Monday, October 24, 2011

Live Blogging iWDMS Part 2

Making Media that Matters Panel
Moderated by Andra Sheffer, ED, Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund

Jill Golick, Screenwriter/Digital Creator, Story2.OH
Years ago, TV producers told her that boys won't watch stuff with girls in it, but that girls would watch programs with boys (*can't remember the source, this is from one of the foundational books on kids' tv from the 60s or 70s)*. Today, they're still telling her the same thing. The continued belief in this gender segregation ignores how smart and insightful kids really are. Her work tries to represent kids that are more like real kids - mentioned Ruby Sky PI.

Katerina Cizek, Filmmaker in Residence, National Film Board of Canada
Documentary linking new media/social media, participatory media and film - currently working on one that focuses on high-rise living. Made one a couple of years ago for tracking the global handy cam phenomenon (*think Burma V.J.*). Describes Out My Window - the lives that people create out of the cracks in the grey concrete of the high rise. Doing action research through documentary filmmaking - peer researchers, getting people who live in suburban high rises to record their own experience. Many of their findings defied expectations - e.g. broadband penetration, which is supposed to be linked to income, was very high (80%??). Cizek argues that the most important question: What are people doing with these digital tools - in the peripheries and hidden places of our cities. Wants to better understand the city at its edges - the ways in which digital tech reconfigure, etc. (e.g. always on Skype with family members from country of origin, etc.).

Kirsty Hunter, Managing Director, The Project Factory UK
Presents the documentary film How to Start a Revolution her team was involved with on Gene Sharp - who wrote a highly influential guide to overthrowing dictatorships, links back to what's going on today. Tracking the patterns and "guide book" that revolutions around the world (Egypt, Syria, etc.) are basing their actions upon (e.g. english signs, non-violence). Online tracking has found increased traffic to Gene Sharp's works immediately preceding big massive social movements. Her group has launched a site, and are working on an app. Running a campaign alongside a television broadcast exposing the UK property scandal - media aimed not just at informing, but at instigating public action and law reform. She says her company is interested in "Ideas that hopefully affect change".

Jill Golick: Getting girls into tech, working with her daughter (?). Created a series that examined things you could do with your computer - set your Facebook settings, etc. Independent Production Fund call for web series - Golick pitched an online girl detective series (hadn't been one in awhile - live action for kids - maybe Harriet the Spy?)...which became Ruby Sky P.I.  Trailer takes on the whole email from a Nigerian prince requesting money transfer assistance scam. Wanted the kids to look like real kids (not TV kids) - light makeup, if they didn't brush their hair that morning - don't fix it, mix of purchased wardrobe and own clothes (actors'). Another episode focused on banning plastic water bottles - on the website included a real petition which was sent to parliament, etc. - also sell reusable (metal) water bottles.

Sheffer asks where is Canada lagging behind when it comes to new technology?
Cizek: mentions the mobile device issue - people from other countries are used to really cheap mobiles, and come to Canada it's a shock + barrier.
Golick: also ties in to making shorter programs (to watch on mobile devices).
Hunter: doesn't know - hasn't been here enough. But mentions Twit_Knit as a cool thing someone is doing in the UK, converging crafting and social media in innovative way.

Sheffer asks about media/tech convergence
Golick: Arab Spring - protests, etc. Showing films in different areas - say that documentaries don't work, but fiction (??).
Hunter: use of BBM in the London protests.
Cizek: Technology is just one piece of a larger social puzzle.  To a later question also mentions the tension between open source/participatory design and traditional models as a key consideration (in thinking about how tech will develop, role it will play, etc.). Also links this to later comment about the need to get more people into programming, design of technology, as key part of open source convo.
Golick agrees that keeping open source alive is crucial.

Sheffer - who is developing the new tech we're seeing (besides Steve Jobs).
Golick: explosion akin to the music scene of the 60s. Many different people, but people who want to color outside the lines
Cizek: many different industries, from military to various other. Emphasizes user appropriations (and re-appropriations) for new, humane uses - media industry has a role to play here.
Hunter: need to look outside regular toolkits. They've been experimenting with using chat bots inside games as characters - who adapt their responses to you. Taking bits of tech and adding them to your arsenal.

1 comment:

Sara M. Grimes said...

Should add real quick that the last question was whether making media that matters is really the most important thing - or is it entertainment first, etc. All three answered that for them, doing something that will make the world a better place comes first.