waiting at the platform

Dr. P–Motorcycle race to stationRiding a bus–Hsi, dwelling and congestion

Speedometer showing speeds of different modes

For next week: everyone have 10 concrete ideas to share–will create story board in class, then start generating clips


Plotline Ideas

I was thinking of having the group start from the MHC center and race to one common place (perhaps someone’s campus, or maybe the Grad Center) and taking different modes of transportation. There would be this pre-game where the winner gets to choose their method. The amazing race had some odd things (like eating a whole ostrich egg) but I’m sure we can find something easier. Maybe a game of Where’s Waldo? Anyways, the first winner would have the first pick. If we start at the same time, then viewers can easily compare the whole length of the race (especially with a 24 themed clock).

Since we have five people, the methods can be car, train, bus, bike (this might be too dangerous… but we don’t have to race furiously. It’s all for the message), and walking/running. After we receive the “next assignment” from Professor Peters with our show’s logo on it (there should be ceremonious ripping of paper…), we dash out of the MHC center with our respective modes of transportation and begin. Cameras would follow parts of the race, focusing on our themes such as congestion and safety in the urban environment. We will also be shouting our comments along the way, voicing our frustration with public transportation or the congestion we face in our automobiles.

There can be some “fatal” errors that cost us valuable time on the race such as missing the bus (or even that famed old lady who drops her purse and rummages through it for 5-minutes) that shows themes such as Dwell Time.

Some shows have a “confession room” where the contestants just rant about their actions and give hints as to what is happening before it happens. We could incorporate that if we feel there isn’t enough dialogue.

In the end, the winner would reach the destination. There could be this insane 180 degree turn-and-park, with screeching of tires, that you see in the action movies. The driver jumps out and dashes to the marked spot. Then, “Eye of the Tiger” would play in the background and he/she would be jumping up and down like Rocky. Too corny? Yes, I think so too.


Script Ideas and Suggested Scenes

I also agree with the idea of using a mixture of both the Amazing Race and 24. The suggestion of having a clock ticking away at the corner of the screen would work really well in the movie. It would be emphasizing the point that time is of the essence when we’re trying to get to class on time.

I think that the beginning of the film should show the various starting points that the five of us will be starting from as well as the destination point. We could incorporate some type of google map into the film with certain points showing where each of our starting points are and the relevant bus stops and subway stations along the way. The Macaulay building can be at the center of the map and throughout the movie we can show each of our progressions. Most of us used a google map in our previous projects and they were really helpful in showing us the routes we take.

            Anyway, in the film we can show each of us starting out on our journey. We can show one of us standing at the bus stop waiting for the bus, then switch to a shot of another one of us walking to the subway, then switch to one of us driving a car and so on…We can then show how each of the different modes of transportation have their own benefits and disadvantages. This is where our core themes can be played out well. We can show that the person waiting for the bus has to deal with a lot of dwell time and that he has to keep looking at his watch in nervousness, while the person taking the subway walks right onto the train as soon as it pulls up. We can show that the person driving the car is getting stuck in traffic, but has the benefit of making a stop at a store and easily pick up something along the way…

            I liked Priya’s idea of how to end the film. As she described, we could all be scrambling to get to class and then quickly compose ourselves when we enter the room. Professor Peters can then ask us if we had any problems getting to school and we could all just look around the room at each other and then the screen sort of fades out.



structure of the script and some suggested scenes

I’ve seen neither the Amazing Race nor 24, but in my mind the first couple of scenes are of each of us stepping out of our doors with the times displayed in the corner. This initial scene will show all of us on a split screen. After this we will zoom into one of our commutes and follow the person until a defective transportation situation “creates drama”. These defective transportation situations will be one of the five core themes. Each of us could “assume” a core theme in our transportation since there are five students. While each of us is struggling to commute to the Macaulay Center from our respective homes, we can show Dr. Peters calmly waiting for us in the classroom (sipping coffee, reading the paper, etc.). The quality of our tiresome commutes will enhance when this calm scene is juxtaposed against our commuting scenes. This scene will also infuse a dramatic game element that I gather is a central theme of the Amazing Race and 24. After we have run through the five transit problems we could show each of us scrambling to get into the building running, tripping, etc. When we finally make it upstairs we each walk into the classroom calmly and composed as though our commutes didn’t disturb us. Then Dr. Peters gazes up at us from his paper and asks us if we “had trouble getting in today”, upon which we end the movie.  


