Learning Contract

1. What is the community that you will make your documentary?
The Melbourne independent musicians community, or more specifically, those from the community who are actively involved in SLAM (Save Live Australian Music), which is a “non-politically aligned, independent entity made up of musicians and music-lovers” (from the website)

2. Why do you think it is a community?
It is a community based on what I’ve read about urban communities, following the perspective of Georg Simmel, who established the foundations of urban sociology by emphasizing the significance of small groups (Delanty 20o9, p. 39). He talks about the notion of the city as a platform for new group formations, which arose from the idea of the city as an open structure where various social relations, forms of belonging and human creativity are built and enhanced. Simmel’s perspective of conflict is that it is not necessarily harmful to integration; rather, conflict can be the basis for integration, leading towards stronger identities within groups, as well as the affiliation of various affiliations that is not dependent on common values (Delanty, 2009: 39). I think it’s very descriptive of my community with regards to the notion of belonging, and human creativity, and the idea of integration as a response to conflict.

3. What theory about community have you read that is relevant to issues in this community? Summarise the relevant ideas.
I think that Simmel’s theory that conflict can be the basis for integration leading towards stronger identities within groups to be relevant to the issues in this community (Delanty, 2009: 39). Furthermore, Castells’ argument that urban social movements emerge for purposeful social mobilization for three goals of demands on living conditions and collective consumption, affirmation of local cultural identity, and the conquest of local political economy and citizen participation to be relevant (Delanty, 2009: 48) In this context, I relate the demands on living conditions and collective consumptions to the SLAM rally’s demands to ‘save’ their local music venues- which are sites for the collective consumption of music; the affirmation of local cultural identity to SLAM’s affirmation of their local music identity, which is at risk due to the new liqour licensing law’s policies; and the conquest of local political economy and citizen participation to their requests for the moderation of the laws to ‘save’ local music venues. Referring back to Simmel’s theory on conflict, the issue at hand has, in a way, brought the independent music together and built stronger identities in that there is social mobilization for a common cause.

4. Are you in agreement or disagreement with these ideas?
I agree with Simmel and Delanty’s ideas, and I feel that all communities will, at some stage, be faced with issues that will urge them to mobilize and take collective action. Of course, not all communities may have the strength and power to take collective action; but I agree very much with their ideas of social mobilization for demands on collective consumption, affirmation of cultural identity, and conquest of local political economy, as well as the notion that conflict does not necessarily lead to disintegration of community relationships, but that conflict can built stronger identities within a group as well.

5. How can you use these ideas in your documentary?
I will be focusing on SLAM as a community and approaching its active members (active, i.e. members who have taken an active role in the protests, and not just those who joined as supporters). I will be asking the representative from SLAM why the rally/protest was organised, and how they found so many supporters (over 20,000 supporters joined the rally) on the day. I will also ask the representative how SLAM is important for collective action in the community.
I will also ask active members of the community why they joined the rally, how they view themselves as individuals in the community, how they view the community as a whole and why the rally was important. These questions will hopefully get them to show the foundations of SLAM as a community of musicians and music lovers, made up for collective action.

6. What is the structure of the documentary? (this could be a short treatment of the way you see your documentary unfolding)
Intro – the independent music community which formed SLAM, and a short intro on the LLV laws
Body – interviewees speaking about the LLV laws, and how it became the catalyst in the formation of SLAM, the importance of music venues for independent musicians and how the LLV laws are a threat to them and their survival, how this conflict subsequently contributed to the Tote closing down, the Tote rally, and the SLAM rally, accounts from interviewees about a once-dispersed music community came together for the rally to defend music venues (plus footage from the SLAM rally)
Conclusion – interviewees’ thoughts on community coming together and some ending thoughts on the rally and laws, hopes for future amendments to the law
The documentary will end with how the petition is being handed in to the LLV and the future hopes of members from the community about the future of the community. The documentary will be linked to various social software including Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and to SLAM’s social sites (their Facebook, their twitter, their myspace, their website).

7. What is the style of the documentary? (you can refer to documentary theory if you know it; if you don’t, discuss how you see the relationship between you the documentary maker and your subject, and how that will influence the work you produce. Examples of other documentaries will be relevant)
I think the documentary will be partly expository and partly performative. I will be interviewing subjects and asking them questions that will be relevant to the issue/conflict and theory at hand. It will look at a brief history and the current situation of the music scene in Melbourne, hopefully to enlighten viewers who do not already know about the issue that has been affecting the community. I will be interviewing subjects so that their ‘voice’ can be heard, so it seems like they are speaking to the viewers, so as to move them into subjective alignment with their cause.

8. What type of media will your documentary consist of (eg audio files, text, stills, video, animation etc)
There will be one main video, with additional support through texts, links to external relevant websites, and pictures (plus a link to Flickr slideshow of the Tote, and links to other relevant Flickr albums of the Tote and the SLAM rally, with approval from its owners)

9. Given that your documentary will be published online, how will you tailor production and post-production to be appropriate (eg image size, frame rate, design issues, copyright)?
I will be using a Nikon D40X for photos. These will be taken at the highest quality possible on my camera, and uploaded to Flickr (which maintains its original size but also shows different smaller versions for web). There will be no need to compress them as I will use the img links off Flickr, which also provides a slideshow embed code. Adobe Photoshop CS3 will be used to edit the pictures.
I will be using a Sony camcorder for videos. The final video will be less than 10 minutes in total. I plan to interview a few people, and will use Windows Movie Maker for editing. The videos will be recorded in the highest possible quality, and after editing I will compress the final video to less than 1GB which seems to be the maximum file size for most video upload sites. Its format is now in MPG, which is commonly used online, hence there should be no problem in terms of uploading.
In terms of copyright, I will be able to put watermarks on both images and videos using Windows Movie Maker and/or Adobe Photoshop.

