Saturday, February 17, 2007

What shall we do? Recap for discussion.

Your goal is to produce, as part of a group, something larger than any one of you could produce on your own.

Under the broad heading of "things that don't get covered," we broached good ideas. Some were single-story options (keep these in mind for your personal projects), others had the complexity that would make for a large project. Some would take too much time (as with the assimilation stories); others don't mesh with our talent pool -- not enough people interested in the investigative reporting that a full-blown light rail project would entail, for example.

We will, as a class, be a multimedia team. I'll be executive producer; we'll need two producers to oversee management of the project. Others will take various assignments. Everyone's ideas and suggestions are welcome -- as with any project that expects to get done, however, some will be developed and others will not according to what works best for available time and resources.

Multimedia projects have stages: Conception, Planning & Assignments, Hunting & Gathering, Primary Editing, Production.

Conception: Brainstorming. Establishing possibilities, range of interest.

Planning & Assignments: Storyboarding. Deciding how to tell the Big Story by parsing it into parts (perhaps six short Soundslide profiles, a timeline, and an introductory text and six brief texts, one for each profile). Assigning people to get the parts that are needed according to what you need: stories, sound, video, photographs, art, maps, information, etc. Unless you're working on a story you're trying to keep from competition, this is where you negotiate any outside partnerships (as with a print publication or TV station) or find expert consultants, if needed. Set deadlines.

Hunting & Gathering: Getting it. Producers coordinate this.

Primary Editing: This is where cross-editing takes place. Do you all think you got what you intended to get? Do you have to change anything? Is there something cool you can add or something unworkable you must drop? Look at the material you've gathered: images, sound, text (make sure it's in good shape; it gets harder to copy edit beyond this point). This is a point where brainstorming is appropriate so long as it's productive.

Production: Now that you know what the project should look like, follow the amended storyboard to put it together. Assignments are made according to what is needed: Soundslides, preparation of digital images (scanning in art, for example, or cropping photos), creation of any needed illustration or art, creating the project "shell," audio or video editing, factchecking, narration. Set a production schedule.

So all that remains is the topic. Based on our class discussion, I suggest we focus on "things that don't get covered" with a slant toward unusual, off-beat and interesting. Certainly, our gambler fits in here, as does the incredible professor. Perhaps a POV piece from a light-rail worker would work here, too. How's about a profile of someone adapting to the city culture? A "profile" of an off-beat store works, too. All of these can form a collection, and the collection is our project.

Okay. Over to you for development! Feel free to post story ideas, comments, etc., in this forum. See you Monday for class.


Greg Taylor said...

I agree with the basic format that you’ve outlined. While I think some of the investigative projects we outlined could be exciting, I certainly don’t blame everyone for not wanting to do the reporting work (I certainly don’t want to).

I am still trying to figure out what topics I think would be interesting for a purely multimedia project without a reporting backbone, but I can offer some thoughts as to how I’d be most useful. While the producer gig appeals to me, the fact that I’m living in Tucson (so commuting all the time) and I’m balancing my job with all my class obligations (as well as looking for a new job), I just don’t think I have the time to coordinate it all. That being said, one thing I can do well is edit. I’ve been an editor for over the last year at the President’s Office and I know AP Style like the back of my hand at this point. I think I would be most useful in that role – putting polish on everything and making sure we’re meeting all our goals with the content.

Of course, I will adapt to suit whatever we need, but editing is certainly my strength. I am also at least fairly good with the technical side (and learn quickly), so hopefully I can help there.

e.thompson said...

I tend to fall on the same side of the line as Greg in that I like how you've broken down the general assignments for all of the roles necessary to complete the project. Likewise, I am also hesitant about the role of reporting in this project. I am doing well to balance my job and classes and to add a reporting component just wouldn't fit in. Not only that but I have never been and do not aspire to be in the reporter position (I just don't have that drive). My strengths are more on the planning and development side, similar in terms to what you've laid out under the Planning & Assignments section. I also have served in an editing capacity at my last job, editing our newspaper and all outgoing communications--more from the written communications side as opposed to video editing.

As I think has already been made clear in both posts so far, I think in our original brainstorming perhaps we were biting off a little more than we can chew. I've also been mulling over some ideas but am not sure how well they fit the group project as opposed to my own individual project, thus my reluctance to share. I do think an easier approach would be to focus as you said on oddities or things that don't get reported on. The only other topic I've really considered that fits under this broad umbrella would be a piece that focuses on things to do in Arizona. It seems like there's a redundancy in coverage of these 'things to do' that focus heavily on hiking and golfing and that rarely venture out of these two domains. Maybe there's something here, maybe not. I would just prefer a project that is perhaps more research based as opposed to reporting.

Amy Reed said...

If we end up doing the "Things that don't get covered" angle and profiling the professor that has been to all of the Superbowls, I would be happy to interview him and be a Hunter and Gatherer. I took his class last semester and have a good relationship with him. I also cut back my work schedule this semester so I would have time to do my applied project, so I have time during the week to go interview someone.

I like the idea of different profiles because it will allow each group to have flexibility with its story while still contributing to the overall theme.

Clannas said...

I have to agree with most. While I feel like it would be great to put together a project on fascinating material I feel that due to time & equipment restraints that most of the ideas we were shooting for are a little too unrealistic with what we have to deal with. I think the most important thing to do is pick a very simple topic. One that is entertaining of course but maybe put more of our effort into the actual mutlimedia production of it as opposed to gaining the material for it. I think that a very simple topic could be made that much more interesting with all the interactive possibilities we could apply to it. If we just narrow in on a topic that everyone agrees with I'm sure the more we work with it the more intriguing it will become