Open Mic Night for TED

Have you ever wanted to gain international fame by sharing your ideas with some of the most innovative minds on the planet? In the past, you might have had to take the slow route to success by gaining reputation and catching the eye of movers and shakers. Now, you may just have to make a short video.

TED 2012

TED 2012 is crowdsourcing its innovation

Last Friday, TED announced they will accepting audition videos that could lead to a main stage appearance in 2012:

We’re holding this audition to give a chance to the undiscovered talent we know is out there—and especially talent that can help us continue to reinvent the ancient art of the spoken word. At TED2012, our whole theme will be devoted to this. We’re calling it “Full Spectrum”—the rich use of technologies, formats and styles to make an impact on an audience. And that’s what we’ll be looking for in this audition.

The public audition will be held on May 24 in New York. There will be a live audience of TED-sters looking for some crowd-sourced innovation in how to deliver interesting material. The best talks likely will wind up online, and a handful might also get an invitation to California next February.

TED has a few specific requests. They are hoping for some human guinea pigs to test ideas like:

  • a talk accompanied by an imaginative soundtrack
  • clever ‘choreography’ between a speaker’s words and what we see on-screen
  • improv or audience interaction
  • intense campfire-style storytelling
  • a remarkable new invention

They are also expecting a few new innovations that they can add to the list, which is where the public search for stage talent doubles as a crowdsourcing project.

To be considered for the New York audition, you have to show your worth online first by making a one-minute video by April 25. The short video—which needs to land on YouTube or Vimeo, thus adding “free marketing” to the benefits of the public audition process—should describe both the proposed content and the technique for delivery. Sixty seconds isn’t a long time, so polish is not one of the evaluated criteria; the goal is to communicate your vision. There is also an entry form asking you to justify your choices with the “Full Spectrum” theme for TED 2012.

Winners of the initial online round will be contacted by May 9. If invited to New York, you have to pay your way there for the May 24 presentations, which will be 3-6 minutes each. That may keep the demographics from including economically challenged folks.