Animation of walking thru mud puddle in slot canyon.

My usual medium for storytelling is print, a beautiful yet frozen form of weaving characters, scenes and events together. Publishing on the web certainly provides a much more dynamic way to share a story – but graphics and GIFs and video are still secondary to the text in the majority of cases.

But making a film – being completely immersed in and driven by visuals – is an amazing experience! The same guidelines for good storytelling still apply. But crating a great story from the raw materials available means drawing on a whole different set of tools. And one of my favorite visual tools in the process so far has been bringing still photos to life through animation!

My inspiration for animating photos is the documentary Valley Uprising. (If you haven’t seen it, do!) Here are a few of the animations I’ve been working on. I don’t know if they’ll all make the cut into the final version of the film. But they’ve been fun to create – and the process of creating them will certainly have contributed to the animations you do ultimately see in the film!

Upcoming webinar: a behind-the-scenes peek at the project

Image of people walking thru mud puddle in slot canyon.

So this is super cool: I’m going to be a panelist for an upcoming webinar on how to use photography and video in a successful crowdfunding campaign! ioby – the crowdfunding team that supported our first round of fundraising for the Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante project – is hosting the discussion on October 28. If you’re looking to add a few new ideas to your current marketing toolbox, or if you want a behind-the-scenes peek at the Bees of GSENM, then you should join us! The webinar is free and you’ll have access to a recording of the discussion afterwards.

How’s the film coming along?

Animation of work happening at my desk.

Despite radio silence for the past several weeks, I’ve been making excellent progress on putting the film together. And the plan is to have a final version ready by early 2020 to show at film festivals in the fall.

Of course, this is the stage of film production where there really isn’t anything exciting to show or tell – unless the image of me sitting in front of my computer, headphones on, the Clash, the Cars or wonky podcasts playing in the background, and bottles of kombucha scattered about my desk seems interesting to you.

But the other day I did catch an interview with one of the masters of storytelling: Ken Burns. And one particular thing he said about conducting interviews really resonated with me at this particular moment in the project. To paraphrase: The key to a great interview is not to get through your list of pre-planned questions, but instead to listen to the answers you’re given and find the entry point to the real story being told – and then go after it!

As I sit here, revisiting my interviews with Olivia and Joe (and some other select individuals), it’s exciting to see the entry points we found and the true stories we pursued.

I’m getting excited to share them with all of you in the not-too-distant future!

The Bees of GSENM is an “Awesome Project”

Image of people walking with bug nets.

Back in July, ioby – the not-for-profit crowdfunding team and platform we used for our project – chose to showcase The Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante as an “Awesome Project”. (Thank you!) They spent quite a bit of time talking with me, asking questions, and crafting a really solid piece explaining both the how and the why of the project. (Again, gratitude!) I was thrilled they included the following quotes, since they really get to the heart of what’s driving this project:

Bees are part of this intricate, beautiful, exquisite, absolutely necessary pollination network that is the underpinning of life all across the world. You can’t just talk about bees in isolation, you have to talk about them with the flowers that they’re directly connected to.

Talking about the bees of Grand Staircase means we have to talk about what the Trump administration has done. That’s just an inherent part of the story. But, the bigger story is how do we take bees into consideration as we make changes in this world, because bees are part of that network that is essential to all life.

We don’t have many other places like this in North America. We don’t have wild, primitive places that act as refuges… Grand Staircase is essential because it’s a living lab for understanding the bee-flower relationships that are the basis of nearly every terrestrial ecosystem on the planet. And it allows us to compare the world as we’re changing it to the world as it would be if left primitive and wild.

If you haven’t yet read ioby’s showcase of our project, please do. Many, many thanks to the ioby team for all of their support!