Mt Hood Narrative - Revised

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I. Executive Summary

Free Geek is spontaneously and rapidly expanding, around the Portland Metro region region and across the country. In our own community, informing the public of the services that Free Geek has to offer will increase the benefits to the public in two major categories: diversion of e-waste from the land fill (or dumping) and increasing digital inclusion through an efficient and cost effective, volunteer based system.

The purpose of the MediaGeek project is to take Free Geek educational content and produce cost-effective professional quality digital media versions for public media outlets. The MediaGeek project is designed to teach student volunteers how to create digital media projects and learn professional production skills in a cooperative environment. The selected students will work on a series of progressively more complex projects, while learning to use cost effective methods to produce quality end products. Each group of students (2 groups of 6 students each over the first year, 10 ongoing volunteer positions in following years.) will learn the basics and then start working individually, progressing through group projects, finally culminating in a 1 hour cable access showcase for the students work and other original content related to Free Geek's mission. Students receive the training for free, in exchange for volunteering at least 100 hours of teaching future classes/mentoring new students and/or providing additional content for Free Geek educational videos and/or cable access episodes. Free Geek is seeking funding from the MHCRC to help provide for the physical and technological infrastructure for the project. Free Geek has a large amount of area dedicated to our education programs. Due to lack of funds, none of these areas has been fully remodeled and all suffer from poor acoustics and lighting.

The main outcome of the MediaGeek project would be the creation of ongoing free emerging media education program to create documentarians versed in a range of production techniques from low cost to professional level using primarily Free and Open Source Software for all aspects of the productions. Direct “deliverables” would be two broadcast quality cable access shows called FreekTV and two Free Geek education program classes presented in a digital video format. Beyond the funding period, MediaGeek is structured to continue on via a mentor/apprenticeship model. In this way, additional and updated content for broadcast on cable access via FreekTV and other media outlets and formats will be generated on an ongoing basis into the foreseeable future. The main public benefit that will be met with the successful completion of this grant is service delivery. We hope that this project will create an invaluable resource for emerging media production all over the region. By providing ongoing, free video documentary production education and access to no cost/low production techniques, MediaGeek could spawn generations of technically savvy volunteers to spread emerging media projects to populations and organizations that never dreamed of using emerging media to tell their stories. For Free Geek, a direct benefit will be educating a larger cross section of the public about E-waste and the availability of Free Geek as a local resource that can help. Increasing the public awareness of the many free education and technology access opportunities available at Free Geek will help to increase digital inclusion across the region.

We have developed a partnership with Portland Community Media for assistance in training our instructors as well as providing resources to produce, edit and broadcast our content. Portland Community Media will also provide a time slot in their cable access programming schedule for at least 3 different productions of the FreekTV show during the first year of classes, with the intent of regular broadcasts continuing on into the foreseeable future.

The total project budget is $125,341, the grant request is $53,195 with $70,696 in matching funds.

II. Project Narrative

[a Free Geek emerging media project]

At the turn of the millennium, Free Geek created a way to stand between two really big problems and combined them in a way that could solve them both. The problems of ever growing piles of computer e-waste and the lack of digital inclusion come together and cancel each other out as computers destined for the landfills are diverted for either no cost/low cost reuse or responsible recycling. Individuals who do not have access to computer technology can volunteer for just 24 hours and be rewarded with a personal computer and the resources and support to use it effectively. Individuals with the desire to learn how to build computers are given that opportunity with a free comprehensive education in computer assembly and introduction to GNU/Linux and other Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS). No prior experience with computers is required and a free computer is available to all who finish the basic course. It is in this spirit of community problem solving, free education, hands on skills training and no cost/low cost technology that we want to create the MediaGeek project.

Using the Free Geek volunteer model, MediaGeek will provide ongoing free educational and hands on experience in the creation of video documentary content. Soon a growing population of emergent media “geeks” will be out in the community, documenting stories and events. A sort of viral marketing program, only this time it's the content providers, rather than the content, that are spreading and increasing.

The MediaGeek project is designed to teach student volunteers how to create digital media projects and learn professional production skills in a cooperative environment. The selected students will work on a series of progressively more complex projects, while learning to use cost effective methods to produce quality end products.

The program will have three phases of instruction. The first phase will work with our guest and volunteer instructors to refine the curriculum and improve both the technical skills and teaching skills of the instructors. The second phase will consist of recruiting and teaching 2 classes of 6 students. Each 12 week course of instruction will be offered five times to 6 new students over an eight month period. The course consists of 4 segments from a basic introduction to digital video to helping produce a 1 hour episode of a cable access show, showcasing their work. Final projects for each series of students will consist of documenting education courses that are currently happening at Free Geek.

