News & Updates
June 6, 2017
This article originally appeared on Column Five.
Have you ever slogged through an article only to find out it was a complete waste of time? We all have. The Internet is full of content marketing that is all fluff, no substance, or totally irrelevant. Frankly, too many of us have been guilty of wasting our audience’s time. That’s why content marketing is facing a bullshit epidemic.
WHY IS THERE SO MUCH BAD CONTENT MARKETING?
This industry-wide problem became clear to me after reading Josh Bernoff’s book Writing Without Bullshit. The driving idea behind the book is what Bernoff calls the Iron Imperative: Be more respectful of your reader’s time than your own.
This philosophy seems intuitive, no matter what content we create, but the truth is we have become accustomed to BS, both consuming it and creating it. Why? Bernoff identifies four main reasons:
- We got the wrong training in school. We tried to BS our teachers into thinking we knew what we were talking about.
- Once we started working in the real world, we were saturated by jargon, from employee manuals to tech babble that only insiders understand.
- We soon learned that avoiding risk is critical, and writing clear copy means someone can disagree with us.
- No one edits what we read.
Now we’re drowning in meaningless content, which is a huge problem. But it’s also an awesome opportunity for your brand to stand out by creating A+ content.
The first step? Stop the BS and start focusing on creating high-value content that is worth your reader’s time. To get you on the right track, here are five things you can do to take the BS out of your content marketing ASAP.
1) AVOID BUZZWORDS
Wheelhouse. Implementation. These buzzwords have become a plague. Sure, every industry has its jargon, but too often it’s used as a crutch to sound like you know what you’re talking about. Worse, too much jargon can confuse your reader if they don’t actually know what you’re talking about.
Your audience wants to connect with you. They want your knowledge and experience, so write the way you speak—like a human. When you do use the occasional buzzword, make sure you explain what it means. (If you still want your buzzword fix, check out our marketing gibberish generator.)
2) GET TO THE POINT
A good content marketer has one job: To deliver a story or message as succinctly and efficiently as possible. Yet we see so many “thought leaders” drone on and on in 3,000-word articles simply for vanity’s sake. Avoid their mistakes.
- Be direct.
- Write to your audience (see #1 above). The content, message, and audience should dictate length and format.
- Don’t write long posts just for the sake of writing long posts.
- Channel your innerHemingway. Share a concept as economically as possible.
Remember the Iron Imperative: Consider your audience’s time.
3) USE A REPEATABLE PROCESS
Good content marketing requires the right team, the right ideas, and an efficient process to see those ideas to completion. That means planning, producing, managing, and reviewing content before it goes live.
You can always make adjustments during a project, but having a basic process, which all team members can rely on, will make your life a lot easier—and reduce lag time on projects. (That said, in the interest of efficiency, you should regularly review the way you do things to see if there are ways to improve.)
Also, before you undertake a project, ask yourself if you can reasonably produce it with your existing resources and process. For this reason, wWe ask our clients five questions before we kick off projects:
- Why do you want to do this project?
- What do you hope to achieve with this project?
- Who is your audience, and what are their pain points?
- How are we going to approach the project?
- When do you need the project finished?
This ensures that the content we create will help achieve the client’s goals—and that production goes as smoothly as possible.
4) CONDUCT PAIN-FREE COLLABORATION
It’s incredibly frustrating to get a ton of last-minute edits a day before launch, from a stakeholder who has just been looped into a project. Likewise, it’s exasperating when you hold a brainstorm with so many stakeholders that you leave three hours later without a single actionable idea.
Finding the right type—and number—of collaborators is crucial. Some people like to be auteurs, but in my opinion, the best creative work tends to involve additional perspectives, experiences, expertise, and creative thinking. Of course, too many cooks in the kitchen is a nightmare.
For our agency, somewhere between two and five people tends to be the sweet spot for good collaboration. Some other rules that help us work together:
- Establish clear roles.
- Create a document that contains shared values, as well as aligned goals.
- Let the best ideas win, regardless of work titles.
Something that might also help is finding out what creative type you are. Once you know what you are, you can learn how to work and communicate with others without wanting to rip your hair out. (This has been an awesome revelation for our team.)
5) EMBRACE ITERATION
Most work that our agency does involves a good amount of iteration at multiple stages. That’s because we believe doing things right is better than doing things quickly.
