Week 5–Allyson Woodard

I get so excited by moments when I realize that what I’m learning is both useful and applicable in life outside of school. In my experience these realizations usually hit after a course is over, and usually through the wisdom of hindsight. But, every once in a while it strikes while I’m actually taking the class.  On Wednesday I heard about a film project one of my new roller derby teammates is working on, and that night after practice I cornered her to talk more about it. The premise originally was that she wanted to travel to eight or so countries around the world to see how roller derby is affecting the lives of the women who play it, and while she was originally intending to just blog about it, a mutual contact had teamed her up with a filmmaker who was interested in helping to produce a documentary about the experience. Since then my teammate has become increasingly frustrated, however, by the rigid requirements of a documentary. It costs more money than she can raise, to begin, plus a professional film/audio crew makes the experience of integrating with a league more staged than she was anticipating. Most of all, the original blog concept was an organic one she saw as evolving within her community over the course of years, and she missed this more and more as footage piled up, waiting for a completion date. Just last week she split with the filmmaker over these concerns, and with a trip booked to South Africa this winter she’s been kind of struggling over the new direction of the project. There’s a film student there to help her out, but she’s anxious over how she’s going to get the footage to an audience.

Anyway, just the day before I’d been exploring the Lunch Love Community site, which I think is completely engrossing, and I suggested she check it out. I also started nerding out about how to engage audiences online can help contribute to your message, particularly when your project is all about mining the stories of a community that will be part of your audience. Who knows if the format is what she envisions, but I was just so stunned to have this real-life example dropped in my lap of when participatory online media seems like such a better fit than a feature film. I think Love Lunch Community is hands-down my favorite site we’ve explored so far–it’s so smooth to navigate, there are immediate and easy-to-understand ways to participate, and I think the video shorts are incredibly compelling. Most of all, the site provides a sense that this is an ongoing story, in a way that a feature film could not.

In any case, halfway through the term it was a huge motivation to find tangible evidence of why the skills we’re learning are important. Something I appreciate about Multimedia training is that we’re all developing diverse skills for telling stories, if only we can recognize which stories fit with which format.

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1 comment to Week 5–Allyson Woodard

  • Lindsey Newkirk

    Allyson, I love your expression of joy in making the connections of classwork and real life experiences and even the better that it is happening in conjunction with, not just hindsight. I’ve noticed my own ebb and flow in moments of feeling lost in the content and the ‘ah ha’ moments of how the readings and viewings connects to and puts greater understanding into work I’ve done in the past and how I can elevate those ideas if I decide to revisit them in the future. Very good timing as Lunch, Love, Community, I agree, is an excellent site to showcase to others about the possibilities of how to distribute short film and activate audiences to become engaged participants. I’m sure your friend was really grateful and hopefully it gave her some direction on how to make the project more manageable.

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