institute for documentary studies

{Week 5: Multimedia}

Week 5: Multimedia

A month and a half into Salt and our brains are starting to melt.  Photo, video, audio, writing – it’s a multimedia cacophony on south Congress right now. To go along with the din, we got our social-media butts kicked into high gear at a lecture by Jeff Howe, that king of the tweet. I learned that, although I had been on Twitter for three years, I had never really been “on” Twitter. If that wasn’t jolt enough, according to various media panels at SXSW this week, if you’re still using the term “multimedia,” you’re behind the curve. It’s “transmedia” now, y’all!
And the projects are starting to pile on. There’s a moment at Salt when all of your classes and efforts seem to dovetail into one massive media Goliath to your David. And all you can really do is work.

This is where all the conversations about method and aesthetic and technology pay off. We’ve been discussing it for weeks, so once we need to plow headfirst into video portraits, profiles and features, we cling to those rules and structure like they’re the cliff edge. We’re used to the critical stance. We all want to create our own rules – make our little aesthetic nest in the great wall of Media Artistry. But when it comes down to the gristle, the making, I think we’re all realizing that we’ve got some ropes to learn first.

There has been a lot of talk in the Salt kitchen about pressure – the pressure to find leads, the pressure to make something out of nothing, the pressure (self-inflicted!) to have our work at Salt be our magnum opus. This is when I remind myself about the true luxury of Salt and the true luxury of being at school in general – we can fail here.  What a humbling statement that no one actually believes! This is when I remember that in order to be a provacateur, a leader, a true maker – we’ve got to be able to deal with making a big flop.

- al, radio