From Exchange to Creation: Building DRONEby Andrea Assaf; Tampa, FL
With the support of the Alternate ROOTS Artistic Assistance program and the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET), Art2Action Collective members traveled to New Orleans in February 2013, for an artistic exchange with ArtSpot Productions. It was also our very first development residency for our new project, DRONE -- an ensemble, multimedia, devised theater project about the secret life, and secret work, of a U.S. military drone pilot, exploring the seeming triviality of remote-control killing, and its effects on the human soul.
The first phase of the exchange was an intensive weekend of physical training and sharing of creative processes. Artistic Director of ArtSpot, Kathy Randels, began by introducing us to core warm-ups and ensemble-building exercises that the company uses. In the second session, Art2Action Collective member and movement specialist, Dora Arreola led us through an exceptional physical theatre training process. That evening, we shared past works, particularly those relating to war, through video and stories.
On the second day of the exchange, we began exploring ideas related to DRONE. ArtSpot's Jeff Becker led us through an interactive design workshop, exploring mapping and reflection, or the "indirect gaze;" we also explored how technology and distance contribute to dehumanization, whereas personal story humanizes. In the afternoon, Nick Slie joined us, and Dora continued her workshop, sharing an approach to composition that helped us begin exploring a physical vocabulary for DRONE.
By Tuesday morning, we were joined by Art2Action's lead musician and vocalist, Aida Shahghasemi. The music explorations over the next few days included an exchange of traditions and folk songs, from Aida's background in Iranian music and expertise as a Daf player, to Kathy's knowledge of Christian songs of the U.S. South, to Rebecca Mwase joining us in a round from South Africa. These sharings led to rich improvisations exploring the musical encounter of traditions--such as "Wayfaring Stranger" accompanied by the Kurdish Daf (which you can see in the video sample)--and creative explorations of the "drone" in singing. The result was an exciting blend of innovation and tradition.
On Wednesday, we returned to one of the Grotowski training structures, accompanied by live music with Aida and Sean LaRocca. We experienced the combination of improvisational music with an improvisational, yet highly structured movement sequence that the ensemble already knew (and could do without talking) as something quite powerful. We then returned to the movement vocabulary we'd begun creating for DRONE, prompted by the question, "When do you disconnect, or 'drone out'?" We also explored "surveillance" through movement, "following" improvisation structures, and group-individual power dynamics. And began layering the music and the movement score...
In our excitement about the process and content of our work, and the urgency of the issues DRONE raises, we decided to close the residency with a small, informal Community Sharing. Held at Catapult Studios on Thursday night, the evening included short work-in-progress performances, interactive exercises that community members participated in (such as a Boal-based improvisation game accompanied by vocal droning, and story sharing), as well as full-group dialogue on the political and social implications of DRONE. Highlights of the discussion included the use and dangers of surveillance and new technologies, such as Google camera glasses; militarism, trauma and how to represent violence/bombing on-stage; and laws currently being passed or proposed related to the proliferation and legality of drones, within U.S. borders and internationally.
As a result of this wonderful week (what we playfully referred to as "the date before we get married" residency), Art2Action and several key New Orleans-based artists have committed to continuing to work together on this project, through 2014-15. We generated raw material for the piece, shared many concepts and ideas, trained together and learned from each other. Aida Shahghasemi expressed that, as a vocalist trained in classical Persian music, it was the first time that she really experienced "vocal play" and the "great possibilities at the intersection of improvised music and improvised theater." For me, as the lead artist/creator of DRONE, the week was deeply inspiring, and sparked many ideas to explore in research and script development, until the next live encounter. In addition to professional development of the artists involved, the impact also extended to the New Orleans community, sparking dialogue around the crucial and timely issues of drone warfare.
For a video sample of this residency and the work-in-progress on DRONE, please click here.
All the Way In
by Elise Witt; Pine Lake, GA
I applied to ROOTS Artistic Assistance to study with master teacher and world-renowned vocal improvisor Rhiannon, for a year-long program known as All the Way In. In 2008 I had been a member of her first experiment with this program. Then in 2012, I was honored to be chosen to join Rhiannon as one of 2 “co-pilots” mentoring 14 singers from around the world.(Photo: Elise with singers from Switzerland, Hawai'i, Australia, Indiana, Toronto, Vermont, Montreal, Florida, Germany, Connecticut, Edmonton, England, Tennessee, New York, and California for ALL THE WAY IN, a year-long mastery program of vocal improvisation, sound healing, and performance with improvisor/teacher/performance artist Rhiannon.
