BY KIT SLACK — Around 6pm in the old WSSC parking lot next to the Magruder Park playground on Aug. 30, a small group of protesters behind caution tape screamed and waved signs saying “We need healthcare!” and “Boo, Mr. President!” A black suburban pulled past them, and the protesters hurled tomatoes at a closed car window. In the window, the profile a familiar bouffant blond combover could just be made out.
Has this bizarre election season started making things weird in Hyattsville? Yes and no — Story House Productions, the DC affiliate of German-based Story House Media Group, is collaborating with a German network television provider to shoot an interactive TV show about being the president, according to Brian Bullock, a Story House producer.
Viewers will get to choose a presidential character, and then choose what that character will do while in office, explained Bullock.
“Interactive TV works by having audience members respond in real time to the program they are watching. This response is generally done by voting on an app,” says Billy Dalton, an associate producer at Story House. The scene described above “will only air if the audience votes for healthcare budget cuts,” he said.
The company chose the WSSC building in Hyattsville because “we really liked this parking lot for what we were trying to achieve,” Dalton said. “The friendly team at CDC, who allowed us to use the parking lot, made it very convenient for us,” he added.
Earlier in the day’s filming, Katy Carl, a Hyattsville mother of three, was driving by and “had a moment of real horror,” she said, believing she was witnessing real gun violence, “until everyone got up, ready for another take!”