Half way through!
What do you like about yourself? This was the question with which we opened the space. Some had a prompt answer:
“I like my personality!”
“I like that I’m friendly!”
“I like my standards.”
“I like my hair.”
Naming something we like about ourselves should be an easy thing to identify, but quite a few struggled to answer it. I think if asked what they like about someone else, the answers would have been immediate. I wonder why is it so much easier to compliment someone else than to compliment ourselves? Perhaps because being asked what we like about ourselves (as an affirmation of our own strengths), is something we are rarely asked; maybe this is why we are unprepared to answer. We hope to open up the importance of self-esteem building and self-appreciation a little more as we go through this Making Media That Matters journey, because our participants are so brilliant and remarkable!
The same day we were meeting, the Aloha ʻĀina march for Unity was taking place. As such, we felt it was important to bring a conversation about Mauna Kea to the space. We asked our participants what they knew about Mauna Kea and what questions they have about it. We welcomed manao from Keoni (Waiwai) who helped us contextualize what it is happening and clarify the many issues at stake. The talk story helped us add complexity to the misleading and limited dichotomy in which the conversation is generally framed in mainstream media. Meaning, a tension between science and culture - a short-sighted narrative we wanted to explore.)
Mauna Kea epitomizes what is sacred, what is kapu, and the relationship of indigenous people of Hawaiʻi with the land that makes them inherent scientists. We also linked the conversation to our mental wellness, as what is happening with Mauna Kea is also an expression of intergenerational and historical trauma. We discussed how Mauna Kea is part of a larger movement for indigenous rights to land, and how important it is that we all start caring about the environment, as we have only this one planet!
It was a very informative and nourishing conversation, which also helped us reiterate the power we have as media makers and the responsibility to be critical, to question the source from which our knowledge comes, and messaging around the issue. We were so grateful for Keoni’s presence and openness in sharing his knowledge with us.
After a short break, we moved back into filmmaking. Chanelle introduced important visualization tools, such as the script, storyboard, and shot list to help develop their story.
Once this brief lecture was over, it was time to work on the story! However, before transitioning to working in groups, Alexa guided us in revisiting our community agreements; making sure we applied those guidelines to our work in production teams. As we were going over them again, we also tried to get more specific. If someone said, “Be Nice,” we then prompted them to tell us what “nice” looks like to them (because we all come from differing perspectives). We also acknowledged that sometimes people may not play nice, and talked about nonviolent communication as a way to address difficult situations within their teams.
Next, the participants gathered in groups and began building their story. We have 4 crews and each team was working, working, working. Even lunch became work time; they were so deeply engaged with the process of developing their stories.
We all regrouped in a circle and one by one, each team explained the basic premise of their story. They did a very good job and I could hardly believe it was 1:20 already! If time flies, you know you are having fun! In the little time we had left, we asked them to come up with names for their production crews and select their coveted crew roles...in 5 minutes only!
Somehow, they made it work. Let me introduce Veggie Straw Productions, Lotus Productions, We Edge Productions, and Unititled (for now) Productions!!! I am not surprised at their ability to work quickly. I may have said this a few times already, but these young women are amazing and committed. The saying, “Where there is a will, there is a way” sounds more than appropriate for these creative girls!