A Message From the Executive Director:
SW’s Unprecedented Growth
– Jon Nappa,
Storm Warriors Media Foundation
Wow! Talk about exciting, fulfilling growth! There has been so much going on at Storm Warriors Media Foundation and in our world of helping others that our biggest challenge in this issue is figuring out how to tell it all within the allotted space. That’s no small challenge as the progress has been immense. And all of it thanks to everyone who helps us help others. Okay, so here’s my best effort to summarize what you’ll find going on at Storm Warriors these days:
In addition to our existing 11 clients whom we continue to serve with still running media content, we’ve added 10 nonprofit organizations with 2019 Media and Communication Grants that help them with their fundraising, training, recruiting, branding and overall impact. These organizations are:
– Capital Area New Mainers Project – A cross-cultural organization that welcomes immigrants and works to create a thriving, integrated,
– End 68 Hours of Hunger – Working to end food scarcity among children during weekends out-of-school
– Fairtide – Housing and supportive services to individuals and families in order to reduce homelessness
– Full Plates Full Potential – Ending childhood hunger by connecting kids to school nutrition programs
– Knox County Homeless Coalition – Breaking cycles of homelessness and poverty
– M.A.I.N. – Maine Access Immigration Network provides multilingual access to health and social services for immigrants, refugees, and asylees
– Partners for Peace – Helping those affected by domestic abuse &
– Safe Voices – Supporting and empowering those affected by domestic violence and engaging the community to create social change
– Seacoast Science Center – Education and opportunities to support ocean and environmental stewardship
– Vouchers for Veterans – Honoring servicemen with food vouchers at farmers markets
We will be profiling each of these organizations via our various e-mail blasts, quarterly newsletter, social media, print publication and broadcast platform over the next many months. Stay connected and learn all about what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and how you can help, to whatever extent you choose.
We’re also preparing to go national in our scope. Many of the issues we are helping support are not exclusive to our own community or region, but also across the states, the nation, the hemisphere and the planet. There are many ways to learn, grow, create change, and increase impact on all levels, so Storm Warriors will continue to help you become more informed and engaged in affecting change for social good.
New Awards, Equipment, and Nomination Process
Storm Warriors has received some recent 2019 Awards. We’ve received the GuideStar Gold Seal of Transparency for our public financial disclosures and reporting, and also several Telly Awards for our various media productions in multiple categories.
Thanks to newly awarded grants, SWI has purchased new camera equipment and a cutting-edge virtual set technology, allowing us to increase the scope and quality of services that we freely gift to our valuable clientele – all of whom are reputable humanitarian organizations doing vital, high-impact work. We have also acquired a production vehicle to safely transport our crew and equipment to our growing list of on-location shooting requirements.
We’ve expanded our nomination and selection process to include 6 brand new Recommendation Committees across Maine and New Hampshire, and are already being asked to help and operate in Las Vegas, New York City and other places. Last year we went to Senegal and Uganda and continue to work on those projects. Our Production Supervisor, Jessica Jones (who just welcomed her first child in August!) shares some insights about our Nomination and Selection process. She also spearheaded our work with R.A.M.S., a special Arts & Advocacy Project and part of our Storytelling School Initiative.
Our team shares some interesting perspective on some of our recent Technological Choices and Advancements. Take some time to learn about Brian Goding, a staff Cinematographer and Filmmaker Extraordinaire who, in addition to his many fine examples of beautiful film and editing work, also oversaw the customization of our production vehicle. SWI also welcomes aboard Rebecca Swanson Conrad as our Expert Development Consultant and Board Advisor. She’s a treasure trove of expertise with much passion for the mission, vision and purpose of this exciting foundation. She’s been invaluable in her assistance with helping us chart a very well planned and strategic growth trajectory. And, oh yes, we are preparing to launch a new website, newly modified name and brand-new logo before the year is over. You’ll learn all about it soon! Whew! Hopefully, that helps you grasp the scope of the things you’ll find inside this report. And, as the saying goes, that’s just the tip of the iceberg! All of us are grateful to all of you for being a part of this exciting movement to increase engagement and inspire wise and effective actions for social change and the betterment of all.
Storm Warriors All,
– Jon Nappa
Storm Warriors 2019 Nonprofit Nominations
Each year, Storm Warriors tries to improve its practices and processes. This year, we have taken a new approach when selecting the deserving nonprofits that we gift with promotional media tools.
