Friday, December 14, 2007

Finally a chance to reflect on a semester that went by way too fast ...

It seems like only yesterday that I stood in the Virginia Ball dining room staring awkwardly at the 16 other students that would soon become some of my best fellow workers and friends. At that time, I do not think any one of us could have imagined the roller coaster that was ahead. Four months and a documentary later, I realize how unique of a semester it has definitely been. I truly enjoyed the opportunity to take part in an immersive learning experience here at Ball State, especially one with this particular subject.

When I was in high school and even younger, sports were always a big part of my life. Even now, as my playing days have come to a close, I still find myself glued to the TV several nights a week watching the Colts, IU basketball, Lady Volunteer Basketball (OF COURSE!!!) and other sports which is why I thought this specific seminar was going to be such a perfect fit for me. I was not disappointed. I learned so much about sports in general, the female athlete, Title IX, and exemplary women's athletic programs, all while gaining a lot of real world skills that I will continue to take with me past this project.

"It's not exactly something they cover in history class…" said Mia Tabberson in our documentary; this is the perfect idea about Title IX. Title IX is certainly not something that you hear about often, even in history classes with women who would probably not be there without it. However, it is such a crucial part of everyday life for many women. I know I never thought about Title IX when I was involved with sports and several of the Burris Owls from this year had similar feelings. We, as a society, have gotten to the point where we do not have to think about Title IX much anymore, which is a great improvement. However, it is a never-ending process and a law that needs to continually be challenged and reflected on as years pass. I enjoyed the opportunity to truly reflect on the opportunities that are being given to women today with sports and also in academics, business, and all other areas in which women have made such great strides toward equality. I hope through our seminar, that not only our students had the chance to learn more about female athletics and Title IX, but that those who viewed our documentary also took the time to think more about the immense opportunities females are being granted today.

Continuing to reflect back on this semester, I have gained so much knowledge in other areas besides Title IX. I have learned how to work effectively and cooperatively in a group setting. I have learned skills that I never thought I would, such as operating a camera and setting up lights. I have collaborated with 16 other students and 2 wonderful teachers that have such different talents and personalities but also have such similar goals and work ethics. It has been a semester of ups and downs, but I am thankful to have had the opportunity to take part in immersive learning. Good luck to next semester's seminars!

Coming to an End

It's Friday afternoon, and very shortly our Fall Seminar will be officially over. It's odd to think that I will have to get up extra early in order to find a parking space, I will have to walk on campus, or that I won't be receiving daily emails from Kecia.

Last Tuesday night we had our last screening of the film in the Letterman Building, and we had an amazing turnout! Shortly after 7:00 p.m. the room was packed and we had to bring in more chairs. The walls were lined with people, and there were even a few Burris players sitting on the ground in the front. This time we even had a few very insightful questions. After the screening I had a several of my friends come up to me and tell me how wonderful the film was, which is always great to hear.

Wednesday was our final day of class. We turned in our portfolios and watched the completely FINISHED Behind-the-Scenes! Well, there was one small clip we had to fix, but after that it was COMPLETELY finished. It was nice to hear our classmates compliment us on the work we had done. The music boys were really pleased that we used a lot of their songs. Now we are just waiting for our copies of the movie. I'm very excited to go back home and show my family the work that we have all done.

The ending of the seminar is rather bittersweet. It's nice to finally be done and not stress, but then it's sad because our class has such a close bond with one another. I would do the stress and long hours all over again, for an experience like this one.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Coming Up for Air

Sitting in the front row of the packed room in Cornerstone, it hit me. This is my final. Not an essay in a blue book or a multiple test online, but this, a Gala! It also hit me that a whole semester has been compiled into a 46 minute film.

For those who couldn’t make it to the Thursday and join the audience of Steve and Don Shondell, Burris volleyball players from 1982 and 2007, Ball State professors, and all the friends and family that came with their support and enthusiasm, I’ll try to sum up the experience.

The Cornerstone Center of the Arts did a wonderful job with the twinkling lights and Christmas trees. The Events Committee in our class did a great job with setting up volleyball nets that had photographs of the Burris volleyball players and behind the scenes of us this semester, taken by us. In a corner we had the Behind the Scenes documentary, compiled by non-Telecommunications majors. After mingling with delicious appetizers, most of the seminar went up and spoke to the audience about their experience in the project. Despite everyone being tired from the rush to complete the film, no one tripped to the stage.

And then the film began. Not to give anything away for those coming Tuesday, but I was too awed to be nervously sneaking glances at the audience. My friends were amazed at the music and the camera’s shots. One friend said she was surprised to have the emotional response she did. After the light slowly came back on we wrapped it up with a few more speeches and a Q and A session.

Earlier I had compared this experience to scuba diving, and Sam had said how her grandmother first thought immersive learning was about swimming (“Not sub-mersive Grandma”). But now as we are working on our portfolios and looking back, I think we are realizing how we were truly submerged into this project.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

SCORE...we're Done! NOT

Sitting here on this Saturday afternoon, I'm wondering if I should head over to the VBC. See, for the past 3 Saturdays, I've been living with Evan, Blake and Jon in the smallest room ever created by an architect. "The Cave" is not being occupied, to my knowledge, at this moment, and it feels really weird.