The classes will be offered at no monetary cost for the students, in exchange for either helping to teach future classes or working on additional content for other projects outside of and in addition to the class projects assigned.

Phase One
Teacher Certification and Training

During the first phase, the Media Geek project will work with our volunteer instructors to define the curriculum of the course. During this time we will also get each of the instructors certified by Portland Community Media, in studio production procedures and techniques.

Phase Two
Student training

Training 1
Introduction to digital video using open mediacasting. Instructors: Will Luers, Chris Dawson and Ed Stantsy.

Students learn the basic of composition and lighting using low-cost, low-resolution digital cameras to produce 3 minute personal projects videos and publishing them on the web. Instructors will work with students to teach them compositional and lighting techniques to create high quality short, 2 minute video projects using simple low-resolution motion cameras that are issued to them for the duration of the course allowing for a more spontaneous creative process . Students will learn to use Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS) for post-production, editing and mediacasting of their individual projects.

Training 2
Introduction to documentation Instructors: Phil Sano, Chris Dawson and Jeff Johnson.

Students learn the basics of documenting a single subject. Instructors will guide students in creating a short nonfictional video segment. These 5-10 minute videos will demonstrate training of Free Geek practices. Students will use a F/OSS software basic editor (Kino), with an introduction to iMovie.

Training 3
Final projects

Instructors: Phil Sano, Will Luers and Blank.

Students assemble the content created in phase two into complete, broadcast ready educational video segments. Instructors will guide the students in working on a collaborative project, creating, editing and producing the video. Students will use professional editing software, using both F/OSS (Cinellera) and proprietary editing software (Final Cut Pro). Each class of students will work on the following educational program segments.

Training 4
FreekTV Show

Instructors: Phil Sano, Ed Stansty and Dave Slay.

Students help produce a one hour segment of FreekTV, a cable access showcase of samples of the students videos from various phases of the project as well as original content. Instructors, working alongside staff and volunteers from Portland Community Media will train students in the various tasks associated with producing a cable access show. Students will also contribute or work on content to inform the public of the Free Geek mission and other computer technology and recycling interviews, news, opinion and educational feature segments. Free Geek staff and volunteers will provide additional content for segments.

Phase Three
Apprenticeship Program

Students that complete the one of the two preliminary classes offered at the beginning of the program will be obligated to repay Free Geek and the Media Geek project with 100 hours of volunteer time creating content or mentoring new students brought in during Phase Three. The mentoring program is designed to maintain the program after the funding cycle of the MHCRC grant has ended. A total of 10 volunteer positions will be created (most initially filled by students from phase two of the program) as each volunteer completes their time and commitment obligations to the MediaGeek project, they will graduate and a new student/apprentice will be allowed to join the program. Apprentice students will be selected using the same process as was used to select students for Phase Two. A volunteer program coordinator will be recruited that can commit to an ongoing weekly schedule. Free Geek will offer wide ranging access to the equipment and resources of the MediaGeek project as compensation for project coordination.

The students will be selected through an application and review process. Each applicant will submit an essay stating why they want to participate in this program. Candidates essays will be read by a selection committee comprised of the instructors and guest film makers. Selected candidates will be interviewed by a committee of instructors and final candidates will have to agree to perform 100 hours of volunteer time working on Free Geek digital media projects. The program is open to all, but special consideration shall be given to students from under served populations. Women and persons of color will be recruited and otherwise strongly encouraged to participate.

Project Coordinator
The project coordinator will be responsible for coordination with the Free Geek education program, scheduling classes, recruiting student candidates and volunteer instructors, tracking student progress and volunteer hours and producing final reports. Phil Sano: Film maker, graphic artist, zoobomber and Free Geek volunteer special projects coordinator for more than 5 years. Phil has been involved with several independent film projects and documentaries including: Rotating Food (the 48 hour movie project), Do You Copy? and Polo Invasion. Phil has also helped to organize several local film festivals including Filmed By Bike and Portland Underground Film Festival (PUFF).

Free Geek has arranged for the talents of several local film makers, video documentarians, webcasters and Free and Open Source Software advocates to help with this project. The following instructors will be donating their time teaching one or more of the four classes in the course: Chris Dawson: Prior to co-founding Webcast In A Box, Inc., Chris was an Engineer for the Professional Services Group at Virage, Inc. where he implemented a wide range of streaming media systems in Perl, C/C++, and Java, including web applications and media plugins. As an Systems Engineer at RealNetworks, he developed multimedia applications and deployed streaming media servers for the Systems Marketing and Sales organization. As a Software Engineer with Claris, a subsidiary of Apple, he was responsible for Internet enabling Apple's office product ClarisWorks, using primarily C/C++. Chris became fluent in Japanese and Portuguese, and he earned a double degree in Computer Science and Japanese Language and Literature from the University of Washington.

