EDIT Media (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Teaching Media) is a new
initiative created to provide information for media instructors, focused
on inclusive teaching. They recently released "The Student7: A Guide
to Getting the Most out of your Media Production Education", which gives
seven tips on how to best utilize your time as a media student. Personally,
I find this applicable for both formal training and informal. These are seven
tips that could be practiced by even the most seasoned media producers.
The tips are as follows (from EditMedia.org):
1. WATCH THE WORLD
Get outside your comfort zone and watch media that reflect points
of view you’ve never imagined. To broaden your cinematic horizons, watch
work from other countries, earlier eras, and a variety of genres. Traditional and
mainstream media help create stereotypes about race, gender, class, and other
aspects of identity. They also reflect only a limited set of possibilities of what
media can do. Watching broadly can help break the mold and introduce you to
entirely new ways that people have expressed themselves creatively in image
and sound. So watch well and screen widely.
2. CHART NEW TERRITORY
Whether you’re making a documentary, a fiction piece or something else altogether,
the characters you create and the stories you tell MATTER. The way you represent
people, places, and stories affects the way your audience thinks about them.
Be true and authentic to your content. Don’t just reproduce the same ideas and plots
and character types we’ve seen a million times. Immerse yourself in learning about
lives and perspectives different from your own and create a new way of looking
at the world.
3. SET SQUAD GOALS
A strong crew is key to a strong project. Strength comes from working together as
an inclusive team. Communicate. Collaborate. Listen with an open mind.
Stretch yourself. Share power. Show respect. Support your teammates in their
learning process. Take notice of who’s doing what on set and in the classroom
and why. Reflect on your own actions. Think about how stereotypes & assumptions
about others might be affecting group dynamics, and work to change that.
4. GEEK OUT IN EVERY WAY
We all love access to great equipment, but a film or video is only as good as its concept,
no matter how high its technical quality. Delve into understanding narrative structure,
character development, and cinematic language to push your ideas further.
Use what you’re learning about history, form, and theory to inform your work.
The more you know about what’s come before, the more effectively
you can make fresh, original work that connects with today’s audiences.
5. KNOW THE RULES... THEN BREAK THEM
Whether it’s the conventions of film grammar or the parameters imposed by an
assignment, make sure you understand the rules before you break them.
Creative and technical constraints are tools instructors use to spark your imagination
and get you problem-solving in new and innovative ways. Start small and hone your
vision and your craft before jumping into big productions. But, don’t be afraid to
dream big. Keep up with news in the media industries, and think about who’s
making the rules in those fields and who those rules leave out. After all, once
you’ve mastered the rules, you can change them.
6. CREATE DANGEROUSLY
Expressing yourself in front of an audience isn’t easy, especially when you’re
still learning. But this is the time to take risks and laugh in the face of failure.
Explore your curiosity. Ask questions. Try new things. Challenge what’s come
before. Embrace mistakes and missteps as opportunities to get better.
Be bold. Whether working with a crew or by yourself, keep experimenting.
7. LOOK BOTH WAYS
Take time to explore your own thoughts, experiences and perspectives on
these guidelines. Practice self-reaction. Question your own assumptions.
But look outward, too. More and more, audiences are looking for and
expecting diverse, inclusive media. Do some research on trends in media
production and consumption, and dig into all the resources out there about
issues of diversity and equity in the media industries. Where do you see room
for improvement? Where do you fit in?
Minnesota State University Moorhead
Augusta Palmer, St. Francis College
University of Michigan-Dearborn
THANKS TO Mitra I. Arthur, Afaf Humayun, and Jenna Kroepel
For more information on EDIT Media, visit editmedia.org.