Thinking about audience before you start
(and a tool that helps with that)

visual-_9_.jpgAs part of our Virtuous Circle initiative, we've partnered with Moving Targets, a Scottish-based knowledge exchange project exploring new media audiences. We recently tested Visual Engagement, a tool for developing innovative approaches and strategies for audience engagement. The tool has been developed by Angela Fernandez Orviz. 

So what's this tool good for?

Visual Engagement is a brainstorming and planning tool to be used at the beginning of a project. Supported by the visual representation of a variety of engagement forms, it helps creators to map out their audience engagement strategy while keeping the big picture in mind and aiding formulation of an action plan.

With the aid of the visual cards we brainstormed how different groups of audiences could be involved at various stages in the creative and production process. 

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Dance the Kossakovsky

(Part of Lou's diary from Berlin.)

12th Feb 2012

No point in describing the dance of Victor Kossakovsky across the stage – the camera did its best to catch him and missed. No, ok, missed from my static seating position. A little lesson here in how to interact with a film-maker with the fanciest footwork I've ever seen. Either his feet dance with his thoughts, or vice versa. Anyway, unable to move with him and get the photograph I wanted I shifted and cursed in my front row seat for the first 10 minutes, watching the official photographer move around him with inconsolable jealousy. 

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Finding my ultimate user persona: Crossover Lab

Editor's note: 'The Nightshift' in this article refers to Carol Cooke's interactive documentary series The Nightshift, not to be confused with the Bridging the Gap short documentary Night Shift

Arriving at Crossover Lab 2 in Antwerp, I felt like a definite contender for Channel 4's hit series Faking It. Targeted at “creative professionals with a unique crossmedial concept” and billed as “the answer to all your questions”, it seemed like the perfect course for me and my latest project. The Nightshift originally began life as a photo documentary on prostitution which I had developed for the BBC's Why Poverty pitch. However, having spent the summer on ESo Doc learning all about the wonders of multi-platforming from the likes of IDFA's Caspar Sonnen and Katerina Cizek from the National Film Board of Canada, I was beginning to get a wee bitty overexcited about The Nightshift's cross-media potential and had a lot of questions that needed answering.  So Crossover couldn't have come at a better time and I was delighted when I found out I'd been accepted.

The_Nightshift_Mood_Board_.jpgWhat I'd failed to realise however was that by the end of this five day workshop, I would be doing a live pitch at the 2011 European Games Summit in front of a panel of award winning 'Games Masters' and some of the biggest names in the industry. It was at this point total panic set in and my Faking It journey began because, what I'd failed to mention in my application, was that I hadn't actually played a computer game since I was 12 so my last experience of gaming was as a skateboarding Bart Simpson on my big brother's Amiga.  And now, 16 years on I had just 5 days to develop my very own game and convince some of the biggest players in the industry that it could be a hit. Cue Faking It titles and an utterly exhausting but totally inspiring following five days...

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Global Speed Matching in Berlin

(Part of Lou's diary from Berlin.)

11th Feb 2012

I'm writing this for those of you who might want, someday, to take part in the Berlinale Talent Campus. As one young film maker said, "There is life before the Talent Campus and there is life after the Talent Campus." And, looking back on it, he did have a point. It is a game-changer. 

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Sound design for prison: Michel Wenzer

Tom Allan is a multmedia journalist into environment, social issues, and community. He has worked for the BBC, the Guardian, FSRN, PRI, and Leith FM. This is his account of the masterclass with Michel Wenzer at the Scottish Documentary Institute, originally published on the Radio Doc Blog.

On Friday I attended a sound design masterclass with Swedish film maker and composer Michel Wenzer. Earlier in the week I’d seen Wenzer’s film At Night I Fly at the GFT in Glasgow, as part of the Glasgow Film Festival. Ten years in the making, it depicted life in New Fulsom jail, a super-max prison in California. The film had a particular focus upon a group of prisoners participating in an "Arts in Correction" program.

Michel’s route into filmmaking was unconventional – he has been a truck driver in Bosnia where he began to develop an interest in still photography, taking images of soldiers. Returning to Sweden, he wanted to get more involved in the arts, and he would have gone to art college in New York, but he wasn’t able to afford it. Ultimately he trained as a composer, and sound and music are still central to how he constructs his films, particularly his early shorts about the prisoners, and for this reason I’m going to focus on these in this blog post.

