Summer at Media Active

Artist Phillip Espinoza Day at Soundset

Soundset is a music festival which happens each May featuring a variety of events including a custom car show.  The car show also had a low rider car hopping contest.  Our Media Active crew visited the festival and got the chance to interview Phillip Espinoza Day, who runs the whole car show.  Funded by a grant from Forecast Public Art, Phillip works with high school students to rebuild an entire car throughout a year and the students receive school credit.  He talked about the custom car community and how a lot of the community has left Minnesota due to the extreme weather conditions. He hopes to gather the existing community with events like these as a form of expression and community gathering for black and brown men.


The cast of Masters of the Currents on stage at Mixed Blood Theater

In May, TeAda Productions’ Masters of the Currents was filmed by the Media Active crew at Mixed Blood Theater.  Masters of the Currents, by Leilani Chan & Ova Saopeng, is the first nationally touring play about Micronesians in the U.S.  The show follows three Micronesians growing up in Hawaii while holding on to their cultural roots in Micronesia. The story explores the Micronesian community’s discrimination after being displaced from their homes.  It also expresses the relationship the community has to land and water. There was a panel after each show for the audience to ask questions. For one of the performances, the theater bused in people from a large Micronesian community in Milan, Minnesota to see the show.  At the end of the performance that community came on stage and sang in their language. Learn more about TeAda Productions and Masters of the Currents at 


Artists at work painting mural at the Hmong American Farmers Association

As part of a grant from Forecast Public Art, artists Oskar Ly and Christina Vang are working to create a mural at the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA) in Hastings, Minnesota.  The artists are spending time on the farm and engaging farmers about Hmong agriculture and Pha Ntaub (story cloth) traditions.  These conversations have inspired the images and design of the mural.  In June, a Media Active crew visited HAFA to document the work in progress.


Forecast at 40 Video

These past months we, Media Active, have been working on a video for Forecast Public Art entitled Forecast at 40. It highlights three different artists, Ta-Coumba Aiken, Mary Jane Mansfield, and Aaron Johnson-Ortiz. The video captures each of the artists work, and was made to celebrate Forecast and the work that they do for artists and public art for their 40th anniversary.

Forecast is a nonprofit organization that helps artists create public art, the three artists in the video had received assistance from Forecast to create public art pieces for their communities or to help their communities through art. For this video we went to each of the artists work spaces and interviewed them on their work as well as their relationship with Forecast Public Art. We also filmed art pieces that they did with the help from Forecast, had them talk about their experiences, and later edited them to make one coherent video for Forecast.

Mary Jane was a participant in a Forecast Making It Public Workshop, Ta-Coumba was an artist commissioned by Forecast for Augsburg College, and Aaron was the 2017 recipient of the Forecast Early Career Artist Project Grant. Each had their different experiences, and art pieces with Forecast, we took their different stories and combined them into one video for Forecast’s 40th anniversary.


SPARK: Youth Summit

Hello everyone!

I would like to give an update on our latest project as we continue settling in at our new home, SPNN. Media Active is continuing our work with Youthprise and we just recently were involved in documenting one of their events: SPARK Summit. The event was hosted at SPNN.

Here is a quick description of the event and some photos pulled from their Facebook page:

“In December of 2017 Youthprise hosted SPARK, a Summit that

26196271_1554793784604088_1823564697073717764_nhighlighted the ways young people are using digital media to tell their stories. Core partners included SPNN Youth, Glitch and Media Active, and the summit featured sessions from organizations like Centro Tyrone Guzman, In Progress and Borrowed Interest Podcast. The day inspired us to think about how digital media can be used to shift the narrative and challenge the inequities that exist in Minnesota.”

Youth Digital Artist Panel







Media Active preforming interviews in commons area.






Youth DJ preforming in common space.


Media Active’s Role:

During the event, Media Active provided multi-cam services for the Youth Digital Panel, filmed B-roll, and ran interviews with attendees at the event.

The Youth Digital Panel was filmed using our standard multi-cam setup (3 Cannon Vixias, with direct audio from the soundboard). We then use multi-cam editing software to cut the event as if it was filmed live.

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For interviews, we used another Cannon Vixia and a set of LED lights. To film B-Roll we used a couple of our Cannon DSLRs mounted on shoulder rigs.

Overall, the experience was something the crew and I thoroughly enjoyed. We hope to continue our relationship with Youthprise into the future and be a part of more of their events.

If you are interested in any our services, including the services listed in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact us.



Brandon & the Media Active Team

Credit: (Nadia Linoo, Photography) (Youthprise, Facebook)

Media Active@SPNN

Hello everyone. I’m Malachi. I’m part of the youth team here at Media Active. We would like to inform you that Media Active will be moving to SPNN (Saint Paul Neigborhood Network).


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We are excited for this opportunity to move in with SPNN and get a new start for our program.  As of now, we are still open  for partnership and project ideas.

