TechTV vs. Halcyon

I was interviewed via webcam on a techtv episode of "Screensavers."
Jessica Corbin was awesome. We did the following interview beforehand via e-mail.


Do you watch other reality based TV shows? If so, how do they compare to what you have to offer?

I don’t watch much TV at all.  I used to watch Real World and I watched Survivor.  The main difference between what we do and what they do is editing.  Reality TV is edited to create a storyline.  Certain scenes and comments are highlighted to make people into flatter, more digestible “characters” rather than complex human beings. 

Our house is the subject of an upcoming MTV documentary and I am a bit scared because I realize how much power an editor has.  In the house, I know that the reality of my life is shown. Good, Bad, Boring, Sexy, everything.  Since I believe I lead a good, love-filled life, I have no fears that someone watching would misunderstand me.  They may not like me, but at least it’s ME they don’t like. 

But in reality programming (or documentaries) they can create drama where none exists and give the illusion of conflict, attraction, or ignorance through clever editing.

What is the best and worst reality show out there right now?

I despise any of the shows that pursue conflict.  The very first Real World in New York had up and coming young people pursuing interesting paths: A rapper, an author, a model, a dancer… I thought that was great.  Since then, they seem to try to create “conflict cocktails” and plant annoying people in the mix intentionally. 

I actually enjoy Survivor, but I enjoy it in spite of the competition aspect. It’s the camaraderie that I find riveting.  Personally, I want to watch people excel. I want to see people inspire me. I want to see the good in people.  My brother likened most reality television to the grown up equivalent of putting a bee and a spider in a jar, shaking it, and trying to get them to fight.  Programming seems to think that we never outgrew that.  Personally, I’d rather watch a caterpillar become a butterfly.

Do you really think people can act  100% like themselves when the cameras are on?


It depends on the type of camera and the amount of time you are exposed to them.  Our cams are very non-intrusive and you forget about them after a few weeks.  But I learned during the documentary experience that a person behind a camera followed by a sound guy is VERY intrusive. It makes every action a show.  More than that, when people around you see a cameraman, they act totally differently. So even if you ever got used to a camera crew following you, the reactions of people you encountered would never be natural.

What do you want to accomplish with TRH? Are you trying to offer your viewers something? Are you trying to get something out of it yourself?

Oh, this question is a lob. ;) I want to create a digital hub for creative energy.

TRH is really 2 sites: and  CitizenX is the adjoined community that allows people to be remote participants.  If they have a cam, we can see them while they see us.  This allows the house to be a physical AND digital meeting place.  We can have a costume party where guests participate in meat space AND cyberspace. Virtual Housemates can dress up in front of their cams and we can all toast our cams at the stroke of midnight. 

The idea of virtual meeting spaces is one I am very interested in., Globalgasm, and The Thanksgiving Virtual Grace are all examples of using webcams and the Net to create very real gatherings in cyberspace. 


Would agree with the statement that you have reached some degree of celebrity?

Sure.  To the extent that some people give my words more credit than they deserve. And others feel some obligation to knock me off my high horse.  But my lifestyle is not one of a celebrity.

Would you rather be a web-celebrity or a TV/Film celebrity? Why?

Can I say both?  I LOVE the interactivity of the web. I don’t want to just perform, I want to interact.  But I also covet the tv/film medium in that it allows for such a more polished product.  Ideally, I would like to be involved with TV shows with deeply integrated web components.   

Do you think you are suppressing your desire to be an actor/performer, OR does this virtual venue lend itself to that expression?

Well, the web has allowed me to express myself as much as I like (writing, animation, video) without ever dealing with traditional media channels. I didn’t move to Hollywood to pursue my dreams. I didn’t pay my dues in an existing system. I created my own channel with the web. The downside is that the traditional channels have far more reach.

Why are people fascinated with watching others conduct their daily lives?

Because most people act all the time.  Socialization is the process of people learning how to “act” normal. To see people act genuinely is refreshing.  It is a purity that most adults outgrow, unfortunately.

Have you done anything in TRH that you regret?

During the Kaycee scandal, I was pretty emotional. I yelled and punched a wall (and broke it.)  But it was real.  And in the scope of my whole life, I am not ashamed. It was a low point, but life has low points. The key is dealing with those experiences honestly.  And, when possible, turning them into growth experiences.  24/7 surveillance is like intense therapy. There is no room for hypocrisy or bullshit when you live in a glass house.

What more do you want to accomplish with TRH?


I’d like to change the world. I’d like to be inspired by fellow citizens to live actively and pursue my potential. While doing that publicly, I’d like to inspire others to do the same.

The interactivity of the site (through CitizenX) allows the inspiration to be 2-way.

How many people do you have working on the site?

Well, there’s me. Then CitizenX and TRH both have programmers for the back end. Plus every housemate and the 100,000 Citizens contribute to the project, too. 

How many hours a day do you spend updating TRH?

Well, if you include creating live content, 24.  Its hard to say, my work, play, and life are very intertwined.  I often will stay up ‘til 4 in the morning working on a Flash animation or something and never consider it work.

How long will you live in TRH?

My plan is to stay through the end of the year. 

Can "citizens" apply to live in TRH?

Yes! In fact, my housemate Flare was an active member of CitizenX before moving out from Virginia to live here. Of the people we are interviewing now to live here, half are active members of the CitizenX community.


"I wish *I* lived in theRealHouse"

links from interview:

Reality TV by Kaya




* TechTV is a national station but is only available via digital cable in San Diego.

** Thank you Susan for taping the show so I could see it!! Unfortunately, now I have to report you to Major Leauge Baseball's "Unauthorized Reproduction" department.)