Every so often at Chipsterlife amazing projects come across our desk. We get asked to check it out then decide whether to do something with it. Sometimes I just don't like the project other times people just sort of disappear but then everyone once in a while I get access to something great. Chicano Batman's Eduardo Arenas let me know that he was working on a digital story book project, I was intrigued. He had asked if I would be interested in collaborating I immediately said yes! A couple months later the most adorable thing I have ever seen appeared in my inbox. Each video is refreshingly honest, there is very little adornment and the music compliments the content intuitively. Take a look at this first video to get a feel for the project. Two more are featured throughout the course of this post.
Each participant writes a "how to manual" about something they are good at. The topics range from planing to dancing. The level of detail and insight is impressive. I was particularly cracking up in referring to posing as a tactic for developing prowess in soccer. The sweetest one was, "how to be good." I think my mother would of agreed. Soundtrack by Eduardo Arenas.
The Children's Video Book is a multimedia project involving story telling, illustration, narration, video and original music from Los Angeles musicians. The short videos were created in workshop form with Los Angeles area students. The workshops were led by writer Lorena Endara and musician Eduardo Arenas during the 2014 Summer Night Lights Program in Los Angeles. The workshops were spurred by Eduardo's insight that hearing the sounds while seeing the letters is necessary to learn how to read.
Lorena reported to me that the youth ranging from 4-14 year old participants were so excited when realizing that their story would be "published" online. Some Video-Books like "It's a Long Explanation" and "Giovanni & the Big Win" were developed in groups and each participant would add a sentence to the story. The Video "How to Manuals" were developed as individual pages. The youth made illustrations and the stronger readers were chosen to narrate the story. Eduardo recorded the score and mixed the audio, and Lorena edited and animated the videos.
It's a Long Explanation
Joe the boxer struggles to leave his home where he lives with his 5 sisters in Las Vegas to follow his dream of becoming a professional trainer in Hollywood. Soundtrack by Brainstory.
Loren revealed several anecdotes about the project, "at first we gave out candy and told them about the project. with time we realized all we had to say was that in the end, their project would be online on youtube. they were eager to participate because they can get famous on youtube!"
Here are several more from Lorena. Warning, they are oozing with cuteness:
- My favorite moments where when we had the story all laid out and divided in pages, then the kids would read through it and decide which "page" they wanted to illustrate. they would just stare at the story and then automatically start drawing, they were so good at knowing what they wanted to do.
- The best part was recording the narrations. it was probably the first time the participants recorded on a mic and they were so excited to do it. when they heard the recording they would always say "is that me?"
- Some kids were incredibly talented and only came one day to participate and then never again. eduardo and i always wished they came back! and then there were others that came for almost every workshop. it was wonderful to see them time after time and how they enjoyed themselves. one boy would even bring his own professional pencils and erasers. another couple of kids wanted to take their assignments home and finish them as homework.
- Each kids personality really came through in their drawings. it was like their unique vision of the world would come to life on paper. at first we thought it was going to be a challenge to have a book with the same characters illustrated by so many different participants. eduardo and i both agree that the stories still flow regardless.
- Developing the group stories ("It's a long explanation," "forest friends" and "giovanni & the big win) were more challenging. it took some work to keep all the participants of different ages focused and committed. some would say they were bored and walk away. However, others were glad to sit and exchange ideas. it felt like they had so much to contribute creatively, all they need are outlets.
- All the bands that recorded the music were also super responsive to participating. we're lucky to have so many talented friends that are musicians and it was easy to get them involved but we also got requests from more bands that they would be down to record a soundtrack in the future.
Here is the final video. There will be 5 more in the future and we will happily disseminate them.
Giovani and the Big Win
Giovani, a soccer prodigy, breaks his leg while he is playing in the World Cup. While on vacation, he meets a magical cricket who changes his luck. Soundtrack by Lilo Sanchez.