2018 Has Been an Unexpected Year.

It’s now the end of April, 2018. I don’t know how.

Pedal Powered Anthropology is plugging along, and I can’t believe how it’s taken off.

Looking back at my post on the end of 2017, I’ve kept fairly well within expectations, and honestly…pretty well beyond expectations in many cases.

The Mill Project, as it was called at the time, is now a full-length documentary, entitled, Rhode Island’s Industrial Revolution: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. Most of you who are aware that Anthrospin exists are already well aware of this project. It’s been published to DVD, screened at a variety of venues (museums, libraries, bike shops), with more screenings in the works.

It’s also been purchased by local historical societies and libraries, and will soon be and/or is available to borrow from the West Warwick and Providence Public Libraries.

Anthrospin now has a web store, at anthrospin.bigcartel.com. So far it’s just the DVD and a Skull and Crankset logo sticker. But public screenings and web store sales have made 2018 far more exciting that I could have ever expected–Pedal Powered Anthropology is now completely self sustaining!!

That’s right. One of my goals for 2018 was to figure out a way to generate money from/for Pedal Powered Anthropology. With the publishing of the DVD, that’s happened. It’s not bringing in a ton of money, but it’s been slowly paying for the equipment I’ve already purchased (from cameras to voice recorders, to logo-printed DVDs and a DVD duplicator). As of this week (today is 4/24/2018) it has generated enough money to purchase a major camera upgrade.

Part of the point of Pedal Powered Anthropology is that YOU can do this, too. In all of my projects I include all of my research sources, and also tell you what I used to film and record and edit everything. I want this to be accessible. So while this camera is a massive upgrade, it’s not professional level equipment. I don’t want a $5,000 camera that produces stuff that my audience feels detached from.

I’m going for polished but relatable. I think I’ve mostly achieved that. But my previous interviews and some other shorts that you can see in the bonus material of the DVD are filmed on a home camcorder. It’s “fine,” but the images can be kind of grainy, the color balance is tricky, it has awful battery life, and the auto focus is more a random focus that’s automatically triggered. It also films at a frame rate that is too low for my editing software and I have to convert it using QuickTime.

It was like $100. It was fine for what it was, but I’m very excited to be upgrading. It’s needed, and this upgrade will stand for the foreseeable future.

Going back to my projections for this year, I wanted to make at least one guest-speaking appearance. I’m not sure if this was posted before or after, but that’s certainly been accomplished. I’ve been a guest speaker at a Visual Anthropology class at Rhode Island College, and the public screenings have also been pretty interactive and I’m happy to say that I’m becoming a lot more at home with off-the-cuff Q&A at this point.

Which has translated into me saying “um” a lot less when I’m recording. Which then translates into my editing process being streamlined.

My Four Fields videos are all recorded. Only two–Biological Anthropology and Archaeology–as well as a third that’s as an intro to anthropology as a whole are posted. Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology are still being edited.

I also reshot my first project, on the Gaspee Affair, now that I’ve gotten a lot better at filming and editing, and am not just shooting with my phone and a selfie stick.

I also can officially say that the National Parks collaboration is coming to fruition. I’ve partnered with the New Bedford Whaling Park (and by extension, the Whaling Museum) to work on a project on the whaling era and scrimshaw art. I haven’t yet started filming it, but I’m organizing and setting up interviews and drafting outlines and getting a rough idea of how I want it to go.

As of now, it’s entitled, Scrimshaw: A Whaling Story, and it will focus on whaling, from pre-industrial whaling in First Nations/Native American peoples, through the whaling era into the fossil fuels era. It will be an exploration of modernization and the transformation of the New England Region and inevitably the entire world while looking at the concepts of identity and environmental sustainability.

I intend to start filming interviews within a week of getting a hold of my new camera.

Once that is started, outlining for a major project on the Underground Railroad will be starting, and for that one, I’ll need a new bike. I’ll fill you all in on that as it makes sense to (read: as I have any idea what’s going on with it)

As I’m typing this, I’m really kind of taken aback at how much of an impact my work is having. I’ve been really moved by the amount of support I’ve received and the amount of excitement surrounding Anthrospin. I’m just an anthropology and cycling nut who wanted to share the things I’m excited for. Apparently I’m not the only one excited for it. So thank you all for that, and keep sharing, commenting, and liking my content. As more people see this, I’ll be able to produce more and more content. And that’s really the best thing.

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