Convincing people they can learn something new and don't have to be an expert at it immediately feels like a big challenge when it comes to technology. Patrons will say, "I'm not a tech person," or "I don't think I'm very good at this," and it's my job to reassure them that it's okay to not be good at something right away. This is true with patrons of all ages, the tweens at West Oak Lane are often just as unsure as some of the elderly patrons that stop by drop-in hours at Northeast Regional. Getting the hang of creative and technical vulnerability is the purpose of this program.
One of the best methods I've found for circumventing some of the "I don't think I can"s is to ask a lot of questions about a patron before we even get started with a tablet or their smartphones. I get to know what movies they like to watch or what YouTube channels they subscribe to. Often I'll get shown a clip and I'll say something along the lines of, "we can make something like that!" and some interest is sparked.
Gearing up with a tablet or smartphone for filming can look like a gaggle of middle schoolers interviewing each other about their alter egos, bullying at school, or their career goals. It can also look more like an oral history with an older patron, or an explanation of a self-help theory. I try to step back from filming myself, handing it over to a team or a partner so I can make small suggestions from the background about the angle, or a follow-up question.
Perhaps my favorite moment from this week was leaving a middle schooler with a tablet on PowerDirector and came back to a nearly psychedelic edited sequence where he tested out any and all effects available. I showed him how to make basic cuts in a clip and move them around and he was off again, fiddling and learning all at once.