Our creative director is constantly telling our team to never go with their first idea. First ideas can be good, but if you don’t explore other ideas or carefully vet your initial idea, then you’re selling yourself short.
As Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Don’t be judgmental when starting out on early drafts. Create, write, and draw like a wild person. Then put on your editor’s hat and edit mercilessly.
ALWAYS FOCUS ON VALUE
Moral of the story: Respect your audience. Focus on delivering high-quality content that will truly help them. That means less BS and a lot more value. The more you demonstrate that you are invested in helping them learn what they need to know, the more they will look to you as a trusted friend and resource, and that’s the ultimate goal.
No matter what you do, always aim to create better content than the average content marketer. Remember: Average is not good. Average is average.
Want more content marketing tips?
- Learn about the strategy we used to increase our leads 78% in 6 months.
- Find out how to create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Check out our 7 tips to create content that provides true value to your audience.
Source: Visual News
June 5, 2017
This article originally appeared on Hubspot.
Everyone wants to be creative, yet many of us are too fearful to pursue our most creative ideas. Why? Our fearful reaction is not a matter of choice — it’s often a knee-jerk reaction that can be attributed to our biology.
According to Adobe’s State of Create report, “At work, there is tension between creativity and productivity.” That could have something to do with previous research indicating that there’s a natural association of uncertainty with ideas labeled as “creative,” and that makes a lot of people uncomfortable.
So when you’re pursuing a creative path, this hurdle can feel insurmountable. How do you tackle and, ultimately, dismantle it?
Creativity vs. Fear of Failure
In my experience — and that of many creative professionals — the most familiar form of fear come is really that of failure. It’s a hesitancy to branch outside the norm and risk exposing yourself to the judgment of others. But that fear alone is not what inhibits your path to creativity. Not acknowledging is what’s truly damaging. Nelson Mandela summarized that notion quite well:
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
The traditional narrative about the creative process tends to leave out fear. We hear about and romanticize the lone genius’ bursts of inspiration but that isn’t always accurate. As David and Tom Kelley note in Creative Confidence, “A widely held myth suggests that creative geniuses rarely fail.” They go on to cite UC Davis Professor of Psychology Keith Simonton, who found that many of the world’s most famous creative people — like composer Wolfgang Mozart and scientist Charles Darwin don’t give up at the first sign of failure. Rather, they keep experimenting until they find what works.
That’s one of the things that makes fear a necessary and important part of creative work — learning how to work with it. Unfortunately, in many organizations, fear tends to dominate, often stifling what could have been some of our most creative work. Only 4 in 10 employees would even describe themselves as creative, and out of those who do, less than half think they’re “living up to their creative potential.” Those are forms of fear, and even if you’re not aware of it, you’ve likely let it take control before.
But how do you recognize it? Here are some familiar “traps” you might be falling into.
Letting Fear Hinder Your Creativity
In the middle of a brainstorm, someone pitches an off-the-wall idea that the whole team thinks is edgy and hilarious. These ideas are often followed by a flurry of enthusiastic statements that start with things like, “what if we….” or, “imagine if…”. Despite the team’s excitement, you decide the client will think it’s too offbeat, so you pitch your safer — a.k.a., less creative — plan B.
When you focus on what seems like the safer path and make decisions purely based on risk-avoidance, you lose sight of supporting your actual objective. That’s common in group dynamics, and even has a name: Groupthink, which occurs “when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation,” according to Psychology Today. It’s often masked as rational thinking, but playing it safe is actually the enemy of good creative work — the more you stay in the same place, the less effective your work becomes. Conversely, doing good creative work requires comfort with risk.
Letting Fear Dictate Your Creativity
Your competitor releases a new product or service, or updates its branding/website, thereby staking its claim as the industry leader. Your fear of being outshined prompts a response focused solely on beating your competition, instead of doing what’s going to benefit your customers — and therefore, your business — the most.
While most people are aware that their respective brands must constantly innovate and evolve, letting fear control your efforts is also dangerous. When fear fuels your motivation and objectives, your work can become less meaningful due to a lack of passion or enthusiasm behind it. Plus, spending an unbalanced amount of time trying to keep up on every trend saps your resources and focus. When you succumb to fear, you often end up paying the price in the long run, with results like a bad user experience or looking like a copycat. As Karen Martin wrote in her book The Outstanding Organization, “When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.”
