The New Media Parlour



City Farm Project Report, Week Five

It’s taken a few weeks for the City Farm project to really take shape. The initial ideas that we had for City Farm (a series of videos, a volunteer communication management system, and a new invoicing system) were all meet with some hesitation from the board of directors and we discovered some approval hurdles that we couldn’t get over. I was a little discouraged after hearing that we didn’t have any concrete project that City Farm seemed interested in us producing. But we regrouped with Andy and discovered the areas of the farm that he had jurisdiction over and didn’t need the board’s approval for.  We brainstormed some good ideas in class last week for new ideas and projects that could help City Farm. The signage/beautification project will be a huge help to increase their presence in the neighborhood as well as help me gain experience in design and layout. We will give them a cohesive design across all their paper material and signs.

I was a little worried that the signage project wasn’t going to give me the chance to gain experience in any digital production. One of the parts of this project that I was looking forward to was the video production, which is one area that I don’t have any experience in.  I think we were all looking forward to doing some video production for City Farm so I’m glad that we pushed the video idea a little more with them; making sure they knew that we were being respectful of the video work that was already being done by a donor, and making the video more useful to Andy on the farm instead of for promotion for the organization as a whole (which would fall under the board’s jurisdiction and would be hard to get the “ok” on). I liked that we found a way to resurrect the video project, coming at it from a new angle and making the technology work for the client. I never would have thought initially that we could use a video as an educational resource for volunteers that were already at the farm, only as a way to attract new volunteers. But after listening to Andy’s needs and what he had control over, we came to a solution that works for everyone.

The volunteer management system and invoicing systems are on hold temporarily, mostly because the board is being vague about what they have, what they are working on, and how we can help. We discussed last week that perhaps they aren’t sure of what our expertise or abilities are. So we came up with a concrete list of projects that we could do for them. One that may go over well is a website consultation. There would be no commitment on their end for us to execute the new site, but will give us a chance to do some web design, usability analysis and testing, and layout suggestions. Hopefully they will be open to listening to our suggestions at the very least. Sometimes you have to show the client what you are capable of in order to show them how you can help.

My goal for next week is to work hard to get a storyboard and script together for the “how you can help” video. I have some initial mock ups that I did, but didn’t show them to the group last week because I thought the video idea was dead. I think the shooting and production of the videos will be time consuming and we need to make it a priority to start working on that as soon as possible. Since I was not able to go on the field trip to the farm last Friday, I would like to get a better feel for what the space is like, where people think signage could go, and an inventory list of all the material that we will be designing. I am going to look into printing companies in Chicago to see the cost of production so we know if this something that is within City Farm’s budget, or if our class can get a small grant from DePaul to help them with the costs. I was going to look into cost before class today, but didn’t have a very good idea of what sizes, quantity, or material we were looking at.

Overall, I am much more confident about our City Farm project this week. I think our team has done a good job of not abandoning the client and find new and creative ways to use our skills to help them.

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