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Stories at the Speed of Sight: Facebook Partners with Emerson in Flash Video Pilot


How long would it take you to tell a really compelling, moving story? One that makes your audience laugh, cry, wow? Two hours? Twenty minutes?

Mere seconds?

Facebook and Instagram are challenging Emerson students to create super short videos (think: under 15 seconds), in a 48-hour workshop next week. The videos will be screened a couple of days later at the Flash Feed Film Festival on campus.

Winning films will be seen around the world on the social media platforms, and the winning filmmakers will get a mobile filmmaking package worth $1,000.

“The Flash Feed Festival really pushes the limits about what we can consider a narrative,” said Visual and Media Arts Department Chair Brooke Knight. “The thought of a two-second video will challenge our students to distill their ideas to the core and absolutely essential parts of the story.”

“Flash fiction” has existed in literature for at least the better part of a century. The most famous example – “For sale: baby shoes, never worn,” attributed (apocryphally) to Ernest Hemingway – breaks hearts with six words.

Short-form video content is on the rise on digital platforms, said Mykim Dang ’08 of the Facebook Creative Shop Studio, which is sponsoring the contest. The studio is interested in learning the possibilities of the format by going directly to the creative community.

Facebook Creative Shop Studio will host a pre-festival workshop on Monday, April 10, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, at the Cabaret, 52 Summer Street. Students will learn a bit about the studio team, and hear about rethinking storytelling for mobile and the small screen. They’ll also get instructions and rules for entering the contest, and be able to ask questions.

The festival is open to students from all majors.

Knight said the drive toward flash video offers a world of opportunity for media makers.

“As various advances on both the capture and the distribution sides of production come to storytellers and meaning makers, they provide opportunities to think of new forms and new expressions,” he said. “That’s really exciting – a chance to make something truly new.”

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