Tag Archives: interviews

The Intent Behind the Camera

You’re surfing through Netflix after finishing your binge session one of your favorite TV shows; given the fact that this show has just come to an end, you’re devastated and in need for something else to occupy your time. But you want to try something else before you dive into another series, something different. You scroll down the list of shows and categories, and you hit the Documentaries section. “Alright,” you think to yourself, “I could try to inform myself on something.” So you pick one that seems interesting to you, say, something about killer whales in an amusement park. You finish the documentary, and you’re now left to your thoughts on the film and the issues it presented.

How did the film make you feel? Did you learn new things from it that you otherwise would have never known about before? Did it make you want to inform yourself more about the issue at hand and do something about it? Overall, did the film leave a lasting impression on you? If someone is able to answer any of these positively, then the documentary did its job well.

This summer, a handful of students, Creighton University faculty and staff members and I are on a journey to Arizona and Mexico in an effort to make a informative documentary about the lives of migrant workers and how the politics of immigration affect their lives. We’ll be working with the Kino Border Initiative and interviewing those who are affected by immigration policies to learn about their stories and their lives altogether. Through this pilgrimage to the South, our hope is to raise awareness on the issues of laws pertaining to immigration, and the impact it has on those these laws are directed at.

Kino Border Initiative Cafetiera
A cafeteria located at the Kino Border Initiative, where we’ll be going for service and interviews.

Being a graphic design major in the Journalism, Media and Computing department, I’m able to experience and learn about things outside of the field of graphic design, like journalism, film, and so on. I’ve learned to develop an appreciation for these other fields, especially when it comes to film and documentaries. I love the idea of being able to tell a story through photos and video, and really respect those who have put their heart and soul into films with the intent of informing others about certain issues that they care about.

I am really looking forward to this trip with my peers and faculty members down to Arizona and Mexico, and am very excited to listen to the stories of those we’ll be talking to, and making their message heard through the documentary we will put together. Given the heated debates that surround the topic of immigration, especially during this election season this year, it will be and insightful experience to create an informational film to present the issues through the perspective of those that are affected by it.

Hopefully those of you who are reading these blogs throughout our trip, not only by me but from my peers as well, will become interested in our journey and continue to follow along and learn with us!

The Journey Continues

It was 4:30 p.m. this past Monday. I was running on two hours of sleep. I watched many suitcases ride the baggage claim carousel and pulled my bag off when it came around the corner. I grabbed the handle of my suitcase, more than ready to go home, call my mom, shower and sleep.

John, the head faculty advisor, shouted, “I’m going home. I’ll see you all tomorrow at 1 p.m.”

Wait, what?

Reality hit me hard. We entered the classroom on Tuesday afternoon with two weeks of class ahead of us.

The fun goes on and on, and for good reason. Making a documentary isn’t just about filming video, conducting interviews, and gathering information, it’s about editing and cutting footage and picking interviews that communicate to our future audience what about our 10-day experience touched us most.  In short, we have to sum up our Alaskan adventure in 20-30 minutes. It’s an almost insane goal if you think about it.

In order to achieve this goal, we all became friends with Final Cut Pro, if we weren’t already. We spent all day Tuesday  with our new friend, re-naming and organizing hours and hours of video clips.

We then started to transcribe the dozen or so interviews we conducted while in Bethel. That is, we listened to the video of each interview and typed out word-for-word what the interviewee said. It sounds boring. Listen, pause the video, type and repeat a million times. But I had so much fun.

I think I just got lucky, because the interviews I transcribed were not interviews I had the chance to sit in on while we were in Bethel. I had the chance to transcribe Nelson’s interview, which was the most amazing interview we conducted while we were there.

I remember the team coming back from that interview. There were lots of high-fives and the room immediately  filled with energy. His interview was a last-minute interview. We took a chance on him and he told us exactly what we wanted to hear and more.

He’s the most well-spoken 19 year old I have ever heard, and he has an awesome story.  I wanted to be his best friend by the time I was done listening.

I also transcribed part of Anna’s interview. She was a senior in high school who is going to study at the University of Minnesota next year. You could tell right away she was really nervous, and I think I had forgotten how often teenagers use the word “like.” It made transcribing a bit trickier.

After we were done transcribing, I got to know Final Cut Pro a little better. I made multi-cam clips of the interviews and marked important quotes. It’s not much, but I’m glad Final Cut Pro and I got along well.

After that initial work was done, the class was split into essentially two groups: the video team and the writing team. I am part of the writing team, and I’ve been really excited about the work we’ve done on writing the story/script.

We arranged all of the noteworthy quotes into categories like subsistence, fishing restrictions, climate change and Yup’ik spirituality, which are all categories that will make up our story. We then cut out all of the quotes into strips of paper and arranged and re-arranged them into a basic and rough script. It’s like fitting pieces into a puzzle.

The writing team spent Friday afternoon rearranging these quotes.
The writing team spent Friday afternoon re-arranging these quotes.

It’s hard to believe we got back from Alaska six days ago. Since then, we’ve put in four full days of work. It was a short yet entirely long week.

The amount of work we still have left is tremendous, so here’s to one week more and an endless amount of editing.