We start by inviting influential business people from various chambers of commerce around the state and in New Hampshire, to create recommendation committees. These groups recommended numerous nonprofits that they are passionate about. We began 2019 with a list of 60 amazing organizations, and then narrowed it down from there.Jon’s Discovery meeting with Partners for Peace
After alerting the nonprofits of what we do and that we’d like to gift them with media (some wonder if it’s really for free!) the list was carefully reduced down to ten.
Over the summer we have been getting to know each of these nonprofits through our discovery process which starts out with an initial meeting. Then we capture their story and history through their leadership team on camera which will become their Mission, Vision and Purpose video, or MVP for short.
Through this research we uncover survivor stories, compelling origin stories and important events that the public should know about. After the MVP video, we give the organization a list of other tools that we can provide and they will choose which are the most important to helping them have greater impact.
These tools will be used on social media, their homepages, for fundraising and applying for grants, as well as when their representatives give talks to their community. All of this content is free to the nonprofit. Storm Warriors then measures the success of each media tool from what the organization reports back, this typically includes metrics about donors, volunteers, training and overall community engagement.
These deserving nonprofits already have their own team of Storm Warriors working behind the scenes to fulfill each of their missions. Those who recognize a problem and act upon it with compassion and selflessness are Storm Warriors. We are excited to highlight these everyday Storm Warriors and bring their stories to you this year. Stay tuned for more information on these courageous nonprofits and links to their newly arriving media tools.
Here our list of the 10 new nonprofits we’ll be working with:
Field Report: Medical Conditions in Uganda
By Rebekah Nappa, Production Support
January 1st, 2019 saw me waking up in a hotel room in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. My second day of the year would be spent flying to Entebbe, Uganda, then driving an hour south to Kampala. By the end of the week I would be found curled up in a ball crying in a small storage closet at the Old Mulago Hospital. This trip was no recreational vacation. I was here with a mission. But it was my first time.
Storm Warriors Media Foundation, the organization I work with, had granted a comprehensive media package to Partners for World Health (PWH), a nonprofit organization dedicated to gathering surplus medical supplies from hospitals who would otherwise be sending them to landfills. PWH diligently gathers, organizes, and repackages such and then distributes them to third world populations who otherwise wouldn’t get them but desperately need them. I was part of a nonprofit production team sent to document the entire effort. World renowned photographer David Wright, staff cinematographer Brian Goding, staff Production Supervisor Jessica Jones, and myself, staff editor, sound recordist, audio tech and production support comprised the team for Storm Warriors. Except for David, the rest of us were experiencing our first time traveling abroad for this purpose. My first stamp in my passport was from Dubai. To my surprise, because of an airline delay, we spent our first night, New Year’s Eve, in Dubai. It was a surprisingly luxurious detour filled with typical vacation comforts and an opportunity to see the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world). It was also a stark contrast to where I would spend the next two weeks: traveling through crowded Ugandan hospitals overflowing with suffering men, women and children.
The Partners for World Health is an impressive organization who knows how to do its job well. Its team consists of nurses, med students, and educators, all of whom have skills, experiences or interests in the medical field and deep wells of compassion for others who are in need.
Personally, I did not have previous medical experience (I was the type who barely made it through an episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman without becoming squeamish) but I was there as a storyteller on a mission to help document the trip. We wanted to tell the story of what is going on in hopes that others, perhaps others like you, might become inspired to also get involved.
Old Mulago Hospital was a confusing maze of buildings and pathways. We got lost on our first day there and had to ask a staff member to help us find the PWH team. During the impromptu tour, we saw several families doing laundry on the grounds. They lived on the hospital campus in order to be close to their loved ones that were awaiting treatment.
Some lived under the beds that the patients slept in. The medical staff was stretched far and few over the campus. During breaks the staff would rest outside in the shade since the buildings had no air conditioning, filled with odors of sweat and blood, and screams of hurting patients. After almost an hour, we found the PWH team in a stuffy, dark room where they were teaching nurses about breast cancer treatment.
A couple of nursing students left to help in the Emergency Room, which was overcrowded with people who had been in Boda Boda (motorcycle) accidents. Brian and I followed them. We admired their strength, dedication, and bravery as they attended to each and every patient. The hospital lacked basic supplies (ie. gauze, tape, gloves, etc.) and used cardboard as casts for broken limbs. PWH gave most, if not all, of the supplies they carried on themselves.
The scene reminded me of the often referenced metaphor we are very familiar with at Storm Warriors. These medical students, nurses and doctors and helpers with their many supplies and skills and selfless efforts were lifeboats in a storm of suffering, surrounded by ailing patients and horrific smells. It was tragic but it was wonderful. Not wonderful that people were suffering but wonderful that others were there to help and support.