Mildly cynical humor is an important part of understanding my idea, otherwise it sounds a bit corny!


Script Ideas

I like Vishal’s “24″ idea. “24″ is a great action/spy/adventure show and I think it’ll translate quite well to our ideas. However, though this may be hard to implement, I would like to integrate some of the cinematography from Lost in Translation.

The director, Coppola, minimized the amount of dialogue in “Lost in Translation” and emphasized the visual, I suppose, even visceral nature of Tokyo. In our case, we have a lot of material to draw on since the MTA system is huge. (On a sidenote, one scene that I can already imagine is the Staten Island bus stop; it would be empty, desolated, and deserted. One person would walk onto the bus station looking ill at ease being the only person there.)
Though I think character introduction is important, I think it’d be fun to push character information to the middle or end of the movie. The movie should cut back and forth between characters like Vishal said, but I think we shouldn’t reveal what we’re doing until the middle of the movie. Destination, origins, and goals should be left to the viewers imagination.

Since I was not in class I’m not sure what I am limited to in terms of ideas. I loved the comedy television show, “Arrested Development”. In “Arrested Development” there is a narrator that facilitates scene transactions and lets the viewer in on some of the jokes. Some of the humor is very dry. The show also feels like a documentary. The show “Office” has a similar down to earth feel.

Watch Arrested Development.

The URL above is the pilot episode of Arrested Development. That style, I think, would would work well with our video.

The script:

Starts out with some kind of peppy energetic theme music.

Scene with some kind of celebration commending the winner of 1st Annual MTA Transit Race. We come in dressed in different clothing styles. We all have different personalites. Some don’t care we lost. Some care we did, etc.

Transition to week before when our “Professor” makes us attend the race to raise awareness for the aging cash strapped MTA system. Groans and moans, and of course excitement are our responses. We all choose different starting locations.

We have different people talking about their game plan for success to each other. The narrator will reveal that everybody’s lying and trying to trick each other.

Transition to our real game plans. The competitive person will of course come up with something elaborate. Others will cheat. The narrator will reveal that one of us has a phobia for buses but is required to take a bus. (The person who has the phobia will love dwell because he dosen’t have to board the bus so quickly - resembles the character Buster from Arrested Development).

Shenanigans and adventures ensue.

Back to the celebration, the narrator will talk about how someone cheated by driving and avoiding the MTA because of its unreliable nature.

Of course, this idea needs more polish and would need input from the class.

Hope this script idea is interesting and helpful.


5 Themes

1)      Congestion – This theme was mentioned in a few of the posts and is of a major concern for NYC. From a pedestrian POV it would be easy to portray-we can just hold the camera and walk down 42nd street. With cars/transit we could do the same, just film during rush hour.

2)      Limited access of the Bus and also the unlinked subway lines. We could show one leg of the race having a pit-stop that requires 2+ transfers to get to. However, although it takes many transfers to get to, it would also show how extensive the system is. You can go almost anywhere within Manhattan.

3)      Safety, as Goldie mentioned. The relationship between people and autos should be shown (not from a driver’s POV, but pedestrian again): people’s disregard for autos and auto’s disregard for people. Since we have a few drivers in the class, we could have one contestant get “hit” by a car as they dash across the street to reach their destination.

4)      As His said, the FUTURE is an integral part of this class. PlaNYC had a few core themes on the future of transportation – such as building bike lanes and a expanding the subways. I think the question from our audience should be, “How can we improve the system for the future?” after they watch this movie. It should inspire them to question and demand better service instead of complacently waiting 15 minutes for the bus/train that is crowded.

5)      Living Space – In spite of all the congestions problems we have in NYC, people continue to live here. While the contestants are waiting for the next challenge, we could have them interact with the environment. Some footage of how New Yorkers expand their living space to include the whole of the city can be shown through footage in a café, library, park, etc.