A trunk of 16mm: Clearing the decks

A creative side project

I never met my Grandfather Victor Pye, as he sadly passed the year I was born. Growing up I learned bits and pieces about him through old photos and family stories but as I entered my teenage / young adult years my focus turned to the myriad of distractions that occurs in one’s life at this time (namely learning how to talk to the opposite sex and smoking behind the bike sheds).

It wasn't until my third or fourth year of film and visual arts school in the late 90’s, that I first learned that Victor was a professional film maker and of the trunk of films he had left behind to my father and his sisters.

And it’s from this date that I have had an idea rattling around and formulating in my head ever since. But like most things that require a little dedication and time management, life throws up some easy excuses to not get started.

At the end of 2015, I read a great article by Samantha Zhang which got me thinking about it again and so newly inspired, I rallied to the article’s call to arms and signed up for The One Side Project challenge.

The Idea

The idea is fairly simple. I am going to design and build a website that will showcase Victor’s films. A film portal allowing users to discover Melbourne, greater Victoria and its surroundings from another time.

The site will publish a new film each month but will also include a supporting film that will be a commentary from my own father and myself as we discuss what we have just watched and explore its themes, time and place and memories each may invoke.

The Films

What the trunk holds is largely still a mystery to me. What I know is that Victor shot a lot of footage, which ranges from captured family moments to silent film productions. I also know that he was part of the official film unit of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and travelled the world through various occupations. So the possibilities are boundless.

A project of two parts

There are two main goals I want to achieve through the project. The first is to see a personal project from concept to delivery, whilst applying all the rigour and strategy that I have applied to client work over the years.

It will be an exercise in UX research and wire framing, design feedback, film production, content writing, coding and delivery. The full gamut. It is for this reason I am glad the One Side Project challenge runs for a year.

The other key element of the project is to create and maintain a vehicle that allows me to spend some incredible quality time with my Dad. Creating a space where we can explore, reconnect and learn about my Dad’s childhood and his Father’s work. A space where we can explore these celluloid time capsules and create some unique (and hopefully interesting) content. Maybe it will even find an audience.

Beard Goals — My dad and I

January update — Clearing the decks

As mentioned above, I am glad this challenge runs for a year, for I want to be realistic in what is achievable. My goal is to complete and publish the site with a minimum of two films by the end of the year so that the site lives on and gains momentum in 2017.

Between working full time as a digital producer, being a father of two rambunctious boys and freelance projects, I want to ensure I spend the time on getting this right.

So my January efforts for this project have been to knuckle down and complete three outstanding freelance web projects (you know the ones, the ones that always seem to stick around and never get finished) and to clear the decks. For the next couple of months I will not be taking on any new work, so I can spend this time getting into the research and design phase of the project.

It also included the pitch to my Dad on the concept and to my great relief, he is on board. I have roped him into some deliverables too — his first is to get the films out of storage.

Next Steps for February

  • UX research and wire framing
  • Film discovery
  • Coming up with a name for the project
  • Domain and hosting for the site.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you and the months ahead. Feel free to follow me @pyemachine for further updates or hit me up if you have any questions.

Feel free to give this article a recommend 💚 if you like it and follow my story on the One Side Project Challenge publication. I will be giving project updates on the 17th of each month.

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