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On December 22nd 2007, itison.tv was launched with it's first project, Tara Saga.
Tara Saga is now the third working title for a documentary project about the ancient site of Tara in Co. Meath, Ireland. The project was spurred by the controversial development of a motorway through this ancient landscape.
It has been intended since the start of this project that it be an open one, taking in the viewpoints of those who are against and those who support the plans for the motorway. This is still the intention and it is important in order tell the whole story and be accessible to anyone who has an interest. It is an open channel where anybody can have their say. It should also be stated that this project is independent from any of the campaigns. What is important is that the feelings and thoughts of people are documented now, while it is happening. I have found it much more difficult to secure interviews with those who support the road. It would appear somewhat that they are keeping their cards close to their chests until this whole thing blows over. Then again there are many more just sitting on the fence. They are aware that progress is essential and a road is needed but are not aware of the information about better alternatives, or even perhaps, the significance of Tara in our history.
Everybody is welcome and encouraged to become part of this dialogue. It is inevitable that the situation will be looked back on in years to come as a gross mistake. It is guaranteed though at that stage, the ones who will be pointing fingers will by enlarge be those who have been silent up to now. They will have had time to be presented with the facts. This doesn't have to happen this way. The internet provides a way where we can communicate with greater ease throughout the planet.
So what you have online at the moment is the start of this project. There are a small amount of videos put up so far covering the five months I have been gathering footage. Most are minimally edited with little or no 'post' (colour correction, sound mix etc). Most of the material is released under a Creative Commons license which means you are free to share it and to use it in your own projects for non-commercial use as long as you credit it accordingly and link the work back to the site. There is lots more video still to be uploaded.
I stared my research on Tara at the beginning of June of this year. I had been aware of the situation before but was surprised at how much more information was available online than in traditional media. A new light had been shed on the situation with the discovery of a henge at Lismullin and this was a new hope that the plans would be rethought. Now presently the NRA have handed this site over to the road builder and Rath Lugh is now the sole fortress of resistance to the road on it route.
The blog format of the site is intended to be backdated and sorted into categories to create an in-depth hub of information on Tara, both the current situation and the history of the area. It is a call out for collaboration for anybody that wants to contribute, be it through video production, research or maintenance of the site. I have personally sacrificed a lot to get this where is is today and I am glad for it, but I cannot maintain this pace on my own any longer. There is many great interviews done already and plenty still who haven't gotten round to yet (some of you know who you are!) It has been difficult to keep a schedule going for interviews and it is hoped that this site will act as a way to bring you directly to the project. There are plenty of video cameras out there and modern technology makes this process much easier and indeed better for the environment.
So lets make this happen! The easiest way to make your voice heard is already in place on the site.
Many people will look at this and say "wow, that's a great idea, i hope it has an impact" etc and then not comment themselves. It is important not to think this way about it. We can't keep saying , "somebody else will do it" with this air of lethargy that has allowed this destruction of our heritage. Our silence and lack of action has also meant our rights to have a say in the development and future of our country has gotten far out of our grasp.
So if you have something to say, say it. Say it here for the record, it might just make a difference. You can remain anonymous if you so wish, just leave an audio only message or be creative, wear a mask! A valid email address is all that is required and this will not be visible on the site and will only be available to the moderators of the site.
If you want to become more involved you can log-in and become a subscriber and upload video to the site. In this day and age there are many ways to do this.
I thought also I should give my perspective on documentary. For one it is one of my favourite film genres but it has changed in many ways over recent years. Television has adopted strands from the format to bring us an unending barrage of crass reality tv programmes which are by enlarge far from reality. Yet many important documentaries have been made successfully in recent years which challenge the status quo. In the film world the market share for documentaries is still relatively low. I see a trend online where the format is more popular an more useful. This is because it is available anytime and can be shared among people with similar interest. Even programmes which were just made for television find new life on the internet. Although this does bring up issues of copyright infringement it also demonstrates supply and demand. People want to see these programmes and they want to show other people them too. This is the 'long tail' of documentary in my opinion. If it's important content it should be always available.
My hope for this documentary and for the others I will make in the future, is that the online aspect will play an important role with all aspects of production.
The project is a transparent look at the making of this documentary. It is a call out for interested people from all over the world to get involved with. This was never intended to be a piece of trivia made after the damage was done. It is available now in its raw state to encourage debate and action while something still can be done for a positive change. It is a collaborative project, we can make this together by sharing our opinions and helping out. Help is sought and is welcomed.
I am looking for number of contributors who can gather voxpops and video pieces in their own areas from all around the world about the situation at Tara and therefore become co-creators of this documentary.
Also I am looking for Wordpress geniuses who can help tweak this site even more giving better access to the archive and an overall better user experience. So those that know their php from their css please get in touch!
Editors for the blog would also be gladly welcomed to backdate and categorise it into the archive of information it is intended to be.
If you are interested in helping to maintain the site or helping in any way, please send an email to the project email address email@example.com
So, the topics discussed will fall into these somewhat overlapping categories :
There are many other plans for the project and much more to say about it but for now I hand it over to you. It is in a raw format at present but it all works, I've even left in my 'testing testing" comments! (for now!)
Please try to keep video and audio comments under 5 minutes so it is a better user experience and if you do need to go over this time please state the duration of the clip when you submit the comment. General rule of thumb, keep em short and sweet!
Please note that any offensive or potentially libellous or slanderous comments may be removed. And no this is not censorship, this is merely a way to keep this site relevant and accessible for all.
So to finish up I would just like to thank all the good people I've met over the past few months and I look forward to meeting many more. The site is open and I hope you enjoy your stay. I know it's not always easy to stay positive in these situations but please try. Be inclusive and courteous and most of all, be active.
p.s.: there is a pdf version of this document available: http://itison.tv/tara/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/tarasa...1.pdf