As a self-employed, full-time musician, I make my living with a patchwork quilt of musical events, jobs, and functions.
• I perform - solo as well as in collaboration with other musicians and artists in other disciplines.
• I teach - community singing workshops for adults, and residencies in schools focusing on using music for language learning, community building, and empowerment.
• I organize - produce events and sing for a myriad of rallies, fundraisers, and events supporting peace and justice organizations.
• I compose music, some of which has been arranged for choirs and choruses. These arrangements are now being sung by groups around the US and abroad, and a second series of Choral Arrangements is in the works.
The experience of this year with All the Way In has shaken my whole world. I have expanded my vocal range at least an octave both higher and lower. I have found parts of my voice that I thought were not possible. I am connecting with the deep listening that is necessary to hear the music around us all the time. I am incorporating improvisation into all aspects of my performing and teaching, as well as all aspects of my day-to-day life. I am questioning everything about what I do and why I do it. I am re-imagining my work and myself. It is a wild and crazy place to be - so exciting, so unknown, so full of surprises!
A few highlights from the year of All the Way In include:
- Big Island Hawai’i – Singing to Pele, the volcano goddess in Volcano National Park; Singing the ancestors on the ocean at Queen Liliokalani’s Refuge; Swimming with the spinner dolphins; Concert at the Palace Theater in Hilo with Rhiannon, cellist Jami Sieber, Japanese dancer Shizuno Nasu with photo projections by Jan E. Watson.
- Point Reyes National Seashore, California – Improvised Walking Songs on the Bear Mountain Trail; Vocal Percussion Workshop with David Worm (founding member of Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra); Concert of improvised music at the Dance Palace with Rhiannon, Terry Garthwaite, and Claire Peaslee.
- Montreal, Quebec – Singing with the birch trees on Mont Royale on Canadian Thanksgiving; leading a workshop at the Canadian National Theater School; Improvised evening of music and dance at Galérie Z; Concert at Pigeons International Theatre with Rhiannon, bassist Marc André Landry, accordionist Laurence, and dancer Sarah Delica.
I am using the skills from this work in my teaching at the Global Village Project, a school for teenage refugee girls. I am using it in my community sings. I am using it in my composing. I am already noticing how much freer I am when collaborating with other musicians and artists in other disciplines. I am using it in my concerts. At a recent benefit for the Congo, at the Arts Exchange in Atlanta, instead of “performing,” I got the entire audience to create a circle down in front of the stage and I created a spontaneous improvisation, giving out harmony parts to the circle. In short order, we were all singing together, an improvised creation!
Improvisation creates a level playing field for everyone. We are all born singing and we are all destined to sing the important and the everyday occurrences of our lives. The support of the ROOTS Artistic Assistance has reinforced my dedication to use singing to create democracy, to help “invisible” people to find their voice, and to help communities find harmony, unity and power.
Taller Portobelo Norte
by Ashley Minner; Baltimore, MD
Last July, I participated in a two-week artist residency at the Taller Portobelo Norte Art Colony
in Portobelo, Panama, which was made possible by an Artistic Assistance grant from Alternate ROOTS. Taller Portobelo Norte
(Portobelo Workshop North) is “a collective of emerging and established artists and scholars that seeks to expose the world to the beauty and vibrancy of the African Diaspora; it's arts, culture, traditions and peoples.”
I chose to go to Portobelo to develop my work as a visual artist and to continue my research on the African-Indigenous Diaspora. The people of Portobelo are descendants of the Cimarrones
, enslaved Africans who escaped from their Spanish masters and lived together as outlaws in the jungle. One of the first parts of the “New World” to be pillaged, Christopher Columbus originally named the port "Puerto Bello
," meaning "Beautiful Port," in 1502.
“Today Portobelo is an economically depressed town, and the majority of its inhabitants make their living from either fishing, tending crops or raising livestock. …Homes are situated among the ruins of the colonial fortifications, half of which retain some of their original form, half of which are meager piles of cut stone and coral.” The very same month of my visit, “the UNESCO World Heritage Committee placed Portobelo and nearby Fort San Lorenzo on the List of World Heritage in Danger, citing environmental factors, lack of maintenance and uncontrollable urban developments.”
