THE entire crew from Sci­en­tists with Sto­ries, workshop-ers included, have safely returned from a wildly  suc­cess­ful week learn­ing and prac­tic­ing the doc­u­men­tary form in Man­teo, NC. Surely every­one left with their own adven­ture sto­ries, new media skills, and cer­tainly a lot of new friends. I encour­age all of them to write-in with their own tall tales. Below are just a few of my own thoughts and reflec­tions after an extra­or­di­nary week learn­ing the art of sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Mod­i­fied and reposted from Hack My Sci­ence. ~ Lomax

 

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Hav­ing just returned from a week­long sci­ence doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ing work­shop, let me be clear — film­mak­ing is hard work. Some of the most gru­el­ing, yet reward­ing, sat­is­fy­ing, soul-fulfilling work I have done in recent mem­ory. Orga­nized by the stu­dent run group Sci­en­tists with Sto­ries — me and about a dozen other folks co-produced five short doc­u­men­taries on coastal com­mu­ni­ties in the Outer Banks, NC and their rela­tion­ship with the environment.

 

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Our work will be fea­tured as a web series on the Mon­i­tor National Marine Sanc­tu­ary web­site in early Spring 2014. That said, in less than a 6 days time, we shot, edited, and rough cut our docs for a com­mu­nity show­ing on the final day of the work­shop. Did I men­tioned that we shot, edited, and pre­sented our work in 6 days? Just checking.

 

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Led by sci­en­tist film­maker Neil Losin of Day’s Edge Pro­duc­tions, we all learned the art and sci­ence of mak­ing com­pelling doc­u­men­tary films. As a sci­en­tist, I often feel dis­tanced — both emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally — from my research sub­jects.  Prob­a­bly for good rea­son. But shoot­ing doc­u­men­tary films forces you by neces­sity to con­nect and engage with your sub­jects. It’s your respon­si­bil­ity to rep­re­sent indi­vid­u­als, even entire com­mu­ni­ties, both fairly and hon­estly. You must lis­ten, under­stand, and respond in order to gar­ner their respect and can­did per­spec­tives — the foun­da­tional ele­ments for doc­u­ment­ing life.

 

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We were warmly wel­comed by the fish­er­man (and fish­er­women) that call the Outer Banks home for gen­er­a­tions. Hour long inter­views were often fol­lowed by gra­cious invi­ta­tions from our sub­jects to join them on the next day’s fish­ing expe­di­tion, or fam­ily potluck. It was truly an honor to be wel­comed into the homes of peo­ple who define the word community.

 

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After long days of prepar­ing for inter­views, scout­ing loca­tions, col­lect­ing B roll, clam rack­ing (yes, that’s right), boat rides, and fish­er­men tall-tales, I increas­ingly felt refreshed and renewed with a sense of con­nec­tion. I started to ask myself — where is my com­mu­nity — I think the answer was stand­ing all around me.

 

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