Announcing X in a Box & Array 101

In March 2020, I launched a new company (X in a Box – with my colleagues Tony DeRose and Elyse Klaidman. Our idea was to take what we’ve accomplished with Pixar & Imagineering in a Box and expand on it in various ways. Here is a teaser of what we do:

We’ve been unexpectedly inundated with opportunities because of the dramatic shift to online learning as a result of the pandemic.

Our first project we are launching today is quite exciting to me. We worked with Ava DuVernay & her Array team to help launch an educational initiative which brings her films to life in the classroom. Our idea was simple. We all relate to the feeling of walking out of a movie with some kind of emotional momentum (“I want to be X”, or “do X as a result of the film”). However this momentum evaporates soon after unless there is something to “hook into.” So what we proposed to create are realistic projects that continue the threads of the film. This allows students to take that momentum and channel it directly into an engaging project as a way of reacting to a film through creation. In doing so, we can connect students to both relevant academic content and career modelling.

When They See Us is an emotionally impactful series about the Central Park Five case. Our first project compliments episode 1 of this series and is focused on media bias and arrest data. The lesson plan is simple, students watch the film and then press play on this video to kick things off:

After that they form a team and take on the roles of a media organization in order to create two media pieces introducing the case with opposing bias. This involves a short data analysis tutorial on how to analyze and visualize actual NYC arrest data. Here is the first primer that shows students how to access and understand the NYC arrest data:

Students are tasked with using data to support the narrative of their media pieces. One of our guiding principles as a company is to promote student creativity and independence in their work. In other words… we get out of their way! As a team, they decide how to organize and deliver the content using the media career primer we have provided.

This lesson ends with all groups showcasing their 60 second media pieces followed by a discussion of the meaty issues they had to grapple with during the creation process (ethics, propoganda, media bias, how data can supports narratives…etc)

Our next step on this project will be to create more projects based on a variety of other films on a platform we are creating called MovieSchool. I personally think this is an exciting way to plug education into filmmaking using a project based approach and I expect this model to flourish in the years ahead.

One Response to “Announcing X in a Box & Array 101”

  1. So awesome! Congrats!

    Sent from my iPhone


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