On the last day of the week we returned to Old Mulago to discover even more rooms flooded with patients waiting for treatments. I followed my team into the Wound Care Department where a patient was getting new bandages from the PWH team. I noted the patient’s state: barely covered but for the bandages around his midsection. His thin frame prone on a wooden cot in the corner. His wounds were severe and numerous but he remained silent while his bandages were changed. I felt a sudden rush of emotion and had to excuse myself due to feeling light-headed.
I rushed to a closet where we locked away our camera gear, closed the door behind me, and sat down on the concrete floor. The sight of so much blood and exposed bone was something I was not accustomed to. The smells were unsettling. For a moment, there was a sense of hopelessness on my part, not having any medical experience and no real skill to bring to those in need of healing. I couldn’t help the people in the way they needed it most. I remembered something we say often at Storm Warriors but now it was becoming more personally meaningful.
We each bring what we can; we offer what we have. That’s your lifeboat. Your skills, your talents, your offerings – they are the lifeboat that you bring. I was there to document these happenings in order to raise awareness, in order to inspire and inform others of needs and opportunities to help. I was doing what I could. Our documentaries, short and long, are being created to help support organizations like PWH and the people they serve. Who knows, maybe someone like yourself might discover a purpose through one of these efforts. Maybe others might see this great need that exists all around us and be moved to discover ways to make a difference helping others.
What are your gifts, your skills, your calling or experiences that you might be able to share for the benefit of others in great need and despair? I believe most people are Storm Warriors in their hearts, in their day-to-day lives, doing what they can to help and not hurt. Given the chance, some might even go forth with renewed commitment and conviction to help others in places near and far. Far away places like Uganda, or nearby places like those hurting in your community where you live.
We know we cannot alleviate all of the pain and suffering, but what a difference it makes to those we can reach. That’s another thing we remind ourselves every day here at Storm Warriors – what a difference it makes to those we can reach.
I didn’t stay curled up in that ball in the closet in the hospital. It was part of my incubation, I think, but I emerged from there with more resolve than ever before. I want to keep being a Storm Warrior, doing what I can, for as long as there are others out there crying for rescue from deep in their storms.
Introducing: Storm Warriors Story-Telling School
This past spring, the Storm Warrior team embarked on some new territory in education and put on our teacher hats. We learned about a program nearby that helps guide middle school students in Union, ME to better learning techniques and prevents them from dropping out before high school. This program exists in a wing of the Union Elementary School, run by two dedicated teachers, Lowell Jones & Josh Carpenter, teaching a shifting student population of 10-15 every school year, and goes by the name of Rivers Alternative Middle School, or RAMS for short.
Their non traditional classroom is focused on hands-on learning and trade skills that engage the students, require their participation and holds them accountable for their own growth. Not only are they learning to improve their own skills, but they also give back to their community weekly in what they call the “Pay-It-Forward” program. They help with farming tasks at Brae Maple Farm, they deliver goods for local food pantries, they care for and walk dogs at animal shelters, and so much more.
Part of the RAMS program involves satellite learning. In December, 2018, the RAMS students were invited to the Farnsworth Art Museum to learn about a controversial artist named Ai Weiwei, through the Arts In Education Advocacy unit. This artist questioned and challenged his government through provocative art pieces. With the help of their art teacher, Anthony Lufkin, they brainstormed some common issues they noticed in their own community.
The brainstorming led them to learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs, which are severe events that have detrimental effects on one’s brain and how that can lead to poverty. Each student chose a topic under the influence of the ACE factors, such as alcoholism, drug addiction, abuse, bullying, obesity, incarceration, etc. They researched the topic and created a 3D model representation, then added it to a larger brain sculpture they all helped to construct.
Storm Warriors has seen an alarming trend in the affects of ACEs; several of the causes the team is helping to fight against, such as human trafficking, homelessness, opioid addiction and domestic violence are directly linked to the ACE factors experienced by children. The students’ research of ACEs through their art project is what really drew our crew to getting involved with their classroom learning.
Storm Warriors has been developing ways to teach Storytelling for Social Good to underserved students, and this opportunity happened to come at just the right time. We built a curriculum around their art project and taught the students how to conduct and film interviews with their classmates as the subjects. This project was an alternative way for the students to tell a story and still meet the standards the school system expects. Storytelling is part of the core curriculum for middle school students, and this collaborative project was able to pull the art, the writing, and the storytelling together.
