This week and next, keep an eye on our blog for storytelling tips and more from Portlandia! I’m headed to the Pacific Northwest to arguably the most hipster city in these United States to participate as a coach at the 2015 Story Arc, a cinematic journalism workshop.
Portland is a place where food trucks are on every corner, Pabst Blue Ribbon is served in movie theaters and barbershops, and you’re made cooler just by being there. Well ... you’re cooler if you have enormous plug earrings and sleeve tattoos (them). Otherwise you’re just a tourist (us). Storytelling opportunities abound, which is why having a cinematic workshop in this setting is exciting.
Launched in 2013, Wes Pope and Sung Park developed The Story Arc Workshop (formerly the Portland Workshop) at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication's (SOJC) Turnbull Center in downtown Portland. Each year, six top professional multimedia producers from around the country work with 18 of the top SOJC graduate and undergraduate students to create short documentary films over the course of five days. Students receive a unique professional networking opportunity, as well as a chance to produce portfolio-caliber work. They have recently been looking into possible partnerships (with the NPPA and others) in order to open up their multimedia workshop to outside professionals (they will have a couple this year for the first time).
Another exciting update is that Canon and Atomos are sponsors providing equipment this year and they’re hoping for 100% ProRes capture using primarily c100 and c300 cameras.
...how does great work happen in the real world? By working on something larger than yourself.
Here's more from the workshop's co-founder and storytelling maven, Wes Pope:
The vision for the workshop is to create a "beyond bootcamp" experience. Where do you go after the one-man-band? Some workshops are fantastic at throwing students into the deep end and bringing them up to speed. However, the thing I learned in film school is that filmmaking is the most collaborative art form. Your work gets exponentially better when you work as a part of a team. That is the experience we are trying to create in our workshop: how does great work happen in the real world? By working on something larger than yourself.
Additionally, it is our goal to apply the tools of cinema to journalism. Not only through gear (and we do have a lot of cool gear!), but specifically through storytelling. We believe in the story component -show don't tell- so much that we renamed the workshop Story Arc. Make the viewer care. Take them on a journey.
I’m excited to be in good company this year, as some of the awesome coaches include producers from Blue Chalk Media, filmmaker Vanessa Patchett, Filmmaker Amy Marquis, L.A. director/writer Arkasha Stevenson and Bruce Ely, a visual journalist with The Oregonian. We hope to bring you highlights of their expertise throughout the week, so be sure to follow along for updates.