New Methods of Creating Meaning

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The concept of Integral Filmmaking combined with the principles of Open Source could introduce new methods for how meaning is created.

Traditionally, the Mainstream Media or documentary filmmakers had the most power in determining what meaning was created through their editing judgments.

But combining the Internet, Blogging and documentary filmmaking mediums could allow the audience to create their own meaning from information instead of relying upon the "objective" mainstream media, partisan press or closed-source documentary films.

The Open Source tactics of the The Echo Chamber documentary and website could create up to four distinct phases of meaning creation that could provide a unique economic competitive advantage.


The existing process of how an audience member makes meaning from a documentary film is somewhat analogous to how meaning is created from reading or watching the news.

There isn't a lot of transparency with how the news is produced or edited, and there also isn't a lot of insight as to how a documentary filmmaker decided what to include or not include within the film.

It is difficult to isolate all of the factors that play into how people consume news and alter their opinions, but it's probably safe to say that an individual will watch a number of finished news segments or read a number of articles and form a set of preliminary set of beliefs.

These beliefs are reinforced or challenged after discussing the news with his/her friends or family. But people usually surround themselves around friends who agree with their value system or so there isn't usually a lot of assumptions or attitudes being challenged.

The "He Said/She Said" objectivity standard of American news production makes it easier for political partisans to sort through the news -- Conservatives often side with the Republicans and the liberals often side with the Democrats. Sometimes people identify with neither party or with both parties, but there is usually an inherent confirmation bias that directs people to seek out the perspectives that confirm their pre-existing beliefs.

This same confirmation bias is what drives most filmmakers to present a one-sided set of partisan perspectives within their film. Therefore, those who disagree with a partisan film's perspective are not usually convinced or persuaded.

Confirmation bias also drives partisan audience members to seek out the types of films that will confirm their beliefs, and so it is difficult for a political film to do anything other than preach to the choir.

Both documentary films and mainstream journalism often frame information in the form of a Repubilcan/Democrat debate where it makes it easier to assume that one side is right and the other side is wrong.

The paradigm of Integral Journalism could integrate a more diverse set of perspectives and allows the audience to choose which set of assumptions align closest to their own beliefs.

The role of an Integral Journalist isn't to proselytize the "correct meaning" to the audience, but to provide enough information so that the audience can co-create their own meaning.

From an earlier blog post

It is not my role as a filmmaker or as a citizen to figure out the best solution and preach it to the world. But what I can do is present a range of views and stimulate dialogue between people so that they can create their own meaning and come up with their own ideas.

The Echo Chamber will use the principles of Integral Journalism to provide a wide spectrum of perspectives and information that will hopefully stimulate a dialogue between partisans, non-partisans and transpartians about the role of the mainstream media in shaping public consciousness.

Instead of winning or loosing, the focus is on bring a number of different perspectives together so that "together they craft a new solution" for the best methods for filtering and consuming mass media.

Combining the concept of Integral Journalism with the principles of Open Source also allows more transparency into the process of creating meaning.

There could be up to four distinct stages of creating meaning with this documentary film that combines the principles of open source and Integral Journalism.

1.) Pre-Film Screening: A potential audience member will visit this website to gain an initial meaning by reading over any of the expert interview transcripts, blog entries or supplemental research materials.

2.) Film Screening: An audience member views the film to receive the meaning that I created through the juxtaposition of perspectives and editing of the film.

3.) Post-Film Screening Discussion: The film will stimulate dialogue with other audience members or friends who have also seen the movie -- There could potentially be organized screenings designed to be mediation sessions between Democrats and Republicans.

4.) Post-Discussion Contemplation: The audience member will sort through all of the gathered perspectives and re-evaluate the assumptions behind their own attitudes and beliefs. They will be free to revisit the website where there could be further contemplation resources.

I will discuss the potential economic competitive advantages of these stages of meaning creation within the next blog posting.