by Alissa Brooks
Hello world! My name is Alissa Brooks. I am a recent graduate of Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio and I travelled a couple thousand miles to attend this workshop. In between classes and interviews, I am also updating the social media sites and blogging. Here is my first post!
“…all of us who do creative work we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple of years you try to make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential…The most important thing you can do is do a lot of work…It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” – Ira Glass, NPR
Day three of the STF workshop is just beginning, and as the group settles in to their seats some are saying, “I can’t wait to get on location and film” and “I think we really have a story here.” They are referring to the two heroes selected to share their personal stories and how they discovered Foundation for Women (FFW), micro-credit loans, and the impact each are making on their lives.
Yet, who are these people that are going to be behind the lens? The short answer is they are six diverse individuals, each offering a skill set that forms a team of experts need to produce documentary media for a non-profit organization. Further, they are students, of all ages and backgrounds, that want to learn how to hone their craft and learn new skills. Even deeper, they are activists, parents, artists – all united in San Diego to learn and create.
The first part of documentary filmmaking, as the group learned yesterday, is research. Part of research involves casting. Six FFW loan applicants and recipients shared their stories. The critical part was to pick whose story represented best the organization, the mission of the “I Challenge Life Campaign,” and resinated with our group.
Toni Cervantes, a workshop participant, was critical in casting. Currently, she’s a photographer who documents cornea transplants throughout the world. Before she began this project she was a commercial and music video casting director based in Los Angeles.
“For me this whole class is exemplary of that everybody has a story to tell. If you ask the right questions, you find the story. People always surprise you. The quietest person can have the most profound wisdom to depart. The most bubbly person can be on antidepressants. You just don’t know. My thing is – never underestimate anybody and what they have to say.”
Casting is just the first step. There will be storyboarding, photographing, interviewing, transcribing, and editing. Along the way information, advice, stories, and memories will be gathered – each a experience to add to their individual volumes of work.