I'm working as a research fellow at USC's Annenberg School for Communciations and Journalism, producing a new documentary and starting a research project (first blog, then e-book) about ways that professionals in a wide variety of fields have experimented with collaborative research and production methods involving non-professionals.

 

For the blog, I'm looking for note-worthy examples of documentary films where the productions and/or the engagement campaigns have involved collaboration with the public.  

 

Please feel free to contact me at jennifer@specificpictures.com if you have a project to share.

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Comment by Van Dora Williams on October 30, 2011 at 8:09pm
Hi.  When I was at WHRO in Norfolk, VA, the station used my documentary on an African reconciliation movement to do a community engagement campaign.  It was extremely successful.  Will be glad to share.  Email me at vandora.williams@hamptonu.edu.
Comment by Paul Lamont on September 5, 2011 at 1:31pm
When I was at WNED in Buffalo, we began producing Our Towns sometime around 2002.  As a producer there, I oversaw about 3 or 4 of them.  They can be a real challenge with all the different video formats that are in use.  The last one I did was a year ago and some folks were still using VHS-C while others had memory sticks--you get the whole gamut and getting all those different formats into an Avid takes some work.  There's also the whole oraganizational aspect--recruiting volunteers, setting up training sessions so they understand the best way to shoot a short story and working with local media to get the word out, finding locations for shooting a days worth of interviews with the volunteers--definitely some challenges but at the end of the day, they can be very rewarding for everyone involved.  If you'd like some more information let me know.  I can also point you to the EP at WNED who was in charge. 
Comment by Suzanne Smith on August 31, 2011 at 1:06pm
We started in 2002 and did our last one in 2005. (We're actually going to be putting all 6 online in the next few months or so.   I produced the last 3 so I wasn't there when we started, but we got the information from WPSX and I used that info when I started.  They put together a packet did a teleconference to help out other stations.  I'm pretty sure I still got some of the original supporting documents, the teleconference, and a copy of the program they did on the town of Punxsutawney in 2000. I think I think that was the first one they did.  Greg Peterson was the Executive Producer there and if I remember correctly he did the teleconference.   I really recommend you track him down.  He may still be there and can tell you how it started and how it evolved over the years for them.  Each station that has done it has changed it up in some way to work with their own markets.   I know the PBS station in South Bend, Indiana also did these for a while too.      I imagine that now it would be a completely new experience since everyone is so use to posting stuff on YouTube with digital cameras.  Our last doc people were still using VHS-C, VHS, Mini DVcam and Hi-8 cameras.  One or two used some of those early DVD Camcorders.  One of our  challenges was finding ways to transfer the video from the original sources.  I've got tons more info if you want chat or if you want me to e-mail you directly.
Comment by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor on August 31, 2011 at 12:35pm
Suzanne, thank you, those are exactly the examples of projects I'm seeking. I'd love to know more about how your station got involved, challenges, rewards etc.  When was this?
Comment by Suzanne Smith on August 31, 2011 at 10:28am
Not sure if this is what your looking for, but you might want to look into the "Our Town" Series that a lot of local  PBS stations did.   Viewers shot their own video (with home video cameras) then the stations edited it together  over interviews with the people who shot the video.  It began before the whole You Tube revolution.  Our station did six of them.  WPSX is the one who started it.    Let me know if you want more info.

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