Welcome to my Documentary website. For this unit at Freestyle, I chose to make a documentary about the Mountain View High Queer-Straight Alliance. The QSA is a club that meets once a week, and their goal is to provide a safe community on campus where LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer, etc.) and allied students can find support and not fear judgement from others. The meetings can include anything from socialization time to the analysis of trans* representation in the media to brainstorming sessions about how to raise awareness about queer issues around campus. The most important part of the club, however, is to make sure that everyone feels included and is sheltered from bullying based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. This club is very valuable, and I wanted to share their goals with our community through this documentary.
This unit is composed of many different elements in English, Design, and WebAudio. I began by researching topics related to my subject for English class, like the history of the queer community and the impact that bullying has on queer students, as well as how effective QSAs can be. I then created a set of interview questions, and recorded interviews with students in our QSA to gather their thoughts and opinions on the topic and to hear their personal stories and perspectives. I typed the transcripts from those interviews, and based on the book outline that I created in English, I began to write. Each of the three chapters in my book includes both primary sources in the form of interviews, and secondary sources in the form of research. I also wrote a foreword, introduction, conclusion, and compiled a works cited page to keep track of all my sources. Once I had all the different components of the book written, I transferred them into my book in Design.
The book itself took the most time out of any aspect of this project. Using the program InDesign, I created a blank book with thirty pages. I added in text boxes, photos in frames and in spreads, individual quote boxes, design elements, and finally inserted the text from English. The formatting of the book was difficult, especially because I had to come up with a color scheme halfway through and change the color of a lot of the different elements. Once it was finally formatted, I created a cover for the book. The front contains the title and my name as author, and the back holds a picture of me and an author bio so that readers can know a little bit more about me. I copied the front cover to the first page inside my book, and I was finally ready to print. This was the first time I had used InDesign, and I found that it was a very simple and straightforward program, very similar to Photoshop. I learned techniques like how to use object and paragraph styles to speed up the design process and make the book consistent, and I implemented a color scheme for the first time. Those skills will definitely be helpful to me in the future.
For WebAudio, I created a four-page website to display all of my work. Using parts of my book from Design, I also created an audio slideshow. It began with a transcript, which you can find on the Slideshow page. The transcript is a shortened version of my book, without aspects like the table of contents, foreword, and works cited. It contains direct quotes from my interviewees, and they have been highlighted in the text so they stand out. Once I had the transcript, I used the images and text from it to build my audio slideshow. The slideshow itself has seventeen images, all of which can be found in the transcript. I split up the text into seventeen different parts, then recorded myself reading each one separately in the applicaiton ProTools. I added sound bytes from the interviews I recorded throughout the slideshow, so you can hear the exact words from the interview. The different slices of audio are played over the different images, and I also created background music in ProTools through that plays through the whole slideshow to tie it all together. The entire thing is less than five minutes long, though not by much.
On the Slideshow page, you can play the audio slideshow and see a PDF of the transcript I created for it. There is also a screenshot of my ProTools session, where you can see the different slices of audio and the background music. The Book page contains a description of my book, a screenshot of my InDesign workspace, and a PDF of my final book that you can flip through to view each spread. The last page of my website holds my paper. You can look through the Foreword, Introduction, Chapters 1-3, Conclusion, and Works Cited in different tabs on the page. It also contains some pictures that correspond with pictures in my book and audio slideshow.
The Documentary Unit has helped me in a lot of different areas. I had to learn how to conduct an interview, how to write the different pieces of a book, how to implement many different elements of design in order to have an aesthetically pleasing product, how to create a transcript and put together a slideshow with audio from both myself and interviewees that includes photos and background music, and skills like how to display the book and the different sections of my paper on a website. It caused me a lot of stress and took up a lot of my time both in and out of class, but I'm very proud of my final product. My published book, displayed at the end-of-the-year exhibition, looks professional and unique. I have a newfound confidence in my abilities as a Freestyle student, and I have gotten to practice time management in order to meet all the different deadlines. Although it was a long process, everything seemed to turn out well and I feel like I can look back on my work with pride.