Oberlin Blogs


November 19, 2013

Zach Christy

The idea of a TEAM comes with a mixed bag of feelings for me.

In theory it should be a good thing--and often is--people working together for a common goal. But occasionally for various reasons the team dynamic falls apart, and these are the times where the rest of the members are left to sink or swim.

I am including 3 projects where we chose to swim.

Project #1--WMCfest wrap up video

A few years ago, Jeff Finley saw a bunch of amazing conferences happening. He thought to himself, "Why not have one in Cleveland?"

The 4th iteration of WMCfest went down this summer, and luckily I was able to be involved. The conference, which takes place over 3 days, involves a bunch of designers who are at (or very near) the top of their game and a bunch of bands that are on their way up. The last few years a video has been done to encapsulate what happens during the weekend to be used to make people see what they missed and gain momentum for the next one.

My involvement in this project was kind of weird, honestly. My buddy Aaron shot footage over the course of the weekend and had gotten quotes that he felt were worth illustrating. From there, Jeff contacted several people who sent me illustrations. Pulling from various sources (about 10 illustrators in total), my job was to bring these illustrations to life in a cohesive, professional manner. With little overhead, I dove headfirst into this project, which had to be completed in a less-than-desirable timeframe. Despite being so disjointed, I am super pleased with the end results that can be seen below.

Weapons of Mass Creation 2013 from Weapons of Mass Creation on Vimeo.


A gif of two people speaking in a parking lot. The animated words "no great story comes without difficulty" appear
A gif of a group of people watching something. The animated words "it's about why you're doing things" appear
A gif of two men embracing and posing for the video. The animated words "everything looks glamorous from a distance" appear
A gif of people at an art event. The animated words "It's never gonna be okay" appear

Project #2-- Jeffrey

For the past 7 years I have competed in this short-film competition in Frederick, Maryland, with my friends from college. It began as a simple venture for us to just get out of Pittsburgh for a few days. But now it works as a mini-reunion since we are spread out across the Midwest.

Every team is given a basic topic and left to its own devices to produce a film under their stipulations (write, produce, direct, edit, complete in entirety an entire short film under 7 minutes long in 72 hours).

This year's overarching theme was "Science" and we were additionally given the prompt of including Zeno's Paradox (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno's_paradoxes) into our film somehow.

What makes this competition fun for me is getting to really shine in our own individual roles, but also pick up the slack where necessary. Not all of us are "video professionals," but it's amazing to see how the group dynamic works. We all want the final project to be the best it can be, so often the producer is acting as the main actor as well. Or in my case, in addition to co-directing, co-editing, and doing all of the special effects, I make a cameo as a character named Dr. Zeno.

Another added thing this year was getting to work with an Oberlin student in a non-work. Kirk Pearson, who has pretty much done all of the original music/sound mixing for me this year, volunteered to do an original score for the film. Communicating through phone and email throughout the 72 hours, often at 4 in the morning, proved to be a tad difficult. But Kirk is a pro and produced a score that I honestly felt was gipped when the awards were presented.

Watch out for a surprise cameo.

JEFFREY from zach christy on Vimeo.


Project #3-- T-shirt design contest

Most of the projects I work on here at Oberlin are pretty much solo projects. Faculty and students are doing exciting things all the time, so I shoot it, edit the piece, make the graphics and package it into a little, short video. But this year's T-shirt design contest posed a unique challenge. Ryan, our new graphic designer, had done an amazing job creating this year's poster design on a T-shirt. So, the challenge--how do we get the word out there?

If you read my post about "Stealing Like An Artist," you know how much of a scavenger I am. In my personal email I had received an ad from Threadless and thought, "whoa, that'd be a cool way to get our point across."

A sped up stop motion gif of the author in front of a blue wall putting on a taking off many layers of sweatshirts

So, after Ryan and I went across campus to a few locations to shoot the photo for the poster itself (below), we enlisted the help of Ma'ayan Plaut and Emily Crawford to make the gif.

A sped up stop motion gif someone putting on and taking off many layers of Oberlin class t-shirts

Having a multi-faceted "campaign" that can be shared through actual printed pieces, web fliers and a gif that can be shared across several platforms helps getting the word out there. We want a lot of submissions, so having a team that is capable of making stuff, quickly, that can be easily shared is something that makes me really excited.

So, do I believe in teams?

I am not sure if it is as simple as a yes or no question. When teams work, there is nothing better than having people work towards one unified goal. And luckily in these cases that was achieved. I think what makes a good team comes from surrounding yourself with good people. And that is definitely a different blogpost.

Similar Blog Entries