No Man is an Island (2015)

OK now – this one isn’t actually a film by Multi-Story Water, as such.

And the film isn’t even called No Man Is An Island, really. I just made that up to make it sound more interesting.

But I did write (most of) the script for it. This happened as a side-effect of our project’s attempts to engage with water stakeholders including the Environment Agency (EA), and to build dialogue around certain issues such as how flood risk is communicated to communities.

It turned out that one of the things that the EA was looking at was how to better communicate internally — among its own staff — to ensure better understanding and collaboration. When the team involved asked me for advice on identifying a good voice-over artist for a short, animated video they were planning to promote their “Knowledge Management” strategy, I asked to look at the draft script… And what struck me immediately was that the script’s own communication approach needed some work. There were a number of key images and ideas, but they didn’t seem to me to cohere “dramatically”, in a way that might draw in viewers, or stick in their memories.

At the team’s invitation, I had a go at “re-mixing” the script, and playfully mixing up the images and extending the stories they suggested to me. And interestingly, after I’d done this, the team themselves decided that they wanted to voice my words, as part of their own development experience. Actually I think the results work rather nicely: the voices are clearly not those of professional voice-over artists, but the ‘do it yourself’ quality feels appropriate to both the animation style and the content of the film. Because in the end, what it’s inviting people to do, is ‘do it yourself’…

Get involved. Build bridges. Make a difference….

– Steve Bottoms