While staying in the nicest house in town, being conscious of the fact that I was in a position of great privilege as an American, and upon hearing some of the stories of past artist residents’ projects, I at first felt very limited in what work I thought I could conscionably do in Portobelo. It seemed ironic that I would come to a place to learn from and interact with other survivors of colonialism and historical trauma, only to fear that I, myself, could perpetuate the problem. Though Portobelo is a very beautiful place, I didn’t feel that I had the right to go off and paint watercolor landscapes. Though I was inspired by the beauty of the people of Portobelo, I did not feel good about documenting them just for the sake of making a drawing or painting. I didn’t know them. They didn’t know me.
Adjoining the house is the actual, physical “Taller Portobelo Norte
,” the small artist studio space used by all of the artists in the collective. I was welcomed into the studio by Gustavo, one of the first people I met in Panama. Gustavo and several artists of the colony paint or work on other projects in the taller
every day. Many people of the town often stop by to visit. I just sat in and talked with them for the first few days. We became fast friends. After that time, I started to feel like it would be alright with me to honor my new friends with portraits if it was alright with them, but I didn’t want to impose on them by disrupting their work time to ask them to sit for me.
In Portobelo, there is a style of painting that is done on canvas with wide stretchers. As a final step, the sides of the canvas and often the painted image itself are embellished with broken shards of mirror. I asked Gustavo if they happened to have a mirror lying around. He produced a large piece of mirror, which I used to do a self-portrait in pencil. Everyone in the Taller ooh-ed and ah-ed over my portrait. Everyone who stopped by the Taller that evening did the same thing.
Almost at once, there was a long list of requests for portraits, on which I was happy to get started. I had an audience while I was working every day. People would come to the taller
just to see my progress. They came to take pictures of my drawings, which made me feel very good.
I made friends with some of young people of Portobelo soon after I arrived. Before long, I had an entire group spending time with me. I gave them a set of watercolors and set them up with space to create their own drawings and paintings in the taller
, which were very beautiful. One teenager in particular came to sit with me almost every day. He said that he wished he could draw like me. When I answered that he can draw like me, he asked how and if he would have to go to school to do it. I said that school helps, but you can learn on your own and anyone can learn to do it.
One of the most renowned painters of Portobelo, who is also a leader of the Congo community and Gustavo’s Dad, requested that I draw his portrait. This was a great honor for me. He promised to bring me a bottle of Colombian liquor in exchange. Although I told him that this wasn’t necessary, he soon brought the bottle and I thought to myself that this was smart of him to make sure that I held up my end of the trade before I had to fly home. I did.
The most “finished” piece produced while I was in Portobelo was a portrait of Gustavo as a “Moderno Rey Cimarron Congo” or “Modern Cimarron Congo King
.” The piece was collaboration between Gustavo and I. We first discussed the content and concept of the portrait, in which Gustavo appears dressed in his contemporary soccer shirt as well as a traditional Cimarron crown, to the point that he is the living legacy of his ancestors. Gustavo helped with the drawing of the Cimarron crown. He is also the author and painter of the text in the piece, “Moderno Rey Cimarron Congo Hijo de Portobelo. Tierra con vestigios de Africa, selva, salitre y sol
; Modern Cimarron Congo King Son of Portobelo. Land with vestiges of Africa, jungle, sea salt and sun.”
In exchange for this portrait, Gustavo gifted me one of his paintings. Knowing that he sells his paintings to make a living, I asked him if he was sure and how much money he was losing by giving me that painting. His answer about the price surprised me, as I don’t have much experience in pricing my own work. I then asked him for how much he would sell the portrait that we created together and his answer was even higher based on dimensions and detail. This conversation truly caused me to reexamine my practice of giving most of my art away. My last few projects have all included portraits of people whom I know and love. I have felt that it is my privilege to document them and that the appropriate way to recompense for the gift of that privilege is to give them the finished piece. However, this does not help my economic situation or my ability to further my career. Gustavo helped me to understand this.
I’m now back in Baltimore, working on rearranging my life to include more time to create my art. My friends from Portobelo and I stay in touch; I generally hear from someone every day. We are planning my next visit. In the meantime, my self-portrait is hanging in the taller
Artistic Assistance: A Crucial Lifeline
by Lisa Mount; Sautee Nacoochee, GA
I was fortunate to receive a ROOTS Artistic Assistance grant in the spring of 2012 to help pay my friend, mentor and colleague Gerard Stropnicky to work as dramaturg and co-author of Headwaters: Didja Hear?,
which premiered at the Sautee Nacoochee Center in July 2012.
