Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shaping the idea

The idea to create a documentary and tell the story of this historic building came when I was sitting with my father at one of my sister's basketball games at St. Mary's Lyceum last winter. I thought to myself, this gym has been very important to many people over the years, and it has quite the history, but no one has really done anything media-wise to highlight the building's past. This is especially interesting that nothing has been produced a film, or wrote a book, with what the gymnasium, parish, and community have gone through in recent years with several closings and the overall condition of the neighborhood of Lawrenceville. 

Sitting at my sister's game, I talked with my dad about what I could go into when creating this film. We discussed the people I could interview, and the different pieces of history that I could research.
It truly is one of those places by which you ponder to yourself, "if only these walls could talk." The funny thing was, pretty much everyone that we thought of to interview, with the exception of two individuals, were at the game at the time. 

While this was the main "event" so to speak that influenced my documentary, my ties to St. Mary's Lyceum go back many years. 

My mother taught at St. Kieran's and St. John Neumann in the early 1990's, both parishes associated with the Lyceum. I grew up in Lawrenceville, and went to St. John Neumann until I was in second grade. My family then moved to a neighboring community, Bloomfield. When I attended Central Catholic High School, I ended up reuniting with many of my friends from St. John Neumann. I then played on the Lawrenceville neighborhood summer baseball team, 9th Ward, in high school with many of these friends. The coach of that baseball team, Mickey McGrane, basically is also the manager of the lyceum. He is also a consultant, aiding me along the way in the creation of this film. 

Whether its through my early ties with the building, the epiphany that I had while watching my sister's basketball game at the gym, or Mickey McGrane himself, the idea of creating a film to display this great piece of history came to me. I hope to convey the building's importance and unique story.

Here is a very raw, outside look of St. Mary's Lyceum, St. Mary's Church, and the old St. Mary's rectory.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Taking a different path

The inside of St. Mary's Lyceum.

Just like anything you do in life, sometimes you are thrown a curveball, and it is up to you to adjust.

When shaping my documentary, I originally wanted to highlight the history of the Lyceum, with a small segment dedicated to the closing of St. Mary's Church and St. John Neumann School, and the way the community responded. When I went to propose my documentary to faculty here at Westminster, I was given the suggestion to focus more on the adversity that the community of Lawrenceville faced when the school and church closed, as this displays a better story. While the building has an interesting and storied history, the way that the community came together and still share this building together, is a much more compelling story.

10-30 minutes would not do 100 years of history justice, either. I hope to include a brief history of the building in my film, but focus more on the recent history of the community, and the way the gym is still used today despite all the closings in the neighborhood.