To contact us,  our email is

Be sure to follow us on our social media pages.

Facebook: media active


Have a nice day



Intermedia Arts STEP-UP Summer Interns

This summer, four interns from the STEP-UP program in Minneapolis have been learning and working at Intermedia Arts.  They have learned how to produce film, and have worked closely with Media Active to help with their film work.


STEP-UP Minneapolis is a job training program that provides paid internships to youth ages 14-21, through their two programs; STEP-UP Discover (for ages 14-15) and STEP-UP Achieve (for ages 16-21).



The STEP-UP Crew at Intermedia Arts has worked on various film productions with Media Active over the summer. During the Midwest Dairy Farmers film production, members of the STEP-UP Crew took part in film shoots at the General Mills Headquarters interviewing Mary Jane Melendez, and in Rochester, MN interviewing students participating in the Fuel Up To Play 60 program. The STEP-UP Crew also did many shoots on location at Intermedia Arts.


For the STEP-UP Crew’s final summer project, they have been creating a documentary style short film for Media Active, focusing on the Media Active workers and the experiences they gain while working at Media Active. They started out by brainstorming several different film styles to propose to Michael Hay, the Director of Youth Development at Intermedia Arts. After meeting with Michael and deciding on a documentary style short film, the STEP-UP crew started planning their film process that they would follow over the next two and a half weeks. As a group, they scheduled interviews with Media Active workers, Media Active facilitators, and a Media Active client, Theresa Sweetland. They decided on film locations, set up the interview spaces with lights, camera and audio, and filmed the interviews. For the remainder of their time, they have been editing the short film into a final product for Media Active. The film will be completed shortly.


The STEP-UP Interns at Intermedia Arts have had an enjoyable summer at Intermedia Arts, and will take away valuable knowledge and experience from their time there.




Midwest Dairy Council

Throughout the month of July, Media Active collaborated with the Midwest Dairy Council, an organization that represents dairy farmers across the Midwest and promotes the consumption of dairy products and healthy eating. The project was sponsored by the Super Bowl Host Committee to create a 2-minute video about a program called “Super School Breakfast”, promoting accessibility for nutritional breakfasts at school.

Interview at the General Mills Foundation
Interviewing Cristian, a Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador

The project was filmed and edited in a short amount of time as the video was to be shown at the 2017 Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador Summit on July 24th at the US Bank Stadium. Our goal was to create a video that encourages eating a healthy breakfast in the classroom and showing the perspective of the importance of breakfast from a variety of people. We started off by interviewing Mary Jane Melendez, the Executive Director of the General Mills Foundation, who gave a lot of valuable information about the importance of eating healthy. We then went to Rochester to interview two student ambassadors of the Fuel to Play 60 program. Their interviews helped explain the student’s experience within the program and the importance of eating breakfast at school. Finally, we were able to interview Brenda Rudolph, a Minnesotan dairy farmer who shared her perspective as a person who works in the dairy industry and her take on how to provide children with a healthy breakfast.

Interviewing Brenda Rudolph, a Minnesotan Dairy Farmer

With a few weeks left to edit, we were provided with separate B-Roll from the Super School Breakfast Event, which we used to complete the video. The editing process took a total of two weeks. The video was played on the Jumbotron screen at the US Bank stadium for the event, and there will also be a second edit cut for the Midwest Dairy Council Website.

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The finished project on the Jumbotron at the US Bank Stadium

Overall, it was a good experience to work with such a large organization and have the opportunity to present our work to a large community as well as supporting a good cause.

Minnesota Music Summit

Media Active was recently contacted by the Minnesota Music Coalition to film at their Minnesota Music Summit conference, from April 20-22nd. The summit included multiple panels with renowned people from the music industry. The theme of this year’s summit was “Breaking Down Walls”; meant to “explore music across artistic, cultural & physical boundaries”, as stated on their website. The first day at the summit started at the Summit Brewery in St. Paul. This marked the initial kick-off of the event and hosted a great space for artists to network with each-other. Media Active was on-site filming and taking pictures at the event. Our objective was to seek-out conversation among the attendees and paint a picture of the event for the hosts to put up on their video streaming service.

Attendees signing into the event and networking.
15-Minute Mentoring Sessions

Throughout the next few days Media Active continued to capture the event as it moved to it’s next location at the McNally Smith College of Music. Friday began with mentoring sessions; where professionals from the industry were matched with attendees through 15 minute speed sessions.

The rest of the day consisted of panel sessions. Media Active recorded as well as filmed each of these sessions. We also were found capturing B-Roll throughout the summit.

Lawyers from the Music Industry discussing Licensing

Overall, the project was very successful and we were able to document many panels and conversations at the Summit.

Are you a client interested in hiring Media Active for a project? Fill out this form!

Saint Paul Youth Services

Throughout this past summer we spent time working on a project for the Saint Paul Youth Services. SPYS came to us with the request to create videos showcasing their organization’s values. We met with SPYS a few times before we began shooting to determine the best way to create accurate and quality representations of these values in video form.

