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Portland, OR

A Fourth Act is an interdisciplinary collective of storytellers, facilitators, researchers, designers and technologists committed to delivering meaningful stories. Our roots are in storytelling and journalism. Together we have unprecedented reach to a diversely rich network of fellow collaborators throughout the storytelling fields of journalism, media, technology and art, as well as researchers in the professions and academia.


Moving Pictures and Opportunity for Change

Andrew DeVigal

We appreciate NYTimes’ Lens for recognizing our collaborative work with Tim Matsui and Leaving the Life. On the heels of working with the documentary film, American Promise, we are honored for the opportunity to work on the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking with Tim.

Wanting to look beyond the typical audience, he turned to Laura Lo Forti and her husband, Andrew DeVigal, whose company, A Fourth Act, focuses on helping photographers and filmmakers interact with audiences more deeply in order to affect the issues they care about.

In the Lens post, we urged filmmakers that making and distributing the film aren’t enough.

Making your story and releasing it is only half of the work. The other half of the work is to engage with an audience and capture the needs of a community to spark change.


Mr. DeVigal and Ms. Lo Forti are not looking for large crowds, but for the people who are most involved with an issue and those in position to spur change. Through documentaries and moderated conversations, they seek to turn stakeholders into problems solvers. To accomplish this they started up a web-based mobile app,, which captures audience feedback in real time and creates data visualizations to facilitate conversations.

If there’s a story you want to tell that builds on community, we want to hear from you.

How Are Filmmakers Helping to Develop Impact Tools?

Andrew DeVigal

We have the long-view insight for Harvis.

The data they gathered allowed them to compare responses to the film in different settings and from different types of viewers. They realized that part of the alchemy of hosting a productive conversation is carefully curating invitations to ensure lively and relevant participation. The most powerful discussion happened in the classroom, DeVigal says, noting that this suggests many educational uses for the tool.

Hashtags Don’t Make Movements, People Do ← Ochre

Andrew DeVigal

Honored A Fourth Act is among the first two stories in Blue Chalk Media’s new digital publication We appreciate how they frame our collaborative approach:

Now, however, he is moving the conversation from interacting with an audience to interacting with a community. The change reflects the grassroots sensibilities of Laura, his wife and partner. And it mirrors a shift in the media industry.

and insights…

In short, media makers are not simply seeking interactivity. They are making efforts to involve subjects, reach affected communities and address public concerns.

and belief in the power of convening…

HARVIS takes this trend a step further, into a realm easy to overlook in the digital era: physical space. Engagement with HARVIS means involving people in a common story. More literally, it means putting people together in a room to share personal stories within the context of a greater story

and our passions

It aims to use community feedback to identify issues, facilitate conversation and, ultimately, empower communities to solve problems.

Laura sees stories not simply as news, but as narrative therapy. She believes storytellers can heal themselves.

More: Hashtags Don’t Make Movements, People Do

Andrew DeVigal

5-minute Walk-Through of Harvis
This walk-through is a condensed version of Andrew DeVigal’s presentation at the TriBeCa Film Festival: TFI Interactive Day which was held Saturday, April 26, 2014. Andrew conducted a live demonstration of the mobile web application, Harvis, where audience members (150 uniques) used the app in real-time to respond to the presentation.

TFI Interactive 2014

Andrew DeVigal

We were honored to be on stage at TFI Interactive 2014 to launch A Fourth Act and Harvis during a presentation titled: “Don’t Build Audiences, Build Community.”

We conducted a live demonstration of the mobile web application where audience members used Harvis to respond to the presentation. We asked the audience to make these gestures:

  • "Swipe up at any time when you feel that what I’m saying can directly help you and your role in the community. In other words, as I’m talking swipe up if you’re seeing a feature in Harvis that you like and can use in your work."
  • "Swipe down at any time when you are inspired to make a suggestion to our approach."

Below is a screen shot of the real-time engagement graphic during our live demo of which we received 151 unique users, 1391 gestures and 109 comments. 

Here is an edited version of the TFIi 2014 presentation: