I’ve been lucky to be part of many different communities in my life. At the time you don’t necessarily think of them as communities as they just seem to be the cool people that you are hang out with. One of the first communities that I was involved with (and I’m still connected to) was the NB Filmmakers’ Co-operative in Fredericton. I was born and grew up in Fredericton and when I found the coop I felt like I belonged. There wasn’t a lot that I had to explain why I was there and we shared a lot in common. We also made films and that becomes addictive. Filmmaking and community are closely connected.
Technology has seemed to also play a role in the communities that I’ve been involved with. Film is built around cameras and tape recorders and it is filled with specialized terminology like the NPR, the Bolex, the Nagra, and the Steenbeck. I love those things and for members of the filmmaking community they mean something. But filmmaking isn’t (or shouldn’t be) about the equipment. It’s about the stories and the people. That’s what keeps you there.
With my use of email via the universities where I studied I was able to connect with other communities thanks to that technology. As with many new communication media a lot of time and space was taken up with discussions of the technology itself and what it meant. Email was more complex then and numbers played a far bigger part in what you did online. I still have the black notebook where I wrote down the addresses that I used to connect to other systems. But what was amazing and fun and addictive were the connections that I could make with other people. I could be in touch with people from all over the world and we could discuss things and share our interests. Another place where I didn’t have to explain why I thought that this was so amazing.
But as a new technology becomes more widely dispersed we grow accustomed to it and take it for granted. I don’t have to think about using email now, I just use it. That’s how I stay in touch with people and keep track of things. This blog is one extension of that. With bitdepth I try to keep it fairly original and think a bit more and not just post collections of links. I’m part of the blogging community, but I like reading and watching others more than putting a lot of stuff out. So while I’ve been part of this blogging thing for a while (bitdepth has been up for 2 1/2 years now!) and with the new Screen Arts site I’m over 100 posts, which is quite amazing.
One of the things that has prompted this more reflective post is the recent US election and the IRC chats that I’ve participated in with some bloggers that I’ve been reading for a while. Kevin Marks combined the log of one of the chats that David Weinberger set up with QuickTime and an MP3 of the debate and then I felt a bit more connected. Then on election night I was able to chat again and it was still snarky, but not as much fun (most of us in there would tend to the left side of the political spectrum) since things weren’t going the way that we had hoped. During that chat Halley mentioned about posting that day and I checked out her posts and they changed my perspective a bit as a bit more of the personal side started in to my consciousness. She had a health scare which is the big shift, but a smaller thing is that I realized that we both do the same yoga routine. It made me realize again that it wasn’t just technology or topics, but humanity that connected us. More cool people who were human and good and sharing part of themselves.
So we commiserated and the evening got a bit more depressing and many people had colds and everyone started drifting away. But even though I wasn’t in the best mood I was happy that I shared the experience with other people and I felt that I was part of a community and that made me feel pretty good.
Yesterday was a great day at work as well. I get to work with a very talented and committed person every day in teaching a group of very cool people who share our interest in film so I love going in every day. What made yesterday great was that I was able to have two guests in to speak about filmmaking. One of them was one of my oldest friends and the other was one of my newest friends. But both love making films and the day reminded me of why I love this stuff and why I do it. It’s about people and stories.
The other thing that prompted this is my latest obsession, which is Flickr! and how my use of that has meant that I haven’t been doing much in this space. I noticed today that I’ve uploaded 500 pictures since I’ve started, which I didn’t think that I’d do. The reason I’ve been there so much is the sense of community that is there. It’s not sharing the photos, but it’s a way to communicate visually and get another perspective as you get to see how people see the world and the people around them. So it was appropriate that some of the first images that I uploaded to Flickr! were from a workshop that I took at the Film Coop in NB recently. The more recent pictures are from where I’m working now in Halifax. I was wondering if there were many other people taking pictures in Halifax and then one of those strange connections happened as I found through the tags that AKMA, who I occasionally read and who was in the election chats had been in Halifax a few months ago and had taken pictures there. So my communities had connected again and that made me think about how great it is that we can connect and share no matter what is happening in the world. We’re part of a virtual community, but there are real, live humans at the other end of these electronic connections. It’s about people and sharing and that’s why I love making films and why I’m glad that I have this space to share this.
I think that I’ve made up for the lack of recent posts… thanks for sticking with me!