Interview with Maker the Movie Team
They believe that being a Maker is not taking the world as it’s given – and they are completely right. After the success of Design & Thinking documentary, this team never gave up and started a new Kickstarter project, this time to fund Maker, a must-watch documentary that gives you a deeper look into the current Maker Movement in America and its impact on society, culture and the economy in the U.S., and the world. As a team that lives to create, they truly believe that every big idea comes from a little silly thought – and that’s why no one should be afraid to try out new things.
Craft Unique had a very inspiring talk with Maker team to understand what does it take to be a Maker these days. Are you ready?
CU: For the “Maker” team, what does it mean to be a maker?
MM: Just like from the movie: “Being a maker is not not taking the world as it’s given. It gives me an identity.” Being a maker gives you the license to make things your own way. Even if it is only for hobby, do it for fun, or even do it for good. These are all maker spirit. We were touched by this passion, and firmly believe this is what the future of the maker movement will be. We consider the “Maker movement” as being a part of a return in DIY in technology based innovations.
CU: In which way do you consider yourselves Makers?
MM: The team relate to the Maker movement happening in the filmmaking world. It used to be that a couple of huge companies influence and have advantage over independent film makers. Now anything can be achieved as anybody has access to great quality filming equipments and international distribution with the internet. The democratization of technology has greatly lowered the barriers of creation, and greatly encourages creative people to “make”.
CU: How do you think the Maker culture will change the world?
MM: Everything starts small. 10 years ago, if we tell you that people will be putting their phones in their pockets, you wouldn’t believe us. The things that change the world usually comes from people’s desire and need. During this wave of maker movement, we see a lot of design and creations come from fulfillment of wants and needs. Adding with the democratization of technology, we can all be makers. Just like what professor Barry Katz said at the end of the movie: the maker movement may seem small or insignificant right now, but to observe it a step or two away, to see its point of view from a larger arch, it’ll probably be like the appearance of the personal computer, slowly and deeply changed the world.
CU: Who inspire you and your work?
MM: The team first met our producer Yu Hsiu Yang back in San Francisco and quickly bonded through mutual interest in Design and Thinking. After our first film – “Design & Thinking” came out, we received a lot of feedback from viewers on the Maker Movement. Since Design & Thinking is about the process of thinking and prototype, we figured it’s a good transition for our second film to be “making”. We also attended the Bay Area Maker Faire and were deeply impressed and hooked by some cool maker projects. It picked our curiosity and gave a lot of great surprises, which in tern made us want to understand more about the maker movement and “what it’s for”.
CU: From “Design & Thinking” to “Maker” – which was the most important lesson you learned with all the people you interviewed?
MM: That the democratization of technology really helped in terms of changing things.
We originally thought these two films were not related, but slowly we begin to realize that they do have a common thing – which is the democratization of technology. In Design & Thinking, the democratization comes from the thought process of the designer on how to solve problems in society, business, or even your own problems. The fact that you don’t need to be a designer to use design thinking, is a democratization. Giving the power of design to everyone. Maker talks about how the maker movement encourages people to do things by themselves. With the help of the internet and crowdsourcing, information can be shared and feedbacks can be given easily. This is another kind of democratization. We hope these two films can empower more people to use limited resources and smart technology to make or do the things they want to do.
CU: While shooting “Maker” did you have any unexpected situations?
MM: We think the unexpected part of the shooting would be our interviewees. Most of our interviewers are very organic, beautiful accidents. For example, one of our favorite interviewers – Slyvia, was interviewed because she happened to be visiting Dale when we were interviewing him. Another happy accident was Nemo Gould. We met him at the Maker Faire, and he suggested for us to visit his workshop. What we thought would be a small workshop turned out to be a big garage filled with cool stuff. We ended up having a lot of fun exploring the garage. Professor Barry Katz’s house unfortunately caught on fire the week before our interview. It could have been an accident that had nothing to do with the interview, but the conversation turned to an interesting topic on people’s relationships with objects. We always look forward and allow this kind of accidents to happen. You never know what you’ll get.
CU: Both your documentaries were Kickstarter funded. What does it take to be successful on a crowdfunding project?
MM: Understand your community, talk to them, and invite them to join your project. Like in the movie, the founder of Indiegogo said: “I think the biggest misunderstanding out there is that people think Crowdfundings is just stranger funding. It’s like a field of dreams, you put up a project you walk away and all of a sudden money comes and appears out of nowhere. That’s not the case. It’s community funding.” In our experience, we spend a lot of time cultivating audiences on social media such as facebook or twitter, as well as friends and family. Friends and family are usually the first group of people to support your project. In addition, we made sure we have regular updates on our progresses as well as feedback to our community.
CU: If you had the chance to send a message to future Makers, what would you say?
MM: Don’t feel that your idea is stupid. Every big idea comes from a little silly thought. So don’t be afraid to try out new things.
CU: What’s next for the “Maker” team?
MM: Haha, we’re unclear as of now, but works have been in progress.
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