Why You Need Failure
Yes, there is a right way to fail. When you creatively experiment — just as Mozart and Darwin did — there are times that you will fail. But when you fail in this manner, you learn from it. For this reason, it is important to accept and even honor your creative failures. View them not as a hindrance to creative success, but as a powerful conduit that gets you closer to your goal next time around. Accept that failure is an option, and one that you are quite capable of recovering from, with the right perspective.
In my experience, the only way to overcome your fear — or at least prevent it from sabotaging your day-to-day — is to reframe it. When you think of the framework for failure, replace the word “failure” with “learn.” That approach encourages confidence and a willingness to learn, which are vital for high-quality creative work.
At my company, C5, our vision is to help build a world where everyone can have a healthy and fulfilled life. We take this mission seriously in the work we create, the clients we work with, and the way we interact with each other. But “healthy” and “fulfilled” don’t have to translate to “rainbows and sunshine.” Fulfillment really comes from the fruit of your labor, which only grows through hard work and, sometimes, results that you weren’t hoping for. Knowing that, we believe that sometimes rising to the challenge is its own reward.
In our organization, we are pursuing an effort to remove unnecessary sources of fear and anxiety from how we approach our work. Letting our creativity come to front doesn’t mean we do things flippantly, take uncalculated risks, or play roulette. But we do cultivate environments in which we can take intentional risks.
We’ve outlined some of the pieces that, to us, comprise a calculated risk.
Determining Objectives of the Situation at Hand
Naturally, your actions are influenced by your goals. But creativity can always be cultivated within confines. In fact, structure is often beneficial. Just because you have always done something one way, doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do it. When strategizing how best to achieve a goal, consider alternate solutions, try new methods, and conducts A/B tests. For example, when Microsoft Internet Explorer requested an infographic from our agency, we ended up pitching a video concept, instead, because we felt it would deliver the message more effectively. The client agreed, and the “Child of the ‘90s” spot we created for them garnered over 49 million views.
Learning to Operate From a Place of Conviction and Commitment
If you have a unique or unusual creative idea, lead with confidence. Whether you’re pitching it to a client or trying to secure budget from management, if you drown in self-doubt at every stage, it’s likely to show. You should certainly listen to valid objections, but remember that passion and enthusiasm are contagious. Again — Microsoft would have surely rejected our pitch had we not made a well-supported, confident case for it.
Allowing the Freedom to Fail, Learn, and Grow
Nurturing an environment that not only encourages but demands experimentation is vital to push your creative boundaries. You can help cultivate this at every touch point in your organization, whether it means building out longer timelines, schedule regular out-of-the-box brainstorms, or encourage employees to work on their own passion projects. Pushing your team to experiment will only benefit you. Our agency has even closed up shop for a “hack day,” during which everyone — from accountants to designers — collaborated on creative solutions in a consequence-free environment.
As you face creative challenges, I encourage you not to give into fear — in fact, give it a chance. Without fear, there is no bravery. And without bravery, no risks are taken. And you can’t improve if you aren’t taking risks. Learn from what doesn’t work, and use it to build something even better.
Source: Visual News
June 4, 2017
Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” (Warner Bros.) starring Gal Gadot dominated the weekend box office with a $100-million record performance that drew media hoopla as the best-ever female-directed wide release. But that achievement is not the only news out of the weekend Top Ten box office. D.C Comics’ newest entry soared on multiple levels — see below — but DreamWorks Animation’s “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” (20th Century Fox) also exceeded expectations.
But one week alone won’t set the summer box office to rights. Neither of last week’s weak openers, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” (Disney) and “Baywatch” (Paramount), will have box-office legs. And the five holdovers in the bottom half of the Top Ten took in a miserable $11 million altogether.
