a project update (02/21/12)

min and i have been working on the project for about 2 months, now, and we’ve learned a bunch so far.  i wanted to write a short post to give you a quick update on where the project is and where we’re going.  a special thanks to everyone who has jumped in early to support us, like samantha chan, dan greenberg, and bess cohen.


1) audio recording setup

2) website domain

3) design: logo

next steps:

1) pilot programs

2) advisory board

3) new website design

what we’ve done so far. . . 


it’s actually been quite complicated to find the best possible recording setup.  we’re so used to watching video, now, that we forget so many radio conventions.  we experimented with so many  different setups, but we’ve locked down our final recording equipment: an ipod nano 8gb with a chill pill/rap cap mini microphone.  it’s incredibly discrete and records surprisingly good sound.

we tested a wide range of different recorders, including digital audio recorders, field recorders, lavalier microphones, and even iphones.  every piece had different advantages, but there were always tradeoffs between memory storage, battery capacity, and ease of use.  in the end, the nano offers us the best combination of strong audio quality, complete portability, low intrusion, and usability.

website domain

over the past few weeks, i’ve actually accumulated more than 30 different website domains and variations for our project.  two l’s, one l, “a” before words, “the” before words, and different words altogether.  two weeks ago, we purchased our official project name at auction, and we’ve moved our site to a new primary domain: schoolife.com.  our tag line will remain, “a middle school magazine”, but we just felt like “schoolife” is a perfect match – our project and our website have the same name.  🙂

logo design

we’ve chosen a final logo design for our project.  we worked with more than 100 designers to choose ideas and samples that best fit our concept.  it was important to us that our logo represent both sides of our project: life in school and life outside of school.  it’s a beautiful design, and we’re excited to introduce it really soon.  i really think you’re gonna love it.

what’s next. . . 

website design

for now, our basic website is functional.  we’re able to include short audio pieces, at times, and people are able to navigate through the pages quite clearly.  still, it’s not a wonderful design, and it won’t be able to hold up as our project gets more complicated and dynamic.  we’ve started working with a professional design guru (and friend of the project), sandra quiles, to design and code a new wordpress template for our site.  we’ve completed a whole bunch of sketches and even a few mockups of the design.  i’m super excited about it.  our website is going to be the base of our whole program, and it really needs to be amazing.  i know it will be1

audio trailers

this is the most exciting.  over the past few weeks, we’ve been testing our audio equipment on me.  in my life and in my classroom.  we’ve learned some really important things about our audio, but we’ve also gotten a taste of what the project’s really gonna sound like when we get started.  it’s powerful.  as min has put together his first pieces, we’ve started to make important choices that move our ideas into real pieces.  how do we work without a controlling narrator?  how can we string different narrative moments together?  how will listeners be able to tag and follow different characters in their mind?

in the next few weeks, we’ll be recording different subjects and producing smaller pieces based on 1, 3, and 7 day segments.  we know it’s gonna be hard, but sometimes we get pretty geeked about how this all might play out.  we feel like it’s a new and interesting angle on the most powerful subject matter: real life.


look out for our kickstarter proposal in early to mid march.  we’ve outline a budget.  we’ve written a treatment.  we’re filming our intro next week.  and you’re gonna be a really, really important part of it.  when the time comes, will you help us get the word out?  we really, truly appreciate it.

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