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Twelve for the Future (and learning Finnish Tango in Helsinki)

Faroes.jpgThe EDN’s Twelve for the Future is a project-driven co-production workshop for Nordic documentary producers and directors, so it was a great honour to be included as the first-ever Scottish project, supported by Creative Scotland's 'Creative Futures' programme

Putting aside any Scottish claims of Nordic DNA from visiting longboats in the distant past, the film I was taking to the workshops is set in the Faroe Islands and so is very Nordic. The programme was spread across two workshop sessions, the first in Denmark in September 2011, and the final part in Finland in late January 2012. 

Part One: Copenhagen

The first session was held outside Copenhagen in the seaside resort of Marlielyst. I only know how to say ‘carrot’ in Danish, and ‘tea towel’ and ‘biscuit’ in Finnish, which is very limiting. Thankfully, the workshops were held in English. 

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Diaries from a Sahrawi tent (3): Disco in the desert

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(Continued from part 2.)

Day 4

I want to start the film with the 'wall of shame' as it is known from a beautiful song, as a way to introduce the history of Western Sahara. In order to get there, we had to get permission of the Polisario Protocol Bureau and get a police car escort. I asked Khadra if she would consider coming with us. She immediately accepted and offered that some of her family members join us. That meant two daughters and her son and his wife and a few kids!

They asked me to go and buy camel meat so we could have a picnic in the desert. The two Land Rovers were loaded with pots and pans and meat. It took a 2-hour drive across sand and stone to get there. The police car was driving sometimes at the front, sometimes at the back, trying to foresee danger. It felt like we were in a car chase movie! Meanwhile in our Land Rover, music was blasting out of the speakers and the women were waving their arms in the air and singing along. They have many revolutionary songs with wonderful rhythms. It was impossible to film or take photos, as the car was shaking so much. But I want you to imagine those beautiful, rather large women, with every inch of skin covered but their eyes. And some of them had large black sunglasses. In total disguise, yet having the time of their lives!

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Bart Simpson – obsessed with corporations?

bart.jpgThe Scottish Documentary Institute was lucky to have Bart Simpson in town for a masterclass. Of course I’m talking about the Canadian producer (and now also director) of documentary films. I first came across his work with The Corporation. The film won many awards at festivals including Sundance, Toronto, and IDFA.

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Diaries from a Sahrawi tent (2): Chasing goats

Day-2-.jpg(Continued from part 1.)

Day 2

Woke up with the anticipation of visiting Algiers. It is such a beautiful city, built on hills and looking at the sea. People compare it to Marseilles, but actually it is more beautiful. White buildings with beautiful blue iron balcomies. Large pleasant avenues with trees and gardens, and the constant view of the sea. Having a rest from walking through the casbah, we saw that the cinematheque was playing one of my favourite films, Touki Bouki, so we went in. There were four of us! The sound kept breaking down, but it was still pleasurable to see the film on a big screen in Africa.

Time to get to airport, only to discover that we had two seats but bad luck: the pilots were on strike, so we may or may not have a plane... So we waited and waited, and two hours later we were rushed through customs (yes, it seems they can do it) and onto a plane to Tindouf. Our poor fixer Hamdi had been waiting for us there for the last 30 hours.

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Berlin – one day left of freedom

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(Part of Lou's diary from Berlin.)

10th Feb 2012

I wake up in a small hostel room, having left Tali's flat in East Berlin. I am nearer the centre now, near Hauptbahnhof. Happily the hostel changed my booking from a 6-bed dorm to a 2-bed room, and my room-mate, the morning light reveals, is none other than Tamara Scherbak, an experimental film-maker from Canada who I already know from the talent campus at Reykjavik. More importantly, as anyone who has shared a room in a hostel will attest to, she does not snore violently. 

I have one more day of freedom before the Talent Campus starts and have been warned that, once it starts, there is barely any time to watch films let alone explore. So I bolt out of the hostel early to make the most of things. It is slightly warmer: all omens are good.

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I AM BREATHING
FUTURE MY LOVE
PABLO'S WINTER
STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS

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