If you’ve been checking out the blog over the last week or so, you’ll be up to date with Pip Piper’s past– the journeys he’s been on and some of the lessons he’s learnt along the way. To finish our interview, I wanted to find out a bit more about the present and future for Pip.
You head up two companies: Blue Hippo Media and One Small Barking Dog. What do the Hippo and the Dog have in common and how are they different?
Sounds like we are running a small zoo!
Ok. So OSBD began out of the youth work I was doing at Riverside church, Birmingham back in the 1990’s. At the time I felt there was very little around media wise that helped youth workers communicate with both young people inside and more importantly outside of the church. After finishing work with the church in 1997, OSBD really began to take root.
It was just on the cusp of the digital revolution and we were making short films around issues that spoke into contemporary culture. We were also creating moving image “visuals” to enhance events and worship experiences. I once overheard a nun who was watching one of our “visuals” films describe what she was seeing up on a video screen “Oh yes, its like a stained glass window, only it moves“!
The “Images for Worship” video series was one of the things that helped OSBD become well known. Over time we made many, many video resources and short documentaries both for ourselves and other organizations and helped many young people to find an outlet for their creativity. The journey took us as far afield as Peru and Ukraine.
After several years I found myself being asked to look at feature film scripts and ideas for larger film projects. Rob Taylor (who was chair of the charity at the time) and myself decided to establish a new company that could be more focused on bigger commercial projects that told bigger stories on bigger screens.
Blue Hippo Media came into being in 2008 and since then we have made 6 feature length films, many of which have won awards and been distributed into cinemas and on TV around the world. As an indie film production company we have had some hard lessons to learn around just how tough it is to compete in that market as well as secure ways to earn a living! It’s a roller coaster ride for sure.
One Small Barking Dog is both the older of the two and, in a way, the newer, in that it took a hiatus, but is now back. Why did you bring ‘The Dog’ back from the dead, and what are your immediate plans?
It has been a long while thinking, exploring and praying about whether “The Dog”, as OSBD became affectionately known, should live or die.
However, over the past 18 months, others and I have felt increasingly that it should be engaged again in creating meaningful media and content that can speak into contemporary culture as it works with and for young people. Media that has the DNA of the kingdom embedded in it but isn’t pushy or trite but has real meaning.
We also believe that the newly revived OSBD can gain wider traction and impact based on the great strides Blue Hippo Media has made.
Our core areas are:
- Engage young people through training and development in film-making.
- Create innovative media to explore and communicate.
- Connect disparate groups and individuals interested in creativity and contemporary culture.
The specific projects we want to develop include;
- A feature documentary about what it means to be a young person in 21st century Britain. An ambitious film that we hope will have a really big impact on society.
- A series of FREE on line/downloadable visual meditations, that help those within and outside of Church explore and engage with spirituality.
- A series of FREE provocative and thought provoking short viral films aimed at on-line sharing. Issues around contemporary and spiritual themes that help us all explore what it means to be connected and engaged with our world.
- A pilot scheme to run a film school for young people who want to be filmmakers and make a difference in their world. This will become an on-line virtual school that aims to enable young people both here in the UK but also from countries facing real challenges through war and conflict and natural disaster.
So, how can we get involved?
To do all of this and max out our potential impact we need support.
We are hoping to build a bedrock of monthly givers who believe in what we are doing and can stand with us for the next 12 months. We are also hoping that we will get some one off gifts and find some partners who want to work alongside us on some specific projects.
This support will give us the “oxygen” to develop and create the key areas of work, pay some part time salaries and very small overheads ( we have no office base and very little outgoings that detract from the core work ). The difference it will make will be in enabling media to be made that really does have an impact both in and outside of the Church, helping young people to engage in those processes and learn skills to become filmmakers themselves.
If you can help that would be awesome.
For a third time, then, thanks a lot Pip. If you’d like more information about Blue Hippo Media or One Small Barking Dog, those words aren’t underlined for nothing. To support what Pip is doing and give to the work of OSBD, click here