I get really excited about good design, filmmaking, and dogs.
I am a multidisciplinary designer, meaning my work is a madcap attempt to learn how to do everything. Surprisingly, this has worked out for me so far! In the years ahead, I’m planning to make a documentary, create an interactive storytelling website, write some more books, try some new coffee, do design work for a video game, chill in the Azores, get a dog, improve my trombone playing, and take more classes in motion design. I think I’m about 25% through most of those!
How would you describe your design style?
Trying a bunch of different things at once to see what sticks. Very much into mood boards.
What is your favourite typeface?
Going by what I use the most in projects, Avenir. Going by what my heart tells me, Bell.
Other than design, what creative fields interest you most?
Film is the big one! Also interested in music/sound and community art.
What do your parents think you do?
At this point, I think they’re just as mystified as I am.
The Community Band Project
This project started with a simple question: why is it that people who played in high school bands don’t continue this hobby into adulthood? While around 21% of students participate in bands, only a miniscule 8% of that number make the transition to community bands outside of school.
As a member of a community band myself, I wanted to know the answer.
Through conducting interviews with current and former band members and reading existing research on the subject, I found three main reasons why interested parties did not continue playing music (excluding those who simply weren’t interested):
- They were unaware that community bands existed
- They had false assumptions about community bands
- They had no time to participate
These reflected my own experiences post-High School, before I was convinced to give community bands a shot. So—what design product could address these concerns, encouraging former musicians to pick up an instrument again?
The way forward was clear: it would be most effective to show the target audience what community bands were and what they were like. That was a story best told by band members themselves, woven together into a larger narrative that had two purposes: fill the information gap, and motivate action and self-reflection.
To do this in the most effective way, The Community Band Project had to be a film. I went through the time-based communication stream of YSDN, but I had never made anything so long-format before, so I knew it would be a challenge.
After I decided on a decent audio/video setup that was portable enough for one five-foot tall woman to carry on a train around the GTA, I was able to set up interviews with four community bands and one choir. While I had initially hoped to speak to six or seven, five turned out to be enough to fill up the film and my schedule.
Shooting for this project was a bit of a stressful learning experience: but it was also utterly amazing. Almost every single person I put in front of the camera had a ton of interesting things to say, and I could see a larger story beginning to emerge.
I also visited each of the bands during one of their practices to collect B-roll footage, and in the end, collected about 130 gigabytes worth.
Creating The Film
At first, beginning to edit the footage seemed like an insurmountable task. Where to even start?
The original cut of the film looked quite different from the final, as it was a way to work out the messaging of the film and see how the interview segments would tie together into a larger story. The film began with brief “profiles” of each band, followed by a more general discussion on experiences of community music.
Designing the Film
The visual style of the film did not need to be flashy or distracting: my goal was to compliment the stories told on-screen and to visually tie everything together. While I struggled with many different approaches, I settled on a nostalgic, homegrown, small-venue aesthetic to provide the look and feel.
Working off of my mood board, I created a style frame for the film. Titles, supers, and branding would be based on this style frame.
Giving the Film a Home
As the film approached its final cut, I had to make the important decision of where it would live. I settled on a Facebook page that would serve as a hub for the project, containing a trailer and shorter videos as well as the main film. The main film would be distributed through the Facebook page, but would be hosted on Vimeo, allowing more controlled distribution and better video quality.
The film is live and available to watch through Facebook and Vimeo, and as sharing increases I have received quite a few messages from people who recalled their high school band experiences because of it—even searching through closets to look for old instruments. I learned so much putting this project together, and next time, I know I can make something even better.
Feel free to take a look at the final film!