Friday, March 25, 2011

Connecting with the Community

Just the other week, I received the first Twitter “retweet” that was a milestone for me as a student and upcoming professional. As a first year MFA student at Champlain College, I’ve learned lessons both from lecture as well as classroom discussion with my instructors and peers. I initially enrolled in the program with a background in communication theory and hobbies of audio production and musical composition. Bringing these interests to the Emergent Media courses and classroom discussions have revealed ways to refine and expand my skills while developing a professional outlook for future opportunities and success.

Without further adieu, let me explain what exactly happened in the previously mentioned Twitter experience. The retweet came from Vermont Public Radio (VPR), sharing a link to my work with their nearly 5,000 followers. Beyond just feeling great having my work noticed by such a reputable organization, it taught me an important lesson about applying my education and professional skills to connect with society.

Making an animated sketch about VPR was not conceived with any particular goal in mind, nor it was it approached from one particular angle or focus. It was born from a combination of digital material and software skills I’m accruing as an MFA in Emergent Media student. Appropriately, one could even say the piece, as a whole, emerged. Allow me to elaborate.

As I was driving from Erik Esckilsen’s Digital Story Telling class, VPR was in the midst of their membership drive—a semi-annual fundraiser. By the time I arrived home, I already had a concept that could incorporate several original songs and illustrations on my hard drive, and a rudimentary understanding of Adobe After Effects. I put together a quick animation on the concept of the “hero’s journey,” which the MFA class had been discussing. At the outset, I had no goals in mind beyond strengthening my proficiency with certain software, and to express, humorously I hoped, a digital story related to VPR’s membership drive.

When I’d completed the video I shared a link via Twitter. I mentioned VPR (@vprnet) because it was relevant to the organization. I never anticipated a retweet, let alone a “follow” from either VPR or Brendan Kinney (VP of Development and Marketing for VPR), but this became the reality. In the end, I learned something much more important than how to use software proficiently. The experience taught me the powerful pull of applying emergent media to everyday society, and in particular its communicative impact for local organizations and communities.

Please view the sketch here:

No comments: