Media Makers Profile: Wil Prada
Meet the Media Makers busy adding their voices to the Great American Narrative.
Employer: Various non-profits
Education: UCLA Bachelors in Political Science, Additional Film classes at LA City College
Where I’m from: Lima, Peru
"...whoever controls the narrative, whoever dictates what messages come out, has a lot of power in shaping public perceptions, policy, and how certain people are perceived by the public."
What got me interested in digital content/content storytelling:
Through the immigrant rights movement I saw the need for us to tell our own stories. I saw that we weren't being represented fairly in the media, and that we needed to create a way to amplify our voices. We needed to advocate for ourselves and tell the world our perspective. I started by documenting the movement with a camera an immigrant rights organizer lent. That's how I realized I loved making films.
What does a typical day look like:
It really varies. I can spend days working on a treatment, editing a video, on calls planning vision for a video with a non profit, or meeting with other filmmakers for pre or post productions.
Other days when I’m out in the field, I’ll be filming various types of events. From benefit shows, to interviewing laborers on strike, to filming a web series.
My favorite aspect so far has been filming narrative stories, often in these I’ll work with many other filmmakers and learn the all the minute details that go into making a high quality video, like the intricacies of how to use lighting to create certain moods, for example.
Why has digital content become so important in the information marketplace?
Everybody is consuming digital content on the web nowadays, and it fits into the fast paced world we are currently in. It is a huge source of revenue and it's the way corporations and so many organizations promote their brand. It's also the way millions of us get our news.
What advice would you give any young aspiring content producers/multi-media journalists?
First of all, learning the craft is very important. It’s a process of growth before we reach a point where we can produce high quality content. Especially if you’ll be on the technical side of filmmaking, you’ll need to learn and apply knowledge about editing, camera work, the importance of good audio. You can learn this through classes, workshops, tutorial videos on the internet.
Networking and forming connections with folks who are already creating digital content is essential. You have to surround yourself with folks who’ll know more about the subject than you, and have enthusiasm for the craft. This will also eventually get you your first jobs.
Why is it important to ensure that the people who define and create content reflect the audience/readers?
If they don’t reflect the audience they won’t be culturally attuned to that audience. This is a problem in our culture. For example, the narrative they’ve used about immigrants is that Dreamers are worthy of acceptance into US society. But creates a frame that disfavors most immigrants. If you aren’t a Dreamer, you are unworthy and therefore deporting most immigrants is part of the status quo. It becomes the status quo to break families apart and create trauma in the immigrant community.
Thus whoever controls the narrative, whoever dictates what messages come out, has a lot of power in shaping public perceptions, policy, and how certain people are perceived by the public.
Also, people who are disconnected from our communities will tend to represent us in a stereotypical way. This only perpetuates and reinforces the systems that ultimately affect all of us negatively, like racism, exclusion, misogyny. We need more diverse digital content creators.