Making Media That Matters
2022 March 26 - May 7, 2022
Week by Week
Week 1 - March 26, 2022
And we’re back like we never left!
Of course we were only just at Ka Waiwai two weeks ago wrapping up our Reel Camp and our first in-person MMTM just before that. Time really does fly when one is in the midst of creating. Since our group was sizable but still a bit smaller than the previous Reel Camp, we had some time to get to know each other a little more during the welcoming circle. Both participants and staff got the opportunity to share with everyone what brought us to this space, why filmmaking, as well as a chance to think about what the phrase “making media that matters” means.
Everyone was then invited to come up with community agreements together. This is such an important exercise at every camp that we do. Filmmaking is an intense form of group work that requires patience, understanding, and clear communication in order for projects to run as smoothly as possible. I feel that beyond the expected high school group project or a sports team, collaboration tends to be shunned in the larger, more capitalized society mindset bustling just outside our doors. The goal of teamwork and collaboration in the eyes of capitalism is not to create bonds, work on something meaningful and life-giving with others, or produce something that can serve as fuel for others wanting to be inspired into taking action for worthwhile causes. The goal of collaboration in capitalism is to eventually abandon the team. Collaboration serves as a means to an end– use others as needed and then leave them in the dust once one’s toe is just about to hit the finish line. At HWF, however, and with many creative practices bent on fostering a love for the specific medium and the expression it can yield us, the goal is much different. The medium serves as a means of individual expression as well as an invitation to see how others express. It is a chance to learn about how others feel and experience things. It is an opportunity to bring the efforts and skills of each team member into the project and make it into something that everyone will be proud of. Community agreements such as respecting one’s space, communication, non-discrimination, non-judgement, and honesty are ways to ensure this process remains a true collaboration.
After the community agreements, Vera and Keana launched the room into a lecture on the basics of filmmaking. Once the lecture is over and we have a quick lunch break, participants get some hands-on practice with the equipment. Some are previous participants and others are here for the first time but everyone is always stoked for this part. As we wind down our first session and everyone reflects on the few hours we spent with each other, the word that continues to pop up in our closing circle is excited. Every third word seems to be excited. And I can’t blame them. Sometimes we all feel the exact same way about something and there’s really no better word to describe it. I know I definitely agree with them.
Even if I’m not making films, I’m excited to see what they end up making.
Week 2 - April 2, 2022
One of the most important components of the creative process and collaboration projects in general is knowing when change needs to occur. One might be tempted to keep going out of fear of being perceived as giving up, not having enough time to accommodate the change, upsetting people who are invested in a specific vision, or perhaps having to occupy the headspace of “I know something needs to change but I don’t know what or how.” Change, however, is necessary at times. In fact, it’s typical of creative and collaborative work and usually one can expect it to happen at some point down the line. It isn’t anything to be ashamed of; it’s natural for people to shift and change direction many times as we navigate through life so we shouldn’t be afraid when it happens in our creative work. Unlike life outside the walls of creativity, we have only the vision in our head to adjust to and work around; not society’s.
This is the biggest reminder we had today. Our opening circle started off with our agenda as usual, a review of our community agreements, and an opportunity for participants to share the ideas they have for their future films. The topics ranged from the non-linear experience of grief, LGBTQI+ issues, the stress and overwhelm of school, peer pressure, women’s issues, coping mechanisms for stress, neurodiversity and the autism spectrum, and even the idea of making a horror film. After we went around and listened to everyone’s themes, Vera reminded the room that while today is for finding a group and practicing production roles and editing together, it is also about seeing what feels like the right fit. And that feeling like one is in the right group and working on the project they feel is best for them is important. Vera emphasized that if something is not the right fit then to make it known. It’s necessary to speak up when something is in need of a change. This doesn’t mean the place we are shifting away from is bad or negative– it simply means it wasn’t a good fit. And that is normal. And ok. And part of many a creative process.
The rest of the session is spent on the groups getting to know one another a little more in their new production crews and roles. Throughout the room, I can hear laughter, “quiet on set” and “action,” as well as see people practicing with the camera, sound, and more experienced participants taking the time alongside mentors to show new folks how to work the equipment. Editing tutorials take place as equipment practice continues in the background. Everyone seems to have found their niche in just a few short hours. Everyone seems to be taking to the process and each other swimmingly. As the session winds down to a close, we offer some last reflections on the themes shared before in the opening circle. Crew names are also announced and everyone is excited to jump back in once the next Saturday rolls around.