It was a beautifully sunny day in Jamaica Plain with flowers blooming and trees beginning to show their leaves, a perfect day for walking around Jamaica Pond, but instead, I attended the the monthly Boston Media Makers meeting at Sweet Finnish in Jamaica Plain held the first Sunday of every month. This has become a must-attend event for people interested in the convergence of traditional media and participatory media and attendees include the full spectrum from seasoned professionals to enthusiastic amateurs. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to get a good cup of coffee and have a Pulla. We go around the room and everyone talks for a few minutes about what their working on and/or poses a question to the group. I’ve posted a set of meeting photos on Flickr.
Steve Garfield, the catalyst of these monthy gatherings, showed us Ustream.TV which makes it easy to add streaming media to your own site. He also showed us Yack Pack, a walkie talke widget you can add to any web page for instant voice chat. We webcast the meeting using Ustream and people who were watching could ask questions and make comments via Yack Pack. Only a few years ago this kind of videoconferencing cost thousands of dollars to arrange and we set it up quickly, easily and for free. People like Beth Kanter were able to attend the meeting remotely and chime in, making the meeting even better.
Dean Jansen is working on Make Internet TV, a new site providing a step-by-step guide for shooting, editing, and publishing video online that’s part of the Participatory Culture Foundation initiative. He also talked about a Wiki they are working on that will provide a central resource for media makers, what do you wish you knew before you started? Share your one secret you wish you had, join the community. This is designed to compliment the the centerpiece of their platform, the the Democracy Player. This is a free and open source application for watching internet television that runs under Windows, Macintosh, and Linux; (2) Video Bomb us a web site sharing videos, creating personal video channels, and filtering up the best videos online. They also offer software for publishing channels (RSS feeds) of video from your website and a Channel Guide that comes up when Democracy starts up. The Guide is an open listing of video podcasts and other content available throught the Democracy Player. I wish they would change the name of their player, there’s something, not quite hubris, but something, around naming their media player “Democracy” that does not sit well with me, but I hear they are working on a new name, and I welcome that.
Michael Ball, an audio podcaster, does Marry in Massachusetts, Left Ahead and Harrumph!, he shared the insight with us that he has found that when doing his audio podcast, it’s better to have an expert guest rather that just rambling.
Jason spoke about the Alliance for Climate Protection, an organization with the mission to persuade Americans and people around the world of the importance and urgency of adopting and implementing effective solutions for the climate crisis.
I suggested that everyone interested in filmmaking and how filmmaking is changing in the context of new networking, imaging, and distribution technologies should plan to attend the Making Media Now: Filmmaking in Transition conference to be held on June 1st, 2007 from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm at the Photonics Center at Boston, University. The event is being organized by Filmmakers Collaborative. This day-long conference will include master classes, seminars, panel discussions with experts in the field, a plenary session, networking opportunities, a box lunch and refreshments, all focused on the opportunities that new and emerging digital technologies create for media makers.
Lindsay Shah and Safa Sadeghpour were at the meeting discussing the mission of Beanywood, an organization that has been formed to help put Boston in the national spotlight when it comes to media production, and they are doing this by helping old school filmmakers as well as emerging media makers by offering networking tools through their site. I’m currious to see how Beanywood will compliment the existing offerings of local organizations promoting and supporting media makers in New England. They are participating in Filmmakers Collaborative’s Making Media Now: Filmmaking in Transition Conference, which is cool. Other local organizations supporting independent media makers in New England inlcude: Center for Independent Documentary, Central Productions, The Color of Film Collaborative, Documentarty Educational Resources, and Filmmakers Collaborative, who is putting on the Making Media Now conference.
Jason Daniels talked about the wonderful 100 Second Film Festival, this event taps the creativity of independent media and celebrates online video. Anybody can create a 100 second piece. There is no theme or subject, no entrance fee, the only constraint is the length of the entry. The deadline for entries is July 1st. Jason also talked about his use of Drupal 5.1, which from an administrator’s perspective is fun to work with, even for a non tech guy. Drupal is often descriped as WordPress on Steroids. That scares me, I like the simplicity of WordPress, and I’m not sure I need more than that for my blog. But who knows?
John Herman has been working on Energy Smackdown an eco-reality project, they will be creating 7 webisodes, and edit it into a TV pilot, it’s about three familes in Medford competing to conserve their ernergy use. John is also working with Jon Greenberg of New Hampshire Publis Radio (NHPR) on their coverage of the Presidential Primaries in New Hampshire.
Jon Greenberg discussed NHPR’s choice to focus their coverage on Exeter, NH they chose a place where candidates of both parties would find enough supporters to make a visit worthwhile, and they are encouraging people to blog in Exeter, and since they have direct access to every candidate, literally go up and get a answer from them, this is a New Hampshire thing, and Jon suggests that New Hampshire should not just claim the right of being the first primary but earn that right, earn it as they encounter the candidates and collect their impressions and blog about it. They will be holding a Town Hall event on May 19th with video stations, come and talk for two minutes as they reate videos and upload them to YouTube and blip.tv. New Hampshire Publis Radio has also made available As part of their primary coverage, NHPR has embarked on the Stump Speech Remix project, collecting full campaign speeches by presidential candidates as they come through the state, and posting them on their web site, encouraging people to download them and edit the speeches into something new, fresh, funny or satirical, turning them into a new speech, adding video, pictures, or music.
Much more was discussed, but I’ve run out of time to write. It was another amazing meeting, and the mix of people who show up every month keep me informed, inspired, and educated on what’s happening in participatory media and the new media edges.