The Top Ten
1. Wonder Woman (Warner Bros.) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 76; Est. budget: $249 million
$100,505,000 in 4,165 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $24,131; Cumulative: $100,505,000
2. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (20th Century Fox) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 70; Est. budget: $38 million
$23,500,000 in 3,434 theaters; PTA: $6,843; Cumulative: $23,500,000
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Disney) Week; Last weekend #1
$21,613,000 (-66%) in 4,276 theaters (no change); PTA: $5,054; Cumulative: $114,622,000
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Disney) Week 5; Last weekend #2
$9,733,000 (-54%) in 3,507 theaters (-364); PTA: $2,775; Cumulative: $355,474,000
5. Baywatch (Paramount) Week 2; Last weekend #3
$8,500,000 (-54%) in 3,647 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,331; Cumulative: $41,724,000
6. Alien: Covenant (20th Century Fox) Week 3; Last weekend #4
$4,000,000 (-62%) in 2,660 theaters (-1,112); PTA: $1,504; Cumulative: $67,219,000
7. Everything, Everything (Warner Bros.) Week 3; Last weekend #5
$3,320,000 (-45%) in 2,375 theaters (-476); PTA: $1,398; Cumulative: $28,302,000
8. Snatched (20th Century Fox) Week 4; Last weekend #7
$1,340,000 (-66%) in 1,625 theaters (-1,023); PTA: $825; Cumulative: $43,868,000
9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (20th Century Fox) Week 3; Last weekend #6
$1,220,000 (-73%) in 2,088 theaters (-1,086); PTA: $584; Cumulative: $17,825,000
10. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Warner Bros.) Week 4; Last weekend #8
$1,170,000 (-65%) in 1,222 theaters (-1,281); PTA: $957; Cumulative: $37,173,000
“Wonder Woman” Sets Records
Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” opened to just over $100 million, a first for a woman director even with adjusted grosses. While 40 films in adjusted numbers have taken in over $100 million, this weekend opening figure is higher than any Kathryn Bigelow title in her long career.
Here’s what “Wonder Woman” achieved:
“Wonder Woman” outperformed several DC/Marvel superhero origin myths.
They include Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman” reboot ($90 million), “X-Men” ($89 million), “Doctor Strange” ($85 million), and “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Thor,” both of which opened to $72 million. “Wonder Woman” came in only a few million behind “Guardians of the Galaxy” ($103 million).
Looking at the adjusted numbers puts “Wonder Woman” at $20 million below “Iron Man” rather than ahead when it is unadjusted. But “Iron Man” along with “The Avengers” is the gold standard of comic book franchises. Doing more than 80 per cent as good as the first “Iron Man” is a huge achievement for any initial sub-franchise entry.
This shows that the male-dominated superhero universe could use a lift from a witty woman director and her global movie star.
Only a few live-action franchises with female leads opened better.
Franchises “Twilight” and “Hunger Games,” Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and “Alice in Wonderland” opened to higher numbers. That’s heady territory. The first “Twilight” directed by Catherine Hardwicke, if you adjust the opening, launched the series with an $86 million weekend. “Wonder Woman” also beats Sam Taylor-Johnson’s pre-sold bestseller adaptation “Fifty Shades of Grey” by about the same margin.
Strong word of mouth pushed “Wonder Woman” at the weekend box office.
“Wonder Woman”‘s eight per cent Saturday drop is at the low end of second full-day decreases among similar initial entries in recent years (since the advent of Thursday night shows added on to Friday numbers). D.C. Comics’ “Suicide Squad” last August went down 40 per cent on day two. “Deadpool,” a major word-of-mouth success, fell ten per cent. “Wonder Woman”‘s Saturday is only $2.5 million below the first Saturday for “Suicide,” which opened $25-million bigger on its initial Thursday night and Friday.
That can be attributed to strong word of mouth, early overcoming of some male fanboy resistance and a higher adult turnout. Warners reports that 47 per cent of the audience was 35 and older. That’s terrific for the genre. But they also give the gender breakdown as 52-48 female. That’s higher for women. But unlike most female-character driven films, it’s close to equal. That’s another breakthrough.
The international box office was strong.
Foreign, considered to be a question mark, came through fine. So far, with several notable countries yet to open, “Wonder Woman” has passed $122 million overseas. That’s at the same level or ahead of most superhero entries. And this is an even more important development than its domestic result.
This means that the film has a much greater potential — including substantial repeat viewings — which could propel it to an unusual three times multiple for a film that opens this high. That would get it to around $300 million domestic total and more than double that worldwide.
That’s the number to watch. Jenkins will easily score the biggest unadjusted gross for a female-directed film. But if this reaches $303 million, it will match the (adjusted) record for a live-action movie directed by a woman currently held by Amy Heckerling’s “Look Who’s Talking” back in 1989. Worldwide, the adjusted figure to top is Phyllida Lloyd’s “Mamma Mia!” which took in around $700 million.
