They Got Next

Categories: Spaced City
Daniel Kramer
Seems like yesterday that young Haf was crashing local prom parties...

Journalistic powerhouse USA Today has an interesting story today about the young people. Seems TV's Judy Woodruff and a team from MacNeil/Lehrer Productions are traveling the country, hoping to speak to and learn something about this "millennial generation" that we keep seeing everywhere. (Wait -- is this the generation of folks who hang at coffeehouses, dive bars and on TRL?) The teams are shooting 100 hours of footage to be used in an upcoming PBS documentary on "Generation Next."

The USA Today piece also tells of two groups of young'uns, one from Texas and one from the Northeast, who've also traveled our fair nation and documented similar footage. The two groups are compiling, editing and producing pieces that they hope to shop to film fests, including biggies such as Sundance and South By Southwest.

There's a standout quote in this story, from one Ray Hafner of Virginia, who's part of the Texas filmmaking team:

"Older people don't really get this generation."

What's to get? You kids with your rock and/or roll, bed head and text messaging. Kids like Hafner should get a job.

Oh, wait, he has. Hafner's a law student at University of Virginia. You may recognize his name from such stories as this, or even this. The former Press contributor/smarmy tall guy teamed up with his buddy Derek Franzese and traveled 11,112 miles last summer in a 2001 white Isuzu Rodeo. (We would've gone with a white Ford Bronco, but whatev.)

The duo shot 44 hours of digital video footage, interviewing many young people found through websites such as Facebook. (And here we thought Ray was just cyber-stalking.) They're already over their budgeted $20,000 production costs. To pay for the project, Hafner ran up his credit card, and Franzese, 23, used graduation money, savings and a little help from his grandfather. Franzese, a 2005 grad of UT's RTF department, is now editing the 90-minute documentary. (Meanwhile, we're guessing, Ray is working on his "Hi, I'm a law student" pickup lines.)

The project is called Now Entering (um...) because, according to Hafner, this generation is coming of age and now entering the world. (Ray, you're killing us here.)

He also notes that he found an "overriding optimism" in his peers. Well, duh, that's because they're all listening to this guy.

We wish Hafner and Franzese the best of luck. Could they be the next Damon/Affleck? There's no telling, though Hafner's journalistic and legal background could have him poised to be the next Dan Abrams. Anyhoo, you can read more about the Northeast team and the PBS project in the story, a story which includes this quote from Woodruff about Gen Next:

"This is a more thoughtful and a more focused generation than I think they are given credit for by their elders."

Okay, clearly this lady didn't meet Ray. — Steven Devadanam


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