America Meet World goes LIVE!

After months of research, planning, outreach, a trip to South Africa, 2 pilot videos, 3 promo videos and many, many cups of coffee, we’ve finally officially launched the America Meet World video contest!  

For those who don't know, we at Single Palm Tree have been on a mission to find the best comedy around the world.  America Meet World is going to help us share that comedy with you, while also creating new channels for talented folks around the world to break into the U.S. market.

We're excited to have these executives from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on-board to meet with the Winner of America Meet World as the prize for participating in the contest:

  • Steven Bodow, Co-Executive Producer and Former Head Writer
  • Adam Lowitt, Co-Executive Producer and Stand-Up Comedian
  • Ramin Heyadati, Senior Segment Producer

Learn more about these comedy pros here!

For the next month or so we will be tirelessly pouring over hundreds of video submissions from talented comedians all over the world. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll not leave the office for days on end, all to bring the America the best comedy the world has to offer.

Visit us at www.AmericaMeetWorld.com to submit your funny video and read more about the contest!

Be sure to email us at info@americameetworld.com with any questions you may have.

We wish a sincere “Good Luck!” to all of our talented participants and we hope those of you in the U.S. will stay tuned to enjoy and vote for the Finalist videos soon!  Follow America Meet World on Twitter and on Facebook to get the latest! 

 

Worst international travel fail

For anyone who has ever traveled to another country, you know that getting visas and going through customs and security is often not an easy task.   There are generally a number of different hoops to jump through – paperwork, shots, proof of income etc – just to be able to enter a country.  And if you don’t go through these things, deportation or jail time are definitely awaiting you.  Here’s our South African comics’ take on the situation.  Enter your funny video at americameetworld.com

 

Testing our Theory

In June 2013 we went out to Johannesburg, South Africa to test our theory – what would happen if we asked a country’s top comedians to create content for the U.S.?

We found that the creative process would literally have us on the floor laughing for days.  David Kibuuka, Kagiso Lediga and Chris Forrest are just a few of the many rock star comedians coming out of South Africa today.  They are the SNL and Daily Show stars for the African continent, and there is no doubting their immense talent.

We also learned that there is indeed a “bridging” process – learning to take what’s funny in one cultural context and making it relevant in another.  While much of the world “knows” America through our entertainment, finding the universal kernels has to be built into the creative journey.  The good news is that this bridging process is precisely what we at SPT are good at.  We didn’t tell these guys what to write – the sketch is entirely their idea to spoof the charity industry – we just helped them translate along the way.

And finally we confirmed funny is funny.  While comedy can often be local, it doesn’t always have to be.  Given a specific brief, these top South African comedians knew exactly how to write for new audiences.  These guys are pros, and they could do well in almost any market, if given the proper support and ecosystem to make it happen.   And that’s what we at SPT intend to build.

Check out the first video coming out of our giant experiment to introduce America to international comedy, and then see below for some fun behind-the-scenes pics.  We hope you enjoy it!  Please do share the video with others and tell us what you think.

Tell Us What You Think!

Check out some behind-the-scenes pics from our shoot: 

Our awesome Joburg-based crew

Our awesome Joburg-based crew

Kagiso Lediga, our director and great comedian

Kagiso Lediga, our director and great comedian

Robby Collins and Lazola Gola goofing off outside the studio

Robby Collins and Lazola Gola goofing off outside the studio

Leah Buckwalter, our amazing Production Manager, and Phineas' girlfriend for the day :) 

Leah Buckwalter, our amazing Production Manager, and Phineas' girlfriend for the day :) 

David Kibuuka getting made up for his "poverty" campaign shoot

David Kibuuka getting made up for his "poverty" campaign shoot

Adorable Nicole and her real-life Mom, Phum

Adorable Nicole and her real-life Mom, Phum

Manu Lapiere, our DP

Manu Lapiere, our DP

Behind the scenes on set

Behind the scenes on set

Behind the scenes at the pool shoot

Behind the scenes at the pool shoot

Single palm tree?

No, our company's moniker is not about a lonely palm tree. :)  It's actually about an empowered, dedicated, risk-taking, fighter that served as the inspiration for our Founder & CEO's dad, Ujjal DasGupta.

In 1947, India achieved independence from Britain, but the sub-continent was also split into 3 sovereign states based on religious demographics - creating what is today Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.  The split on religious grounds led to riots between Hindus and Muslims, and Ujjal's family was forced to flee what was then East Bengal as refugees, losing everything they had.  In 1955, Trina's grandfather settled his family in Kalyani, West Bengal (about 25 miles outside of Calcutta), and Ujjal, his mom, dad and 7 other brothers and sisters all learned to live together in a tiny, 700 sq ft, one bedroom home. 

Over the years, the riots and displacement were not the only trials and tribulations Trina's dad faced, but he still had big dreams for his future.  And every day as he looked outside of his window, he saw this one single palm tree that managed to always be grounded and live high in the sky.  No matter the weather, the politics, the poverty - that one single palm tree stood strong, stood bold and succeeded in even the most trying of circumstances, and inspired Ujjal to follow and fulfill his dreams.

In 2003, during a family vacation to Kalyani, Trina's dad told her about that single palm tree and she was incredibly moved.  He told her that no matter what, the tree found a way to stand tall.  10 years later, Trina is still inspired by not only her Dad's story, but also the global connectedness both her Mom and Dad encouraged throughout her life, as they (at times reluctantly :)) let her run around the world.  Single Palm Tree Productions is dedicated in their honor and committed to the principals of the single palm tree -  both grounded and reaching high to the sky.

Trina's dad outside of his childhood home in July 2003 with the single palm tree.

Trina's dad outside of his childhood home in July 2003 with the single palm tree.

Trina's global curiousity began on her very first international trip - traveling to Bangladesh from New Orleans to celebrate her first birthday with her Mom's family.

Trina's global curiousity began on her very first international trip - traveling to Bangladesh from New Orleans to celebrate her first birthday with her Mom's family.