We were undertaking challenging work. The primary playwright for Headwaters
– a seven-year series of community story performances, by, for and about the tiny rural community of Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia – was Jo Carson, one of ROOTS’ founding members, who died in September 2011. The major subject matter of Didja Hear?
was the things people in northeast Georgia can and can’t hear, and do and don’t want to hear. Jo’s deafness was one of the storylines in the play, kids at White County High School who formed a Gay-Straight Alliance in 2005 was another. Neither of these are easy subjects, and there was considerable concern that we were opening old wounds – when the Westboro Baptist Church came to White County it was a profoundly unpleasant experience for everyone.
Jerry Stropnicky stepped in to co-write Didja Hear?
with local author Jerry Grillo, but more than that, he helped me work through considerable grief over Jo’s death and keep the production on track as rehearsals neared. One lesson: making a new play with a dead playwright is really hard, but it can be done if you surround yourself with the right team. In addition to both Jerrys, Celeste Miller as movement designer made it possible for me to see that we could be successful in telling hard stories in a place that mostly wants uplifting entertainment for tourists.
This is one of the reasons Artistic Assistance is such a core program for ROOTS: it enables artists to decide what they need most, and get a bit of money to pay for it. In my case, I needed a strong ally and a willing worker, and I had to pay for both his time and his travel from Pennsylvania to Sautee Nacoochee. Professionals can’t work for free.
Jerry came to his first ROOTS annual meeting in the summer of 2012, where he was able to see the wellspring from which much of my work (and Jo’s) has come. The connections he and I have are strong and deep, made more so by our experience of bringing Didja Hear?
to life, and now he’s part of the ROOTS family that has sustained me for 22 years.
Inspired by my Mentors; Ready to Step Up!:
My experience presenting at the American Alliance of Theatre in Educationby Shannon Woolley; Lexington, KY
I was thrilled last month to be able to attend The American Alliance of Theatre in Education conference through Artistic Assistance from ROOTS. Looking for Lilith Theatre Company, of which I am Artistic Director, is committed to re-examining history through the perspectives and experiences of women, and creating original performance pieces, school residencies, and community workshops based on that examination.
When I was in graduate school at NYU, the type of work we do was referred to as Educational Theatre, which, when I shared that term with others, was almost always equated with teaching high school theatre. The term has now changed and evolved to “Applied Theatre,” which is a term I find both more accurate, and more inspiring. The idea of applying theatre--as a salve, as an ointment, as a blessing—to a wounded social situation, feels so exactly right, and resonates with the kind of artist I want to be and believe I am!
For the past several years, Looking for Lilith has been touring an original Forum Theatre piece entitled Choices, which uses Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) techniques to help young audiences explore how they choose to respond to cyber-bullying, thus allowing them to rehearse for a situation which is all too prevalent in their lives. We were so thrilled to be invited to perform and conduct this Forum at the AATE pre-conference on bullying, and were heartened by the responses we received. It was both a thrilling and an un-nerving experience to do this work in a room full of colleagues who are ALSO experts in TO work, and to hear their feedback, accolades, and ideas for strengthening the work.
We also presented a session during the full conference that allowed participants to explore other topics that might be appropriate to explore with young audiences through Forum Theatre, and to map out potential partnerships with schools. When we entered the room to begin our session, I was both thrilled and very nervous to discover that my mentor in TO work from my days at NYU, Chris Vine, was attending our session. Throughout the conference, I had been inspired to reconnect with Chris and other mentors from my early formation as an Applied Theatre artist: Helen White, Nan Smithner, and Rives Collins to name just a few. And at that session, presenting the ways in which we are using the skills that have been shared with us by our role models in the field, I felt a fiery peace at having come full circle—we are now peers with these artists, and are in a position to share our own skills with the new ranks of Applied Theatre Practitioners!
Later, when attending Chris Vine and Helen White’s session on their work in Rwanda, I heard a story that went right to my core, and is a story that I will share with anyone who asks me why I do what I do. In 1998, a terrible genocide took place in Rwanda, and while many of the perpetrators of the violence were apprehended, the average sentence was 12 to 20 years. Now, 14 years after the genocide, many of the convicted are ending their sentences and returning to their villages—creating a situation in which one might have a neighbor who was responsible for the death of one’s parents, children, friends…needless to say, this is a situation that has created a boiling pot of tension throughout the country. The Rwandan government is actively entering into a period of Unity and Reconciliation, and central to that initiative is the use of art. The Rwandan Department of Education has mandated that students from pre-school through high-school must have the creative arts as an integral part of their education. The reasoning behind this being that the elder generation wants the children of Rwanda to “be able to imagine a different Rwanda,” and that artistic expression is integral to that future. Chris said to the group gathered at the session, “if you ever wonder why we do the work we do, that’s it.”
