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6.22.03 Burrowing in
I am now burrowed into a new video production. This
is a different phase from the beginning, which is more
like - what? - using a pick axe to break up the hard
surface to make digging my tunnel possible.
When I'm officially burrowed in, I'm usually so
obsessed with my thousand little tasks and the panic
of losing momentum that I don't write. But, since I'm
trying to keep a better tab on myself, I thought I'd
give it a go.
My project is another volunteer gig, but it could
open other opportunities. The topic is RESPECT.
Some thoughtful people who work with me are trying
to reform the organization's approach to changing
kids' behaviors (destructive and self-destructive).
They discovered the Positive
Behavioral Intervention & Support network. The
basic idea is to set a few simple expectations, then
"catch kids being good."
It's also based on the most current behavior
theories: Behavior is learned. Replacement
behaviors must be taught. Good behavior should
be recognized and reinforced. Getting into a big power
struggle over bad behavior probably just reinforces it
because the child is getting lots of attention and
having warped fun watching adults go ballistic. The
idea, as I'm interpreting it, is either to ignore it
or to use it as a teaching moment.
It's all based on the premise that adults can keep
a grip on their own behavior - hard enough for the
average parent, but often impossible for the
ill-prepared staff trying to deal with groups of 6 to
16 emotionally disturbed kids.
Anyway, Maria and I volunteered to do some video
work to help transfer the knowledge of one group of
staff (who've spent the year learning) to another
group who are just starting.
The challenge: everyone want a video as
opposed to an audio and new federal
privacy regulations make it nearly impossible to
photograph and publish the faces of children in mental
So the visuals are going to have to be artsy motion
graphics as opposed to the easy, literal talking head.
But what had me stabbing at the surface for so long
was the challenge of boiling down a great 40-minute
group interview with staff to 3 minutes of audio.
There's really no easy way to do this except to
CONCENTRATE -- very hard to do in these multi-tasking,
By Friday mid-day (I took Friday off work) I got it
boiled down to a good 5 minutes -- an acceptable
length, even though it means pulling another 2 minutes
of visuals out of thin air.
This breakthrough got me into my groove. I worked 8
hrs on Friday and 9 hrs on Saturday setting up my
working audio track and getting it segmented into
"chapters" for the visual work. I also
scanned a bunch of the kids' self-portraits in hopes
that that will give me the faces to make the visuals
more than just dancing type.
Well, it's 10:30 AM on a sunny Sunday. Maybe I'll
go out for my walk before I disappear down the rabbit
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