NYC: Producing the MediaStorm Workshop

April 7th, 2010



MS_JohnnieWe launched the workshop pieces, so I can now show you the work three teams of professionals put together. Experts in their fields, they all worked hard for five days. For all three stories, check out the MediaStorm Workshop Six Page.

I was an assistant producer on the team creating “Close to Home.” We trained, lecture style, for one day, shot for two days, and produced for three, putting in, easily, 90 to 100 hours.

The workshop isn’t designed for participants to master video cameras, Final Cut Pro, or audio production. What they do, is see the power of multimedia storytelling first hand and learn the importance of working in a team to produce a story. Capturing all the raw “assets,” the video, audio, stills, is both technical and creative. Pulling all of this new media together in the most effective and compelling way is the trick of it, and all of us, myself included, worked on the piecing together the “paper-cut” of the script. And then we labored through our footage and stills to build as sophisticated a visual sequence as possible. It was very hands-on.

On my team, we started the shoot day with people trying equipment and techniques. The Canon XHAI HD Video Camera. Two camera interviews. Two Canon 5D MK II cameras with Juiced Link. Zacuto rigs. Wireless mics. All of this was new to them.

Though they were doing well, by midday the realization of how much reporting needed to be done hit us. Our participants fell back to their strengths, and the team dynamic developed fast.

What guided us was the MediaStorm philosophy on storytelling. One of the best ways to sum that up, is with Brian’s words from his lecture. He set the tone, then let the producers make the magic happen.

“Our job is to clarify and simplify the information for you,” Brian said; this is true of any journalist.

He prefers stories like Driftless, which is the “smallest of small stories but touches on huge themes. It’s timeless, not perishable. Not event-based.”

Taking a photo story into the world of multimedia demands a shift in perspective.

“Multimedia eats photography for breakfast,” Brian said. “You need transition pictures.”

It also opens up a whole new world of distribution.

“What do you think is more effective?” he asked. “Two pictures in a book or a five minute piece that’s available to anyone in the world who has a computer?”

However, with computers and social networking, “It’s either cats flying on a fan or really important shit,” Brian emphasized. “Everything in the middle is noise, so do something meaningful. Let’s do something worth people’s time.”

I hope you find these workshop pieces are worth your time; I do. When we worked on our piece, we struggled to tell an event-based story in a timeless fashion. The cab driver piece had its own hurdles, access being one of them, but they’ve told a lighthearted human interest piece beautifully. And don’t miss the rats in the last shot. “Take Care,” well, that one is just damn cool. It’s touching and tough, all because of the main character. Enjoy.

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One Response to “NYC: Producing the MediaStorm Workshop”

  1. fc says:

    wicked. What a cool workshop.


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