Ed Stansty: Illustrator, programmer, animator, videographer, gamer and bicycler of Portland, Oregon. Among his many projects are: Camposites: composite portraits created using dozens of individual close-up digital photos. Camposites are single large images created from many, generally low-resolution, web-cam still images. Gridcosm: a web based, non linear art collaborations that is forever continuous, and could be looked at as having no beginning or end. Anyone can join these projects, that are constantly in progress.

Will Luers: Will is the winner of the 2005 Nantucket Film Festival screen writing competition and the Showtime Tony Cox Award. Along with screen writing, he has over fifteen years experience shooting and editing video documentaries and experimental shorts. A world traveler, he has taught video production and film studies in Italy, Japan, Spain and Cuba. He currently teaches film history at Portland State University and creates short-form networked cinema through his company Taylor Street Studio. Will holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Folklore and Folklife and an MFA in Film from Columbia University.

Dave Slay: Dave has been involved in television production for nearly 25 years. His experience includes working in various capacities for production companies like ESPN, CNN, Intel, Freightliner, US Forest Service, and hundreds of others. His history includes over six years working for various local, regional national and international production companies, six years with Portland Community Media as a training and production coordinator, two years with Tualatin Valley Community Television and others. This history includes thousands of broadcast commercials, dozens of sporting events, infomercials, talk shows, entertainment and news programs and much more. He was an award winning journalist for the Department of Defense and has produced documentaries appearing nationally on The Discovery Channel and PBS. Jeff Johnson: Free Software advocate, media activist, technologist, systems integrator, 10 years of experience with free software as well as promoting free software at various organizations.

Blank: Film editor, Indymedia volunteer/video journalist. Blank traveled to the Astrodome in Houston, Texas to provide technology aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Guest Instructors
Guest instructors will teach short subject courses in specialized skills to help round out the education that the students receive. Topics to include:

  • Typeface, titles and credits.
  • Plot, scripting and storyboarding.
  • Principles of audio.
  • Live talent methods: Actors, lines, blocking.
  • Post-production effects: using Aftereffects, Livetype and Flash.
  • Getting your work seen: Screening, promotions and festivals.

Supplemental educational video content for student projects and broadcast on cable access.

  • Starting a Free Geek – How to start a Free Geek in your home town, walks through the steps and available resources to begin a Free Geek community technology center.
  • Install Ubuntu - How in install a Linux system for just about any neogeek off the street.
  • Install/ update software on your Linux system – Learn how search for, find and install all the free software you need to be all the geek that you can be.
  • E-waste - The importance of reuse and the proper recycling of computers and other electronics.
  • Free Software Foundation - Free and Open Source Software is civil rights issue, find out why.
  • Volunteering at Free Geek – Explaining the wide variety of opportunities to participate at Free Geek, how to earn a computer and how to get a free education about computers.
  • The History of Video Games – Covering the three eras of video gaming, from Pong to Halo 2. Featuring classic gaming artwork from the original boxes (courtesy of the Free Geek Classic Gaming Library).

Facilities Remodel

As part of making this a successful project, Free Geek needs to improve two areas our existing facility. Currently, our classroom space is poorly divided and has poor acoustic separation from other areas at Free Geek. We are proposing to use funds from the grant to split the current classroom space (1,200 SF) into two approx. 600 SF class rooms (one computer lab style and one lecture style). As part of the remodel, we will also improve the lighting and light controls and improve the acoustics of both classrooms.

As part of the project, Free Geek will be reclaiming a 200 SF office space that is currently sub-let to a unrelated group of artists. We are requesting additional funds to turn this space into a quiet and secure editing studio. We will be adding network and Internet access, power, lighting and security. See attached plans in Appendix A.

Project Schedule

Need to finalize - Oso

Project Evaluation

Project evaluation will have three phases.

Remodeling and Construction – reporting on the completion and success of the work to create an editing studio and the refurbishing of the classroom and education spaces. Report shall provide before and after photo documentation as well as written evaluation of the project.

Student Evaluations – individual student evaluations and an exit survey to determine if the students have learned how to create documentary film content and a final showing of their work.

Follow-up evaluation – one year after the completion of the funded portion of the project, an evaluation of the ongoing stability of the program.

