In the summer of 2012, I had the pleasure to join filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar, along with about 15 other radio producers and filmmakers, as we hit the streets of Dayton asking the questions, “How is Dayton doing?” and “Have you had to reinvent yourself?” We focused on four neighborhoods, split into teams and started talking to anyone who would respond. The interaction was simple. If you see someone walking down the street, say hi, and try to start a conversation; If someone is out on their porch, same thing. Time after time I was surprised by how many people didn’t think their story applied, only for them to tell their experience and find out they were in the middle of reinventing themselves. Other times, it was like they were waiting for someone–anyone–to come along and ask them about their story. Hearing someone reflect on their own achievements, failures, and losses was a humbling and intimate experience, one that will stay with me throughout my life. After months of collecting audio and footage, and intensive editing, I am very proud the third act of the interactive website, ReinventionStories.org will go live on April 9th.
We are all very excited about Act Three. Unlike the previous acts, Act Three unlocks an interactive map of Dayton that contains lots more. There’s a place for you to participate in telling the story of reinventing Dayton by uploading your own story of reinvention. The process is easy. Simply click on the ‘share your story’ box located on the map. You’ll give your name, neighborhood, a title to your story and upload your own pictures. Next you’ll tell your story in three parts, prompted by three questions: “Who were you?” “What happened?” “Who are you now?” Your story will appear on the map in your given neighborhood.
While you wait for Act Three, explore Act One and Two of ReinventionStories.org now! There is plenty to watch. First the short films following seven individuals in various neighborhoods. Then there are several one-minute vignettes of events and activities happening around Dayton, located in the ‘Drive the Road’ page of each act. Every act ends in a question to which you can respond. The first questions prompt you to think about what you value in Dayton. The second set urges you to think about what gives you hope for the future. Each response appears on the ‘Speak You Mind’ page, and then is tweeted through our twitter @ReinventDayton. Follow us to see the responses.
Working on this project has completely changed my view of the city I have lived near for 22 years. I grew up thinking there was nothing going on in Dayton. I couldn’t have been more wrong and this site proves it. It’s all about how curious you are, and how much you’re willing to see and discover.
Come back on April 9th and add your story! How do you think Dayton is doing? Have you reinvented yourself?
With the addition of the map, the full expression of the interactivity of the site is revealed. There are other categories: Participation, History, Happenings and Neighbors. The history category is really fun. It contains old photos from locations throughout Dayton. The photos from Belmont, Twin Towers and South Park are especially amazing. I helped collect the photos from Belmont and Twin Towers with the generous aid of Kay Wolff from St. Mary’s Church in Twin Towers and Reggie Swickard from Foot Focus in Belmont. We need your help to add more so we can continue to reveal our rich past. Send us your archival photos!
(Contributed by Emily Evans, Field Producer and Associate Producer of Reinvention Stories)