Digital Storytellers Meetup & Creative Bootcamp

Who: Ita Ema (View from Above Entertainment) is the mastermind facilitator for anyone interested in crafting their story—whether it is for a business website, blog, comedy gig, feature film or fantasy novel—you see there is no end to genre or medium; all are welcome.
What: The meetup is part instruction, part project-sharing, part accountability and support group for telling the story that entrepreneurs and creatives need and want to tell. The Creative Bootcamp is a 5-hour ‘Get it Done!’ workshop to follow through on creative story-telling projects.
Where: Gangplank, Chandler (usually the conference room)
When: Meetup is every other Monday at 6-8 p.m. Bootcamp is approximately once a month. Check the Gangplank Calendar and newsletter for upcoming schedule.
How much: This is social capital at its best! A valuable investment of time for PEOPLE to PARTICIPATE in LEARNING how to craft their story and DO their storytelling with BOLDNESS along with a COMMUNITY of creatives who COLLABORATE, and Oh! happen to build FRIENDSHIP in the process. (= no monetary fee)

Urbie's blank slates

Urbie’s blank slates

This meetup group brings together an eclectic bunch. We have our regulars, we have our once-in-awhilers, and we always have newbies. And that doesn’t mean they are new to story-telling necessarily, but in some cases new to the craft and this group. Beth, a voice coach, is working on a musical she wrote many years ago decided to pull it out of the attic storage box and re-write it digitally. Ariel who is a programmer, musician and former firefighter shuffles around her many projects including an epic fantasy novel. I cannot count all the comedy guys who bring in their projects, one of which is a story about the comedians themselves.

I bounce around to a different project every meetup, but my first “Get ‘r Done” project was a video I created for a non-profit’s AZ Gives campaign. I wanted to raise money for a “real restroom” at this non-profit’s recycling facility. I brought my ideas to the group one night about a year ago and we had fantastic fun brainstorming and flushing it out—no pun intended! I then narrowed the story down and created a script, did some on site shooting. I brought the footage in for our fearless leader, Ita, to help me with editing software in the Gangplank computer lab and I recorded the voice-over in Gangplank’s podcasting room. It’s not the project per se that sealed the deal for my commitment this storytelling group, it is the honest feedback and collaborative spirit of participation for my own projects, as well as for those of others’. When I see their stories come together and witness the progress they make, it’s a beautiful thing.
Learning the story arch and the beats for fun and fiction is in some sense a no-brainer, yet it is quite the ‘Ah-ha!’ moment when you see a story is crafted into a business plan. We have numerous entrepreneurs creating stories for video and audience-building on their websites and online marketing. April is a long-time Gangplanker and WordCamp 2013 Director plugged in her Powerhouse Posting Process online courses through Made Better Studio.
Self-assigned homework spurs participants onward between meetups and that has organically grown into the ‘part support group’ aspect. Marissa pounded out the story arch for her online tutorials for home-schooling parents and shot the video after one visit to the meetup. BOOM!

During Bootcamp it's 4 X 45 minute blocks of nose to grindstone

During Bootcamp it’s 4 X 45 minute blocks of nose to grindstone

Others of us struggle to fit creative time and energy into our daily or weekly schedules and we’ve found ways to hold each other accountable along with sharing tips and tricks—everything from apps to track and time productivity, to inspirational videos, to online script writing and animation tools. Ariel attributes her writing 15,000+ words in the last few weeks to the learning, camaraderie, and support to Digital Storytellers. Rob, eventually hammered out his Bottom Five Comedy material between meetups and says, “The Digital Storytellers group helped me narrow my focus so that I could complete my first short film script, get my website up and running, and begin a feature. Without Ita and the group, I’d still be stuck with a million random story fragments.”
Even our fearless leader finds himself progressing on otherwise top candidates for procrastination projects such as a feature-length script, Full Field the Basics video series and now a crowdfunding campaign story. Ita says, “Sometimes you don’t know where to start, but it you can just take the first step that’s enough to get the ball rolling.” And he certainly has helped us do just that and more!

Urbie meets success: a finished product in a new medium

Urbie meets success: a finished product in a new medium

The fourth Digital Storytellers Creative Bootcamp was On Sunday, March 15. While all participants experienced successful outcomes, newcomer Urbie ( @urbie ) found out he could be a pirate at Gangplank via #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate Twitter chat), so long story, short teaching pirates connected to Gangplank pirates on the meetup.com app. Urbie came into the bootcamp with a laptop, a phone and a tablet along with a rainbow of sticky notes and pens. But more importantly he came in with true ‘Arrrrrrrr’ spirit! He had never tried comic strips before, but wanted to #BeDangerous and give it a try. He started from zero, added an idea and ended up meeting his goal of a publish-ready strip. I’m inspired!

