Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Drumroll: SWD - Reality TV

SWD Drumline in the movie 'Drumline'
The local periodical, CrossRoads News ("East Metro Atlanta's Community Newspaper") recently ran an article on an upcoming show on the new Peachtree TV station (WPCH-TV in Atlanta has broken away from the national TBS Superstation to air more local programming. It appears that you'll have to check with your cable or satellite provider to find the station: on DISH Network, it is Channel 17). The show will follow the very popular Southwest DeKalb High School Marching Band (in South DeKalb County, Georgia) as they prepare for the upcoming football season.

Excerpts from the article:
For the past month, members of the Marching Panthers of Southwest DeKalb High School have been under a microscope -- well, sort of. To be more accurate, the 265 band members have been under the cameras - literally.

A team of camera operators and sound engineers has been all over them, whether it was in the band room, at rehearsals, at football games, as they prepare for the debut of "Drumline: SWD," an eight-episode reality television show chronicling the fall season of the marching band on Peachtree TV. The show, which will air in one-hour segments, premieres at 8 p.m. on November 20, 2007.

And the cameras are catching everything - great moments and, well, some not so great ones too.

The show will be the first original series on Peachtree TV, which launched on October 1, 2007 as an Atlanta-only station when Turner Broadcasting decided that WTBS-TV would no longer simulcast the national TBS feed.

Music mogul Dallas Austin, creator of "Drumline: SWD," originally wanted to create a sequel to his 2002 blockbuster movie "Drumline," which also featured the Marching Panthers. Austin said 20th Century Fox refused to do a full-budget sequel, so it never materialized. Austin said he then thought about doing a marching band competition show, but when he saw MTV's "Two a Day," a documentary-style program about high school football players, he decided reality television would be a better route.

Two weeks into taping, Superintendent Crawford Lewis stepped in to ensure the same thing and some people thought the show would not go on. Seda said that at that point the school system was still in negotiations with the studio and the production company. The parties agreed that the School System gets to sign off on anything that is aired about the band. Seda said it's a completely different dynamic when you're dealing with under-aged kids. "Our protection of them is paramount," he said. "Once they [the studio] understood that, there was no problem."

After four weeks of taping, Derrick Barnes, the story producer, said he has met some interesting students with stories he wants to tell. "We try to connect with the students so the viewers can get to know and love them personally," Barnes said.

But in the midst of telling those stories, Seda, who has been band director for seven years, also wanted to make sure their practice regimen was not compromised. "The film crew pretty much managed to learn our routine and know when to step in and when to step back," Seda said. "And they did it in a way that was not distracting. The T.V. show is great but we still have work to do."
Read the full Atlanta Journal=Constitution article here.

SWD at Bands of America Grand National Championship

This was the first time a high school band was invited to perform in the exhibition, it had always been college or university bands.

Pay close attention as the SWD Marching Panthers show who runs the show!

plez sez: i am looking forward to watching the debut of this show. i live in South DeKalb County and live only a few miles away from the school. everytime i've seen this marching band live, i am always amazed at the skill and musicianship of its young members. alums of the band performed at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics here in Atlanta, the Rose Bowl, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and have traveled internationally to perform. my old house was less than a mile from southwest dekalb high school, and i can still hear the drummers practicing their cadences as the sun set on a hot summer's eve.

considering the treatment that the movie "Drumline" received from Dallas Austin (it's still one of my favorite coming of age movies and the SWD Marching Panthers were one of the college bands in the movie), i am looking forward to an entertaining, yet in depth view behind the curtain as a superstar high school marching band prepares for the football season. and it's also cool to be able to watch some of the local talent get some exposure on a national stage.

BLOG UPDATE (11/15/2007):
Peach Buzz reports that Peachtree TV and hip-hop impresario Dallas Austin have changed the name of the new network’s first series from “Drumline: SWD” to “Drumroll: SWD.” The new network did not want to cause confusion between the film ("Drumline") and the reality series about the Southwest DeKalb High School marching band.

They also pushed back the launch date from Nov. 20 to Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. And instead of eight half-hour episodes, they are opting for four one-hour episodes.

i have now re-programmed my DVR to record WPCH-TV on November 27th at 8:00 p.m.


Scott said...

I'm sure it's going to be a fun show to watch. I'd be interested in seeing someone use the drum and bugle corps activity as a reality show concept.

plez... said...


like you, i'm really interested in watching this show as well. i live only a few miles from the high school that is featured.

please come back and give your critique... thanks!

unceunceunce said...

Whats with the media focusing on southeastern drumlines during their fall season? I had enough of that after I saw drumline the movie, which was a poor conception of how the rest of America's bands run. Why choose a random school to host instead of a school that is esentially good and makes grand national finals in Indianapolis or a drumline that makes world finals in Dayton? Im sure the rest of America would like to see a drumline reality show like this documentary on one of the best drumlines in the nation,