A Strong Rebound Led By Two New Films
The weekend’s $175 million Top Ten total marks a 42 per cent increase from last year’s post-Memorial Day weekend. That’s the best for the date since at least 2009. It does come in part from distributors taking advantage of a play date that usually is squeezed between the holiday and the slightly more desirable following week (as school vacations take hold in earnest).
The spark comes from both of the openers hitting their target audiences with results strong enough to make them look, unlike most other openers since “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” The weakness in box office of late has come not only from some disappointing initial results but also lack of sustained interest.
Both “Wonder Woman” and “Captain Underpants” gained from pre-set content brand awareness but also strong reviews (at a time when studios are trying to blame critic aggregate sites for damage to their releases) and most importantly some freshness amid the tired formula familiarity.
“Captain Underpants” Scores Before “Cars 3”
While its $24-million first weekend is just a fraction of what many animated features from top producers like Disney, Pixar, Universal, Fox and Dreamworks usually see, it’s a credible total.
That’s because its $38 million budget is far below the cost of most animated studio titles. Indeed, “Captain Underpants” marks the least expensive DreamWorks computer-animated movie ever. Based on a popular kids book series (its heroes are fourth graders), it doesn’t have the presell or broader appeal of bigger entries.
On the other hand, after a strong Friday the next day’s gross only climbed 11 per cent, quite low for a family release. Perhaps contributing to that was a 54 to 46 per cent boy-girl ratio.
“Underpants” can stick around for a while — summer vacation will support more than one animated film. But Disney/Pixar’s “Cars 3” in two weeks will quickly dominate this audience.
The fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” installment plummeted 66 per cent, way below franchise standards. It could end up 40 per cent lower than the weakest (2011’s fourth) entry in domestic returns. Foreign is another story, where its $386 million so far is the lion’s share of a half billion return to date. So Disney might be inclined to try again, even though next time domestic returns could struggle to meet this dismal figure.
“Baywatch” fell less — 54 per cent — but now will stretch to reach even $60 million domestic. Just another in a string of disappointments for Paramount.
Only “Everything, Everything” managed to keep its drop under 50 per cent (last weekend did include an elevated holiday weekend Sunday) with a 44 per cent fall that should give it a chance to stick around a little longer.
Adding insult to injury on two studio tentpole bellyflops are “Alien: Covenant” with a 62 per cent third week drop and a 65 per cent drop for “King Arthur.”
Source: IndieWire film
June 4, 2017
We’re still many years away from Hollywood completely running out of franchises to reboot, but it’s not all bad. Shane Black’s take on “The Predator” shows promise, what with the “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and “The Nice Guys” writer/director’s skill for rapid-fire dialogue and the sci-fi series’ rapid-fire combat; we’re now one step closer to seeing the film, as it just completed filming.
Co-star Jacob Tremblay — whom you may remember as the moppet from “Room” — marked the occasion on Twitter (under the supervision of his folks, natch): “#ThatsaWrap! Time for me to #GETTOTHECHOPPA!!! ✌ #ThePredator”
Black, whose first prominent acting role can in the original “Predator,” began production in February. Sterling K. Brown, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Boyd Holbrook and Olivia Munn also star in the film, which is scheduled for an August 3, 2018 theatrical release.
— Jacob Tremblay (@JacobTremblay) June 1, 2017
Source: IndieWire film
June 4, 2017
Neill Blomkamp’s “Alien” sequel may not be happening now that Ridley Scott has taken back the reins on his franchise, but the “District 9” director is busy all the same. His next project is more ambitious than just another movie, as he’s forming Oats Studio as a sort of testing ground for short films that will be released for free online — and, if all goes well, perhaps even expanded into features.
“At the end of making ‘Chappie,’ I wanted to try to figure out a different method for making films and expressing myself,” explained Blomkamp to the Verge. “I felt that if I could sell smaller pieces directly to the audience, the sale of those small experimental pieces would keep this machine alive so that it became an ecosystem that was self-sufficient.”
Part of the idea is to allow viewers to peek behind the curtain in a way that iTunes and similar services don’t. “The more I thought about that, the more it became, ‘What if the users had access to all of the 3D files that we used for the visual effects?’ If we just gave that away with any one-time purchase and you could render stuff yourself?”
