I just finished an intensive of multimedia storytelling in Aalto last week. Doing it intensively (i.e. 6-8 hours close contact, every day) really wears you out. Trying to stay “fresh” yourself, i.e. not fall into routines, and all the time trying to find out what it is this time you really think students would appreciate and benefit from.
But: I love it. I simply love doing it. It is just so much I get in return from the students.
Another highlight of this semester has been an intensive course we did for JOKES (Journalistisen kulttuurin edistämissäätiö). They contacted me last spring and asked if I could design a multimedia course to working journalists and photographers.
We were thrilled to do it and we were basically given very free hands with it. It ended up being two long weekends with a production period in between. First weekend was theory and exercises, production in between and second weekend was editing and post production.
Only twelve students and I was lucky to get some top notch visiting talent as guest lectures for the first session (Kari Lumikero, Tove Idström, Juhani Rajalin and Tatu Blomqvist). For the second weekend (editing) we were three, as I had the pleasure of having Saara Mansikkamäki and Niclas Mäkelä from DocImages with me in the class.
The students were a mixed group. Typically with rather little experience in video and editing. But I was simply stunned with the results.
Couple of days of training (yes, very intensive… but still…) and the stories they came up with. Some really touching pieces. In Finnish only, but you get the feel of it even if you don’t understand the language.
We compiled all the works into a web publication. Seven short pieces plus some “making of” -images and text explaining what we did.
I’m naturally biased, but I’d say it’s worth your time.
(Click the image)
Words of Wisdom
D.W.Griffith some hundred and twenty years ago wrote something which really resonates with me. He was talking about this new invention called the movies:
“What a grand invention it would be if someone could make a magic box in which we could store the precious moments of our lives…and later on, in dark hours, could open this box and receive for at least a few moments, a breath of its stored memory.” — D.W. Griffith c. 1890s
And I find myself thinking: now we do have this magic box, there are two questions haunting me. Firstly, are we sensitive enough to the “precious moments of our lives” or are we just rushing around… and secondly, are we cultivating the appropriate skills to store these moments with dignity and respect or just producing throwaway junk?
Looking at these short multimedia pieces I remain hopeful and as a teacher I am smiling… But looking at the WhatsApp-generation growing up (e.g. my kids…) I cannot but wonder. Will they appreciate this type of storytelling and how would their life look if they were to store their life into this magic box D.W.Griffith was talking about?
And as a parent, what is it I would like them to remember me by? Or the family? Or the life lived in general? What are the memories I would like them to store and cherish? And I think about a Facebook stream… that just really does not cut it, does it? And yet, that is quite often the only trail we do leave at the moment. Is it really the best version of the magic box we can imagine, the best we can do?
Maybe I am thinking something like this one by Katri Lehtola from the workshop. A real portrait of a life lived.
Another fragment of words came to mind when I was watching these pieces. Those of Danny Wilcox Frazier from Driftless: Stories from Iowa – not from the actual work but from the On the Road with Danny Wilcox Frazier where he talks about the importance of this kind of work.
We always worry about misrepresenting or focusing in just so tight on one aspect of someones life, but we also need the small moments, those quieter moments… And it is that collective body that we all bring together that informs us of the human condition.
I think that if we do this kind of work and we do it well enough that people will then care.
Why should we care about others?
Why shouldn’t we?
And I find myself turning his words back and forth in my head…
Like honestly, do you think that what we see in the media presently is a fair representation of our society? Something you want to store and come back to? Should we just produce work with the sole purpose of getting more clicks? What are they worth in the long run?
Shouldn’t we also be doing these quieter moments like the work above? Really make “a collective body of work which informs us of the human condition”.
I think we should. And I think people would then care.
Should you be interested: I will be giving a small presentation on Multimedia in the FIMAGE workshop this coming thursday (6.11) at 5.30 pm at Paciuksenkaari 3, Helsinki. More info on the FIMAGE website.
The JOKES workshop will be repeated most likely next fall. I will be teaching also in New York in May (a multimedia project workshop) and in Estonia in July. Details to be given later.