Alaska, Here We Come!

When I was told that the beginning of this course would consist of a “video boot camp”, I thought it was just a flashy way of saying “introduction to video”. Never have I been so wrong. This week has indeed been a boot camp. After the first four days, here are just a few things that are rapidly firing through my head:

  • I should pack soon
  • A big number means a small aperture…right?
  • Eschatology is fun to say
  • Wait, does a small aperture mean a small f-number?
  • The Fish People
  • No! A small aperture means a large f-number
  • What if I oversleep and miss the plane?
  • f-8 and be there

I’ve learned a lot of things and have been given so much information that it’s hard not to be a little nervous. At the same time though, the things I am most nervous about are also the things I’m most excited about. On one hand, I’m worried about using the video equipment properly, but on the other hand, I can’t wait to put what we’ve been learning into practice. I’m at once concerned that I won’t understand the Yupik culture and thrilled to immerse myself in a world so different from my own.

Just from our short conversations about the Yupik culture, I can tell that these people will have amazing stories to tell. I was a bit awe inspired today when we talked about the Yupik word “Ella”, which simultaneously encompasses the weather, the world, and the universe. One part cannot be changed without having an effect on another. As a Westerner, I have never experienced a culture that places such a profound connectedness between these three parts of the human experience. What a wonderfully wise concept.

I can’t wait to learn from the Yupik people, but I am just as excited to learn from my classmates. Even though I’ve only known some of them for a few days, I am struck by the immense talent that everyone has. Whether it’s an eye for the perfect camera angle, thoughtful insights into theological issues, or a creative way of asking interview questions, each person will contribute to the project in an unique and important way. We may be beginning film makers, but I think we have the ability to do the people of Bethel justice.

The day is nearly here! Before we know it, we’ll be braving the long flights to Alaska and saying hello to Bethel. After months of waiting, our adventure will finally start. To put it in the words of Tim, “We’re going to Alaska, freaks!”

We divided up the food today! We'll have rice and oatmeal for days! Photo taken by John O'Keefe.
We divided up the food today! We’ll have rice and oatmeal for days! Photo taken by John O’Keefe.

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