My Videos Through Time
Over the course of this… course, I have learned more about myself than I have learned about documentaries. Yes, I now know the names attached to certain modes of documentary storytelling. I can name more types of shots, transitions, and ideas in filmmaking. I’ve gotten practice applying these ideas, and contributed to my own documentary. But, the main takeaway I have at the close of this class is that I actually like creating films. It brings me back to certain times in my childhood, like when my friends from kindergarten and I would dawn our scream masks and fight with lightsabers as the designated cameraman stood back and captured the action on their mom’s bulky home video camcorder. It brings me back to middle school, when we would make skits and post them on YouTube, secretly hoping for internet fame. Or to high school, as we made football trick shot videos, and I was the one in charge of editing such that the music’s beat dropped right as the football fell into that orange Home Depot bucket sitting at the end of the alleyway. These are things I loved doing in the past, but seemingly became too busy to continue with as I ventured further into the future.
This class gave me a reason to get back into filmmaking and video editing. The difference, though, was that this project felt real. We worked as a team, divided the workload, interviewed social actors, met deadlines, and presented something I felt proud of in front of others. Although it was sometimes difficult to start working on the project, when I felt tired or lazy or like doing something else, I always found my rhythm once I sat down and put my energy toward editing. It felt powerful, like I was in a special position to control the narrative, to reflect the views of those who we interviewed, and to extend those views to connect them to the story we as a filmmaking group were trying to tell. As silly as it may sound, I felt something of a duty to those we interviewed to reflect their ideas truthfully. I knew most of them would never watch our short movie, but if they did, I wanted them to say to themselves “Huh, that was cool. They really demonstrated what I was trying to convey in a new way.”
Looking back on the documentary-making process, I feel like we succeeded in doing that. We didn’t use all the interviews we conducted, so that we could create a video that was both to the point and interesting. I enjoy the fact that we opted for short and quality rather than long and boring. I believe it serves the narrative, interviewees, and viewer better.
Our documentary, “What Do You Ink?” did not necessarily tell the story I was initially most interested in telling, but I believe by the end of it, I was just as invested as the person who came up with the documentary idea in the first place.