What is the GDP project?
• The NFB’s first large-scale web documentary was launched by the Directors General of English and French Programs, Cindy Witten and Monique Simard, in December 2008. At this time, Canada was officially in recession, and the idea behind the project was to document how people across the country were managing in the dark days of the economic crisis. We wanted to look at a broad range of Canadians - from the newly unemployed to company managers, from salaried workers to small business people. We set out to record their worries, hopes, their resilience and ingenuity; and to document the effects of a world crisis from a 100% Canadian perspective. We wanted to create a groundbreaking experience where seasoned documentary filmmakers and photographers across the country would bring us the experiences of Canadian families and communities struggling with the economic crisis, using the Internet and new networking platforms. The foundations of the project were laid in February 2009, and its launch took place in September of that same year. After a year, some 187 films and photo essays were made and shared with you on gdp.nfb.ca and pib.onf.ca.
Who are the participants
• The GDP team unites independent documentary filmmakers and photographers with NFB employees specializing in documentary production, new technologies and multimedia. You can consult their biographies in our Team section. GDP came about with the help of the companies Turbulent , responsible for the site’s design, and TOXA, the art directors, as well as the following NFB departments: Technical Resources, IT, Interactive Services, Legal Services, Publishing Services, Marketing and Communications. They all played a part in designing and launching the site, and in giving it national coverage. Other participants are of course web users (i.e. the public), offering videos, images and texts to help us document the effects of the recession on ordinary Canadians. You’re very much a part of this project, and we welcome your creative input long after the end date of the project.
Can I contact any of the protagonists?
May I use any content taken from your site?
• Unfortunately, reasons of confidentiality and privacy prevent anyone from contacting any of the protagonists. But you can send your messages to them directly on the site by adding a comment about the films in which they appear, or adding a video or scanned image (e.g. photo, drawing, caricature). Our protagonists are the first to check feedback and will be delighted to hear from you.
Why are there variations between the English and French content?
• It’s a question of personality. The project, called GDP – Measuring the human side of the Canadian economic crisis (PIB – L’indice humain de la crise économique canadienne, in French), is a bilingual web documentary jointly initiated and produced by the NFB English and French programs. We have English- and French-speaking filmmakers and photographers. The documentary shorts and photo essays are posted in the language they were recorded in, and are subtitled in the other language. However, to lend each site its own flavour, an anglophone writer hosts the English site and a francophone the French site. Hence the slight differences in tone. Also, don’t forget you’re the main reason for these distinct personalities—the content you submit gives each site its completely original flavour.
Technical information and features
Which browsers does the GDP site support?
• We support Safari 3 and 4, Firefox 2 and 3, Internet Explorer 7 and 8.
What do I need on my computer to watch the films?
o Windows 2000 or higher with latest updates installed
o Mac OS X 10.3 or higher
o FlashPlayer 10
We also strongly recommend broadband.
• You can browse all series of documentary episodes by clicking the “Stories” tab in the navigation menu. The 17 stories retrace the life stories of Canadians in as many sectors of the economy. The carrousel at the top of page offers a selection of the most poignant stories, followed by a graphical comprehensive list of stories in the GDP web documentary. By clicking on one or the other of these stories you land on the introductory page of the chosen story - which includes all episodes and the biographies of the main protagonists.
• You can browse all photo essays by clicking the “Photo essays” tab in the navigation menu. The 53 photo essays retrace the life stories of Canadians in the sectors of the economy that are not covered by the GDP stories. The carrousel at the top of page offers a selection of the most poignant photo essays, followed by a graphical comprehensive list of photographic essays in the GDP web documentary. By clicking on one or the other of the essays, you can watch them directly.
What is the "The Map" section?
• You can browse all our stories by clicking the “The Map” tab in the navigation menu. It offers an interactive map of Canada, allowing you to geographically trace all content on the site (films, photo essays and web users’ comments).
