Summer Intern Alissa Soo ’18 Creates Teen Mental Health Documentary at Mi2Media in Seattle, WA

There is always a need for people who are passionate about solving social issues and inspiring others to do the same. We all solve and fight in different ways depending on our life experiences and skills. This summer I am working with Mi2Media, an organization “of visual storytellers and social entrepreneurs”. Their mission is to take action on social problems by creating videos and forms of media to spur social change and social good. They are currently working with Expedia to produce an employee launch video for Expedia’s new corporate social responsibility campaign. Their goals are aligned with eight of the twelve United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are listed below.

  1. Quality Education
  2. Gender Equality
  3. Clean Water & Sanitation
  4. Decent Work & Economic Growth
  5. Reduced Inequalities
  6. Climate Action
  7. Sustainable Cities & Communities
  8. Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions

In addition, Mi2Media is working on short documentary films addressing teen mental health. My job as an intern is to take notes at meetings, interviews, and video shoots, as well as, research about stigma and teen mental health, collaborate about interview questions, provide feedback on film/documentary decisions, and help create a pitch deck to gain corporate sponsors and support for the documentary.

I’ve only been working for a couple weeks now, but I have already learned so much about how to convey a message and inspire people to take action. The teen mental health documentary series’ goal is to provide people dealing with anxiety and depression a platform to share their stories, while educating people on how to be there as friends and family, and why it is so important to do so. Mi2Media is using its employees’ video, film, and storytelling expertise to amplify the stories of teenagers dealing with anxiety and depression. Moreover, they are creating documentary short films that will inspire audiences to take action as parents, siblings, and friends to break down stigma and support the people in their lives.

The goal of the Expedia launch video is to get all its employees to buy into the company’s plans to combat climate change, which spans issues of clean water and sanitation, to gender equality and quality education. It is interesting to see how companies and institutions like Expedia are building a responsibility to take action on social issues into the fabric of their values and the corporation itself. Sitting in on meetings about the video, I have watched Mimi and others figure out how to convey a message through specific design choices. The discussion revolves around which images, cuts, animation, wording, etc. will keep people’s attention and inspire a social responsibility to act on the climate change goals of the company. In both cases of the documentary and the launch video, Mi2Media and other organizations are working to create a video or documentary to call people to action on teen mental health or climate change.

I am not a film major or videographer, nor do I have much experience in business or marketing, but I am learning how these skills, as well as others, can help get a story heard and push people to take action. How do we effectively tell a story? And, more importantly, how do we tell a story that will get people to make a positive social change? I may not know what I want to do for a career, but I do know that I want to learn how to use my major, interests, and skills to instigate social change. I am inspired by these people with passions for film, business, marketing, non-profit work. They are using their individual tools and backgrounds to spread knowledge, inspire, and create in ways that will make positive social change.

Experiences like Alissa’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff.

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