The Big Idea
Whether on screen, in person, print or online, the work is the same: tell powerful stories while attending to the powerful work of capturing the memories and artifacts of a youth-led creative movement.
The 360° concept is a way of opening up a "story" - say, the story of a band, or a scene, or a record label - to not only take into account the perhaps-obvious story, but also to include the circle of diverse perspectives that could be included. It also helps us think outside the go-to solution to consider the many different containers that can hold those various stories - film, digital and interactive media, books and recordings, gallery events and gatherings - and find the balance between them. These projects in turn spin-up their own archives of primary and secondary source documents, which add to the possibilities.
Producing a major documentary film is its own archival deep dive - researching, locating and integrating a huge number of cultural assets, voices and information - while simultaneously generating a new layer of production materials, like scripts, correspondence; promotional and other ancillary materials; and valuable details on rights, conservation status and more. But the constraints of an under-90-minute film require constant narrowing and editing, resulting in people and details left out of the picture. Limited resources keep the production team's money, time and attention on the screen - and generally not the preservation of the underlying materials or on how to reuse what ended up on the cutting room floor. After the film wraps, only parts of those assets resurface - a soundtrack, DVD exclusives, Digital extras.
By way of example, We Got Soul, the Big Boys documentary film, is just one piece of the Big Boys project. The 90-minute film "container" holds one part of the story, and adheres to the expectations of that medium or format. But a gallery exhibition gives us a platform and space for other types of storytelling; books give us another. Each has their own considerations, practicalities and benefits - running time and word count; saleability and interest; artistic expression and point of view. Each constraint plays a part in the final cut, and inevitably leaves something out.
In other projects, the cutting room floor is just that. In the Big Boys project,
has connected multiple individual artists, collectors, and historians; surfaced never-released original art, recordings, flyers and other previously-unknown material; inspired three major donations of endangered archival materials to the physical Archive, and added over 200 hours of individual interviews to the PAIs digital collection.
All this is being used as case study for how to best inventory and archive the licensed and original materials generated during work on a film - as well as to capture the other parts of the web of connections. Our hope is that we can develop production-friendly supports to make it easier for others to implement preservation practices at the outset of future productions, and consider licensing, security and cultural heritage as part of the bigger picture.
360° in Action
The Big Boys projects - a film, exhibition, and multiple publishing projects, represent our biggest proof-of-concept to date: not only are we connecting more people and ideas, it has inspired us to begin a new programmatic focus for Texas.
For more, check out our Big Boys 360° page.