Writing Center parodies

In 2011 shy, unassuming Writing Center director Dr. Cole Bennett stunned audiences with his riveting portrayal of a shmarmy boss in their first promotional parody of The Office. This fall he returns in a more ambitious role inspired by the hoity grammarians at Downton Abbey.

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The shorts were written and directed by Christina Johnson and Learning Studio alum Ben Weaver and feature student tutors from the Writing Center. Christina has been working with Dr. Bennett since she was an undergrad, finishing a BA in English in 2011. This last spring she was the first Masters candidate to defend a screenplay thesis to complete her MA in Creative Writing.

Christina is now an Associate Producer and Researcher for AMS Pictures in Dallas, working on a number of television and documentary projects including shows for HGTV.

Congrats Christina and Ben, and we’re looking forward to seeing bigger things in the near future.

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Maker film rolls on

We released our first short documentary We Are Makers in June and it keeps on rolling. We’re approaching 10,000 views in the first two months in over 60 countries, so obviously we’re pleased with the initial reception.

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Two opportunities we were equally proud of were a couple guest blogs we were asked to write this summer alongside the release. If you’d like some detail on the film, here are those links.

Nathan Driskell, “We Are Makers: Documenting a Burgeoning Movement,” Core77 Blog, July 23, 2013

Kyle Dickson, “We Are Makers Seeks to Explain the Maker Movement,” Make Magazine Blog, July 3, 2013

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We Are Makers released

Last week we released a short documentary on the Maker Movement as part of broader discussions on campus about the value of “learning by doing.” We’re pleased to share it with the ACU community as so many here on campus contributed to its final shape.

We spent several weeks in March interviewing key voices thinking about the impact of making in different contexts—in community centers and libraries, in education and museums, and in hackerspaces and online.

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Special Thanks

We’ve already had a chance to thank those who welcomed us into their makerspaces and workshops while shooting in Austin and NYC, but we did want a chance to share a few of the Abilene connections.

  • thanks to Michael Daugherity and the department of Engineering and Physics for return visits to film their 3D printer and begin thinking about its future impact
  • Sandy Freeman welcomed us into the ACU Theatre Costume Shop where Amanda Martin made a dress on the spot
  • we spent a great afternoon with James Langford dusting off our macro lenses to shoot tools in his shop
  • Megan May in the library not only shared her lightening-fast knitting but also introduced us to student maker Brittany Bunch who is both an Etsy seller (at Projects for Bliss) and a part-time Disney princess
  • Evan Young helped edit the additional footage for wearemakers.org while Matt and Nathan were heads-down on the final film
  • and finally Elvis Sanchez who worked with Nathan to score the transitions in the film with stunning work on a tight deadline

The production of the film itself just reminded us how many makers surround us here in Abilene, making this a logical spot to open a makerspace of our own.

Details coming this fall.

Counting the Days kick-off

Those of you who have been with us in Cornerstone this fall got a glimpse of one of our summer projects. This was our second kick-off film to welcome freshmen to campus and the ACU Core–Kyle Trafton produced “You Are ACU” for us in 2010.

“Counting the Days” was produced by Matt Bardwell and Nathan Driskell, our media production specialists in the Learning Studio, and offered a creative break from our work on the Year One Report this summer. Enjoy.

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Behind the Scenes

The film combines time-lapse photography with a tilt-shift effect and graphics done in post-production. After we premiered the film in Cornerstone, the guys received a number of questions about how it was put together, so Matt walks through how the shots were done with a couple favorites that didn’t make the final cut.

Special thanks to Scot Colley, Kristian Allen, and Joel Swedlund for help getting some of these shots.

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Digital Storytelling facilitator training

This last week Joe Lambert from the Center for Digital Storytelling joined us for a one-week follow-up to our workshop last May. During the week he and Beverly Bickel from CDS trained on-campus volunteers to facilitate future digital storytelling workshops.

As part of the facilitator training, a small group of campus volunteers went through a “workshop within a workshop” where they created stories of their own. See below for select stories from each workshop..

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Digital Stories – August 2011

Digital Stories – May 2011

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Digital Storytelling Workshop Reflections – May 2011

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