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First Story Pitch - Media

Page history last edited by Wayne MacPhail 11 years, 4 months ago

The language of of good chunk of this proposal is far too academic for a feature story pitch. Read your work out loud. It should sound natural to read and be clear, concise and well thought out.

I don't get the sense this pitch has gelled for you guys yet. You've got great subject matter, but you need to decide together how it meshes. The key elements to focus on are: What is this stuff a reaction to? Why is collaboration important? How does this fit with makerculture in general and how is it influenced by it or how does it influence it. We'll make this work.


 I will email you your mark. Thanks!






"Filling in the blanks" - How granny rappers, zombie loving book nerds, queer zinesters, indie film makers, and Obamacat are reshaping the media landscape.


Move this subhead into the lead of your pitch.


Elevator Pitch

Everybody likes to feel informed, entertained, and represented. Unfortunately, the mainstream media has failed to deliver what "everybody" is looking for. Most mainstream content caters to one seemingly homogenous dominant cultural group (I think you just said,"The mainstream caters to the mainstream"), leaving those on the fringes of society feeling frustrated and neglected. So, they're making some noise. Thanks to technological developments, voices that were formerly relegated to the darkest corners of the mediasphere are making themselves heard. They're doing it collaboratively and they're doing it creatively.

It's not just tech advances, its the political and social environment and maker culture vibe. That needs to be represented here.

You've told me what media makers are, but you still haven't told me what your story is about, how you'll approach it and why it matters.


Research to Date

For our research thus far, we all used Google, twitter, and delicious to find relevant websites. For the music feature specifically, Brittany searched through MySpace to find artists who produce their own music. She also looked through independent music magazines and read various blogs dealing with music and maker culture.

For zines, Isabella searched through the links on Broken Pencil and Greatworm.ca. She browsed through some zines online and created a list of key questions, which once narrowed down, will guide the rest of her research. For books, Daniella browsed through several links on various publishing sites (see Useful Links - Media for details). She listened to a podcast on Galleycat about book mashups and searched for interview subjects. Good.

For the films feature, Laura focused her research on Better Tomorrow Productions, a London-based independent film and television production company. She also looked into Wreckless Crew, another production company, and Mark Drewes – a local filmmaker.

For film, you also want to look at collaborative documentary making, that's more interesting and makery than independent film makers.

Lastly, for the TV feature, Lauren surfed through several meme-aggregation websites. She watched lots of online videos and looked at collaborative blog memes like FML. She listened to a CBC spark podcast on the topic (Nora Young). She looked at ROFLCon and read several informative articles such as: Culture Jamming (http://depts.washington.edu/ccce/polcommcampaigns/CultureJamming.htm) and Building a Critical Culture with Political Remix video (http://www.rebelliouspixels.com/2008/building-a-critical-culture-with-political-remix-video).


  • Maker film projects are not marketed towards the mainstream media audience and are unique in that a tapestry of artists and film makers create the content collaboratively.  
  • You could have written: Maker films aren't aimed at the mainstream and are created by artists working together. Use natural language. You'd never say that sentence.
  • With makerculture in film, art imitates life as we know it and draws from a wide variety of influences. 
  • I don't know what you mean by that statement. "life as we know it" as opposed to? I don't really think this sentence means anything that isn't self evident.
  • The commonality amongst film production companies and independent film makers are that they produce provocative material that strives to recreate a sense of unity and self-recognition within its audience.
  • Again, I really don't know what that sentence means. I think you mean, "Both mainstream and independent film makers produce unsettling movies that their audiences identify with." But, even then, what does that mean? Read the sentence you wrote out loud. You would never, ever say that to someone. Don't write it.


  • Some music makers have the drive to create an alternative way to make music, away from corporate agendas. This follows a DIY ethic that seems to be an essential part of maker culture. Tighten this sentence.


  •  Most Indie musicians make music on the side, while working at jobs that may be completely unrelated.
  • Good point, clearly stated. Thank you.
  •  Independent music-makers seem to have difficulties funding and promoting their projects.
  • Good point, clearly stated. Thank you.
  • Music maker culture creates a community of DIY musicians looking to make collaborative projects and find affordable ways to create their own songs and instrumentals
  • Good point, clearly stated. Thank you. 


  •  Zines make very little money, if at all
  • Readers and creators of zine publications are self-declared “non-conformists”
  • Traditional media are not threatened by the Zine trend
  • Good points, clearly stated. Thank you.


  • The individuals involved in maker culture concerning books aim to legitimize book mash-ups and self publishing not just as a fallback plan but as an avenue that develops genuine and unique material that is useful and competitive in the traditional publishing industry.
  • "The individuals involved in maker culture concerning books" you mean "maker culture book authours".
  •  Authors are experimenting with writing that collaborates genres or authors that seem odd together (eg. Hamlet and Dr. Seuss).
  • Book makers are taking publishing into their own hands to get their work out into the public without relying on the traditional gatekeepers. 


