Lessons learnt from our latest participation in barcamps, hackathons & workshops

For the past couple of months, we have been experimenting with multiple training workshops, barcamps and other hackathons around Europe both as participants and trainers. And needless to say we loved every minute of it!

Now, here are a few things we learnt from our latest trainings which we hope will help you choose the right type of event to boost your next project idea and develop your skills.

The Workshop

Let’s start with the most common way to practice in the shortest time possible: a one day workshop. A simple yet intensive practical learning experience. It’s all about teaching by doing in a very short time.

Take for example our latest experience in the fantastic Sheffield Doc/Fest, Valencia (Spain) or London CIJ center where we had the pleasure to organize such training for groups of 10 people or so each time.

 Klynt, Sheffield, Cross Over Labs

Getting started with Klynt at the bar of the Hubs 

The program goes as follows. We set a video projector and give everybody the multimedia material to work with. Then we go through each Klynt feature step by step, building a full project from the ground up at the same time. More than just a live tutorial, it is a way for authors, producers, journalists and storytellers alike to understand where they stand among their peers, and how they can use Klynt best.


@maria_gemayel demonstrating the potential of the storyboard

At the end of the session, each person has a Klynt project ready. Questions and discussions follow, so that each participant know how to use Klynt and why.

Klynt in Las Laves, Valencia

 Klynt Workshop in Valencia

The Barcamp

A barcamp is the gathering of a community for a short period of time around a specific topic. Last week-end, we went to the TransmediaMix barcamp organised by transmedia expert Karine Halpern around the theme of Education. We were about twenty participants with various backgrounds and skills, ready to discuss and find new ways to integrate transmedia concepts into our education system.

As webdocumentary producers and Klynt ambassadors, we brought our own knowledge and perception of transmedia. We confronted our views with scholars, designers, social media experts and even multimedia tool editor Ulrich Fisher from Memoways, a user generated content app for creating interactive stories. We each learnt from one another, slowly but surely finding our position into the making of a transmedia project.

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Starting the common brainstorm

Even though we didn’t know each other in the beginning, we found ways to work together toward a common goal. By the end of Sunday, we had written down a transmedia story and thought through the process of a transmedia mechanism that could be implemented into the education system.

It’s an open project, so it’s not finished so to speak. The principle of a barcamp is that another team can pick up our ideas where we left them and start from there to make the project go forward.


Pinning our best ideas

Overall, a barcamp is great way to challenge ideas on any subject matter and network with a wide range of professionals and passionate people.

 The prototype made shortly after the end of the week-end

The Hackathon

At Klynt, we have always been heavy supporters of Hackathons. First off, we love the concept of building small prototypes in a very short time, since it’s an amazing way to learn and test ideas. Second, we believe this is a great way for filmmakers and storytellers to approach programming (and coders) in a fun & creative way. At least, this is what we learnt from our past experience participating in the last two hackathons hosted by great Popathon Duo Philo & Gilles in Paris and recently during Barcelona-based Doc Festival, Inter-Doc being a day dedicated to webdococumentaries.

Here is how it works (most of the time!): a hackathon starts with the participants introducing creative platforms, open source tools and storytelling format or ideas they would like to work with during the event. Then participants make teams of about 4 to 8 people and pick a specific concept/story. People with complementary skills such as designers, programmers, producers and storytellers usually make good teams with stunning results.

Popathon Barcelona

Teams are ready to hack

At the end of a hackathon, each project is presented to all participants and sometimes even a jury. An evaluation is made according to specific criteria and the winning project eventually receives a prize (such as Klynt Pro Licenses like we did in Barcelona ;).

Hackathons are intense. The time pressure and competition can be quite rough to cope with. But you will be amazed by what you can achieve over a single week-end. To give you an idea, you can check the prototypes made during the Barcelona Hackathon right here.

Useful twitter accounts to follow:

@storycode – “StoryCode is an open-source, global community for emerging and established cross-platform and immersive storytellers.” (USA)

@Learningtocount – “Popathon creative hack jams give participants hands-on experience creating interactive stories on the web. Visual storytellers, JavaScript coders and Graphic & UI Designers get together to exchange skills and collaborate on real-world projects.” (France, Spain, UK…)

@WebDox2013 – “Web-dox is an international event on interactive webdocumentaries, taking place in Leuven (BE) in the month of May 2013. It consists of a conference and 3 labs.” (Belgium)

@TribecaFilmFest – “An international series of intensive workshops that brings together content creators and technology specialists to increase understanding and broaden participation in the field of interactive storytelling.” (US)

@xolabs – ”Crossover is a training, mentoring and events organisation dedicated to developing the next generation of cross platform media professionals.” (UK)

and of course @Klynt_App for upcoming Klynt related events and other useful links