There were some students who gravitated toward certain tasks such as operating the camera, monitoring the audio, asking the interview questions, or even talking on camera. Together, they constructed a solid sculpture and captured a compelling story on film that was on display over the summer at the Vose Library in Union, ME, and may find a home in the SAD 40 district. These are teenagers who have come a long way through the RAMS program, and should be very proud of what they have accomplished. Storm Warriors All!
Technically speaking, our editing crew has come to a bit of a divide within the office. We have invested in the Adobe Suite software for about a year and a half now, a decision that was made based on the staff’s preference and knowledge at that time. This software allows us to edit and cut video and audio, animate graphics, manipulate photos and text, build websites, design layouts for print and so much more related to media, using several applications within one “suite” or subscription. We all use the program called Premiere Pro, within the suite, for video editing purposes. However, since technology is constantly changing and upgrading, we became alerted to another editing possibility: DaVinci Resolve.
DaVinci Resolve is an editing software owned by Blackmagic, and has two versions: one application that is free, and one with extra features that can be purchased on its own, or actually come free with a purchase of a Blackmagic camera. Over the last couple years, DaVinci Resolve has become more appealing to video editors, not only because of its free version, but because it has improved its workflow, design and accessibility. We have recently invested into two Blackmagic cameras so having an additional option for editing software has us all intrigued.
Jessica Jones, our Production Manager says, “I’m not opposed to learning DaVinci Resolve, I’m all about expanding my education, but I have been perfecting my Premiere Pro skills for almost ten years, so the confidence and pride I have now may not be there when transitioning to DaVinci Resolve. I’m afraid it will take me longer to do my job and I might fall behind, unless it really is as easy a transition from what I’ve heard. The fact that DaVinci Resolve has a free version is definitely appealing to me.
“However, that fact doesn’t seem to matter much since our crew does use various other Adobe programs that involve photos and web/graphic designs. DaVinci doesn’t have that extensive capability and can’t integrate with the Adobe Creative Suite programs, so my skepticism lies within the limitations, and then are we really saving money if we have to continue the Adobe subscription for other capabilities anyway? Not to mention, I’m suspicious that learning DaVinci will get me hooked and then start charging at some point and we’ll be in the same position we were at the beginning of this debate!
Brian Goding, our in-house Cinematographer, states, “I really enjoy how DaVinci integrates all facets of post production in one easy to use, intuitive and very powerful FREE software. It’s also nice to have a software that integrates with the cameras we use so well. I’ll be looking forward to getting to know the software better in the future.”
Rebekah Nappa, Production Support, remembers her experience with video editing software. “My earliest memory of digital editing was with the Intel Play Digital Movie Creator. It was an all-in-one package that had an oblong blue camcorder and a CD with a video editing program on it. The device could only record 4 minutes of video before having to upload it to a PC. A few years later, I switched over to Mac computers and learned iMovie. In my senior year of high school I used Final Cut Pro 7. I didn’t learn about the Adobe Suite until I went to college. There I worked with Premiere Pro and After Effects on a regular basis, totally forgetting the existence of Final Cut Pro. I feel very comfortable and confident with my skills in the Adobe programs, as I have made several projects over the years with them. I still see room to grow and always enjoy spending time outside of work trying to learn new tactics and new tricks with these tools. However, I have taken a few classes that have introduced DaVinci Resolve and I am intrigued. I have watched a few tutorials and I am surprised at the new way it is displaying digital video editing. Although it’s downloaded on my computer, I find I am still using Premiere Pro on a daily basis. Should I get out of my comfort zone? Or should I continue to master what I already know?”
Johnny Nappa, our intern, explains, “For a long time Avid Media Composer was THE editing software that the industry professionals used. For a time there was Final Cut, but they quickly removed themselves from the professional level to appeal to the everyday consumer level. At that point, the Adobe Creative Suite had taken the idea of Avid, and made a slightly different, debatably easier style of editing with Premiere Pro, whilst not dumbing it down. Premiere Pro was the next step in the evolution of digital editing; but now, the latest step in that evolution has already reached our doorstep. DaVinci Resolve allows me the editing styles of both Premiere and Avid, as well as incorporating many new styles and features. What’s even better, it allows me most of the tools I already use from the video editing programs within the Adobe Creative Suite, all within one application. The basic timeline editor, the effects editor, the sound editor, and the industry-standard color correction are all one click away from each other, so I don’t have to keep opening massive applications every time I want to make a slight edit. DaVinci Resolve provides me everything I use with Premiere Pro, and gives me options to do more, all within a cleaner, nicer looking, user friendly, less expensive application. As someone who must sometimes sit at a computer for hours at a time, I’d much rather have Resolve’s nicer-to-look-at, simpler, and friendlier interface. In my eyes, it beats the Adobe Creative Suite’s video software in every category when it comes to the features I need in the editing process.”
