I started filming things a couple of years ago and storing the video on my computer hoping one day I would learn to do something with them. Yep. I’m that person.
A rhetoric class I taught a couple of years ago filmed about 125 people (at Auburn University at Montgomery where I teach–AUM) about their writing lives. Each video is between 3 and 30 minutes long. Some are stunning because they say the same things: write a lot, read a lot, get a writing mentor, revision is what counts in writing, and so on. We got footage of students, teachers, deans, staff, even our chancellor. And outtakes. Much fun. Those videos still sit on my computer waiting for me to do something with them. I want to piece them together into a full-length documentary based on the five questions we asked each person we filmed. I have no idea how to find the time to do that. I want to, though, and in time for the AUM Writes! event on Oct. 20, the day we celebrate the National Day on Writing (by October 2012 or 2013?). Perhaps I’ll get a short film cut for that event… one day.
In the meantime, I took a lesson from a friend about iMovie, and I started creating short films to support my scholarly work with OER, specifically Writing Spaces (WS). I have been delighted at the way our writing community at AUM, and our community in general, has embraced this OER. I am not surprised: the essays are high quality, user/student-friendly, easy to teach, peer-reviewed (I am biased, I know). WS is the whole package, though. It benefits from the propulsive logic of being created by a commons (see Viral Spiral, p. 19) and rhetorical velocity because it is created by rhetoricians who understand audience and purpose, and most importantly, the potential of text.
I’ve completed two films, so far, of three that I am making for this particular project. I like it–the documenting thing. I like getting people to talk about what they love and their passions. I like making things that can be seen and heard and watched and read and engaged with in multiple ways, that capture speech and gestures. I like that musicians create music that is open to be used for these short films that document. What’s better than all this? Managing a band maybe? Maybe not.
I like to think of what I’m doing as “documenting,” always recording, always doing something that is becoming, rather than things that are finished documentaries or a documentary. The idea that these filmed documents are born open and stay open, that they can continue to keep moving in the hands of others, that’s a real nice thing.
(FYI, you can download a copy of Viral Spiral at the link above, and you can buy a hard copy, too. I did. I had to have it to write on. Worth every cent. You can buy hard copies of Writing Spaces, too–two volumes with a third coming in 2012–from Parlor Press. You can get everything free online in volumes or as individual chapters, but having a hard copy is nice sometimes. I do like to write in books.)
I’m just linking to the two films below as I’ll remix them with different title pages for the finished product, the trilogy, Writing Spaces: A Tale of Rhetorical Velocity in Three Parts. I’ll add here, because this is as good a place as any, that none of this would have been possible until Charlie Lowe asked me to be part of Writing Spaces, suggested loads of terrific readings, and introduced me to “rhetorical velocity.” My colleagues at Writing Spaces are all inspiring to me–they do amazing things with text, video, sound, and code. It’s a remarkable group to be part of… Who woulda thunk a Victorianist determined to work in archives for a lifetime could have gotten so open?
Film 1: Open Educational Resources and the Writing Center (March 2011)
Film 3: (about dual enrollment, community writing, and OER–coming Summer 2011 or Summer 2016) Not sure where this one might be shared, but if do mix them altogether into a trilogy, I might seek a different publication than here–always, all CC BY-NC-SA, though.
Film 3 is still not “in the can” as they say in Hollywood. Footage is handled, but I had a rather more bustling summer than I expected–not a bad thing. So the film chunks are just sort of hanging out in my “start up disk is nearly full” hard drive waiting for me, mocking me.
Nor have I finished the AUM Writes! film for Oct. 20, 2011. Perhaps by Oct. 20, 2012. More likely by Oct. 20, 2015.
I have had to adhere to my mission this calendar year rather than my vision. So it goes. I did, however, create another flim-like project for The Journal for Undergraduate Multimedia Projects: The JUMP. A lot of the editorial collective members participated in a group project to talk about this terrific journal–all that is part of an article that appears in EDUCAUSE (“a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology”). I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be part of the editorial collective (we rotate on and off the board), but in the meantime, I’ve had a blast responding to a student’s work and creating my part of this digital article project: Figure 12. The editor of The JUMP, Justin Hodgson, did an amazing job with my initial work and ideas–he’s a brilliant editor.
These films, like everything on this site, are open because each and all are licensed through Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA. See “I brake for copyleft” for more information.