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Conversation, Community, & Connections at the intersection of Science & the Web
Wednesday, January 30 • 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Stop Talking, Start Making: Rapid Media Prototyping

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New digital storytelling experiences are being created all the time. The great thing is that there are no rules. The bad thing is that... there are no rules! How do you know if a storytelling idea you have will actually work, if you haven't tried it before? The answer is: make a thumbnail version, learn from it, and make it better. In other words -- prototype it. You don't have to be a coding genius, professional filmmaker, or world-class designer in order to do this. An array of tools and apps are available that are simple enough to let anyone with curiosity and creative will tinker around and see what happens. The best part: they're FAST. You can try something, see what happens, and make it better without your tools slowing you down.

This session will be part demo, part hackathon, part pep talk. In the first 15 minutes, we'll show brief examples of some of our own work that rapid media prototyping made possible (e.g. "The Monitor" and "Lego Antikythera Mechanism"), plus a handful of inspiring examples from within (and outside) science media. For 20 minutes after that, I'll briefly demo some easy-to-use tools that let you "sketch and doodle" in new media formats. Then we'll all pull out our laptops and spend the rest of the session messing around and making stuff -- either in small groups or on our own. Rose and I will float around the room asking/answering questions and swapping ideas with the attendees, to keep the creative juices flowing.

Important This is not a training session in these apps, meant to turn you from an amateur into an expert. This is a training session in *not waiting until you are an expert in something before starting to do it.* The goal is to encourage you to play around, see what happens, "move fast and break stuff" (to use a certain billionaire hacker's catchphrase). You don't have to leave this session with a finished "thing". But you should leave this session with a changed mind -- that you don't have to know exactly what you're doing before you, well, start doing!

What You Should Bring:

  • a laptop computer (Mac or PC) with an up-to-date web browser and any/all of the apps listed below

  • your smartphone if you have one -- one or two of the apps I'll be showing are for mobile devices -- but no worries if you don't have one

What You Shouldn't Bring:

  • sense of perfectionism

  • fear of "doing it wrong"

The Tools We'll Be Showing You (These are all free, free-to-try, i.e. a functional trial version, or browser-based. Pick the ones that seem cool to you and download them.)

  • Screenflow (Mac) or Camtasia (PC) -- to create screencasts and simple animations

  • Google SketchUP -- to create digital 3D models

  • Squarespace -- to create slick looking websites without design skills

  • Flixel (if you have an iPhone) or Fotodanz (if you have Android) -- to create animated GIFs and "cinemagraphs"

  • TimelineJS -- to create interactive timelines out of Google Spreadsheets or Storify streams

  • Hackasaurus -- mashup/modify any website without coding

avatar for John Pavlus

John Pavlus

Freelance Science Writer/FilmmakerSmall Mammal StudioJohn Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. He also creates... Read More →

Wednesday January 30, 2013 1:00pm - 2:30pm

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