Now I return to the under-resourced schools of Louisville, and to Guatemala, to continue to apply theatre to situations where I sense need. I continue to be inspired by the wise ones of my field, and hope to add my own wisdom to the ever growing pot!
Launching SPEED …by Andrea Assaf; Tampa, FL
Through the support of the Alternate ROOTS Artistic Assistance grant, I was able to spend an intensive week in January 2011 with Carpetbag Theatre (CBT) in Knoxville, TN, engaging the mentorship of Artistic Director and playwright Linda Parris-Bailey, and exploring the possibility of collaborating on an exciting new work.
Over the next two years, CBT will develop a new play entitled Speed Killed My Cousin, a multigenerational, multi-discipline work by Linda Parris-Bailey, rooted in the story of an African American female combat soldier and her struggle with PTSD upon her return home. A third generation soldier, the central character considers death by vehicular suicide.
During this intensive exchange, we explored process, shared ways of working, and delved into the themes of the play, allowing me to learn more about CBT’s approach to new work development, and to explore concepts with an interdisciplinary team of artists. The experience expanded my toolbox for creating community-based theatre, especially work that deals with women’s issues, trauma and war, themes that are central to my own artistic work. Linda is a prolific and accomplished playwright, a nationally recognized arts leader, and has demonstrated throughout her life a tireless commitment to community-based, activist-oriented cultural work. I have tremendous respect for her artistry, her leadership, and her important role as a woman of color in the national and international arena of original theater creation. And although I’ve known Linda for years through ROOTS, the Artistic Assistance exchange was the first time I’d actually had the honor of working with her creatively.
In that week in January, we were able to have in-depth dialogue and visioning sessions with local veteran and organizer, Umoja Abdul Ahad, who is working with CBT as a Vietnam War consultant on the project, connecting key artists with veteran organizations in the area. We also lay the foundation for partnerships with the Highlander Center, and Tufara Waller Muhammad, who is interested in working with CBT to organize story circles with Muslim women in the region and relevant community organizations. As the project develops, these partnerships will lead to collaborations that directly address issues of racism, prejudice, class, and war with communities in the U.S. South, and beyond.
Speed Killed My Cousin directly relates to the mission of Alternate ROOTS by serving communities in the U.S. South, as a creation of original work rooted in place, tradition and spirit. It has the potential to inspire unique community dialogues, stories and creative exchanges that can bring together African American, Arab/Middle Eastern American and Muslim communities. The current wave of Islamophobia in the U.S. is impacting both Arab Americans and African Americans (as well as anyone who “looks Muslim,” all new immigrants impacted by racial profiling, and community activists, through the destruction of civil liberties under the Patriot Act and Homeland Security policies). Military recruitment also disproportionately targets communities of color and working class families. As more and more soldiers return home, with lasting physical, emotional and psychological injuries, we must face the impact of our choices as a society and confront what 10 years of war and violence has done to us as a nation. The in-depth exchange that ROOTS supported lay the foundation for doing that hard work of bringing communities together across lines of identity and experience that are often hard to cross, to address the current wars we are in, and their affects on our lives and souls—as veterans, as Americans, as people of color, as human beings. By engaging both African American and Arab American communities, with a focus on women’s experience, we necessarily have to confront and uproot deep issues of racism and oppression, in multiple and complex ways. Exchanges such as this help us build new solidarities and community collaborations for the future.
This initial mentorship-exchange with Carpetbag Theater was a wonderful experience, and led to CBT inviting me to direct the premiere production of Speed Killed My Cousin in 2012. This past summer, the project had a developmental residency at the Ko Festival in Massachusetts, and a work-in-progress reading at ROOTS Fest 2011 in Baltimore. CBT has received a NPN Creation Fund commission for this work, with co-commissioners Junebug Productions Mason/Rhynes Productions, which ensures that the play will tour to New Orleans and Washington, DC. One of CBT’s goals for this project is also to take it to the Women Playwrights International (WPI) festival in Stockholm, Sweden in August 2012.