  • User created, virally distributed online media is now more powerful as an agent of cultural/social change than the mainstream media.
  • Internet memes that are collaborative allow people to engage with the material and feel connected to an issue.
  • Viral videos are an effective way for unknown people/groups to spread their message to a very large audience quickly

Possible Interview Subjects


1.         Edmonton Small Press Association (ESPA)

·         e: contact@edmontonsmallpress.org , t: 780 413 0215

2.         Jonathan Culp, Satan Macnuggit

·         e: jc@satanmacnuggit.com

3.         Hal Niedzviecki, co-founder of Broken Pencil (magazine of zine culture) and Canzine

4.         Amber Goodwyn, Lickety Split zine

·         e: a@licketysplitzine.com

5.         Lindsay Gibb, editor of Broken Pencil and coordinator of Canzine, zine maker ’94-‘99

·         e:editor@brokenpencil.com, t: 416 204 1700

6.         Doug Mann, Professor at FIMS, expert on technology, the internet, and pop culture

·         e: dmann@uwo.ca

7.         Jason Boog: Editor of Galleycat (the book publishing section of mediabistro.com)

·         Website: http://www.jasonboog.com/?page_id=2

·         e: jasonboog@gmail.com

8.         Ben H. Winters: Author of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

·          Website:http://www.benhwinters.com/

·         e: winters3000@gmail.com

9.         Penn Kemp: Canada Council writer in residence at UWO written more than 25 books of poetry and drama and self publishes a lot of her work

·         e: penn@pennkemp.ca, t: 519-434-8555

·         Website: www.pennkemp.ca

10.      Tim Hwang, Organizer of ROFLCON, Research Assistant at the Berkman Center

11.      Christopher Poole, Creator of 4chan

12.      Sean McLeod, Creator of 'Weng Weng' viral video

13.      Bill Wasik, Author of And Then There's This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture

14.      The "Yes Men"  

·         Website: http://www.theyesmen.org/

15.      Michael Shostak, Toronto Indie band Deacon Lot

16.      David Rona, The Lightning Temple project: Music Production

17.      Christopher Lee, uses beatbox to create and record his own music.

18.      Matthew MacCallum, Better Tomorrow Productions, London

·         e: bettertomorrowproductions@gmail.com, t: (519) 451-4457

19.      Velcrow Ripper, director of Fierce Light, Fiercelight Films, Inc., Toronto 

·         e:fiercelightfilms@mac.com

·         Office: (647) 727-4107

·         Cell: (647) 267-8799 

20.      Mark Drewe, London film maker 

·         e: mdrewe13@yahoo.com

21.      Wreckless Crew, London film production company 

·         e: wrecklesscrew@gmail.com or info@wrecklesscrew.com

·         t: 519-520-6906

22.      Christopher Trim, Clockwork Productions, London 

·         e: Christopher.Trim@clockworksproductions.com


would like to see more phone numbers here so you have more than one way of reaching a potential subject.


The Focus, Scope and Angle of the Piece

Increasingly, the power of media creation is slipping through the grasps

grasps aren't slipped through, fingers are. Grasps are avoided, slipped out of, outdistanced, dodged or pried away from.



of big corporations, and into the hands of the masses. With this shift-of-power has come a culture of collaboration, remixing, and transliteracy.

What is transliteracy? If you introduce a word like that you need to define it. Or, better still use a word that doesn't need definition. That just stops a reader cold. This is not a media studies essay, its a feature story.



We would like to explore how the online networking applications and social media tools have  facilitated helped or aided, facilitated is an MBA word the movement. Where possible, we would also like to find quirky central characters – like a queerpunk zinester -- to drive each of the features.


Some of the key questions we would like address are:

How are individuals trying to legitimize these new forms of culture?

How do audiences react to these new forms of work?

How far are the fringe makers willing to go in terms of collaborative activism?

Media Choices

For the music component, we’re interested in producing a podcast for music and sound. We would also like to include a video to showcase how musicians are using equipment to create their own music, whether original, mash-up, or remix.

          We also plan to use zine graphics in the feature story, footage from Canzine in the video, and include the most powerful interview clips in the podcast  

          We are going to include video footage from the conferences attended, for example, a video of a meme or meme-mashup, and interview with a famous meme character (if we're able to get one!)

          For audio, we plan to interview one of the creators of a viral video or meme, include some audio of a very recognizable meme to set the context maybe (peanut butter jelly time, "leave Britney alone") to set the context for an explanation of meme culture.

          With the permission of the film makers, we would like to post video clips from the films examined in the feature article.


 Next Steps

Our group will be focusing on obtaining more in-depth research into zines, music, books, TV, and film related to maker culture.


For zines, Isabella will read Duncombe’s “Notes from underground: zines and the politics of alternative culture” and continue to do online research on the topic. For instance, she will explore every facet of www.zinebook.com which includes essays, a brief history, interviews with zine editors, etc. She will schedule a day trip to Toronto to visit a shop known for notoriously cheap zine photocopying (Three Cent copy centre) and attend Canzine 2009 on November 1 for footage and interviews (https://id408.van.ca.siteprotect.com/brokenpencil/canzine/index2.php).


For music, Brittany will be taking on a more interactive exploration of mash-up, remix, and independent music recording. She will attend collaborative music concerts (at the Toronto and London arts co-ops) which happen weekly. She is also conducting more research into maker culture blogs to find interviewees of collaborative music making. For example, Canadian Musician magazine lists articles of individuals who record single instrumentals and send them out to others to put together recordings.

Daniela will search for additional sources through the contacts she makes regarding book (maker) culture. She will obtain further information online (blogs/twitter/websites/news sites) and attend events to learn about upcoming publishing meetings or meet people involved in maker culture media.

For film, Laura will focus on scheduling pre-interviews with contacts and find access to the films that will be mentioned or profiled in the articles. She plans to research 24 hour film festivals.


For TV, Lauren will look at scholarly journal articles and find some specific cases of the internet meme being used to counter mainstream culture and make a political statement. She will continue to seek new interview sources and material. She plans to begin filming and recording for podcast and video. She will also read relevant chapters from books like:









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