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Video Activist Handbook - Introduction


Today there is no more passive reading, listening or watching of the news. We comment, tweet, blog, re-mix, and make video responses. We live in a world of plenty, where the traditional media gate-keepers were born in scarcity. We are in a world of transition where the "people formerly known as the audience", in other words all of us, have become the producers.

This means ordinary citizens have been able to make videos across a huge range of subjects, from useful "how tos" to funny cats. But also, a large number of people, frustrated at traditional media's depiction of them or the world in general, are using the new technologies to make their own news.

Back in the 1980s Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman defined the role of the traditional media as manufacturing consent. Consent for a set of institutions which protect the interests of the rich and powerful, the interests of the 1%, rather than the rest of us. By contrast, radical video makers have given a voice to the voiceless, and have made alternative documentary a hugely popular resource for people to understand the real world around them, away from the distorting lens of the corporate media.

This book invites you to be a dynamic part of this activist media revolution. Here you can learn how to produce your own rapid-turnaround and high-quality video news, using only the tools in your pocket. And you can learn the story-telling skills you need to compete for eyeballs with the traditional media.

Almost everyone has those tools: smartphone, tablet, digital camera, or just an internet connection.

You'll find here clear and easy templates for video news reports which can be made by absolute beginners, or by people with skills but little time. They have been developed in visionOntv's unique training programmes with a wide variety of groups, and distill our experience as media producers into one-page cartoons

A later section of this book will also show you how to shoot your message through the gates of the traditional media, the media born of the printing press and the cathode ray tube. Another will outline how to make longer-form campaigning films. But the main focus is to provide people who are busy with another life (a job, a family) with the skills you need to make watchable news quickly.

Now learn how to tell stories which match up to those of traditional media journalists. Become a video activist, and make the news you don't see on the news.

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