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.

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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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

Guilt Free Book Club Announces December 2014 through May 2015 Book Selections

Gangplank Chandler’s Guilt Free Book Club is an awesome place to discuss and share new and interesting ideas. You don’t even have to read the book to join in our lively discussions! We meet on the Second Wednesday of each month at Gangplank Chandler at 6pm.

For those interested in reading along, we have selected the next 6 months books:

December 2014
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

January 2015
Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre by Keith Johnstone

February 2015
This month we decided to mix things up with two books. Read one or the other or both or neither.

Why Not Capitalism by Jason Brennan

The End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama

March 2015
Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius by Marc Seifer

April 2015
Presence Human Purpose and the field of the Future by Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers

May 2015
How to Cook a Wolf by M.F.K. Fisher

AIGA Method + Madness Conference – Win a ticket!

Phoenix Design Week is coming October 18th and 19th and AIGA is participating with an incredible 2 day conference that highlights both the crazy inspiring beauty of design and the practical approach to design. You can learn more about the conference here.

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What is even more cool is AIGA has given us a ticket valued at $279.00 to give away.

So here is how this works. Leave us a comment on this blog post with your name and email address and we will draw a winner from the comments. The contest closes at midnight Mountain Standard Time (Arizona time) on Thursday September 25th. We will announce the winner on Friday September 26th.

Good luck!

Community Builders Open Space 2014

Gangplank Community Builders from all over the country came together for a fun filled Open Space Unconference. After two days of sharing our experience, our hopes, and our struggles this is what we walked away with:

Personal take aways from our Community Builders:

  • “Being a leader doesn’t mean you have to have a voice”
  • “Trust the process and the people”
  • “Connect all GP locations more!”
  • “Scale and connect”
  • “Ask for HELP!”
  • “All keyholders need to be in charge (of the facility) in times of need”
  • “Good clarification on intention checks – will start using more”
  • “More GP health activities needed. Will help”
  • “Help GPA speak the manifesto/ communicate what we want”
  • “CB Focused/topic communication on community in light of our manifesto is a way to grow”
  • “Be Dangerous is the cool way to say be bold and be vulnerable”
  • “Ask newbies what brought them to GP”
  • “I need to identify/ clarify more keyholders”
  • “I need to make more 1-2-1 strategic intros to join GP”
  • “Email Keyholder list when need help”
  • “Be bolder and make mistakes/ ask for help”
  • “Check yourself first before intention checks!”
  • “Ask more GPA-ers and newbs what they want out of Gangplank”
  • “Distributed leadership; it is not Leaderless”
  • “Creating community is ultimately how to grow a Gangplank”
  • “Intention checks are to improve outcomes”
  • “Ask people why they are at Gangplank and what outcome they want”
  • “This is the leadership of Gangplank”
  • “Ask for specific help more”
  • “GP is a system of vulnerable distributed leadership”
  • “Be mindful of being volunteered for things when absent”

    Do – what we are going to do after we return from the conference:

    • “Ask other Gangplankers more about what outcome are they seeking when I think their behavior is leading to an outcome that would not be good for the community”
    • “I am a Gangplanker video”
    • “Harmonic Vulnerablity”
    • “Plan a Go to Their Space Junior Event for solving a community problem”
    • “Ask new comers what they’re into and why are they at GP”
    • “Autosend to live form”
    • “GP Marketing Piece postcard”
    • “Ask others what they are contributing to the community and what they want out of the community”
    • “Ask others in the community how their behavior is helping to accomplish the manifesto. Do we have a shared reality?”
    • “What is Gangplank messaging streamline”
    • “Update welcome email to include manifesto, tour and website”
    • “Work w/ Ita on video tour of GP (and manifesto?)
    • “Decide my alignment, Share my alignment, learn other community builder’s alignments”
    • “link manifesto tv podcast”
    • “Implement core protocols/ Simplify”
    • “Maverick Behavior”
    • “GP Health Revitalization”
    • “Fat off”

    Aha moments:

    • “I am Gangplank, Gangplank is not me.”
    • “The Power of Modeling Behavior”

    Parts of the conference that made us happy:

    • “Conference scheduled, organized, and ran without having to be involved”
    • “I received clarity on a few topics.”
    • “Talking Danger about the core.”
    • “Coffee and bagels”