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The Gift of Learning : Storytelling and Digital Media Courses

With it being that time of year where many people are purchasing gifts, I’ve been pondering spending and what is important to me. It had me thinking of that old proverb …

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

Photographer: Cristian Palmer
Photographed by Cristian Palmer, care of Unsplash.

There is no greater gift than learning a skill that helps you to pursue your passions. This is the reason why teaching is an important part of our work, that our team values.

The Importance of Teaching to Our Team

When I started speaking in 2008 about bridging the worlds of media, interactive and cross-platform storytelling, and digital media, it occurred to me that while inspiring people through my talks was great and all, to truly help people to take action, they needed a course giving them guidance and support while they build and craft their storyworlds.

Interactive Storytelling
Erica Hargreave and Caitlin Burns on a Panel on Convergent Storytelling.
Photographer: Liz Kearsley

A year later, after pitching the local post secondary schools, my first post-secondary school courses launched at BCIT and Capilano University. Since then my team and I have also built courses and workshops and taught community, undergraduate and graduate courses at Ryerson University, Humber College, and NVIT. In addition, we’ve helped build new programs and revise old programs. It has both been an honour to teach and share with others, and fulfills a passion of ours. We love teaching.

Creating Our Course Online

In 2011, after speaking in Egypt, we recognized that to truly make a difference to people that could most benefit from our courses, we needed them to be available online.

Erica Hargreave speaking on ‘Real Time’ Storytelling at the UNWTO Conference on Working with Media in Challenging Times in Marsa Alam, Egypt.

Thanks to BCIT and our colleague Kevin Ribble, they were by 2013. This has also allowed Lori Yearwood to help build and teach those courses with me.

2020 Courses at BCIT

I am happy to share that as we move into 2020, we now have 2 online post-secondary credited courses and 2 intensive community courses offered through BCIT’s Broadcast Media and Communications Part Time Studies. All of our courses are project based, in which our students come out of them having built or built upon projects of their own that they are crafting for their future endeavours.

For those of you who are looking to give yourself and someone in your life the gift of learning this year, these are a few of the courses that we will be teaching in 2020:

Photographed by Ian Schneider, care of Unsplash.

More Coming on StoryToGo

Also keep your eyes peeled on StoryToGo, our contemporary media community as we’ve long been talking about offering mini online courses and tailored online and blended courses for organizations there. This is something that you will see launch in 2020 with more course offerings from us and our rich group of storytelling friends and colleagues.

If you have a course that you would love to see offered through StoryToGo, please let us know in the comments, and if you wish us to tailor create a course for your organization, please send us an email.

Photographed by by Danielle Macinnes, care of Unsplash.

Raising a glass of whatever your preferred beverage to a happy and rewarding new year and new decade, rich in learning!


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Storytelling and Digital Media Courses from BCIT

Naturally Ours Season 1 Film Festival Selections and Awards

Salt Spring Island

Erica mid interview with Cowichan Knowledge Keeper Hwiemtun on the set of Naturally Ours.

We have recently embarked on a new exciting adventure into the realm of digital film production. Many of you have followed along with us as we created and shared our first completed web series, Naturally Ours! For our first season of Naturally Ours, we chose Salt Spring Island, British Columbia to highlight the  Canadian Parks and the people they inspired. We worked together with Kelly Conlin of Nice Lady Productions to bring you gorgeous 4K footage with the goal of spreading beauty, love, peace, inspiration and hope around the world. You can watch the season in its entirety here on Stareable or the broadcast half-hour documentary version of Naturally Ours: Salt Spring Island on Fearless.

 

 

After the online success of our Season 1 release of Naturally Ours, we decided to test the waters at numerous digital film festivals. Our goal with this series is to continue on, featuring the beautiful parks and natural spaces we have all around the world and the people (and yes, other non-human creatures too) that live and work amongst them. Expanding our reach to film festivals has shown that storytelling which showcases the good and beauty that exists in our world is very well received! Here are the film festival selections and awards for Season 1 of Naturally Ours to date.