As for his “Alien” sequel, it seems that we won’t be seeing it anytime soon. “I think it’s totally dead, yes. That would be an accurate assumption at this point,” Blomkamp confirmed. “It’s sad. I spent a long time working on that, and I feel like it was really pretty awesome. But politically, the way it’s gone now, and the way that it all is — it’s just not going to live.” Read more here.
Source: IndieWire film
June 4, 2017
The world of “Fallout 4” is as open as they come, with endless side quests, oddball characters and other distractions to while away the hours in the wasteland. Thanks to a new mod, the post-apocalyptic RPG can now double as something akin to a horror film in the vein of “The Witch.”
That’s fitting, as the long-standing series owes much of its aesthetic to another movie: “Mad Max.” Among the features in the “Pilgrim — Dread the Commonwealth” mod are a greyer color palette, film grain and new soundtrack, but perhaps most exciting of all is an upcoming addition that will swap out the faithful canine sidekick Dogmeat with none other than Black Phillip himself. Wouldst thou like to game deliciously?
Robert Eggers’ 17th-century-set film was released last year after premiering at Sundance in 2015. The new mod was made by l00ping and TreyM, whose work can be found here. Get a glimpse below.
Source: IndieWire film
June 4, 2017
Maren Ade’s time as a Cannes juror has come to an end, but the festival and one of its most pressing issues are still on her mind. The “Toni Erdmann” director spoke to Vulture during Kering’s Women in Motion program, saying that “there really needs to be a profound change; there need to be more films made by women, period.”
“I read something recently that felt true for me,” she added, “that if a woman ends up finally making a film, the chances that it’s a good one, statistically, is very high, because once we get some money in our hands we try not to make something bad.”
That said, she doesn’t think it should have to be that way. Rather, women should be able to make bad movies without all other female filmmakers suffering for it: “We all need to be able to make bad films in order to be in the end that some of us make ten good films over, say, 50 years of the competition. I really think that it’s not the festival’s problem.” Read more here.
Source: IndieWire film
June 4, 2017
StoryCorps recording days, carried out in partnership with community-based and service organizations, offer clients and constituents an opportunity to take part in a StoryCorps signature interview: a facilitated, 40-minute conversation that is recorded and preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Many partner organizations work closely with us to co-create these recording events, using storytelling as a vehicle for their clients to share their histories and leaving an important record of personal reflection on today’s most pressing issues for future generations.
Recording Days with the Bronx Freedom Fund
As part of the StoryCorps Justice Project, we partnered with New York City’s Bronx Freedom Fund, a charitable bail organization with a revolving fund to pay bail for people accused of misdemeanors with the goal of keeping them in their jobs, with their families, and out of jail while they await trial. We facilitated recording days with clients of the Bronx Freedom Fund, which primarily serves the South Bronx, a community with a backlogged court system and many residents impacted by poverty.
Elena Weissmann, Director of Bronx Operations, offered us a behind-the-scenes look at how a recording day with StoryCorps turned into a new and exciting storytelling tool for her organization:
In our work with StoryCorps, we saw an opportunity to elevate our clients’ voices and stories.
StoryCorps facilitated a process that honored our clients’ lived experiences and empowered them to speak about their contact with the justice system in a safe environment. Using a strategy that prioritized deeply informed consent, transparency, and the centrality of our clients’ truths, the StoryCorps staff helped our clients to truly own this experience, tailoring the recording process to fit the very specific legal needs we faced as an organization working with sensitive court topics, along with our organizational goals.
Selecting participants for this opportunity event was a daunting task. With hundreds of clients who each have an important narrative to share, how to select one over another? In putting these stories out in the world, we wanted to highlight non-traditional voices while also underscoring some of the most common injustices our clients face. In the days leading up to the recording event, some of our participants expressed fear in discussing their sometimes painful interactions with the courts and jails.
I conducted one of the interviews, with a client I’d met with a handful of times. He was never particularly talkative with me, but when we sat down with a facilitator he completely opened up and said things about his experience with jail and organization that were so, so moving. An experience which could have been retraumatizing or at least intimidating was completely the opposite.
The Partnership Continues through Community Cuts
Following the recording days, an important collaboration unfolded: Gautam Srikishan, StoryCorps National Facilitator, worked closely with Bronx Freedom Fund to produce a series of “community cuts,” short, edited versions of the 40-minute recordings that are like the segments we share on NPR. In engaging this way with Bronx Freedom Fund, StoryCorps was able to extend the life of the partnership beyond the recording days, providing tools to help them further their work, message and mission.
