DocLab participant Angelique Kasmara came away from the weekend excited and inspired, but calmed down enough to write a little about the experience…
I came to the Lab with a project I’m attached to as writer, which is at concept stage (Working title: Firecracker). My producer, Paula Jones, was the one responsible for our participation. After reading what was on the agenda and finding out we were to learn how to “develop digital media ideas across multiple platforms and create story-driven tools for civic participation and social change”, my head shrieked a bit.
I’m a writer. I sit around making stuff up. I haven’t expanded my digital media knowledge beyond uploading photos on Facebook and administrating a (very simple) human rights website, so I expected to emerge at the end of it all with my head completely spinning.
Ideas rapidly came and went, before we realised that with all the new knowledge we gained, we needed to focus on the heart of our story and how to implement new ideas to serve, not drown it. The brilliance of the Lab was that we learned a lot of information, but were also active participants in the process of how best to serve our film.
The mentors and facilitator Wendy Levy were warm, smart human beings with impressive resumes. My fellow participants all had great ideas (some were more advanced, others were just at the concept stage as well) and I’m looking forward to watching them all.
The presentations covered such aspects as implementations of open source tools and app’s for creative exploration and social impact, aligning the project with tools and partners, honing in on creative and tactical approaches to expand and deepen the “brand”, and help the project broaden its core audience and create social impact, as well as showing us examples of very cool multi-platform and interactive projects.
The “Round Robin” consisted of mentors talking with each team (our mentors swapped teams every 20 minutes), to talk about project-specific ways to implement all the new initiatives we’d been hearing about. Essentially this meant that they filled our brains with mind-altering possibilities. I got excited about the idea of building a map that creates the geography of our film as a matrix through time and space, until practicalities kicked in.
All of this was gearing up to pitching our film at the very end of the conference, armed with new ideas of how to best serve it on a multi-platform level. So after thorough presentations by Frederick Marks (fantastic talk) and Pat Ferns (on the perfect pitch), we met again with our mentors to hone our presentations, tweak media assets and talking points, and then presented these to the group.
At the end of the two days, my expectations were met – and then some. My head is indeed spinning.