Code Sisters: Closing the Gender Gap

I am happy to announce that Saturday, May 23rd will be the OFFICIAL kickoff of “Code Sisters,” a monthly, structured tutorial/workshop session for women learning to code. Each month, from 9:00 am to noon, we will teach a beginner level web development topic in a workshop/tutorial format. After a lunch break, there will be time for practice, project work, and mentoring.

These sessions are geared to help participants procure valuable skills, as well as gain the confidence to form their own software projects and join the hacker community at large. We expect women who complete these courses will be able to share their own software projects at events like the weekly Hack Nights that Gangplank hosts on Wednesdays.

In the meantime, the more advanced or adventurous have an open invitation to Hack Night and the “Code Purple” lounge, where Code Sisters and their “bros” can network, connect with mentors and project partners, and practice their skills.

If you know of a woman who might be interested in the group, please let her know about it. If you have skills and knowledge you want to share, please contact Ariel Strong <ariel@gangplankhq.com> or one of the people listed below.

We are actively looking for mentors – male or female – and would welcome your input and help as we put together future sessions.

Help from the Pirate Ship

From talking to ‘Plankers the last two months, I’ve gathered lots of ideas on how to structure an initiative to get more women into coding or just tech in general. I’ve heard many (sometimes opposite!) opinions on how to approach putting a Gangplank group together and lined up a number of potential mentors.

Thank you all. I appreciate the input, especially how to decide on a language and start learning as well as links to resources that we can use.

In fact, the response was so positive with so many good ideas, I wasn’t sure where to begin.

Opening up Code Sisters (unofficially operating at Gangplank since January) to a wider audience seemed like a logical place to start, but we needed a more structured format.

The dilemma was solved on Saturday, April 25th, after a Railsbridge Workshop for women hosted by Infusionsoft. Five Gangplankers attended the introductory Ruby on Rails event – Catherine Leyen, Eileen Kane, Ariel Strong, Trish Gillam, and Christopher Murray (who provided extraordinary technical support!).

There was consensus among Gangplank’s attendees that the format used for Railsbridge would be a perfect fit for Code Sisters’ purposes. The environment was nurturing and proved fruitful for learning a new skill. All of the women left with a decent understanding of the Ruby framework, thanks to the support of the team of volunteers, mentors and organizers who worked with each sub-group of the 50+ attendees.

On top of having a solid structure, Railsbridge provides their coursework online for free. It covers a variety of languages (Ruby on Rails, Javascript, CSS, HTML) and we intend to take full advantage. Soo…

The Shape of Things to Come…

This is only the beginning. We really don’t know how things will take shape, and we will adapt as we go. We want you to join us in this adventure and maybe eventually even steer the ship. In the spirit of Gangplank, we will be dangerous. Yaarrrgh!

 

Chandler Science Cafe at Hack Night, “Mission to Mars” with Rebeca Rodriguez

Please join us for the Chandler Science Café at Hack Night, “Mission to Mars,” with Rebeca Rodriguez, M.S., Space Management, Aerospace Engineer & Founder, Xplore BoX on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 7 PM.

Rebecca spent two weeks along with seven other team members from five different countries on a simulated mission at the Mars Desert Research Station, Utah. The Mars Desert Research Station is operated by The Mars Society to further the Society’s ultimate goal to explore and settle the Red Planet. Rebecca will talk about her experience at this Mars Analog Research Station, a laboratory for learning how to live and work on another planet.

The Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah.

The Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah.

In addition, Rebecca is a STEM education entrepreneur and the Founder of Xplore BoX, a subscription service where students receive a package with carefully selected projects and activities to explore the science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

“When I was 11 years old I visited NASA Johnson Space Center and from that moment on I was hooked on space exploration and science research,” Rebeca said. “Fortunately, my parents were highly involved and provided many hands-on activities like model rocketry to fuel my passion of becoming an aerospace engineer. I credit those hands-on experiences that showed me the application of all the theory I was learning in school to the success of completing my aerospace engineering degree and master’s in space management. The hands-on projects and experiments kept me focused on what I would be doing after school. Once I was working in the space sector, I noticed kids did not have the same hands-on opportunities I did and therefore decided to start Xplore BoX. I hope Xplore BoX facilitates a convenient way to expose your children to the sciences and that it sparks and nurtures their interests.”

Science Cafés are live—and lively—events that take place in casual settings, are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic. Chandler Science Cafe, first Wednesday of the month, 7pm, at Gangplank Chandler is presented in association with the Arizona SciTech Festival and Gangplank Labs Initiative.

Free, open to the public, all welcome.