Neil Shelley, our Technical Production Consultant states, “Adobe’s Premiere Pro is currently an industry standard and is a trusted software for the completion of nearly any digital video project. However, it has its limitations, one in that it is permanently attached to the suite of programs that Adobe wants to charge a hefty monthly fee for. While the Adobe Creative Suite tries their best to satisfy all forms of creative digital media content creation, Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve is entirely and only based on digital video. DaVinci Resolve has a much more friendly and simply looking interface than Premiere, however the program has exponentially expanded over the past few years by adding other entire pieces of dedicated software, essentially making DaVinci Resolve a suite of programs, that live inside one application. As such, the ceiling to learn DaVinci is much higher, the dedicated media management, editing, VFX, audio, and color correction tabs are essentially separate programs, all each very powerful. You don’t need to learn all of them, but the ceiling, and possibilities with DaVinci is nearly endless. With that being said, one of the most surprising and appealing things about DaVinci is the non-existent price tag. Simply put, no other creative software has as much functionality and power while being so inexpensive and accessible as Davinci Resolve. Do you need to learn it now? No. But you may very well have no choice in the future.”
While we as a team, plan and hope to be well versed in both programs to provide the best quality for the organizations we work with, we can’t yet collectively say which software is better. We all have our different preferences for different reasons, and really, isn’t that the great thing about creativity? Having options? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you use either software? What are your pros and cons? Feel free to send us your thoughts to email@example.com
Brian Goding actually joined us last September and has been a creative force to the team. With a drive to create, and a curiosity to tell stories about the human spirit, Brian eventually found himself in the world of filmmaking for social good.
Brian is a cinematographer with a passion for light and meaningful composition. He has worked at Maine Media Workshops as the Film Technology Manager and a Teacher’s Assistant. Brian has also worked on various, commercials, PSAs and short documentary projects. When Brian’s face is not glowing from the light of an LCD monitor or computer screen you’ll find him hanging with his wife Casey, son Oliver, daughter Helen or in the great outdoors drawing inspiration from New England’s beautiful landscapes.
Rebecca Swanson Conrad
Rebecca Swanson Conrad formed RSC Consulting in 2019 to provide concepts, strategies and connections to businesses and organizations seeking to align mission to outcomes, develop new projects or scale to new market position.
Previously, she served as President and CEO of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce where she led the acquisition of the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council, which added entrepreneurial development and a loan portfolio to Maine’s largest Chamber of Commerce. She joined the Chamber following 12 years at Maine College of Art in Portland where she served as Vice President for Institutional Advancement. She was co-owner of Austin’s Fine Wines and Foods in downtown Auburn, Maine with her husband for 20 years. For three years, Rebecca owned and operated Rÿsen Home Garden & Antiques, a retail gallery promoting local art and products that supported international women’s economic development. Prior to Rÿsen, Conrad’s career spanned 21 years in higher education administration at Bates College. This included 1999 to 2003 when she served as executive director of LA Excels, the college’s non-profit community development partnership in Lewiston-Auburn, with a focus on leadership, arts, educational aspirations and economic revitalization. She served on the Maine Arts Commission for seven years, with four as vice-chair.
Other volunteer board roles include past chair of the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council; Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice and L/A Arts; vice chair of the Maine Association of Nonprofits; board member of Advocates for Children, Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce and Central Maine Community College’s Foundation. She currently serves with Oxfam’s “Sisters of the Planet,” which is a diverse group of American Women fighting global poverty, hunger, and injustice, with a focus on empowering women and girls worldwide. Rebecca is also on the advisory boards of USM’s LA College, USM Board of Visitors, the Muskie School’s Board of Visitors, and is an Olympia Snowe Leadership Advisor at Leavitt High School. Conrad received her BA in English from Bates College and studied in the New England Studies MFA Program at the University of Southern Maine. She lives in Auburn with her husband Austin Conrad, Jr. and her cat, Charles Mingus.
A Maine native, Neil Shelley has worked as a digital imaging technician, drone operator, editor, and assistant camera for a variety of projects including feature-length films, documentaries, and commercials. In addition to his wide-spread knowledge and experience, Neil is Maine’s only Adobe Premiere Certified Expert and is also a certified trainer for DaVinci Resolve.
Neil enjoys sharing his knowledge by teaching classes in photography and filmmaking in the New Media program at the University of Maine, as well as technical centered workshops in Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, Davinci Resolve, and digital cinematography at various locations throughout the state of Maine and beyond.