One of the best parts about working for yourself is the flexibility to take on projects you’re interested in; self assigned or for someone else. The hardest part of working for yourself is having the proper equipment and office space. The second hardest part is feeling like you’re working in a vacuum. You don’t have other creative people to talk to and share ideas.
For the last year, I’ve been working on a new documentary project called Voices of War. So far, I’ve recorded more than 48 hours of interviews with West Virginia war veterans. I have photographs of each veteran and have scanned copies of some historical images as well. While working digitally makes it much easier to collect the material and have it at my finger tips, the act of editing all together makes the project a bit more daunting. The file sizes for the recordings alone vary anywhere from a half a gigabyte up to a gigabyte and a half. My two year old laptop struggles to handle the files. And that is where West Virginia State University’s Economic Development Center and DigiSo come in.
DigiSo (short for digital and social) provides a shared work space for digital entrepreneurs to come together and produce, capture and edit their projects. There is a video/photography capture studio with green screen, an audio studio and an editing suite. There are also offices and conference rooms you can rent for meetings and such. It makes it all really convenient.
While the West Virginia economy will rely on natural resources (for the foreseeable future anyway) there is a growing digital economy. Entrepreneurs can create digital products to sell around the world. Local people are making books and graphic novels, videos, software applications and everything else imaginable…and many of them are using the facilities at DigiSo to do it. One of the greatest pluses to a place like DigiSo is the ability to work together with other creative people and share ideas. (Talking to a couple other people at the facility has already led me to add a new project to my calendar.)
There are a number of special programs running at DigiSo as well. One, called the Creators Program, is an effort to teach some of the skills these budding entrepreneurs will need to create their own programs. Author, filmmaker and professor Daniel Boyd is one of the driving forces behind the program. Check out the DigiSo website to learn more. Do you have a great idea for a new project, but just aren’t sure how to make it happen? The Creators Program is a great place to start.
For the next couple months, I’ll be at DigiSo a couple days a week, editing the long recordings into smaller pieces and then joining the many different voices together to make one coherent and compelling story. When I began this project, I knew what I expected the outcome to be. But without the facilities at DigiSo, I’m not sure I would have been able to make it happen.