10. What are your skills in making this style of media?
I have more than sufficient skills and knowledge in using all the equipment needed – Nikon DSLR, Sony Camcorder, Windows Movie Maker and Adobe Photoshop. I’ve experimented with all of them for a few years now and will be able to do my documentary properly.

11. Are you enlisting the help of any crew during the production phase of your documentary?
Yes, for video production I will be enlisting the help of a friend to be my cameraperson. I have a digital camcorder with an inbuilt mic, and a portable tripod. For photos, I’m pretty sure I will be able to take them on my own.

12. Will you need to borrow technical equipment from the School techs? If yes, what do you want to borrow? When do you want to borrow it?(You must get the borrowing form signed by your tutor in order to borrow gear, and your tutor must be convinced that you already have sufficient technical skills to use it.)

13. What talent do you need to get release forms signed for?
Members from SLAM. Maybe get permission to use footage from YouTube users who filmed & uploaded videos of the SLAM rally in February 2010. I will probably need that because the chances of there being another SLAM rally is low, as they have just handed in their petition to LLV.

14. Are you going to interview any minors? (if yes, you must get their release form signed by their parent / guardian)

15. Do you need permission to shoot on location?
I probably do. In the event of a SLAM protest I might take the opportunity to shoot on location, which would probably be on Swanston Street (State Library – Federation Square). Other than that, I think all I need is permission from interviewees to record them on video.

16. What software do you need to edit your documentary?
Windows Movie Maker, and Adobe Photoshop.

17. Do you have sufficient skills with that software?
Yes. I have used Windows Movie Maker and Photoshop regularly in the past few years.

18. Do you have sufficient access to that software?
Yes. I have Windows Movie Maker and Photoshop on my computer, and have access to Final Cut.

19. What social software environment will you publish your documentary to?
The video will be posted on Youtube, Vimeo, CurrentTV, my blog, my Facebook and Myspace and links can be posted to SLAM’s website, Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter pages. The photos will be posted on Flickr.

20. Is the media you are creating appropriate for that environment?
Yes. Images will be posted on my blog, but videos are easily uploaded and linked online to all the social software environments that I mentioned above.

21. Have you become a member of that environment?
Yes, I am a member of Youtube, Vimeo, Current, and Flickr, and I have added SLAM on their main website, their Facebook, Myspace, and followed them on Twitter.

22. Have you done a ‘test’ publication?
Not for the purpose of this documentary, but I have published videos online before and I believe I won’t have any problems.

23. Does the environment stipulate any limits (eg file size, dimensions, file types, copyright, legal issues) that you will need to meet?
Yes. As far as I know, YouTube allows videos that are less than 10 minutes and less than 2GB in size. The formats they prefer are MPEG or FLV. There will be no copyright issue as it will be my own production, and I can disable embed for the video so that every person who links the Youtube video has to go back to the Youtube page. In terms of file size and dimension, these can be tailored using software. I doubt there will be any legal issues as it is my own documentary.

24. Have you got copyright permission for all the content you use?

25. There is no defamation or slander?
I will make sure there is no defamation or slander included in the completed final video.

26. Any other legal issues?

27. What are the most likely things that could go wrong with your project?
SLAM members refuse to comment or be interviewed, LLV takes the petition seriously and decides to loosen the rules on smaller businesses (which, if it happens, is not likely to happen in the very near future when it is the timeline for producing my documentary, but is still a risk…)

28. What is your back-up plan if these things occur?
Offer to let them be anonymous, or not videorecord their faces – and only show audio – if they are afraid of being identified. Write on the wall of SLAM’s facebook group or tweet them on Twitter to look for volunteers who would be willing to be interviewed and recorded. If LLV changes the rules during the time of my production, I will still focus on the conflict at hand but include the ‘happy ending’ at the end where businesses see hope in continuing being music venues for independent artistes..

29. What is the date of your rough-cut showing?
Week 11, 21 May 2010

30. What is the final due date?
Week 12, 28 May 2010

31. When do you intend to start production?
As soon as I get the feedback and approval I need to know that I am on the right track.
I will aim to start in week 7.

32. When do you intend to start post-production?
I will start post production as soon as I have all the materials I need to make the video.
I will aim to start in week 9.

33. Given your production start date, have you already booked any technical equipment you need?
I don’t need to book anything.

34. How do these dates work in with assessment deadlines from other courses?
There will be some clashes but I will make sure I divide my time properly.

35. If you are using talent, does their availability suit your production schedule?
I haven’t contacted them yet, but given that I’ve given myself 2-3 weeks for production I am sure that I will be able to work something out.

36. Remember to collect all the credit information as you go.


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