Woodengate International Film Festival

Woodengate film festival

Maramures County Romania (Photo courtesy of: Camilia TWU)

The Woodengate International Film Festival is based in Maramures County, Romania. Century old traditions are still a part of daily life here. In celebration of emerging talent in online storytelling in film, they feature live screenings of official selections chosen from submissions they receive from around the world. We are beyond excited to say that we were selected for their Documentary category and won the Best Documentary award!

Vancouver Web Fest

Vancouver Web Fest

Downtown Vancouver (photo courtesy of: Spencer Watson)

The Vancouver Web Fest is local to us. We were excited to bring the beauty of a park so close to all the residents here to the big screen! This festival is part conference, part festival and part showcase. Attendees enjoy workshops, keynote speakers, screenings and more. Being a web fest, they honour creators in digital storytelling. We are pleased to share that we were officially selected as nominees for Best Documentary Web Series, Best Pilot, Best Cinematography, and Best of BC! Best of all though was the reaction of fellow Vancouver Web Fest nominee, Lungelo Mdlalose. After seeing the screening of Episode 1 of Season 1 of Naturally Ours at the festival, Lungelo decided to spend his one free day in British Columbia, making the trip through the Salish Sea to experience the parks and people of Salt Spring Island first hand.  That Lungelo was inspired to take this action is high praise indeed from the gentleman that won Best International Series at Vancouver Web Fest for his series, Thesha. Congratulations Lungelo!

die Seriale Germany

die Seriale Germany

A View of Giessen (photo courtesy of: atxcowboy)

die Seriale takes place in Giessen Germany, and is the oldest festival in all of Germany to celebrate both emerging and accomplished independent artists of digital and web series production. Lectures, workshops and panel discussions are included. It only became an international festival in 2017, so we are quite honoured to have been selected by them as official nominees for Best Series and Best Documentary. This festival takes place soon, from June 8th through the 10th. Episode 4 of Season 1 of Naturally Ours will have it’s World Premiere on the big screen at the festival!

Sicily Web Fest

Sicily Web Fest

Gibellina, Sicily (Photo courtesy of: Luca Savetierre)

The Sicily Web Fest is part of the prestigious Scirocco Wine Fest in Gibellina, Sicily. The web fest prides itself on being a real cultural event with the goal of promoting cinematographic art through the web. It is a major international event. The aim of the wine fest is also to build bridges between cultures, making this a perfect environment to bring Naturally Ours into. It will be screening there between June 29th-30th as official selections in both the Web Series and Pilot categories!

 

Canadian Diversity Film Festival

Canadian Diversity Film Festival

Downtown Toronto (Photo courtesy of LinedPhoto )

It means a tremendous amount to us to be recognized for the Canadian Diversity Film Festival, as its platform is based on diversity being Canada’s lifeblood. It is for global filmmakers living in Canada with the goal of bringing diverse communities together through story and shared experiences. For us, that means being able to highlight Canada’s first nations, and the islanders of Salt Spring Island who fought to save the land and artistic healing lifestyle. The festival will be taking place at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto, Ont. June 29th-30th. The full version of Naturally Ours is an official selection in the Documentary category!

 

Stareable Fest

Stareable Film Fest

Lady Liberty and New York City (photo courtesy of Bicad Media)

Naturally ours will be making its American film festival debut this summer at Stareable Fest in Tribeca, New York City! Stareable itself is an innovative site for web creators to showcase their passion projects. In keeping with their spirit of supporting independent filmmakers, they are hosting a two day celebration that is a mix of judging nominated films, industry marketplace and creator convention.  We are pleased to say that Naturally Ours is an official selection for Best Documentary! The festival will be taking place July 20th-22nd.