We agreed upon making 3 videos in a do and don’t format, each representing one of the 3 values. Through the following weeks we began planning scenarios and writing scripts for production. Once we had the scripts finalized, we began reaching out to actors in the community, as well as searching for places that could represent proper settings.

_mg_7835Our first scenario took place in a library and was meant to represent the ways an adult could react to a group of youth causing a disruption in a space. The first reaction shows the adult reacting negatively by immediately punishing the students, while the second shows the adult politely asking the students to keep it down while offering a space for them to express themselves. We filmed these scenes in the library across from the SPYS building. This shoot took about a day in total to complete, filming half on our first day of shooting, and the second half on the second day of shooting.

The second video was meant to show the ways an adult mentor could make sure everyone in a group feels comfortable. Scene one shows youth in a group introducing themselves, with one person introducing themselves as trans and a few of the other youth laughing, at which point the mentor decides to ignore it and move on. Scene two shows the adult creating an initial safe space for all the youth to feel comfortable. This video was shot within the SPYS building and was filmed within half a day.

Our third video showed how adult intervention could affect a youth in a negative situation. The first scene shows a youth who has ran away from home and fallen asleep at a transit stop being kicked off by an officer. The second scene shows this same youth and officer, along with another adult, with the officer and second adult instead offering help for the youth. We had more settings for this video than the other two, with one part taking place in the youths home, another with the youth walking down a road, and the last at the transit stop. We shot this video over about a day total, with the transit scenes being on our second day of shooting, and the other two settings being on a third day.

These videos were shot using a shoulder mounted camera, a boom mic and lav mics, and various lights and reflectors. We spent time before shoots setting up our equipment within whichever space we would be using at that time._mg_7830

Once shooting was over editing began on the videos, with a few more meetings with SPYS to make sure our visions were met before being finalized.


Green Card Voices Fargo

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This past October we were commissioned by Green Card Voices (GCV) to shoot a collection of youth immigrant stories in Fargo, North Dakota. We shot the interviews for 30 youth over the course of 4 days about their stories, as well as took their portraits to be used in conjunction with written versions of their stories, which will appear in a book being published by GCV.

The shoot took place in a small room within the school of the youth whose stories we filmed. On our first day in Fargo we set up our equipment we would be using for every following day of shooting. We set a backdrop for the students, chairs for them and the interviewer, and our lights and cameras. We used 5 lights and two cameras for this shoot. One camera gave a close up angle, while the other gave a wider shot.

Our shoot days each began with us turning on our equipment and sitting our first student down. Once sound and film were rolling we would continue recording until the student was finished, after which we would take each student to a location around the school for a portrait. On our 3rd day we took a few of the students to Fargo’s downtown area for photos. The days would end with us uploading that days media, then heading back to our hotel to begin again the next day. Each day lasted around 7 hours with about an hour per student.

You can find the behind the scenes footage here.

Change the Routine

A still from the “Change the Routine” film for the City of Minneapolis

Change the Routine was a project we were given by the City of Minneapolis. The aim was to create advertisements encouraging citizens to become a Minneapolis election judge in the upcoming 2016 election. This campaign consisted of a series of photographed portraits and short videos of strong subjects, made up of clips of a larger video, to be shared on social media.

This project required us to start from scratch and work our way through it by creating ideas and getting them approved by our employers. We created a script, a story of two relatable subjects who led everyday lives as citizens of the Twin Cities. They interacted with new people in their community, and on Election Day it brought them all together in one space. The film would have a voice over in multiple languages and there would be a range of diversity within the video as well. The message behind it all was giving back to the community and changing the everyday routine, hence the name of the project: Change the Routine.

After pitching our idea to the Minneapolis Elections and Voter Services Office, we got the go-ahead to start producing. There were a series of shoot dates where we filmed the subjects doing everyday activities such as helping out at a community garden, volunteering at a food shelf, etc., that we thought would be relatively relatable. We also took shots of the subjections interacting with strangers by doing small kindnesses, like helping fix a bike and buying someone a light rail ticket. We were out at a lot of locations in the community and filmed in everyday areas, very different than many of our work, which are usually in more staged environments, and this change helped many of the newer members of Media Active gain new experiences.

There were also two full-day shoots where we rented out a gym and set it up like it would be on Election Day. It was necessary to take people out of the film crew and use them as extras because we didn’t have enough people, which was definitely a new experience. People from the City came in as well to act as stand-ins and supervise the process so it would be portrayed as accurately as possible. The cast and crew were really interactive with each other and there was a lightened mood on set, almost a “we’re all in this together” mentality as we filmed 8 hours every day.

We’ve just finished this project, and you can check out the full video on the City of Minneapolis website! And be on the lookout for clips on social media as well. Also, don’t forget to sign up as an election judge! 🙂