A road trip, religion and science, and some elevator pitches

I was working on my laptop and online all day today so that means some random web surfing between jobs (and, to be honest, during jobs as well). I came across three items that relate to my blog theme of film, photography and storytelling.

A road trip: Every week the NFB posts a selection of films for week end viewing that are available online at their website. It brings back memories of  my years as a junior high teacher and single mother of small twins. We didn’t have a TV but on rainy week ends I would sign out a projector from school (this was the eighties, just about the end of the era of reel to reel projectors) and a bunch of NFB films from the local office and project them on the wall at home for my kids and their friends. Anyway, one of this week’s NFB picks was a film from 2011 by Anita Lebeau about four kids (apparently herself and her three sisters) on a very long drive across the prairies with their parents in the 1970s. Oh, the memories! No seatbelts, nothing to do, crammed into a small space with annoying siblings… inventing pastimes with next to no equipment or supplies and definitely no media. I watched this 9 minute video three times and each time marvelled at the way she remembers so many details. The last part involves a magical sequence but the best part is really before the magic kicks in, when the sisters are just stuck with each other on the backseat with endless prairie, rocks and trees rolling by outside.

Religion and science: I also visited SSHRC’s website   That really was for work but they scroll examples of “public engagement” along the side of the screen and I saw a link to this excellent article by Joseph Brean in the National Post about “how science popularizers use religion’s tools of awe and wonder…” It’s about the storytelling.

Elevator pitches: I always thought classified ads, especially the lonely hearts ads in the days before online dating, were like poems in that they had to say so much that is heartfelt in such a reduced and structured format. An elevator pitch, while possibly less heartfelt, must say it in an even more reduced way. And the best of them are heartfelt and compelling stories. While making supper, I listened to the always brilliant CBC Radio program, Under the Influence. They replayed a show from the archives this week with memorable examples of elevator pitch storytelling and insights into how to tell a story in a single sentence.