 

Rolda Web Fest

Rolda Web Fest

Roldanillo, Columbia (Photo by: Claudio Vosti )

The Rolda Web Fest takes place in Roldanillo, Columbia and is one of only three in all of South America. This will be its second annual edition. This year they received over 1000 submissions from over 87 countries and have a celebrity jury. We are beyond excited to be finalists for best Documentary Web Series or Short Film! Rolda Web Fest takes place July 28-29th.

Copenhagen Web Fest

Copenhagen Web Fest

The Nyhavn (New Harbor in Copenhagen) Photo by: Nick Karvounis

The Copenhagen Web Fest will be full of activity! There will be live screenings, workshops, innovative projects, master classes and a pitch fest with international film makers. Taking place September 21st-23rd, it is Scandinavia’s first web film festival. Naturally Ours is an official nominee for Best Documentary! We love seeing that they have a Young Visionary category for talented youth.

 

Travel Film Fest

Travel Web Fest

Limassol, Cyprus (Photo by: Andreas Komodromos)

The Travel Film Fest is purely for films pertaining to travel, both modern and historical, scripted and documentary. They welcome enthusiasts and professionals alike. They value various modes of travel and also love films that highlight culture, lifestyle and the world around us. They are firm believers that the story within a film is far more important than the budget or acclaim of the creators. Naturally ours has been chosen as an official selection in the Travel Web Series category. The festival takes place in Limassol, Cyprus October 19th-21st.

 

Bilbao Seriesland Festival

Bilboa Seriesland

The Guggenheim Museum (photo by: Joe Lin)

The Bilboa Seriesland Festival is the first Basque Digital Series Festival! The festival serves as a point of union for the best independent content creators from around the world to come together. In addition to screenings they will also be running a Marketplace, which will be for one to one meetings, producers round tables, matchmaking, keynote speakers, case studies and workshops. Scrrenings will be shown at historical theatres around town and the awards will be given out during the the Los Otsoa Awards Gala in the Guggenheim Museum! All of this will be taking place October 24th-27th. We are thrilled to say that Naturally Ours has been nominated for Best Short Show Content!

 

We are greatly looking forward to continuing on our journey to see where we end up next!

Multi-Platform Storytelling

Our audience has changed. They want to receive media and stories on a number of different platforms, including those that they can interact with and be a part of the story.

As storytellers and communications professionals, we need to start thinking digital, convergence, transmedia and interactive, and we need to do so at the early stages of development.

 

Creating Engaged Audiences. Photographer: Liz Kearsely

Creating Engaged Audiences. Photographer: Liz Kearsely

 

It is this form of storytelling, that we specialize in. We help you to access different platforms, to tell your stories in those spaces and to build audiences where one previously did not exist.

We can:

 

A Case Study in Transmedia Storytelling: Being Emme

A Case Study in Transmedia Storytelling: Being Emme

 

Our past clients include:

  • tourism
  • broadcasters
  • production companies
  • films / tv series / web series
  • magazines
  • novelists
  • theatres
  • small businesses
  • actors / directors
  • financial service based companies
  • conferences / festivals
  • funding bodies
  • educational institutions / organizations

Projects that we’ve been involved in have been a part of:

  • the CBC’s Digital Development Labs
  • BC Film’s Digital Media Development Envelope
  • BC Film’s Digital Readiness Program
  • Canadian Film & Video Fund
  • Telefilm
  • Telefilm New Media Fellowship
  • the Bell Fund
  • CMF

 

Canada Remembers

Thanks to Thomega Entertainment and their Canada Remembers Documentary Series, we are reminded every year at Remembrance Day of the importance of this day, and the importance of taking the time for some quiet reflection of the freedoms and safety we enjoy, thanks to those that have faced unimaginable horrors on our behalf.  Tony Towstego has taken the time to help the Veterans to share their stories, before we have lost them, reminding us how important it is to thank these soldiers.

