During this unit, we were given the task of portraying either a person, place, idea, or issue in our community creatively and truthfully. For the paper that we wrote in English and the documentary film that we created, we chose a stance on our subject and then built our work off of that angle statement.
For the Junior Documentary Project, we gathered primary and secondary research sources to develop a distinct perspective about our subject’s significance in the community and even in the world.
Lilia and I were interested in the creation of online video on a popular platform that I’m sure everyone has heard of: YouTube. We decided to get more of an inside look on YouTube and how it functions, while exploring how it has provided a new network of careers and communities.
DOCUMENTARY RESEARCH PAPER
As an Honors student, I was tasked with writing a research paper that was 8-10 pages long, including important information that I gathered during the interviews that we did and academic database resources. In the paper, I focused on why YouTube is relevant in our world and how it is altering and impacting our society.
ELECTIVE CLASS PRODUCTION
We kicked off our Documentary unit by dedicating one film class day to the creation of our Mockumentary film. This was our first official day of documentary work and we had just listened to a lecture on documentaries, so we were now prepared to go out and film one. Our task was to come up with a fake documentary topic, film it, and then edit it. In groups of three, we split up and scoured the Freestyle campus to look for locations where we would be able to film our ideas. The Mockumentary gave us the opportunity to exercise the documentary skills (composition, lighting, using LAV mics) that we had just learned as a practice for our official documentary film.
Our Mockumentary is about a big secret that Mr. Greco, our English teacher, has been hiding from us! Watch the film to find out what happens to Ryan, Bella, and Isabel, the set crew of the Mockumentary 😉
For our official documentary film, we began by researching and developing lists of interview questions for our four different interviews. A lot of these questions were tailored specifically to the person that we were interviewing and were questions that we felt our interviewees would be best fit to answer. Following each interview, I transcribed everything that was said so that we would have transcripts which would make it a lot easier for us when organizing what parts to include in the film and when they were stated in the interview.
After conducting the interviews, we gathered and shot b-roll for the documentary, which is supplemental footage that is an overlay on top of the “talking head” interview shots. Next, we started the editing process on Adobe Premiere Pro. I am pretty proud of this documentary because I think we did a good job of putting it together with the content that we got from our interviews.
I was really nervous about this unit because I am not a big fan of documentaries and they used to bore me when I was younger. However, this unit has taught me so much about the making of documentaries and how to portray important and educational information in a way that engages the viewer. Making the documentary film allowed me to practice using the actual camera itself and the research paper that we wrote in English made the whole process of creating the interview questions much easier. I think this was one of my strongest projects this school year.