Home Front: Week Two

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The Work This Week:

Week two was spent getting our ideas in order.

We began our week by developing design pillars that we feel work with Theater of War’s mission and implementation.  Our hope is that these pillars will help use focus our design better, and make sure we remain true to our original vision. The four pillars we settled on are Safe Discussion, Community, Honest Emotions, and Accessibility.

To further inform our preliminary design, we spoke with Drew Davidson, the director of the ETC and its main point of contact with Theater of War prior to the launch of this project. Drew was able to share information with us about what Mr. Doerries is looking for regarding deliverables, content and technology involved, as well as past multimedia projects that Theater of War has considered.  Armed with this information, we brainstormed a list of possible deliverables.

After running this list of ideas past our mentors, we started to narrow down our choices. We did this by first seeing which ideas matched all four of our design pillars.  Once we had a good idea of which projects would stay true to our vision, we went back through the remaining list and assessed what was possible given the scope of our 13 remaining weeks in the project period.  By the end, we had narrowed our list down to four ideas we could flesh out and take to Mr. Doerries, in order to see which direction he prefers to go with the project.

This week also involved continuing our efforts to better understand the culture surrounding American veterans and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In our project room, we held a viewing of The Hurt Locker. Additionally, we were able to see Pittsburgh Opera’s production of The Long Walk, an autobiographical modern American opera about an Explosive Ordnance Disposal veteran adjusting to life back home.   We finished the week by viewing Ralph Vituccio’s InService, a documentary about the experiences of Pittsburgh veterans in the Iraq war.


Home Front: Week One

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The Project:

Theater of War, a production company based in New York and founded by Bryan Doerries, has already reached over 80,000 veterans, active service members, and their families and loved ones.  But with over 2.7 million troops having been deployed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, their urge to reach more people, faster, is completely understandable. They have approached the ETC with the question of how technology can be used to expand their live performance.  Here is the team that has been tasked with finding an answer.

The Team: 

Apoorva Ramesh is one of the team’s two programmers. She brings a professional dance background to the project as well.

Axel Arth will be acting as the team’s producer.  He has a background in theatrical performance and directing, as well as in writing for performance.

Mathew Floyd is a designer for the team, and our sound technician. His creative strengths lie in film, sound, and narrative design.

Miriam Harries is the team’s second programmer, and will also be acting as our project manager. Her background covers many aspects of theatrical performance, including stage management, performance, and fabrication

Qiqi Feng is the sole visual artist for Home Front. Her skills as a 2D and 3D artist, as well as her formal training in studio art, will be invaluable to us.


The Work This Week:

Home Front’s first week was one of logistics.

After an initial project kick-off with our advisers, we met, organized our room, and figured out how we could best serve the team as individuals.

After rolls had been decided, we brainstormed options for our team name, hammered out core hours, and had a chance to discuss Mr. Doerries book,  also namedTheater of War.

With a better understanding of the history and mission of Theater of War, we spent time researching the culture we will soon be working with. Group members uncovered information about mental health of American veterans, PTSD, military drones and drone operators, and how technology is currently being used to expand performance in the entertainment industry.

On Friday, we also made sure to allow for time to get to know each other as individuals. We can foresee this project being emotionally taxing; knowing and trust our teammates will go a long way to help with that.