We finally had our Gala. Never thought that I would see that day. However, now that it's over and we finally got to see the movie all the way through, we know that there needs to be things adjusted. Personally I think that the Gala was a huge success, but as I watching the movie, I was mentally editing it, and I don't know if I will ever be satisfied. Granted we had issues right up to the Gala, but knowing what we want it to look like is something that I will always have on my mind.

We still have plenty to work out. I'm planning on going in sometime in the next day or so just because there is still much more that I want to work on before Tuesday, our second screening. After Tuesday, who knows...

I'm sad that I'm leaving next semester because I still want to be apart of the post-production process. But I'm confident in leaving it in the hands of my fellow VBCer's. Because if there is one thing that I learned this semester, it's being able to let go and trust other people, because they want everything that I want for the project.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's too late... I'm using too many elipses...

0400 . . .

The gala is . . . technically, well, tomorrow. The butterflies are more than hardcore now, and even though I am home, I still cannot manage to let my brain rest.

I feel so much for our editors who have been working so hard in the cave, and I have complete trust in their abilities to turn out a film that is guaranteed to turn heads. They truly are the core of this project, and I don't know where we would be without their talent, commitment, and patience. We could not ask for more.

Today was an eye-opener. Everyone has been talking about immersive learning and what it is like to collaborate this entire semester, and I guess I just took it as a given. I thought, “Of course, we have to work together. We are together all the time." Today, I realized I have to be open to others. Yes, I have been teaming up with others for weeks, but I have always tried to do things the way I envision them, and haven’t really gotten past that until today.

The Behind-the-Scenes Documentary crew has mainly consisted of Kristen, Samantha Davis, and me for the better part of the semester. We were assigned to do a piece in the early weeks and just kind of were . . . in charge from then on. With other committees and commitments outside of the project, I have been spread pretty thin giving me limited knowledge/focus about the project with the two them. With the gala nearing and other projects wrapping up, I have been able to spend more time with them, but am extremely behind on the keyboarding/editing skills they have acquired. Long story short, I went in with different ideas and skill sets, and I quickly became frustrated. After talking with Laura and Kristen, I realized my frustrations (with myself and the BTS documentary) only made the situation more difficult.

The skills I am learning, no matter how minute they might seem compared to my peers, are those I might not have learned otherwise. So, again, I thank them for their patience in teaching me and putting up with my stubbornness . . . next time, a swift kick will do.

On the topic of collaboration and new skills, Blake and I worked together on the invitations and programs for the gala. My interest and abilities with photography and Adobe Photoshop were rekindled while working on these projects… which remind me that the gala is EVEN CLOSER! There were a few problems we didn’t catch through editing the programs, but as Jamie said, “If that’s the worst thing to happen, we’re in good shape.” (KNOCK ON WOOD!)

The photos for the gala are in, and spiffy at that! Adam Wilson was hiding his awesome photography capabilities all semester! Some of the best photos we have are from the state game with the Owls, and our audio gentlemen in the studios. I really hope everyone enjoys them.

As I type, Adam and Dan are pulling one of many over-nighters in Sursa for the second week in a row. They top my list of favorite people, and have probably the toughest job of all because they have to wait for the rest of us before they can finish their work. I have complete faith in them, and will never pass up bringing the cherry scented lotion for their cracked hands and chocolate coffee for rejuvenation.

Last kudos go to Sarah Marty and Michael Straub who lent us their time in finishing up this project. I can’t wait to see your work with our final presentation.

. . . bed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Non-committee Comes Together

So here's the final count. We have 87 hours of footage, about 55 of which are interviews. The movie is going to be about 45 minutes long. I hope you're thinking, ". . . how?" Because it was no easy feat.

The people in charge of carving the story out of the countless hours of footage have throughout this process been known as the narrative committee. Although I feel it incumbent upon myself to note that it was more of a narrative "non-committee." Throughout the entire semester there has never been a set group of people who collectively comprised the narrative committee. It was whoever felt strongly about it that week, with of course about 5 regulars. As this is a student-led project and we are all on the same level, no one of us could really turn another one down who was interested in helping, even if it was a scattered showing. The fact that all 17 students are so strongly invested in one story has been the most amazing and equally challenging aspect of this project. But fear not! We did manage. It just took . . . a little bit longer.

We tried a couple of different organizational ideas and finally landed on the most effective to date about 3 weeks ago. Every single reel of footage was assigned to someone on the narrative "committee" (on average about 10 people), which means each of us had about 8 or 9 reels to either watch fully or review the transcripts. In doing this everyone was supposed to find the golden quotes and place them into an appropriate place within the rough script outline posted on our group's personal (wiki) website. It got a little crazy sometimes, and I'm sure not all of the quotes were golden, but in the end everyone did their work. Now, two days away from the premiere, I've seen our work together (thanks to the editors) and I'm very impressed that so many minds can do individual work and it can come together so organically. I'm very proud of our work.

Sorry can't talk now...

I'd like to blog, but I am so busy trying to score the documentary I don't really have time to talk about anything. Dan and I have been up past 7 AM everynight, working over 18 hours a day for the past week or so. It gets to be time consuming when you are composing, performing, recording, editing AND mixing all the music for a film project.

Hopefully I will see you all at the Gala, there I will be able to answer any questions you might have about the process. Later!