My Content Portrait

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The early 1990s kickstarted my love-hate relationship with content. As an impressionable young boy, I became obsessed with ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ ‘Power Rangers,’ and ‘Star Wars.’ I don’t even think it was the television content that hooked me, but it was the action figures associated with it.

I was fascinated by the series upon series of action figures released in conjunction with TV and movies. Then as I watched, the more I recognized the other figures. Frequently, we’d receive catalogs, laying out all the newly added figures. I’d be lucky enough to receive a figure on a birthday or the holidays, and each package had more information about the other figures available.

For some reason, I found myself wanting more. I felt this feeling that I wasn’t happy until I had collected them all. It wasn’t until I was an adult when I realized my consumerism habits were designed by marketing agencies, specifically targetting my wants and needs and attempting to manipulate me always to want more.

Man, those commercials were just awesome!

I am a Content Creator

I started creating video content in high school. I loved the idea of being able to create something from nothing, building a visual experience frame by frame until a story is found. 21 years later, I am still creating content, this time preparing the release of my first full-length documentary ‘Restart 2020.’ I still love creating content.

I’ve always struggled with the idea that I should make content that deliberately targets a specific person. My content reflects my personal expression of the world. Most frequently, my content involves the positive stories of the Southcoast of Massachusetts. I’ve also always made content with my intentions first, regardless of the audience. I’ve been lucky enough to find a small audience interested in my work.

My content is digital and physical and is often prioritized by the following hierarchy:

  • Content designed for Media Art Students
    • The film, video, digital art, and animation projects
    • Lessons and curriculum
    • Educational technology
    • Demo projects
    • Twitter posts
    • Content for educational access television
  • Film and Video
    • Documentaries and journalism
    • Fictional storytelling
  • Digital Illustration
    • Poster Design
    • Sticker Design
    • Tee Shirt Design
    • Animation
  • Digital photography
    • Portraiture
    • Documentary and photojournalism
    • Wedding photography
  • Social Media
    • Instagram
    • Twitter
    • Tik Tok

Inside the Digital Content Studio

The digital space is the most comfortable for me. I prefer to work digitally 99/100 times. When it comes to planning and writing, I want to use Google Docs. When I want to shoot something, I want to use my Canon 5D Mach IV or a Canon C200. I want to use a Wacom tablet when illustrating. When it comes to note-taking, however, I only rely on a physical Moleskine.

A photo essay of New Bedford, Massachusetts

If you’ve ever visited an artist studio, you’ll often see numerous supplies waiting to be used. My studio consists of 5 external hard drives loaded with content waiting to be used as a digital artist. I often create more content than I actually need. I overshoot simple video shoots, shoot way more images than I need to, and often create 5-10 different digital art versions before settling.

A screenshot of the ‘Restart 2020’ edited timeline.

I’m often a digital hoarder. I release content when I feel like it’s ready to be released, and my relationship with athletics is often restrictive. I often feel like I’m too selective in my work. I rarely release content when I know there are errors, such as the exposure being too dark or too bright, or the colors are not what I intended, or if there is a slight aberration or focus issue.

In my documentary project, ‘Restart 2020,’ I recorded 1,975 clips, spanning 19 hours of footage. The film is 55 minutes.

Ugh, Social Media Content

I absolutely hate creating content for social media. I find the process is completely ingenuine. No matter what content you create, there is ultimately a larger goal: selling more products, increasing your market audience, or brand awareness. More often than not, social media makes me feel like everyone is saying, “Look at how awesome we are!”

That’s one reason I don’t follow any major company or brand on social media. It’s just nauseating to watch. I’m actually trying to leave most social media platforms. Often, I’ll receive a sponsored post or a highly targetted content suggestion, and I’ll mentally ban that brand from my life completely.

I totally understand social media’s power and how transformative it can be for a product, service, or movement. I find that people value metrics more than I care to. I honestly don’t care how many likes, shares, views, or followers I have. I find it difficult to associate my self worth to how many likes and followers I have.

Content vs. Big Tech

I also feel like participating in social media is a rigged game. Essentially, you could have the greatest content in the world, and a big tech algorithm will make it so that no one can see it. However, you can have your content seen only if you pay large amounts of money to these tech companies.

Google Ads makes it incredibly easy to target specific people on a large scale.

Finally, I feel terrible hawking my products on social media. Ethically, I don’t think it’s right to have so much power in constructing specific advertisements. I can essentially target a very narrow group of people using the powerful algorithms big tech has created. I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to have my content become so intrusive.

Content Priorities

There’s a part of me that wants nothing to do with social media. I don’t have the grit that is required to create this type of digital content. I feel like it diminishes the energy needed to create my original content. I would rather focus most of my attention on the original content I’m creating, whether it is a film, video, photos, or digital art.

About the Author
About the Author

Drew Furtado is an Emmy Award winning filmmaker, and leader of a nationally recognized high school media arts communication department .

He develops guides and strategies for nonprofit and educational organizations to improve and grow their social media presence, website development, and communication practices that best engages audiences.

New Bedford, Massachusetts

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