Monday, November 26, 2007

Ups and Downs...and Ups again

As the semester comes closer to its end, I find myself looking back and evaluating my experience at the Virginia Ball Center. Coming into this semester, I was very excited to have an out-of-the-classroom learning experience. I was a bit nervous about the different type of semester-long project that cannot be finished by simply cramming at the library the last week of classes. I was also anticipating the diversity of the group of people I would be working with.

My parents kept telling me that this would be a very challenging experience, but completely worth the time and effort. I actually slightly disagreed with them because I knew we had at least 15 people in our challenging could it be if all the work was split up between us!?

The semester started off as good as I could have imagined. Our group got along from the start and soon developed inside jokes and positive group dynamics. I thoroughly enjoyed our class discussions that usually involved gender issues, which is one of my all-time favorite topics. I would leave our daily meetings feeling intellectually fulfilled.

As our semester progressed and we broke off into committees, the stress level of the project increased. It became my number one priority to work with the narrative committee. Many days I found myself feeling completely bogged down and full of stress from trying to develop skills and creative ideas to help produce a narrative for the film. At times, I would feel as if we were making tremendous progress...only to run into another one of the various speed bumps along the journey. Discouraging...

Finally, Finally! A skeleton narrative was produced which was followed by a storyboard. At this point, I could feel our project starting to really come together...there was an end product in sight and we would successfully accomplish our goal.

We have had to place together interview clips/voiceover, visuals, and narration to fit into our storyboard. This required the time-consuming process of going through each and every reel of footage (85 discs to be exact) and recording timecodes for each clip. When I saw the rough cut of the documentary last week, I felt very proud of our work... and thankful that I had been motivated enough to sit at my computer for 13 hours straight the previous day/night in order to give the editors more clips.

I saw clips throughout the documentary that I had personally chosen and it made me feel great inside. It really showed me that all of our hard work throughout the semester has been worth it. If I felt that incredible sense of accomplishment from seeing the rough cut, I cannot wait to feel the sense of pride when we show our final product on Dec. 6!

To sum up this semester in one sentence...
This semester has been the most stressful and challenging educational experience of my life thus far, but the development of skills and sense of accomplishment have been completely worth the time and effort.
Looks like my parents were right...again!

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