A 3/21 visual essay idea was accepted into PBS’ interactive experience hackathon put on by POV Digital! Over the course of a weekend in April 2015 at the Made in NY Media Center in DUMBO, 4 teams of media makers, journalists, filmmakers, coders, and designers worked like mad to create prototypes that “reinvents the documentary for the web” during POV Hackathon 8.
My team worked to build a prototype for an essay I wrote exploring gendered representations of emotions in the media, titled There’s No Crying in Baseball. The essay has 5 parts and during the hackathon, we concentrated on the first part about the film Kill Bill. The interactive elements include a video scrubbing activity where you can examine a scene from the film in great detail, learning about individual filmmaking choices that inform the thesis argument in this essay. Future interactive sections will play with audience expectations through audio and other such concepts that take advantage of interactivity and the internet.
It was an intense weekend. A group of mentors and organizers floated around, helping shape and challenge each team to create the best prototype possible. We worked all day on Saturday, got a bit of sleep, then came back on Sunday to keep hacking away. At the end, each team did a short screening and presentation in front of a panel of judges and an inquisitive audience.
This was my first ever hackathon and my brain was fried in the best way. We went through many ups followed by (seemingly) twice as many downs. We brainstormed, built, scrapped, rebuilt, designed, wrote, sighed, fixed, and finessed, over and over again. We were able to get a working prototype, though we did not meet our goals. It was a fun time though, and a wonderful opportunity. At the post-screening reception, I asked one of the members of another team how he decompressed after a hackathon, as this was not his first. He pointed at the beer in his hand and happily exclaimed, “With this!”
Anyway, while our team continues to work on the final piece, you can catch a sneak peek at the future home of There’s No Crying in Baseball and read more about our experiences here and here and see our prototype here.
Thanks to POV for the opportunity, the mentors for their efforts, and especially my two teammates for their hard work!