Gaining mileage and making change from your media / by KirstenStudio

One Hundred Years of DarknessThe 6th annual Making Your Media Matter is only a few short weeks away and this year I'm leaning toward making the trip down to D.C.  There is a promising line up and for the two day conference at the Center for Social Media at the School of Communication American University, the price isn't too bad.  The schedule is pretty reasonable for those commuting from New York too.  Registration doesn't begin until 4:30p on Thursday, February 11th and ends on the 12th by 6p. The line up of speakers and subjects covered sound terrific too.  This year's keynote speakers are Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis of The Reckoning. Meg McLagan, Director of Lioness and Dennis Palmieri from ITVS are scheduled as part of a panel discussion entitled, Strategic from the Start - Developing synergies to build your conversation and more.

As most filmmakers/editors/producers know, sculpting your media into something emotional, beautiful, charged and poignant is a feet in and of itself, but you can't just plop down and take a breath of relief after your opening night screening at wherever.  You've got to have a long term plan.  How can you prolong your creation's life for the betterment of your pocket book and if you're a social issue filmmaker, for the impact your piece can possible have.  Those are big challenges with the shear number of films and causes out there.  Then there's the economy at the moment and foreseeable future.  How can you get others to care if they don't know about the cause or the film to get them inspired enough to act?

Luckily there are organizations out there that want to help.  The Making Your Media Matter conference is one.  Another is the film series Story that Leads to Action at the 92Y Tribeca.  Sponsored by Chicken & Egg Pictures and Working Films, Story that Leads to Action is a series of film screenings and what sound like essentially post screening workshops that brainstorm on ways to reach a broader audience and to engage that audience into action.  You can check out a sample of there screenings on youtube (the talented filmmaker Jesse Epstein on her film Body Typed).  There is a film tomorrow night entitled, Good Fortune that will have the same sort of post think tank discussion.  I saw it at the 2009 Human Rights Watch Film Festival and it's terrific.  It would be interesting to be part of the outreach brainstorming on an international issue like humanitarian aid's effectiveness in Africa.  That's a big one.

I work for a not for profit that faces the challenge of extending the life of their media and it seems as though a huge asset is partnering and another of course is the infamous social networking, but just those two sub-projects of the project are full time jobs.   Outreach can feel overwhelming to tackle, but it is comforting to know there are resources to be tapped in to and people with successful experience that want to help.