You can also filter content on the map, viewing it as follows:
o Films (our protagonists' stories) (coloured pink);
o Photo essays (coloured yellow);
o Comments (users’ feedback) (coloured green)
Below the map you’ll find a timeline showing the development of our documentary and what content appeared when. Just click on a date to see the content posted on that date.
What are the key words?
• Key words allow users to search for content of particular interest. We’ve applied essential key words to every film, photo essay and principal theme. When you click on the key word you see all content associated to it.
What is the Beyond tab?
• It contains further information on the issues at stake and the characters, stories and sectors affected by the current economic climate.
What is the function of the scroll bar below the video player?
• • It allows you to play the main film and to view related user comments. An icon indicates whether it’s a video, image or text. You may view the comments down below on the page as well. It also tells you how many user comments you can view for this film.
Can I disable this scroll bar?
• Yes. Click on the Comments icon.
Can I turn off the subtitles?
• Yes. Click on the Subtitles icon.
User comments and content sharing
How do I post a comment to the site?
• There are several simple ways of sharing your experiences. We warmly encourage you to do so – your comments are part of the evolution of this documentary project! You can submit your feedback whenever you wish: Post a written comment, a video or an image (photo, drawing, caricature, etc.) on the video player page. Once the GDP editorial team has accepted them, they become an integral part of the project and can be viewed by clicking on the Comments button in the player. They’re also accessible under the player in the Comments section. To submit content, go to the Submit a comment module at the foot of the video player page and fill in the form there.
o Written comments: Write a title and introductory paragraph, then your comment. Add key words for your topic, enter your name, e-mail address and then click PARTICIPATE.
o Images and videos: The procedure is the same, except you upload your video or photo file onto the form.
You can also enter a general comment on the GDP project on the GDP blog.
What can I post?
• The GDP documentary’s mission is to take stock of the impact on people’s lives of the recession that began in 2008. You, the public, are at the heart of the project. In tough times, the main thing is to share your point of view—and that of your family and community. Be imaginative and punchy and show the human face of the economic crisis in your region. Your content will help stimulate social dialogue among Canadians and their contacts all over the world.
The photo I sent hasn’t appeared on the site yet. Is there a problem?
• All user comment is monitored by our editorial team before publication. Your photo may still be awaiting approval. We try to post content immediately after approval, but there may be delay due to technical/time/resource constraints. Please note the NFB reserves the right not to publish any text, photos or videos containing defamatory, racist or sexist content or that does not meet current standards of ethics.
Why do you check all content received?
• We check all content to make sure it complies with our policies and matches the general themes of our web documentary. This is the best way of maintaining the quality of the site and the blog and making them accessible to as many people as possible. We make decisions carefully and publish the majority of appropriate comments.
What is the GDP blog?
• It’s a section of gdp.nfb.ca where the public can discuss our web documentary. Topics include the economy, of course, but also the background of the project; the work of its participating filmmakers and photographers (“behind the scenes”); the lives of our protagonists; and related social issues. It tells people about the newest films and photo essays posted on the site, and offers viewing suggestions from the NFB collection. It’s a chance to put things in perspective, and to situate current events within the broader scheme of history! It also occasionally offers the opinions of thinkers and experts on the economy.
How do I send a comment to a blog post?
• Fill in the form provided at the end of the blog post in question. If your comment is approved, it will be posted fairly quickly.
What is unacceptable?
• Anything containing personal attacks or defamatory remarks, comments that are racist, sexist, or obscene, or comments that constitute illegal information, invasion of privacy, advertising, identity theft, along with any text written in CAPITAL LETTERS.
Do you edit comments?
• Very occasionally for clarification, but otherwise they are either approved or rejected.
How can I add videos to my blog or to personal networking sites, etc.?
• Under the Share tab you can enter the link to a video, add a video to your blog or website, or share it on your preferred social bookmarking service such as Digg or Delicious.
What is an RSS feed?
• RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a sort of subscription to our content, letting you know about new films and photo essays without having to log on to our site. An RSS feed lets you keep up with any stories or protagonists that interest you. You need an RSS feed like Bloglines or Google Reader, which will automatically monitor the GDP section of your choice.