Exclusive Interview: Scarecrow Video 2.1 & the Future of Physical Media Livestream Telethon

By Joan Amenn

What are you doing this weekend? I got to chat with Executive Director Kate Barr and Development Director John O’Connor from Scarecrow Video about their big plans for expansion that they are calling Scarecrow 2.1. If you don’t know about the incredible film repository that is Scarecrow Video, check out my previous interview here https://intheirownleague.com/2021/01/26/exclusive-interview-with-scarecrow-video-part-i/

 A fun live streaming telethon is happening this Saturday, May 22 from 12-8 pm PST on their YouTube channel. I’ve got all the exciting details for this next phase of physical media access and events to tune in for this weekend. According to John O’Connor, the telethon had been tried very successfully last year when Scarecrow couldn’t have its annual in person Video Store Day party, but this year is “special for the Scarecrow 2.1 campaign.” It will be a livestream event augmented with recorded interviews and there will be a trivia contest, music, short films and a lot more.

Kate Barr notes that there will be tours of different collections in the store itself so that viewers can get a sense of the vastness of the Scarecrow collection. For example, “in the children’s section, it’s pretty packed so we have moved some of that off the shelves and put it into binders, so one of our staff is giving us a tour of the Olson Twins binder.” John gave us a hint that Olson Twin knowledge will be a part in the trivia contest, so anyone who wants to play along might want to brush up on that before Saturday!

Just a taste of all that Scarecrow has to offer!

Funds raised will be used to update the infrastructure of Scarecrow’s rent by mail system as well as make improvements to their website so that it is more user friendly. “One thing that the pandemic taught us is that there is a lot more interest in Scarecrow out there beyond the Seattle border,” explained John. “We want to be able to serve that community, but in order to serve that community we need a 21st Century web presence and web tools.” Kate added that “the reason that it has taken us so long is that as we started to look into it, we realized this was a massive, massive undertaking. It’s really going to take a lot of effort to make it happen; effort and money.” She likened the Scarecrow collection as being the physical media equivalent of the Library of Congress.

In addition to increased demand for physical media rentals, Scarecrow has had a great hit with their online Children’s Hour program. They’ve had the help of local artist Marva Holmes in developing many of the interactive activities and have planned a wonderful new curriculum based on the arts for this summer. Funding from this weekend’s telethon will ensure that this and many other community-based events can continue and grow in the future.

Scarecrow is at a very exciting time in its history. There is a renewed enthusiasm for physical media and with over 138,000 titles, Scarecrow is the Wonderful Land of Oz for all film lovers. Be sure to tune into the Scarecrow Video site on YouTube this weekend and support this iconic institution continue to offer cinematic gems to the public that can’t be found anywhere else.

The Scarecrow Video 2.1 Telethon can be accessed at their website http://blog.scarecrow.com/telethon21/ and on their YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/ScarecrowVideoSEA this Saturday, May 22 from 12:00-8:00 pm PST.

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