Storm Chasers & Weather Geeks Unite: MonsoonCon Returns to Gangplank Chandler June 13, 2015

MonsoonCon (formerly know as AZ ChaserCon) returns to Gangplank Chandler,  Saturday, June 13, 2015, 10 AM to 6 PM, free. The objective of MonCon is to bring weather enthusiasts, weather professionals, scientists, spotters and storm chasers together to share, educate, network and inspire one another. I believe together we can build a community of people who will be able to encourage the study of Arizona’s weather with emphasis on the monsoon, stimulate proactive brainstorming conversations and increase public safety awareness.

MonsoonCon 2015 features 12 News Meteorologist Matt Pace, PhDKVOA News Tucson Meteorologist Jeff Beamish, and National Weather Service-Phoenix Meteorologist Char DeweyStorm chasers presenting at MonCon include Jerrod Harris, Kem Poyner, Bryan SniderWill WilkensMike OlbinskiTrey GreenwoodCorbin Lee Jaeger and MonCon organizer Christian Cleary. 

Like MonsoonCon on Facebook or follow @MonsoonCon on Twitter.

The People That You Meet Each Day

I spied him over the top of my monitor. He’d walked in well enough, but I could tell by his confused look that he had no idea what to do now that he was inside. This happens frequently. I’d seen that befuddled look on the faces of Gangplank newcomers countless times.

As a Gangplank veteran, I consider it my duty to make visitors feel welcome. Plus, I needed a break from writing marketing copy.

“Today’s subject is Software-defined Networking, boys and girls!” I’d loudly announced to the 15 odd entrepreneurs working out of Gangplank as I arrived earlier. (The crowd had returned my excitement with odd looks and loud groans.)

“Hi, how’s it going?” I asked as I rose from behind my monitor and walked towards the visitor. Perhaps he was an entrepreneur, looking for a home.

He tells me his name, Todd. He wants to know how much is it to use a computer here. He’d like to download a large file that someone sent him via email.

“You don’t pay anything to use the facilities here,” I tell him. “At least not monetarily.”

His confused look returns.

“Walk with me,” I tell him, laughing to myself. “We’ll get you squared away.”

We walk past the hot desks, large tables with office chairs where anyone who wants to can come in, set up a laptop and get some work done.

“There’s no charge here,” I repeat as we walk. “Because payment is in social capital.”

“Uhhhhhhhh-huh,” he says, in that tone that says “I have no idea what you are saying.”

We walk past the 3D printers that line the back half of the main Gangplank workspace. I continue giving Todd an introduction.

“Basically, if you find Gangplank is a space you like working from, and the people here a community you find valuable, all that is asked to use Gangplank’s resources is that you find a way to contribute something back. What you contribute is up to you.”

He’s not from around here, he says. He’s passing through town on tour. Just wants to use a computer, “How much?” he asks.

I shake my head and chuckle.

We continue straight down the hall, past the free library, buzzing conference rooms, and podcast studio. Finally, we arrive at the Gangplank computer lab. He seems a very nice guy, about 50 years old I’d guess, wearing glasses, a gently worn pair of blue jeans, and respectable short sleeved dress shirt.

I help him log on to one of the eight iMac computers in the lab, all freely available to the public. I make small talk while he accesses his email.

“So what is this file?”

“It’s a pilot for a TV show that I’m in. ” he says.

“Uhhhhh-huh” I say using the same tone he had earlier. An actor, just about to make his big break. Yeah, right.

Todd downloads the video. Over the next 45 minutes I am amazed and delighted at his talent. As we watch, we talk about life, swap stories about our kids, and generally just get to be pals.

The people you meet at Gangplank are random and diverse – and always interesting. I love this place.

Todd Oliver, nationally known comedian, ventriloquist, and past performer on America’s Got Talent.

 

Craft Hack Celebrates Three Years at Gangplank

Science Rocks PHXCraft Hack began as a chance to meet other, local crafters, but has evolved into a network of artisans, teachers and Etsy entrepreneurs. Anne Watson Barber, Stephanie Liebold and I began Craft Hack at Gangplank in early 2012. Originally we just met to share space while we worked on our own projects. “It’s good to set aside time to do something hands on and get away from our screens,” Stephanie added. Soon we teaching skills, demonstrating new materials and trading tips on monetizing our hobbies.

“We wanted to be a place for people to enjoy crafting and if they are dreaming about making it into their own business, we have the resources here at Gangplank to help them launch their business,” Anne said. Anne is volunteer Mentor Coordinator at Gangplank Chandler and an Online Marketing consultant.

Each Craft Hack features a demonstration of a skill or material. In March, I demonstrated the new Shrinky Dinks
(could you smell the burning plastic?). Local artist Crystal Daugle recruited Craft Hackers to help her with her recent installation in Tempe, “Push Down and Tango.” Etsy shopkeeper Vesna Taneva-Miller taught the basics of craft soldering late last year.

Craft Hack is expanding this summer. In collaboration with TechShop, we will be producing a half-day crafting conference. It will include advice for marketing and production-scaling for craftpreneurs as well as highlight the many local projects combing business-training and craft skills to benefit local charities. Save the date: August 8, 2015. More info soon.

