Montage of text and images tells powerful story, wins film award
December 17, 2008
We've been discussing here recently about moving type in visual presentations that create a narrative without the use of an actual voiceover or narration. I was reminded of another example that is a bit out of the ordinary. "Mankind Is No Island" by Jason van Genderen (Australia) is a short film that uses street images (people, billboard, signs, posters, etc.) to create a story of sorts with a simple and evocative message. Quite literally he spells out a story. What I like about it is that it required no expensive tools. All the footage was shot on cell phones in Sydney and New York. Simple. Brilliant. Effective. The film won the best film award at Tropfest NY 2008. Tropfest (the main event is held in Sydney) is known as "the world's largest short film festival."
Here are a few quick screen shots below to give you a feel for the treatment of text. (I added just a touch of Gaussian blur to some of the shots just to help the main word stand out a bit.)
Shot all on a cellphone
Watch the 3.5 minute film below. It's evocative and may give you some ideas for your future stories (presentations) as well.
H/T Eric Tuason
A note about Monday's webcast.
A special thank you to all the many people who tuned in around the world live to listen to the webcast from my hotel room in Tokyo Monday (my Tuesday at 7:00am). It's a real challenge speaking to hundreds or thousands of people live when you can't actually see or hear them, but it actually feels quite comfortable for me. If I had to do it over I would leave much more time for questions. Frankly, most presentation could benefit from more Q&A and discussion and less "presentation." Now, the thing that I am disappointed about is that for many people listening live, the visuals were a little (or a lot, depending on your pipes) out of sync with my speaking. On my Mac and in the studio back in the USA, it worked fine, and people with very fast bandwidth saw the preso as I delivered it (my buddies in Tokyo said there was no lag that they could tell). I had no idea that this would happen and I had no idea it was happening to people live (though it was out of my control). I am really sorry about that. The good news is that WebEx tells us the recording of the presentation has no lag problems (we shall see). If you registered before the event they will send you an email in a few days with the link to the archive (and I will post it here as well). Thanks again very much to those who watched live. (When the link is live I will post the slides on slideshare in PDF.)
I attended the webinar from Mexico City and it started in sync but after lesson 6 something happened and went out of sync...
Anyway, I simply listened to what you were saying and I was OK. Great presentation!
Obviously, I will use the tips and guidance you provided, it's great to learn from you (as always!)
Posted by: Julio César | December 18, 2008 at 12:35 AM
I think this is the first time I've been at odds with a post here for such a long time I can't remember it!
Okay, I'm not saying the film wasn't clever but I'm very far from convinced that it was anything other than a gimmick. It works precisely because it's not the usual way of doing things (and that's good, if not great!) but that automatically rules it out from being 'mainstream'... imagine if every film/presentation was made like that!!! :(
Posted by: Simon - presentations trainer in the UK | December 18, 2008 at 04:44 AM
Garr, my experience was like Julio's - I went out of sync (quite badly) at about lesson 6. I attended from Toronto and my connection is broadband and fast. I suppose it was an excellent test for a good presentation: if I have heard/read you correctly for the last while, the slides themselves are not the presentation, the presentation is the presentation. The slides are a tool for helping communicate a message, not the message itself. Maybe one metric is that a presentation should still make sense if the slides are unavailable!
I listened along, and I think it passed such a metric. Thanks for the lessons.
Posted by: John Januszczak | December 23, 2008 at 12:06 AM