Catalyst Workshop FAQs

Who will I be working with?

Our Catalyst Workshops bring together people with skills and expertise in filmmaking, social media strategy, communications, and conservation management in a collaborative environment designed to maximize strategy for making media with a measurable impact. You do not need to be an expert in all areas, as you will be placed in a focus group with a balanced representation of skills. You also do not need to be experienced to apply - we accept a mix of experienced and emerging leaders for the workshops.

Do I have to have experience in the focus area to attend?

As an individual participant, you do not need to have experience in the focus area, however you should have a strong interest in working for change in these fields in some capacity.

Can I attend if I’m not a filmmaker?

Yes. The Catalyst Workshops are not production focused. The workshops provide for the strategic planning of a campaign to use media to make a measurable impact. While some participants will be experienced or emerging filmmakers, others will bring valuable skills in social media, communication strategy, outreach, and conservation. The only requirement is a passion to collaborate with others to make change in healthy oceans or renewable energy solutions.

Should I apply as an individual or an organization?

The Catalyst Workshops are structured such that each participant team completes a Capstone Project that is focused on a partner organization's campaign and goals. Filmmakers and other participants will be paired by CMG with a staff member from the partner organization in teams of three.

If your organization would like to be a partner & have a Capstone Project focused on your organization, please contact us directly (info@conservationmediagroup.org). You will need to identify a staff member who would attend the workshop. In the past we have had Executive Directors, Founders, Directors of Marketing, Social Impact, and Programs at our workshops. (We require a director-level or higher staff member.)

If you are an individual who would like to attend and work on a Capstone Project for a different organization than your own, please apply as an individual. While at least half of the individual applicants are filmmakers (both emerging and experienced), we have also welcomed many others with an interest in media & conservation to our workshops, such as: journalists, artists, social media managers, photographers, policy analysts, scientists and PhD students, as well as film & video producers without technical filmmaking experience. We believe that this variety of backgrounds & multi-disciplinary approach to building teams results in the most effective and highest quality projects. Please note that if you are applying as an individual (and not a partner organization), you will be working on a project during the workshop assigned to you and not a personal project, even if that project falls into the workshop focus area. We encourage individuals with personal projects in the focus areas to attend as the collaboration and networking will be invaluable to your project, but understand that there will be no time to work on your own project.

Will we end up with a completed video at the end of the workshop?

The goal of the Catalyst Workshops is the development of the Capstone Project which includes a concept video and a strategic plan for engagement and distribution. Due to the limited timeframe, rarely is a video created during a workshop that is ready to be distributed, though most teams complete the video to a rough cut or fine cut stage. Every past workshop organization thus far has worked beyond the workshops with their Capstone filmmakers to complete their project videos - either through Action Grant funding from CMG, filmmaker's contributing their own time to the project, or with the organization's own funds. We highly recommend that partner organizations set aside a small budget for the completion of their Capstone Projects beyond the workshops, especially in regards to distribution and engagment once the film is put into use. 

What are the workshop accommodations like?

The workshops will be held at Alnoba in Kensington, New Hampshire just north of Boston. All participants will be housed in two spacious cabins that have a living room, dining area, kitchen, enclosed patio, and shared bedrooms. All meals are provided and the cabin kitchens will also be stocked with plenty of snacks. Each bedroom accommodates 2-4 people with single beds and participants of mixed gender will be housed together in cabins. Wifi is available in the cabins and the main meeting area; however cell phone reception can be unreliable in certain areas of the property. The retreat is in a quiet woodsy area, but local neighborhoods are closeby. The cabins are secluded and walks between workshop activities may be up to .5 miles on an easy path trail. New England weather can be variable and we will be doing some activities outdoors.

Where are the workshops located?

The workshops will be held at Alnoba in Kensington, New Hampshire. This spectacular 400-acre retreat is about 15 minutes from the Atlantic coast, just 45 miles northeast of Boston and 20 miles south of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

How do I get there? What airports would I fly into?

We welcome participants to arrive by car or taxi to the Alnoba site. There is a large parking lot on the property which you are free to park in at no cost. However, we do ask that participants do not leave the property during the workshop except in the case of emergency. The workshop is a collaborative retreat and particpants are meant to spend the time focused as a group in the workshop location, and not in off-site locations or activities. Participants will be expected to stay out of the parking area once the workshop has started. There is also an Amtrak station (EXR) in Exeter, NH about 5 miles from Alnoba. Unfortunately, there is little in the way of public transportation directly to the Alnoba site.

For those flying in, there are several nearby airport options:

  • Boston Logan Airport (BOS) is 45 minutes away.
  • Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) is 45 minutes away.
  • Portland International Jetport (PWM) is 70 minutes away.

The workshop fee does not include transportation to the site and you are expected to arrive via your own arrangements; however, we will be trying to assist our participants in ride-shares and carpooling with eachother once flight arrangements are confirmed. Depending on participant need, CMG may also arrange a group transport from Boston Logan airport.

Will you cover my travel costs?

Travel costs are the responsibility of workshop participants. In many cases, it may be possible to work with your organization, employer, or university to fund your travel. CMG is happy to provide letters and/or documentation for participants who recive funding and need proof of career development, grant activities, or independent study.

What time does the workshop begin and end?

Required workshop activities begin at 8:00am on the first date listed and end around 9pm on the last date listed. However, based on travel plans & personal preference, participants can choose to arrive early the night before (after 6pm) to settle in and have a provided group dinner, and they may stay overnight the last night until 9am, at no additional cost. We highly recommend participants join us the evening before the workshop beings and stay the last night to depart in the morning. (eg. the May 1-4th workshop begins at 8am on May 1st. We encourage participants to arrive the night before around 6pm on April 30. The workshop will end at 9pm on May 4th, but we encourage participants to stay over and depart in the morning on May 5.)

What do I need to bring?

You will be provided with a packing list of recommended items. In addition to clothing and personal items, it is highly recommended that you bring a personal laptop. Filmmakers in attendence will also need to bring basic filmmaking equipment.

Will the Oceans Workshop cover underwater filmmaking?

The Catalyst Workshops are not production or training focused. Participants do not need experience in filmmaking of any kind, nor will they be trained in the production skills involved in filmmaking.

I can’t afford to attend the Catalyst Workshop, should I apply anyway?

Absolutely! We are looking for talented, driven people with a strong interest in creating and using media for conservation initiatives. If that sounds like you, then please fill out the application and indicate that you are interested in a full or partial registration fee waiver. We have a limited number of fee waivers, but will do what we can to assist you.