 

Canada Remembers Documentary Series

Thomega Entertainment’s Canada Remembers Documentary Series

 

For us, these stories have touched our souls and impacted our conscience that much more profoundly, as we spent weeks poring over the videos in the making of Educational Guides to accompany the Canada Remembers Documentary Series. That, and with our travels through Roamancing, it is continually driven home for us just how very fortunate we are that our Veterans and present soldiers have fought for the freedoms we enjoy. As a result, we feel it is important on Remembrance Day to both Remember and to Act.  What I mean by Act, is to get out and thank a Veteran or Soldier, and / or to share with our youngsters the importance of the day – Lest We Forget.

This Remembrance Day, Thomega Entertainment has shared with us their latest Canada Remembers Documentary on Henry Beaudry, the Story Keeper  …

 

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You can also catch their 2011 Canada Remembers: Festival for Heroes on City TV Saskatchewan TONIGHT at 11 pm …

 

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Thank you Tony for raising our conscience and awareness for Remembrance Day, and for sharing the stories of our Veterans and Soldiers before they are lost forever!

In the Online Classroom this Autumn, Teaching Interactive Storytelling

BCIT StoryToGoWe are excited to be starting a whole new chapter of teaching and storytelling for us this Autumn, with our first post-secondary accredited online course in Interactive Storytelling available through BCIT StoryToGo’s Media Storytelling Department (formerly Part-Time Broadcast Studies). This means that anybody can register and take this course from anywhere in the world, on their time, and they don’t have to be a regular student of BCIT. Pretty cool!

It also means for us, that we, ourselves have been experimenting with both new methods of digital storytelling and teaching to better reach our students. So we have created course videos, webinars, step-by-step technology manuals, interactive quizzes, and discussion boards … and that is just been the beginning. We look forward to experimenting with new ways of connecting and engaging with our students as the Course gets underway.  As the Course content has already all been built, we also love that this now places the emphasis in teaching, on engaging with our students, and trouble-shooting with them, as they begin to build their own interactive storytelling projects. Here’s a little of what you can expect from the Course:

 [youtube Cm3WBgelWS8]

Our course is not the only new online storytelling course this term through BCIT StoryToGo‘s Media Storytelling Department. Thanks to Steve Dotto, Marty Strong and I discussed storytelling and the online courses available through BCIT StoryToGo last week on the Dotto Tech Radio Show on AM 650. You can listen to the broadcast here:

The three Courses available online through BCIT StoryToGo’s Media Storytelling Program this Autumn, include:

You can also catch an online course with Steve Dotto, as he launches his own series of online courses in Email Management and ProTECHtivity.

Back to School with Multimedia Ed Packages for the Classroom

Having been a classroom teacher, I understand what a demanding profession teaching can be and the need for quality support material for teachers and the classroom.  One particular source of frustration for me, as a teacher, was the unimaginative, rote learning materials that typically accompanied videos in the classroom – “watch the video and answer these questions”.  Watching a video is already a very passive activity in the classroom.  To turn it into an engaging activity, the teacher needs to accompany it with hands-on, thought provoking activities that stimulate discussion. Many  Educational Support Materials for films fail to do this, an issue that we are more than adequately equipped to address at Ahimsa Media with our expertise in education and curriculum, in addition to that in broadcast and transmedia storytelling.

As such, we have recently developed an Education Guide to accompany, Mark Leiren-Young and Tony Wosk’s film, The Green Chain.  This is the perfect cross-platform resource for the classroom, including The Green Chain Film, The Green Chain Book, The Green Chain Podcasts and the Education Guide (that is based around the film). The Education Guide includes hands-on activities, background reference material, blackline masters of worksheets, a unit project, answer keys and marking rubrics. It has students focused on a task during the film, doing individual and group assignments after the film, helping to engage them in research and debate current issues. These materials are appropriate for upper level middle school students, high school, and post secondary students studying Science, Environmental Studies, Social Studies, Geography, Global Issues, First Nations Studies, Natural Resource Management, and Forestry. For further information on The Green Chain and it’s Education Guide or to place an order, please contact Kinosmith at info@kinosmith.com.

