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Processing our Process: Documentation and Reporting in the Age of Transmedia

By Andrea Olson
Designing for ImpactIn an age of online over-sharing (we know what what most of our “friends” are watching, listening to and “liking”), Land of Opportunity has been grappling with how to achieve a major goal on this innovative project: sharing lessons learned.  How do we  effectively convey our successes and failures for those setting out to explore the intersection of film, social justice and emerging media?  

Partnering with the  Center for Social Media,  the Land of Opportunity team is laying the groundwork for a comprehensive and engaging warts-and-all report documenting the creation of our interactive web video experience. Aside from the self-discovery factor (the project has a healthier self-awareness than I do), our team hopes to contribute to “best practices” in the rapidly evolving field of transmedia social justice storytelling.  Our report will be modeled on the Center’s  groundbreaking “Designing for Impact” report,  and will  emphasize all aspects of our process–from our technology choices, to partnerships, to transmedia storytelling, to being a guinea pig. The goal of creating a do-s and don’t-s, ‘watch out for that tree!’ type of manual for this new medium is what makes the reporting I’ve been involved with such a unique and beneficial piece of this process-oriented pie.

So how does one begin? Currently, we’re embarking on the creation of our wiki (still in process, so be kind!). This is our raw material organizer to help craft our report. Collectively, Land of Opp team members can add our blog entries, team interviews, research, all to show off the good, the bad, and the ugly of our process. In deciding to use this tool, I wanted to see who else is using a wiki for project documentation. Turns out, not many so many…(If this isn’t true, let us know!). The Wiki will hold an unmediated bank of information, with unedited interviews, production meetings, design and development notes, itemization of curated content for the web video experience , and partner-contributed material. The report will process this unfiltered content into a detailed and focused final product of Land of Opp’s start to finish, in efforts to help others learn from our triumphs and first-timer mistakes.

 (image from celframe.com)What I’ve liked the most about working on the Land of Opp team is that we are concocting our own dual “experiments”- an interactive web video experience, and what I can only image will be an invaluable users guide to go with it. Our documentation goes beyond slapping our code up on Github (and hoping for responses) or interviewing Land of Opp team members for fun (they are pretty cool, actually). It’s to be used as a reference for future media makers who want to join in the transmedia revolution. Throughout the life of this project, we’ve found ourselves constantly wishing for a “how-to” manual, so we decided to create our own, in the hopes of helping other media pioneers down the line.  We certainly don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but create a smoother, more diverse path for its travel.

Pssst! If you are using a wiki page to track your process and manage content about your project, we want to hear from you!