Join us second Monday of the month, 6 PM.

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The Emergence of the Maker Movement

The Maker Movement is becoming mainstream. Over 135 millions adults in the United States alone actively involved. It has become a world wide phenomenon with Maker Faires in Japan, Italy, Norway and Chile. Makers are doing more than just creating for fun or hobby. They are contributing nearly $29 billion to the U.S. economy annually.

Who would of thought that Martha Stewart would be talking about the 3D printed roses?  or That President Obama would be announcing $240 million in STEM commitments at the White House science fair?

The Emergence of the Maker Movement and what it looks like by the numbers.

The Emergence of the Maker Movement

 

 

Chandler Science Café at Hack Night, “Collective Genius for a Better World”

Please join us Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 7pm, at Gangplank, 260 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler, AZ 85225, for the Chandler Science Café at Hack Night, “Collective Genius for a Better World,” with Dennis Bonilla, NASA Contractor & Senior Digital Strategist – Valador, Inc.

Dennis Bonilla, Design Manager. Senior Digital Strategist. Community Manager. NASA Contractor.

Dennis has a decade of experience communicating complex concepts using video games, infographics, and interactive platforms to inform and empower communities. Dennis has created federal websites, designed visualization software for NASA, and worked on documents presented to the U.S. President. Dennis is also currently the community manager for http://LAUNCH.org, a sustainability program developed by NASA, Nike, the U.S. Department of State, and USAID.

Dennis will be discussing his work with the NASA Open Innovation Team, the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist, and the NASA Office of Human Capitol.

Science Cafés are live—and lively—events that take place in casual settings, are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic. Chandler Science Cafe, first Wednesday of the month, 7pm, at Gangplank Chandler is presented in association with the Arizona SciTech Festival and Gangplank Labs Initiative.

Free, open to the public, all welcome.

Novel Critique Group: First Meeting Report

The first meeting of the Novel Critique group was a great success. In it, we defined the terms the group. We covered the difference between a critique and criticism, as well as discussing the submission guidelines and methods. Our group will be using a Google Drive folder to share files, allowing both Word and Google Doc file formats.

We had five people at our group, and we are eager to see how the group grows. Our group size will be limited by the total word count submitted. For now, we will be working under the guidelines for the Aspiring Novelists, limiting submissions to 5000 words, and a total word count of no more than 40K words for each meeting.

We look forward to our next meeting, on March 31st.
For more details, or if you want to join the group, contact David at: david@grendelmen.com

Chandler Science Spectacular

Arizona Scitech Chandler Science Spectacular

Science is on display in a way you haven’t experienced it before at the Chandler Science Spectacular. From cartoons to lava lamps and fingerprints to flight simulation, this festival connects everyday life to science through interactive, hands-on exhibits. The two day event is in Downtown Chandler and runs 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20 (A Night of Art & Science) and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21 (Science Saturday).

This year, the Science Saturday event is joined by the E.P.I.C. Fest (Explore. Play. Imagine. Create.), showcasing the Maker culture. Makers are hobbyists, tinkerers, engineers, programmers and people using new and unique technologies, as well as traditional forms of DIY.

SciTech Chandler Science Spectacular

 

More than 70 exhibits are on display; below are just a few examples:

Science Fiction TV Dinner: Center for Science and the Imagination at ASU Classic Warner Bros cartoon shorts about space exploration followed by a conversation with experts in Space Exploration and Animation.

Flight Simulator: Garmin Feel the power of flight with Garmin’s flight simulator

Crime Scene & Fingerprinting: City of Chandler Police Department Solve the mystery at this interactive mock crime scene, or learn how to read fingerprints when they are left as clues.

Rocket Launch: Orbital Sciences See how Orbital puts rockets into space with this hands on rocket-launching demo

Breaking Boards & Science: Sport Science of Martial Arts Who knew how fun applied physics can be? Feel the explosive power of changing acceleration or changing mass when you attempt to break plastic boards

Foam Block Building: The Arizona Science Center & First Things First Families can use giant foam blocks of all shapes to build a design they create.

Lava Lamp Creation: Primavera Online High School Kids make their own Flubber or personal Lava Lamp to learn about oil & water.
Game Truck Spaceship: Game Truck * Available 1 to 4 p.m. Travel through the solar system with game truck spaceship

Technology & the Library: Downtown Chandler Library Learn to use Zinio, featuring more than 500 multi-language magazines, along with library iPads and eReaders to access eBooks, databases, Freegal, and BookMyne.

Chandler Science Spectacular is part of the Arizona SciTech Festival, a statewide movement to promote and celebrate science in our daily lives and to earn recognition for Arizona as a science and technology hub. The Chandler Science Spectacular is sponsored by Intel, and all events are free and open to the public.

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