Stories Made Visual
In a most imaginative use, Bronx Freedom Fund then partnered with illustrator Eleanor Davis to showcase stories from these interviews, pairing them with images and text that tell the stories of their clients in a way that we think is accessible and powerful. She reflected on the project, particularly on her visual retelling of the story of participant Jorge:
I’m very glad I got to work on this project because I’ve never done reportage comics before. Drawing someone else’s life and experiences is a big responsibility…. I hope my hand was able to illustrate Jorge, Ronald and Malikia’s stories in a way that feels at least a little true.
Here are some sketches of Jorge and his wife, and roughs of a couple sequences from Jorge’s comic.
Source: SNPR Story Corps
June 2, 2017
Mark your calendars filmmakers! SXSW will begin accepting film submissions on Tuesday, June 26 for the 2018 SXSW Film Festival.
For nine days in March, creatives of all stripes gather for the acclaimed SXSW Film Festival program to celebrate raw innovation and emerging talent both behind and in front of the camera. SXSW Film Festival is well-known as a place for discovering new voices and emerging talent, but we can’t do that without you.
Please review the submission deadlines below and read in-depth information in our Film Submission FAQ page for more insights about submitting your film for the 2017 SXSW Film Festival. Visit sxsw.com/festivals/film beginning Tuesday, June 26 to submit your film.
2018 SXSW Film Submission Deadlines
August 25, 2017: Early Deadline for Feature Films, Short Film, Virtual Cinema, Texas High School Short Films, Title Sequences, and Music Videos
September 22, 2017: Feature Films, Short Film, Virtual Cinema, Texas High School Short Films, Title Sequences, and Music Videos
October 20, 2017: Feature Films, Short Film, Virtual Cinema, Texas High School Short Films, Title Sequences, and Music Videos
December 15, 2017: Final Deadline for Texas High School Short Films and Title Sequences
Submit your film early and save! Stay tuned for more information about Film Submissions including how to’s and tips.
Director Jennifer Brea at 2017 SXSW Film, Unrest – Photo by Cal Holman
- SXSW Alumni Film Releases – June 2017
- PanelPicker Opens on June 26 for the 2018 SXSW Conference
- SXSW 2017 World Premiere of I’m Dying Up Here Debuts on Showtime [Video]
Source: SxSW Film
June 2, 2017
Discover some of the SXSW alumni films on release this month, such as BABY DRIVER, THE BIG SICK, and THE HERO. Continue on for a complete list with trailers and more info.
The latest film from cult favorite Edgar Wright stars John Hamm, Kevin Spacey and rising star Ansel Elgort in a relentlessly gripping thriller with a killer soundtrack.
In theaters June 28
Kumail Nanjiani draws on his own life story for this hilarious, painfully real look at the complexities of 21st century relationships.
In theaters June 23
A typically charismatic, nuanced performance from the legendary Sam Elliott grounds this perfectly pitched, idiosyncratic drama that also stars Nick Offerman and Laura Prepon.
In theaters June 9
One of the great unsung heroes of celebrity photography, Rose Hartman finally gets her due in this playful portrait of the iconic artist.
In theaters June 2
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this claustrophobic, inventive sci-fi horror film that closed out this year’s SXSW Film Festival with a bang. Also stars Ryan Reynolds and Rebecca Ferguson
Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes on June 2
The inspiring, complicated, downright messy tale of the Grateful Dead, a tribe of contrarians who made art out of open-ended chaos, and inadvertently achieved success on their own terms.
In Theaters May 27
MISSION CONTROL: THE UNSUNG HEROES OF APOLLO
Documentary Feature, World Premiere, 2017
Website | Trailer
This gripping documentary shines a much-needed spotlight on the plucky Houstonians behind one of the most important exploratory missions in history, space-bound or otherwise.
On Blu-ray and DVD June 27
Sun, sea, sand and sexual frustration set the tone for this dark drama, part of an exciting wave of new films from Greece, and now available on DVD.
On DVD June 13
Danny Boyle returns with the long-awaited sequel to his seminal sophomore feature, and its as inventive as ever. A secret screening at SXSW 2017, the film is finally available for home viewing.
On Blu-ray/DVD June 27
Source: SxSW Film