It is difficult to be creative under time pressure, but the burden is light when you have a great team! Duke Students of the World (SOW) is nearing the culmination of our first project this semester, and I am so thankful for the safe space we have created to make mistakes and learn together.
Less than two weeks ago, we were approached by community organizers from the Youth Division of North Carolina’s NAACP to create a nonpartisan video about the importance of the youth vote. The target audience? Voters of “our generation” who are skeptical and apathetic towards the voting process. The distribution? A national conference this Friday celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.
Now, well thought-out videos with national reception rarely happen overnight, let alone three weeks. So it has been a whirlwind journey to brainstorm a compelling and realistic treatment, partner with other artists to build a creative team, and shoot/edit around the tight schedules of Duke students. I realize I need to learn how to plan a shoot better BUT IT IS HAPPENING and I am so grateful and amazed at all the people who have generously volunteered their time and skills to bring the vision to life. Drawing inspiration from a spoken-word graffiti video I made awhile back, we partnered with student rapper Edgeri Hudlin and graffiti artist WOEM to create a hybrid “graffiti-meets-rap-meets-spoken-word” video at the bridge underpass near East Campus. Street art, poetry, and documentary are well-suited instigators of real and authentic conversation, so why not mix them up? As you would imagine, the process has been a crazy cool combination of personalities, colors, and connections. I can’t wait to share the complete video later this week. Very curious to see what kind of impact it makes!
August 29: First meeting with organizers
August 31: Team agrees to pursue graffiti-poetry idea
Sept 1: Edgeri and WOEM join the team
Sept 2-7: Edgeri writes rap/poem; statistics are collected to inform his writing
Sept 8: Brainstorm visuals
Sept 11: Record rap/poem with Edgeri; finalize visuals; contact student volunteers
Sept 12: Production Day 1
Sept 13: Production Day 2
Sept 14-19: Edit video and invite feedback
Sept 20: Presentation at voting rights conference
Behind the Scenes