Inside the Blanket Fort: The Ins-And-Outs of DIY Entertainment


TRONA, CA:  As DNN’s cult hit program Blanket Fort prepares to air its third episode on DNN On Air at 8PM ET tomorrow night (7:30 ET for an episode 2 replay), producer Douche! the Monkey is faced with a fortuitous but agonizing situation: this week’s installment runs 3 minutes over its allotted 30 minutes.  This means, due to a surfeit of good material, 3 minutes will have to be cut. Whichever segment he chooses to ultimately snip will then go back in the growing queue of segments available for use in Episode Four.  It is certainly a lot better to have too much good material than not enough, but it doesn’t make such decisions any less agonizing.

Everything you need to know about flying high!
Everything you need to know about flying high!

That Blanket Fort finds itself in this dilemma after only two episodes have aired is testament to the clever strategy its producers have employed to create a durable weekly program.  The general principle that guides the production of Blanket Fort is that it needs to be entertaining. This seems obvious, but in the social media age in which the entire world has acquired ADD, how does one hold an audience’s attention? Particularly within the microverse in which DNN’s roots lie, the Blab-Spreecast-Hangouts-Periscope nexus of webcamming, where nothing is produced and everything is interactive.  Did an audience for a produced, traditional sit-and-watch program even exist within this tiny niche of the internet?

Blanket Fort host and rising star Vada Callisto
Blanket Fort host and rising star Vada Callisto

The answer appears to be yes, but it is not an audience to be taken for granted.  Notoriously finicky on the whole and prone to ADD, the initial audience for Blanket Fort has a myriad of alternatives to staying on one internet page on a Friday night.  To accommodate these tendencies, Blanket Fort was envisioned as a 30-minute shot of adrenaline and not something to monopolize the entire evening.  It was decided that the clips used on the program had to be short, but long enough to convey actual meaning and content. Thus, most segments run less than five minutes, but all offer a message, whether it is no more than a joke or something educational.

Most importantly, we learned from the webcam world to keep the audience engaged and interacting with the show.  Rather than dictate what the audience should watch every week, DNN encourages the audience itself to offer up its own homemade clips.  This is the ingenuity behind the concept; the inclusion of audience member-created material not only ensures that audience member and his or her friends will tune in to see it, but also that other audience members want to get in on the fun, and offer clips of their own.

caillou's liquor cabinet
caillou’s liquor cabinet

In this fashion, producer Douche! has built an impressive collection of clips to choose from in compiling the episodes, and word is spreading among the contributors and audience members about the show.  Already, fun guessing games have begun regarding who will be contributing to upcoming episodes.  Episode 3 will feature contributions from familiar names from earlier times who have never contributed to a show before, as well as newcomers attracted by the modest-but-growing word-of-mouth about Blanket Fort sprinkled across Twitter.  As it turns out, our ADD-addled community really can sit though a half-hour produced show, as long as it is relevant to them.  By its very design, Blanket Fort provides relevance to its audience by actively engaging them and encouraging them to participate. Each episode becomes its own souvenir for its contributors.

For those who need the frenetic interactive environment of the webcam world, there is always a followup discussion on Blab immediately after the show, hosted by Blanket Fort regular contributor, Emilio the grounded pilot.

For those who have not seen Blanket Fort yet, two episodes await you tomorrow night, beginning at 7:30PM ET (for Episode 2 replay) and continuing at 8PM ET (Episode 3) on DNN On Air.

And, more importantly, for those who have seen the show and wish to be a part of it, feel free to contribute a little piece of your world for an upcoming episode.  Expect your clip to really look slick when it is produced, and take pride in ownership of your segment.  As our viewership grows and submissions increase, we expect Blanket Fort will only continue to improve.  And we expect the fun quotient to rise exponentially!

Blanket Fort Episode 3 Promo: