Documentary on 'Philadelphia technology community' to launch in Fall [VIDEO] - Technical.ly Philly

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Mar. 26, 2012 11:30 am

Documentary on ‘Philadelphia technology community’ to launch in Fall [VIDEO]

Philadelphia’s tech scene is getting its own debut. Name this Documentary The still-unnamed Philly Tech Documentary needs a title, and the pair of filmmakers behind it want your help. How should they convey the growth of community here? Send suggestions to PhillyTechDoc@gmail.com. Credit will be paid in the film. It’s lights, camera, action for producers […]
Maurice Gaston, at left, is director of photography for a documentary on the Philadelphia technology community, and David Dylan Thomas, at right, is its director. Photo by Matthew Albasi.

Maurice Gaston, at left, is director of photography for a documentary on the Philadelphia technology community, and David Dylan Thomas, at right, is its director. Photo by Matthew Albasi.

This is a report done in partnership with Temple University's Philadelphia Neighborhoods program, the capstone class for the Temple's Department of Journalism.

Philadelphia’s tech scene is getting its own debut.

Name this Documentary

The still-unnamed Philly Tech Documentary needs a title, and the pair of filmmakers behind it want your help.

How should they convey the growth of community here?

  • Send suggestions to PhillyTechDoc@gmail.com.
  • Credit will be paid in the film.

It’s lights, camera, action for producers David Dylan Thomas and Maurice Gaston’s newest project about the quickly evolving technology market in Philadelphia. The duo, who are both independent documentarians, are digging for secrets of the market, leaders in creative technology and fascinating technological innovations in the city for a still unnamed, web-based documentary project.

The web series is scheduled to be completed this fall, with a trailer aimed for release during Philly Tech Week in April, says Thomas.

Thomas became interested with the dramatic growth in the Philadelphia tech scene.

“I became really fascinated with ‘how did that happen’ and ‘how did that happen here in Philly” which, when I first got here, had no tech scene to speak of,” said Thomas, who moved from Baltimore in 2004 and now lives in Media.

Below, a short video interview with the documentarians.

Throughout their filming process, Thomas, 38, and Maurice, 47, have found a trend in the use of co-working spaces. Places such as Indy Hall provide space for new ideas and innovative technology, where freelance professionals bring themselves together.

“There’s been a huge component of social responsibility in the tech community, in that, people want to be involved in making their world better,” said Gaston, who grew up and lives in Mount Airy.

Because it provides the space and the brains for most of the tech community, events planned by groups such as PANMA and BarCamp start in the heart of Indy Hall. Thomas and Gaston hope to follow this trend in one portion of their documentary.

Maurice Gaston interviewing littleberlin co-director Kelani Nichole at Indy Hall.

When a small community looks at itself, there’s sure to be criticism, but, in large part, many see the exercise as an important one.

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The pair behind this one met at the first Barcamp Philly in 2008, though their relationship grew up following the unconference’s third iteration in 2010. Thomas had the idea following SXSW in March 2011, talked to Gaston that summer and by this January, they began filming.

The documentary itself is presented in an interesting format. Instead of spending copious amounts of time on one long-form piece that will be outdated by the time of its release, Thomas and Gaston will be producing their documentary for the web, sectioned off into ten-minute segments, five segments per season. This allows the documentary to flow with the changing times.

Watch clips from some of their interviews here, including one on this site’s founding.

“This affords us the opportunity to create something and while we’re creating it continue to hone the relevance of it,” Gaston said.

Thomas and Gaston both have vast backgrounds in tech work. Thomas served as online Editor-and-Chief at Consumer Technology Publishing Group from 2006 to 2010 where he worked in web strategy, online trends and SEO projects. A graduate from Johns Hopkins University in 1995, Thomas has expertise in video, podcasts and online blogs as well as a vast knowledge of documentarian-style work. He now works for the Templeton Foundation.

Gaston, a graduate of Drexel University, is a web developer at Comcast Interactive Media. His professional experience includes multimedia development and consulting, software engineering and human factors.

Thomas and Gaston hope to finish their unnamed documentary for the fall of 2012.

Below, watch an example of the documentary’s stlye, in a clip from their interview with P’unk Ave founder Geoff Di Masi.

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