After learning so much from a few producers and funders, it was time to hear from another Director. Kat’s project, Burgundy Jazz, (funded largely by the Canada Media Fund, where our last guest came from) is a convergent media documentary focusing on the small community of black jazz musicians from Montreal’s Little Burgundy neighbourhood.
The web-based, interactive doc preserves a “cinematic” quality through video capsules that can be watched in a linear or non-linear fashion. Extensive archival material is presented to the viewer through a dynamic interface that encourages meandering. The project even includes an interactive audio tour for iPhone, so that you can walk around the Little Burgundy neighborhood and hear about how many of the jazz clubs that were so important in the Golden Age of Jazz have since become parking lots… But through this app, their ghost-sounds live on.
As we were coming to a close with our own projects, it was helpful to hear about some of the challenges that are always associated with this kind of multi-platform work: certain things that everyone must manage include coordinating remote team members efficiently, developing media partnerships and creating a blueprint of your target audience.
Kat’s advice on our work-in-progress was very helpful. Next week, we should have some results to show for it!
Wow. Catalina’s presentation on the the impact of new technology on audiovisual media was totally fascinating. As the Director of Industry and Market Trends at the Canada Media Fund, she was able to shed light on many of the issues we think about every day as consumers of media, and provided a lot of behind-the-scenes insight that will be useful to those entering the field of television production.
Catalina contextualized the CMF’s 2014 Trend Report for us in her talk.
We were able to discuss things like: innovation problems with devices; content piracy and rights management; the demand for “tv-like” media on the web; convergent media; “transmedia” and the impact of video on various platforms; what adjustments the “digital economy” is requiring of producers, and much more.
Since we didn’t take a photo of Catalina, this princess will have to serve as an avatar:
Our next guest, Head of Interactive at the NFB and co-author of this Digital Storytelling Manifesto, really encouraged us to “think outside of the browser” and “off the desk” in our interactive media design. One interactive design tip that Hugues brought up was the value of “learning to play while you play” instead of reading instructions first–that it’s ideal to make the technology that transparent for users.
Hugues shared with us some amazing examples of projects that exist both online and offline:
Barcode: in this one you scan or search for objects to view short films about them.
Bla Bla: a great interactive animation by Vincent Morisset (who visited our department last year) about the nature of communication, also installed in a more physical form at St Laurent metro station in Montreal.
Journal d’une insomnie collective: this project brings together insomniacs across the world and gives them something to do while up all night.
Lastly, the interactive public installation Megaphone is a collaboration with Moment Factory that gives a voice and a speaking platform to the public.
Interestingly, Hugues’ goal is to have one out of every ten projects that the Interactive department produces take a form that does not yet exist. That is the true spirit of Intermedia production!
And of course, here is a classic group photo we took with our guest:
Our class had the extreme privilege of having the director of the documentary/video game Fort McMoney come to our class to present insights about the process of producing such an elaborate project.
The idea for the project was loosely inspired by Sim City–it focuses on re-creating Fort McMurray as a virtual town in which players are responsible for the fate of the town, whose main resource is oil. The game generates debate around economic development and environmental issues by allowing players to vote on referendums that change the town dramatically. Rather than computer-generated imagery, the highly navigable town is depicted photographically: a result of over 60 days of shooting on location. Below is a printout of one possible trajectory for a player: a story map showing the video game logic and the structure of the narrative. It stretches the whole classroom, too big for the photo!
We were able to ask questions about the production logistics, funding and conceptual inspiration for the project. Some references we came away with include the film Lady in the Lake by Robert Montgomery (first film shot entirely in subjective-camera) and the early choose-your-own-adventure video game Zork 1.
The real takeaway was that when doing a project at this scale, collaboration is necessary, and so is curiosity.
The project was produced by NFB Interactive, and we were soon to hear from the head of that program.
To kick off our Digital Storytelling project, Documentary Producer Kat Baulu came to visit our class. She explained the mandate of the National Film Board of Canada , their interest in representing underrepresented voices and supporting auteur, point-of-view, and experimental projects.
Kat’s roster of documentary projects includes RIP: A Remix Manifesto and the recent NFB/Eyesteel film co-production, The Fruit Hunters, among many others.
Kat is our main contact at the Film Board, and helped line up a GREAT speaker series to keep us inspired and reflecting on process and meaning throughout the Digital Storytelling project. More on that to come…