Documentary Fail Hard…

After thinking about all of the ways that the project could go wrong I was left with one thought: It’s the risk that I am going to have to and am willing to take.

Of course that doesn’t mean that I am not going to attempt to address and/or solve for the various issues raised. But hey nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I split the sticky-notes into the following categories (in no particular order):

  • Film quality: reaction- I have partnered with Beth B. who is a film-maker and producer. She has committed to provide the technical expertise for the project. Also 1 have one camera man and 1 cinematographer. Beth Murphy (, who Beth B. works has shown interest in the project. These people are great resources and will help the project have professional quality.
  • Narrative issues: reaction- this is a codesign process. all participants should have a say in how they tell their story. So long as we have a clear vision and goal we will be able to work toward a narrative that explains them.
  • Community participation: reaction- Working with IBA they are allowing me to take part in community events thus facilitating community participation. However, it is important that the community feel that they can trust me and the others outside of their community to make a positive contribution to the Villa. If we can’t do that then all goodwill will be lost.
  • Disruptive participants: reaction- Strong facilitation that ensuring all people speak will be important. Some strategies for avoiding this: asking probing questions to different people to encourage dialogue, quite exercises that people have to explain afterward, speaking to disruptive individuals before/after events to ensure their interest in what other have to say. It is not an easy issue to eliminate, but one that is workable.
  • Collaboration/Codesign methodology: reaction- We will have to continually check ourselves on this point. I know once we start the workshops I will be seeking coaching from Prof. Sasha, which I will then take and teach the team. The way I see it is if we can provide useful solutions to the following questions then we will have made the project in a codesign framework: how can we continually educate the community about the project, empower the community with tools they can use after the project is completed, and how can they participate in the production itself.
  • Resources: reaction- I am currently looking for old footage. There are archives at Northeastern University. Also, at MIT through the co-lab which has some recorded interviews that I am trying to get from Lee Farrow (previous Director). As part of the project we will also be doing exercises where people can bring their home videos of the community, which will be a great resource as well.
  • Communication: reaction- I speak Spanish, so that will help some. Transparency is another component that will make this issue less of a concern.
  • Time management: reaction- Because I am getting support from IBA and industry professionals as well as creating footage in a way that the community members can participate I think I will be able to get footage. If we can get some source material that we can take and work on a trailer this summer, then continually sharing the process and the final product will keep the community engaged. Additionally, once we have the trailer we move on to the next phase of the project, which is putting the full feature together. My plan is that the trailer will help re-ignite support and provide the enthusiasm to complete the feature. Also these projects take time, but the more trust I can build with the community the stronger the support will be.
  • Schedule of workshops: reaction- Most workshops will be about 1-1.5hrs where we will be teaching storytelling, filming, and digital animation. The goal will be to use some of the funding for the film as seed money to continue to programs we introduce. Once we can schedule it through the leaders of IBA it will give me to time and my team to prepare.
  • Lack of impact: reaction- this is contingent on the final product, the distribution, and marketing. I cannot say the impact it will have at this time except that I am aiming to have a major impact on the existing dialogue of Latino immigrants in the US as positive community change agents.
  • Communication response: reaction- if the people can get something out of the process then it will still be a success. And they will be part of the entire process such that they will know what is being produced and what is the final product. In fact it I don’t think we would be able to finish the product without overall community support.

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