Opening a new session of Making Media That Matters brings me great joy...always. Sometimes we rush getting everything ready, but once we start we are in full force and present. Slightly after 9:00 am, we began by circling up to check in on how we were feeling that morning. Some of us were grateful, some of us were content to be where we were. Some of us were tired from a long week (which, for a few of us included protesting at the Climate March the day before). It was Saturday morning after all; following a week of school, work, and the many commitments we have, we may all have felt a little bit fatigued.
After a relatively quick go around, we asked the group to reflect back on an activity that we facilitated last week. During the previous session, at one of the Social Justice World Cafes, we asked our participants to share some of the most significant values that guide their lives. and This week, we wanted to promote a reflection on how we practiced what we value. Conversations like these serve the purpose of giving continuity to what we do in the space, but also to promote a sense of integrity between what we think, what we say we want to do, and what we actually do (bell hooks). Activities like this also offer everyone in the space an opportunity to get to know each other better by weaving personal stories together.
After a short break, we played a fun game called “Me Too” that helped us to bring out many of the similarities we share, from loving pizza to singing to our cats! Each person shared something personal about themselves, and if it applied to anyone else in the circle, they had to stand up and say, “Me too!” There is power and connection in sharing likes/dislikes and the many quirks and idiosyncrasies we might have in common.The place was filled with waves of laughter and a lot of "Awwws!"
“Flexible, yet intentional” is a guiding principles we follow in planning for Making Media That Matters, and this past session, those principles were in full display. During this session, we wanted to begin to teach our students the tools of filmmaking, starting with setting up the tripod and the camera in small groups. We had slides ready to go, but as our efforts are directed towards making the learning experience as hands-on as possible, each group began learning by doing. Each student learned how to set up the tripod and the camera for a shot (at their own pace), with mentors there to answer questions and help to guide the process. Even though no progress on the slideshow was made, they totally got its content!
The groups experimented with aperture, ISO, and shutter speed to understand the notion of exposure. What happens when the F-stop is 2.8? And how does it differ from when it is set at 6? What happens to the amount of light that gets in? Is your image dark? Why? As they all had the opportunity to experiment and ʻseeʻ how exposure works, we added more and more information, such as instruction on white balance, framing, and more.
I float through the space to make sure everyone has all they need, and it is simply phenomenal to see all these young women collaborating, trying to figure things out together. Most enjoyable of all, however, is the laughter - yes, hearing all that laughter is what keeps my heart feeling full.
By lunchtime, all the participants had a chance to set up the camera and get acquainted with camera and sound recording settings. We enjoyed our pizza for lunch and then went right back to work, this time to practicing how to set up an interview and ask questions on camera. Each group member had the opportunity to be on camera (the subject being interviewed) and behind the camera (asking the questions or operating the equipment).
When it was almost time to end, we circled back and revisited the community agreements we began last week, linking them to issues that affect our participants and our MMTM space. We highlighted the connections between how we want to be in the space and how we also want to keep it a place that works toward addressing issues that affect them. For example, we talked about body shaming, which is a pervasive issue, particularly for young women, and so discussed healthy ways in which we can praise or compliment each other without only commenting on appearance. We also talked about the importance of personal space/boundaries and how to ask for consent. We believe this is a great practice in respecting each other's boundaries and wishes.
Time went really quickly (as usual!), and so it was 1:30 pm before we knew it! Another session in the books, and we’re already looking forward to the next!
To see more pictures, please visit our MMTM dedicated page!