HSS Graduate Student Won an International Microfilm Award

01 Nov 2023

Xiaoxia Wang graduated with first-class honours from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. Recently, Step Up for Shanghai, her individual video work, has won the distinction award in the 2023 Three Acts of Goodness International Microfilm Contest.

Wang has gained extensive practical experience in the field of media communication. She is currently working at Springer Nature as a Senior Project Manager in Greater China, which is responsible for related multimedia and publishing projects, including video projects.

Despite having relevant work experience, she decided to pursue more theoretical knowledge to better support her career, which is one of the reasons why she chose to study the MSc Media Communication at XJTLU. She said, "Most of my work involves media and communications, and I often work with colleagues in marketing. I found that theory is very useful in practice."

Her award-winning work, Step Up for Shanghai, documents the story of group-buying organizers in Shanghai during the pandemic. Between March and May 2022, Shanghai was under strict lockdown due to an outbreak of pandemic.

Wang said, “At that time, Shanghai's logistics network was paralyzed. The residents were experiencing shortages of basic food and necessities. At this point, some residents stepped up and acted as community group-buying organizers to solve the supply problem. However, this unique job requires being online 24 hours every day to do many communication and organizational things without payment."

"I hope this documentary will show the audience, from an optimistic perspective, the unity and strength of normal Shanghai residents when faced with challenges. Despite being a tough situation at that time, there were still people who were willing to step forward and take on the responsibility of helping each other,” said Wang.

Wang admitted that she faced a few challenges in the process of production. Firstly, she found it was not easy to find suitable interviewees. Many group-buying organizers refused her because they were unwilling to appear on camera. Secondly, she could only conduct remote interviews due to the lockdown policy, which brought about uncontrollability on the screen. Wang could only try to make the images look better with some filming techniques.

Therefore, Wang chose to focus on the quality of the content and was fully prepared. She said, "I first did a lot of background research to learn about the character of the ' Group-buying organizers ' to write the interview questions, and conducted a pre-interview before the official interview. I optimized my interview questions and story structure based on the interviewees' answers. I sent it to them in advance so that they could prepare for it. In the formal interviews, I also guided them to re-answer the questions based on the on-site interviews to ensure that the content was concise and fluent.”

In addition, Wang could only film in her own community due to the lockdown restriction. It was difficult to obtain enough video footage, so she had to ask the interviewers for the appropriate footage. "However, the quality of the footage was not good so I had to ask them to resubmit the footage and assist in re-shooting, which was a difficult communication point as well," said Wang.

However, she also utilized limitations, incorporating the characteristics of several communities into the microfilm. She interviewed two organizers and a resident who regularly participated in group buying, presenting the story from different perspectives and enriching it.

During the process of video production, Wang said that Assistant Professor Kelvin Ke Jinde from the Department of Media and Communication Studies gave key advice and feedback on the project. “Kelvin provided a lot of professional advice on conceptualization, content and technique. The feedback and guidance were very helpful when I was making the video," said Wang.

Wang also shared her study experience at XJTLU. She emphasized the support and encouragement of academic spirit from the university. Wang had contacted professors in her department to ask if she could sit in on their courses. She said, "Teachers are very supportive of enthusiasm for learning. When I said I wanted to sit in on other courses, all the professors readily agreed and helped me, which also reflects the dense academic atmosphere and inclusive spirit at XJTLU."

Wang encouraged students who are considering postgraduate, particularly students who are interested in media and communication, to pursue it: "Although the academic path can be challenging, it can also be a very meaningful experience. The field of media and communication is always evolving. The demand for knowledge and skills is growing. Both full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes can provide the opportunity for more in-depth study and resources as well as a solid foundation for your career."

(Reporter: Yiyi Gu, Translator: Xiaoke Li)

01 Nov 2023