Traveling to SXSW on the StartupBus

This Tuesday I’ll be getting on a bus of about 30 entrepreneurs for a road trip from Miami to SXSWi in Austin, TX. During this trip these entrepreneurs will be working in teams to launch a company, in time to pitch at the conference. It’s the Miami StartupBus. And I’ll be filming the whole thing.

I got the offer for this project about a week ago its been a bit of a rush to get things together but I’m really excited.

It’s being billed as The Apprentice meets Amazing Race meets Startup Incubator – should be cool.

I’ve got a few responsibilities as it relates to video. First off is to document the experience – what happens when a bunch of strangers get together and have to create a company in 48 hours.

Second, part of the StartupBus competition is to turn in a pitch video, where online viewers will vote on the idea and then the top 6 will move on to the final presentation at SXSW. I’ll be working with the teams to create that. Six videos in a few hour turnaround, should be fun.

And finally I’ll be handling the live streaming – or at least moderating the channel. What would be ideal to me, and I think more awesome, is if every bus member was a camera person, using their phone to broadcast their experience. I want something that would be one official StartupBus Miami channel page, multiple screens of different camera sources going on this page, and the user could pick one to watch. But I haven’t been able to find anything that can do that, though I feel I’ve seen it.

The main chocies are Livestream and Ustream. Ustream can broadcast from phones. Livestream can’t but can hook up with Qik. At first I was leaning towards Ustream, but Livestream seems to offer more for free, like a complete control center to mix live video, online video, overlay text, and setup playlists of looping video if you’re not broadcasting live on your channel.

For the documentary filming part, I’m borrowing a Canon T2i to play with. I’ll be doing most of the filming on my trusted EX1, but I wanted to try out a DSLR as a B-Camera and this seems like a good project to start.

Also, since I’m now traveling to SXSW, I figured I might as well try to find a venue to screen Bots High and tap into the SXSW crowd. It’s looking like I found a place; I’ll find out tomorrow. But for sure I scored a booth at Dorkbot, a mix of booths of geeky projects and Ignite 5 minute talks. So if you’re in SXSW check it out this Friday.

Here’s the full description of the StartupBus:

Imagine “The Apprentice” meets “The Amazing Race” meets “Startup Incubator”, but with a technological twist to build a start-up from scratch ON THE BUS – at 60 MPH – in 48 hours; that’s the Startup Bus.

Six buses, one from each of the following cities: San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York, Cleveland, Chicago, and Miami, are headed to South By Southwest in Austin, TX. Each bus will have an estimated 25 to 30 people with skills ranging from Coders, Graphic Designers, Webmasters, Copy Editors, Technical Writers, and Social Media Specialists to people with financial and business backgrounds to those people who are Creative/Artistic, and like to think outside the box. A total of 150 entrepreneurs, on 25+ teams are expected to compete for funding valued over $25,000.

Our bus leaves South Florida the morning of March 8th headed for its first overnight in Atlanta. We hope to meet with local business folks and other community representatives while there. Those who have great start up ideas will be given time to present their proposal to the bus. Then, everyone on the bus will be given time to mingle and group up into different teams where they will build their company from scratch and have 3 days to do it. On a moving bus. Pitches will be videotaped and uploaded to the web where they will be voted on to find the top semifinalists.

The next morning we’re off to Baton Rouge where the whole town is coming out to meet us and party!

Once in Austin, semifinalists will get a couple of days to finalize their presentation and then pitch to a prestigious panel of venture capitalists in front of a live audience to crown the winner! The event is set to take place at South by Southwest on Monday, March 14, 2011.

Along the way, we will blogging and tweeting the entire experience. We’ll also be streaming live video and making a documentary of the experience. As you can tell, we will be wearing our southern pride loud and proud, laying down the smack and doing some trash-talking. We want to show the rest of the country that this is THE place to be and that we know how to do startups!

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