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Whereas Sergio Mata’u Rapu and Myc Daz are the artistic forces behind the favored Twin Cities PBS (TPT) digital collection “That Received Bizarre,” its stars are extra nameless by design. Impressed partly by a pandemic-era meme, Sergio and Myc mix digital puppetry with a documentary strategy to create shorts that inform true tales of racism with a pitch-perfect quantity of humor. Take heed to the episode or learn the transcript.

A special tackle conversations about racism

A documentary filmmaker from Rapa Nui (often known as Easter Island), Sergio Rapu has referred to as Minnesota dwelling for the previous 11 years. As a digital collection producer for TPT, he caught on to curiosity round producing a collection on racism for the broader viewers of social media. Nevertheless, as a substitute of following current content material approaches which can be extra critical and subject-sensitive, Sergio needed to supply one thing that would encourage larger conversations about seeing concepts, techniques and preconceptions as racist moderately than pointing at people.

It’s this strategy that gives a extra hopeful imaginative and prescient as a result of, as Sergio says within the podcast, folks can change and shift. “We will all do higher … it’s actually nearly studying and connecting with different folks. You’re by no means one factor or one other, it’s OK to make errors, and what you do is then apologize and transfer ahead.” By telling tales of racism which have been felt, processed and, to a point, laughed about later, “That Received Bizarre” opens the door to discussions about what actions might be seen as racist, how they affect all of us and what constructive change can appear to be.

“Lawyer Cat” and the humorous freedom of being unknown

When on digital camera, weak and open to criticism, having folks inform their private tales of racism might be troublesome. Sergio discovered an answer in an uncommon place – the pandemic-era “Lawyer Cat” viral video. Within the well-known YouTube video from Texas’ 394th Judicial District Courtroom, legal professional Rod Ponton is unable to show off a cat filter throughout a Zoom name, resulting in the well-known line: “No, I’m actually a human being. I’m probably not a cat.”

As Sergio recounts, the video is hilarious but additionally telling in that you simply by no means see Ponton’s face. As a viewer, you haven’t any thought who he’s or what he appears to be like like. While you conceal id, you may deliver humor to what is usually a critical state of affairs. Operating with the concept and making use of it to the brand new digital collection, Sergio introduced on illustrator Myc Daz to create character designs and co-animate the shorts utilizing Character Animator, a digital puppetry program. This fashion, the interviewees can really feel snug about being open and trustworthy about their private experiences whereas remaining nameless.

From story to quick

In terms of selecting topics for the collection, Sergio doesn’t must look far to seek out pals and pals of pals who’ve private tales about racism and microaggression. As a part of the method, interviewees choose their pseudonym and reply questions on how they need their on-screen avatar to seem. Their persona might be completely different from actual life – older or youthful, completely different hair model or pores and skin coloration – it’s all as much as the topic.

After the topic tells their story by way of an interview with Sergio, the audio is shipped to Myc and not using a image of the interviewee. As a substitute, Myc solely receives the instructions on how the topic wish to seem. Then, self-described “character design nerd” Myc creates a sketch of the topic for approval, shifting forward to the animation stage the place Sergio, Daz and others end the quick.
The result’s a collection that’s getting nice responses from each BIPOC and non-BIPOC audiences and is already getting used as a useful resource for corporations and teams to assist others notice when their interactions could have been racist. By means of storytelling, “That Received Bizarre” is encouraging folks to assume “how can I be higher?” and to seek out artistic and constructive methods to work in direction of that purpose.

Discover out extra concerning the creation, course of and way forward for “That Received Bizarre” by listening to the episode. You too can watch “That Received Bizarre” on the Twin Cities PBS web site (https://www.tpt.org/that-got-weird/), observe Sergio Rapu (@smrapu) on Instagram and discover Myc Daz (@MycDazzle) at mycdazzle.com and on social media.

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