Reflections: Module 3

My creation location.
My creation location.

I outline a lot of this in my posts of my rough and final cut, but I figured I would write something a little bit more thorough about my process for module 3.

Since module 3 was based on module 2 for me, I tried to boil it down to the basics. I did a lot of organizing of my footage on my computer to try and identify what I had. I contacted my family and asked them for some footage of family gatherings (my parents and siblings all live in Williamsburg, VA). This time I gave them detailed instructions like, “Hold your cell phone horizontal when you take video,” and “Try to not capture anyone acting or hamming things up for the camera.” My parents really got into it and sent me a lot of really great stuff.

Once I had all of my stuff in the right places, I watched all of the footage. This took a while but it was helpful. I made a spreadsheet and I marked time codes where I thought I might want to use a piece of dialogue or visual. This was great because it helped me know my footage, but it really was time consuming. In the end I did not even refer to the spreadsheet once I actually started editing. That being said, this is a method I will definitely keep using going forward. Even if I don’t use it directly during editing it really forced me to watch everything. The other benefit is that it made the load seem more manageable. I knew what footage I couldn’t use, so I just took it out of my folders. This helped me really be more organized when I sat down to edit.

This time around I did not do any storyboarding. I thought of pieces that I knew I wanted to be in the piece (for example, the typing and texting bit), and would then just create a new sequence in Premiere and start piecing it together. Often times while editing I would be inspired about another sequence I knew I wanted, so I would switch gears and create another sequence and start piecing it together. While this method was very jumpy, it made the work flow a little bit more naturally. I did not feel like I was forcing anything and it helped me let go a little bit. As I have said in other posts, this is definitely the biggest struggle for me. I am used to creating shot lists for narrative films where I can 100% identify and get the footage I need. Working in the documentary style was a total change of pace for  me. Not storyboarding helped me avoid falling into that rigidity that I suffered from in module 2.

All of that being said, this was not a perfect process. I did frequently get overwhelmed and feel like I couldn’t juggle all of the moving parts. Thanks to a suggestion from my boyfriend, I wrote out clips onto index cards. This helped me visualize what I had and allowed me to move them around so that I could see how they all fit. I wish I had allowed myself a little more time with this method, because it was really helpful. I just did not get much time to sit with it and truly plan my editing strategy. Hence the jumpy strategy described above.

That is really about it. The music I used is the theme song for the film Beginners. The poster that is in the background when I was talking to my dad on the phone was created by the director of Beginners, Mike Mills, as well. Beginners is a huge inspiration for me, so it made me really happy when I realized the music would work in my piece. Putting that little piece of music into my rough, rough cut really made the short come together in my mind for me. I saw what I needed to do and it gave me a lot of confidence (which I was desperately missing).

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