The ROOTS Artistic Assistant grant launched not only a new artistic collaboration, but a multi-year journey for me, of working with Linda Parris-Bailey, Carpetbag Theater, the Knoxville community, and returning veterans. I am certain that I will continue to grow artistically, as a theater director and cultural worker, and as a human being, through this journey. I am thankful to ROOTS for this program, and for all the beautiful, hard work it inspires us to do.
Reflection on Work from Artistic Assistance Grantby HawaH; Washington, D.C.
The Artistic Assistance grant that I received allowed me to develop as an artist and expand the reach of my work beyond literature. I have high hopes to continue and learn and develop my craft over the coming years, and specifically extend my experimentation with art into the realms of film and music. The grant provided me with a huge stepping stone to move closer to that long-term goal.
Through the mentorship and collaboration with Michelle Webb, a dynamic and gifted sound engineer, I learned how to successfully mix and produce my very own music. I also gained the needed confidence to do even simple audio production/ direct action news announcements with little equipment and just a microphone and basic audio software.
I was able to address the mission of Alternate ROOTS in this grant because it enabled me to further develop as an artist that wants to grow skills in a new field (sound production and engineering). By the end of the grant cycle, I was more autonomous and skilled at doing audio production on my own without significant outside help. Through the support of this grant, I was also able to create new original musical compositions that drive home important messages of environmental, social, and economic justice.
The grant support was not only beneficial to me, but also to other artists in the Washington, DC community where I serve. Through the grant, I was able to collaborate and build partnerships with local musicians and artist activists. I took time to bring them into the studio with me (and at times they too were receiving mentorship from Michelle Web), which gave them increased capacity to do their own audio production.
With my new skills I hope to create audio clips that are addressing current events in real time as they happen, instead of having to schedule studio time and making sure that someone else’s calendar is clear to help me. This will allow me to incorporate more multi-media work into my efforts and professional activities. I believe this independence, in the world of technological advancements, is essential to stimulating, fueling, and pushing forward the "everlution"!
How I Learned to Love My Website and Take Care of Itby Bailey Barash; Atlanta, GAhttp://bbarash.com/
I am very grateful for the Artistic Assistance Grant I received from Alternate ROOTS in 2010. It allowed me to complete the work I had begun in December 2009, to revamp my website in collaboration with Ana Willem, another ROOTS member and website designer who created the current ROOTS website.
I had worked with other web designers in the past but had never felt confident that I could follow up their work by changing text, links or images within my website myself. Ana's approach was much more successful. She said at the beginning of our work that because the information I put in would be web-based, I would not have to learn any programming language and that during the process of creating a new website that I, not she, would be populating the website with my choice of text, images, links and icons. This has indeed been the outcome; I am now able to load information onto the website myself.
The reason behind the effort was to put me in charge of my website, and in the process, make the website more modern looking and functional, incorporating more video links and interaction with visitors. Now it is much easier for the visitors to see everything I have to offer and sell.
Ana explained to me that the website format, drupal
was her preferred choice because it was free and in use by many community-oriented groups. As described on the drupal.org website, “Drupal is a free software package that allows an individual, a community of users, or an enterprise to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website….”
And that “Drupal is open-source software
distributed under the GPL ("GNU General Public License
") and is maintained and developed by a community
of thousands of users and developers.”
The plan was for Ana to set up the website with my choices of color and structure, using the drupal format, then for her to teach me how to add the text, links, images, logos and videos. I was admittedly intimidated by this process but Ana was persistent in assuring me that I could learn how to do it and it would make sense. This approach also appealed to me because Ana would only be doing half the work. I would be doing the other half, meaning her fee would be much less than it would be if she were doing it alone.
We worked together in steps. Ana taught me how to add still images, then text, and then links to videos. As we worked, she tweaked the set-up so that it would be easy for me to alter in the months to come. If there was a process that might be prone to mistakes on my part, Ana found a way to simplify that process and make it more intuitive and easier to remember.
We simplified the Pay Pal function so that my 3 documentaries could be purchased through my website. We added many more hot links to my films and to clients' websites. She added appropriate drop-downs and made sure in each instance the funders and supporters' logos are featured on the pages for each of my independent projects.
Through this process I learned that it is possible to have a major creative role in the design and maintenance of my website, using a modern format, with the help of a patient, experienced, generous, creative, capable website designer, teacher and collaborator. Here is the link to my website: www.bbarash.com
Here is the link to Ana Willem’s website: http://www.jellobrain.com/