We are also developing an Education Guide for Thomega Entertainment’s documentary series, Canada Remembers, which explores topics around Remembrance Day, our veterans, war and peace. This will be the perfect accompaniment and unit builder for upper level middle school students and high school students in History, Social Studies, World Issues and Geography. You can learn more about Canada Remembers and how to place your order here.

Our Team

We have been fortunate to work with many wonderful and creative individuals over the years, both in-house and from the community – including producers, directors, technologists, videographers, writers, photographers, educators and actors. Amongst this prestigious crowd, we have the following team currently working in-house:

Erica Hargreave – President / Head of Creative and Interactive

Photo by Liz Kearsley

Erica, photographed by Liz Kearsley.

Erica Hargreave, Founder and Creative Head of Ahimsa Media, has been creating cross-platform media and immersive storyworlds before she knew there were terms for what she was doing. Her early integration into the digital space and ability to develop stories interactively, led to the creation of one of the first digital / transmedia storytelling companies. She has led her team in paving the way for the acceptance of digital and transmedia characters in the digital sphere (and real life); been the digital voice behind films and TV Series; and developed and implemented digital, interactive and transmedia strategy and storytelling courses at a number of post-secondary institutions.

Along the way, she discovered the power that story holds in brand promotion, and has learned how to weave story through a brand’s digital existence. By building a brand with story to targeted audiences in digital niche communities, she creates engaged communities that care about the brand and it’s success. Similarly in the case of her own storytelling properties and those of the television series she’s worked on, she has created engaged audiences that feel they have a stake in the success of the story.

Over the years, Erica has written for TV, magazines, books, the web and the education sector. She has worked as a creative producer for both TV and theater, directed, and even starred in her own TV Show. Thriving on challenges and the desire to solve problems, Erica has been focusing her storytelling on emerging, digital and transmedia for the past decade and has been loving it. She loves to share this passion with others and help them to bring their stories to life too. In this bent, Erica speaks around the world about digital and transmedia storytelling and how it can be applied to media, brands, travel and education; inspiring others to find their creativity and story, and empowering them with the knowledge to put it into action!

You can join Erica for one of her online courses at BCIT in Social Media Storytelling and Building & Engaging Communities.

Lori Yearwood – Head of Education / Character Writer

Lori in the California Sun.

Hailing from Toronto, LA and Vancouver, Lori is an exemplary teacher, dancer and character writer. Lori is as comfortable in the classroom as within the busy rustle of the broadcast world. A diversely talented lady, who has danced professionally, helped build concepts for TV and transmedia, been involved in published children’s books, holds a teaching degree in two States and two Provinces (including a California Studio Teaching Certificate and a Montessori Specialization) and has her first children’s book in production.

On the Education Side of things, both parents of past students and the students themselves rave about Lori as a teacher. She is the kind of teacher that students think fondly back on later in life, as one of those teachers that has had a positive impact on who they’ve become. Having created Ministry Approved Curriculum, Lori aids Ahimsa Media in creating Educational Packages for films and TV Shows that are creative, fun, and classroom friendly. Lori is also instrumental in the development of Ahimsa Media’s College and University Classes for delivery in an online classroom.

On the Storytelling side of things, Lori grew up in a creative world, and has long acted as a creative consultant and pitch writer for various theatrical arts productions, both live and media related. She brings that creativity and understanding of story to her role as one of Ahimsa Media’s character writers, and can’t help but make her co-workers smirk at her uncanny ability to be a chameleon in her writing of voice.

 

Alyzee Lakhani – Internship Coordinator / Writer

A studious looking Alyzee.

Alyzee recently completed an English Literature Honours degree at the University of British Columbia. She is an emerging writer and particularly enjoys writing poetry and short stories. She loves to try her hand at new genres of writing and storytelling, and wants to explore writing for television and animation. This is her fourth year with Ahimsa Media.  She’s excited to be constantly furthering her skills using social media as a storytelling device.  She looks forward to continue growing as a Digital, Interactive, Transmedia Storyteller with Ahimsa Media.

