To the class of 2014 Capstone group, here are a couple of pointers I can give to you as this second semester of capstone comes to a close.
Pick a topic that interests you and one that you enjoy. I picked a topic that I was passionate about and ran with it. As you begin editing, you will start to memorize your interviews word for word, and that is no exaggeration. If it is something you are spending this much time doing, you might as well pick something that you like, so you don't get bored or tired with the story. If not, it will make for a miserable two semesters. Also try to pick a story that will be easy to convey and relate to a diverse audience.
Get out there and shoot. It is never too early to start shooting. Once I got my topic approved, I started scouting out different shots over the summer. Make a shot list of things you may want to use. You also will find some shots you did not expect to shoot along the way. I would advise everyone to start shooting over the summer. Interviews are also something that I would stress to shoot as early as you can. This way, if you forget to ask a question, or you want to find out more from an interview subject, you can go back and talk to them again because you have the time. I went back and talked to my main subject, Mickey, several times before actually interviewing him. Long story short: start as soon as you can.
Don't be afraid to reshape your story. When I first got the idea for my topic, the focus of the story was slightly different than the final product. You may pick one thing, and then take the story a different way to make it more appealing. This is what happened to me, and I am pretty sure it happened to other members of my class as well. I think it gave my story a much better plot, and made the film much more interesting than it would have originally been.
Those are just a few things, but I am sure you all will be fine if you continue to do what you do. It is a rewarding experience and I wish you all the very best. Good luck!