Tolkien and the Hunt for Public Participation

It’s a rainy spring weekend here in Minnesota.  While the great outdoors beckons, I reckon it’s a good time to kick back and get some chores done….

Or I could get online and poke around abit on my new broadband connection… Which I did.

While I’ve posted plenty of videos on here, I’m not a real big on video.  Maybe it goes back to that annoying song “Video killed the radio star”.  Yeah, you know that old MTV staple.  Ugh.

It’s not that I oppose moving pictures.  I mostly dislike television, but I do like movies.  Mostly.  It’s a content thing.  I keep hearing how much of online content is going to be video, and shrugged it off behind my dialup connection.  Buried my head in the sand it what I’ve been doing.

I don’t work in video.  I’m not comfortable with the medium, but plenty of people find it much more accessible than the written or spoken word.  It’s informal, flexible, apparent.  People who would never send in a comment letter or speak up at a public hearing may be more likely to record a quick Video Log at a storefront open house.  Something like they might have done  in a Chicago neighborhood plan project recognized by the American Planning Association with a National Planning Excellence Award last week:

One creative element was the choice of a location for the open houses that were held on three consecutive weekends. “We were told it would be difficult to get people out to public meetings, so we repurposed a vacant storefront and invited people to come out when it was convenient for them,” says Scott Page, principal of Interface Studio. That invitation took the form of a video continuously projected on the storefront window during the weeks when the open houses were scheduled.

The overall result was public input that yielded an unusually frank master plan that expresses goals like these: “Drive less, bike more, buy local, inhabit the sidewalks, indulge in urban eye candy, honor the past, welcome a progressive future, and do so as a unified community.”

We can’t all be Wicker Park, but I have to give a fair shake to any medium that gets people involved, get people to grow from consumers to participants in the enterprise of living.

Fan films are one way consumers (fans) become participants (producers and actors) in the enterprise of story-telling.  The clip above is for a fan film that tells a bit of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s story that falls between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  Somebody got a bunch of people together, wrote a script, and made a short movie.  All as a not-for-profit venture—well, not for a direct monetary profit, but I bet it’s sure good experience on the resume.

If we’re doing what we do (whatever it is that you “do” ) right, it should be as much entertainment as education, as much wonder as work.

So if you will excuse me, I’m going to go check out the Born of Hope video podcasts.  You see this actress, Kate Madison, is putting together a fan film of the story of Aragorn’s parents….

This entry was posted in Policy, Pursuit of Happiness and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.