Canada Remembers Educational Package

Attention Canadian Teachers and School Boards

Explore Remembrance Day and history alongside your students with Canada Remembers.  A powerful and reflective educational experience in the form of a 5-part documentary series (created by Thomega Entertainment), supported with an Education Guide, including hands-on activities, background reference material, blackline masters of worksheets, a unit project, answer keys and marking rubrics (created by Ahimsa Media).

The Canada Remembers documentary series is a dynamic and engaging teaching tool to assist your students in learning about Canada’s war history through the eyes of young people and our Veterans.

 

 

This documentary series includes:

      • Canada Remembers: A Veteran’s Reunion
      • Canada Remembers: It’s Time to Say Thank You
      • Canada Remembers: Our Last Legacy
      • Canada Remembers: Their Achievements and Sacrifices
      • Canada Remembers: Women in War (available January 2011)

This timely and powerful series is now available on DVD with an accompanying Education Guide to purchase for the Classroom.

 

It was a very emotional experience … I don’t think I’ll take things for granted now. It made me think of the soldiers currently fighting, because one day, they’ll also be Veterans.

~ Vanessa Corkal, host of Canada Remembers: It’s Time to Say Thank You

These DVDs provide a compelling look at war as experienced by Canadian Veterans. Through the dispassionate description of their role, the laughter of their friendships and good times, and the re-experience of the horror of death and destruction, their message is clear: war is senseless. These videos are excellent both in conception and realization.

~ A.G. Charpentier, Saskatoon Catholic Schools

 

Order Canada Remembers Now for your Remembrance Day Curriculum

Option 1 (If your school has not purchased Shows 1 – 4): Canada Remembers Shows 1 – 4 (47-minutes each in length), Education Guide (for Canada Remembers Shows 1 – 4), and Canada Remembers: Women In War (Show 5).

$269.95 plus applicable taxes and shipping (please add $10.00 shipping). Orders of two or more $259.95 each plus shipping and handling (please add $10.00 shipping).

Option 2 (If your school has already purchased Shows 1 – 4): Education Guide (for Canada Remembers Shows 1 – 4)  and Canada Remembers: Women In War (Show 5)

$139.95 plus applicable tax and shipping (please add $10.00 shipping). Orders of two or more $129.95 each plus shipping and handling (please add $10.00 shipping).

Option 3: Educational Guide only, (for Canada Remembers Shows 1 – 4).

$99.95 each, plus applicable taxes and shipping (please add $10.00 for shipping costs). Orders of two or more $79.95 each, plus applicable taxes and shipping (please add $10.00 for shipping costs).

 

 

To place an order, send an email, fax or snail mail to Thomega Entertainment (P.O., checks, money order, Visa, Mastercard, Amex accepted):

email: thomega@sasktel.net or fax: (306) 242-5845
or
mail to: Attention Canada Remembers Documentaries
c/o Thomega Entertainment Inc.
P.O. Box 25104 RH RPO,
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
S7K 8B7

 

Educational Services

Ahimsa Media President, Erica Hargreave and Head of Education, Lori Yearwood, started their career in education and as

Photographer: Adrian Lam

such knows what teachers need from the media they use in the classroom, what works well in the classroom, and what excites, stimulates and motivates kids.  They also understand educational terminology and can speak to the education systems needs.

Our educational division utilizes these skills to help …

  • films
  • TV series
  • videos
  • web properties
  • novels
  • natural & cultural history sites

… access the classroom.

We can:

  • research potential educational markets for your project
  • make grade and subject curriculum connections for your project
  • create an educational package to accompany your project that includes, background information for the students and teacher and pre- and post- classroom activities
  • create more involved educational packages for your project that also include worksheets, tests and assessments
  • write scripts for educational shows and videos
  • consult on the educational aspects of children’s series, web properties and videos

 

A Scene from The Magic Backpack

A Scene from The Magic Backpack

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for a quote ~ info@ahimsamedia.com / 604-785-3602.