III. Budget Narrative


Project Coordinator: part-time (24 hours/week). Responsible for program set up, coordination with the Free Geek education program, scheduling classes, recruiting student candidates and volunteer instructors, tracking student progress and volunteer hours. Coordinator is also responsible for producing project assessments and final reports. Total cost to the project: $12,980. Grant Funds: $5,000 Matching Funds: $7,980

Construction Coordinator: part-time (10 hours/week). Responsible for coordination of remodeling and construction. Total cos tot the project: $1,750. Grant Funds: $1,750 Matching Funds: $0

Total Personnel Costs: $14,730

Fringe Benefits:

Health care: $320/mo. for one year. Total cost to the project: $3,840. Grant Funds: $0 Matching Funds: $3,906

Total Benefits Costs: $3,906


Teachers: 300 hours of professional instruction in film making and production at Free Geek, Portland Community Media and other locations as needed. Total cost to the project: $22,500. Grant Funds: $0 Matching Funds: $22,500

Portland Community Media: Certification training ($3,500), Studio time (114 hours, estimated in kind value $28,000) Grant Funds: $3,500 Matching Funds: $51,000

Total Contractual Costs: $54,500


6 - Low-res video cameras ($1,500), 4 - MiniDV cameras ($4,000), 1 - HDTV camera ($1,500), 4 – Firewire to MiniDV decks ($2,500) microphones ($750), lighting ($2,950), editing stations ($9,000). Total cost to the project: $22,000. Grant Funds: $18,450 Matching Funds: $13,500

Total Equipment Costs: $29,750

Facilities Construction:

Classroom Remodel: includes new sub-dividing wall and doors ($5,000), new drywall ceiling ($2,500), new lighting and lighting controls ($5,000) and acoustical treatment ($2,000).

Grant Funds: $7,500 Matching Funds: $7,000 Total Cost to Project: $14,500

Editing Studio Remodel: includes installing work surfaces ($1,500), networking, power and lighting improvements ($1,500), building new wall and installing new door for privacy/security ($2,000). Total cost to project: $5,000 Grant Funds: $2,500 Matching Funds: $2,500

Total Facilities Construction Costs: $19,500


Rent and basic utilities for 200 SF editing studio for one year ($1,750). Total cost to project: $1,750. Grant Funds: $875 Matching Funds: $875

Administrative costs and overhead, includes accounting and resources to manage grant budget and expenditures ($1,800). Total cost to project: $1,800. Grant Funds: $0 Matching Funds: $1,800

Total Overhead Costs: $3,550

IV. Statement of Matching Funds for Free Geek's Grant Project.

The matching funds will consist of Free Geek's own funds to provide resources of the items listed below.

$12,000 editing stations $1,500 Lighting Construction $9,500 Remodeling costs $1,800 Administrative overhead $800 rent $75 utilities

Total cash contribution $25,675

In-kind contribution from various instructors. 300 hours of instruction valued at $22,500.

Cash contribution from McGuire Brothers (landlord). McGuire Brothers will pay for a new drywall ceiling in our existing classroom valued at $2,500.

In-kind contribution from Portland Community Media. PCM will provide training and use of facilities valued at $8,025

V. Budget

MHCRC Others Free Geek Others + FG
Grant Inkind Cash Match Total
Project Coordinator $0 $0 $7,980 $7,980 $7,980
Program Set-up $5,000 $0 $0 $0 $5,000
Construction Coordination $1,750 $0 $0 $0 $1,750
$6,750 $0 $7,980 $7,980 $14,730
Fringe Benefits
Health Care $0 $0 $3,906 $3,906 $3,906
$0 $0 $3,906 $3,906 $3,906
Teachers $0 $22,500 $0 $22,500 $22,500
PCM Certification Training $3,500 $0 $0 $0 $3,500
PCM Studio Time $0 $28,500 $0 $28,500 $28,500
$3,500 $51,000 $0 $51,000 $54,500
6 - LowRes Video Cameras $1,500 $0 $0 $0 $1,500
4 - MiniDV Cameras $4,000 $0 $0 $0 $4,000
1 - HDTV Camera $1,500 $0 $0 $0 $1,500
4 - FireWire to MiniDV Decks $2,500 $0 $0 $0 $2,500
3 - Microphones $750 $0 $0 $0 $750
6 - Editing Stations $6,000 $3,000 $0 $3,000 $9,000
3 - Lighting Kits $2,200 $750 $0 $750 $2,950
$18,450 $3,750 $0 $3,750 $22,000
Facilities Construction
Remodel Classrooms $20,945 $2,500 $0 $2,500 $23,445
New Editing Studio $3,250 $0 $0 $0 $3,250
$24,195 $2,500 $0 $2,500 $26,695
Rent/Utilities $0 $0 $1,750 $0 $1,750
Accounting and Reporting $300 $0 $0 $0 $300
Totals $53,195 $57,250 $13,636 $69,436 $124,081