Sunday, December 9, 2012

Debriefing the showcase

On Saturday, Dec. 1st, Jordan Greer, James McCallion and I screened each of our documentaries at the 2012 Broadcast Communications Capstone Showcase at Mueller theater.

After my film, The Heartbeat of Lawrenceville premiered, it seemed as if the audience enjoyed watching the documentary. Many members of the audience asked questions about the building, and my experiences with the gym. Many peope pointed out how they liked my "Pittsburgh-esque" characters.They also were very interested in both Jordan and James' films as well.

I believe that my consultants were pleased with the way the film turned out. Although I am yet to receive a grade from either of them, Ryan told me that he thought it turned out well, and I am sure Mickey will feel the same way as the main character in the film.

Mr. Weaver was also pleased with the documentary. I was happy with my grade, and the fact that he thinks that the film could run on WQED in Pittsburgh. He seemed to be pretty happy with the class as a whole. One thing he did say about the film was that there were too many "talking heads." While I agree that there were a lot of interviews, I think this was necessary to telling the story. With a building with 100 years of history, it is tough to fit that into a short film without having a lot of interviews. This is a learning experience and I will definitely keep that in mind for the future!

It is overwhelming and rewarding to hear feedback from my friends at home about the film. Many of them said how it brought back memories of playing at the gym. This makes all of those days of shooting and long nights of editing worth it. In the creation of this film, my main goal was to make a documentary that the people associated with the gym in some way would enjoy. And for the most part so far, that is the reaction that I am getting.

Some advice from your elders

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!