It’s really crazy how things seem to go so slow, but then you look up realize how much time has passed. Like how May is here, and finals start in two days. Or how my junior year in college is over. Or how I’m in my twenties, when I swear to you last week I was playing tag around the neighborhood with my friends. Maybe it’s because we spend so much of that time waiting for the future, or dreading the moments we’re in now. I really don’t know, but we’re here, so I guess I should do some reflecting. This class is like none I’ve ever taken, and I’m glad to have shared it with all of you.
Our first assignment was a video essay, which sounded easy to me but still made me briefly panic. I got a great idea to film something in the typical style I’m used to: humorous and almost sketch-like (It involved Tide Pods). That was obviously the wrong way to do things and I wasted a lot of time and footage pursuing that. I still had to put something together, so I went to the Spencer Museum of Art. They promptly told me I could not go in with a tripod or a camera. I was defeated so I just went for a walk. I love our campus, and I really think it is beautiful, so I just started shooting everything I saw. It turned into “A Walk on The Hill” and I am fairly proud of how it came out after several other plans had failed. It was a good starting point for me. This was the very first project we made, and I had to use my plan C. We had barely talked about it, and that’s how important it is!
I covered William Allen White’s 150th birthday party in the J-School for our first VO/VOSOTVO, and I think I got some good shots here. I did not get the amount of shots or the variety that I wanted, but there was a lot less action than I thought there would be at an event offering free food to college students. It was during classes, and I had to leave one of mine just to get there on time, so maybe that’s why less people showed up. I don’t like how my interview with Dean Brill looks, she kept leaning to the edge of the frame a little more than I’d like. It’s also hard to tell the dean of your school to stand up straight and stop moving.. As for positives, the shots I did get were mostly good and I was happy about how this turned out. I was nervous about the writing of my script, because in the past i haven’t done much of that, but it kind of came naturally once I started to speak it as I wrote it. Jon grabbing a cupcake is my favorite shot ever.
This was my favorite VO to shoot. There’s just something about going out at times when less people are out than normal. I don’t enjoy being cold, but I love winter weather events. I really think snow is so beautiful after it first falls, and capturing that is so exciting. Covering the ice storms was a no brainer once I knew the school would be closed for at least a day. However, that meant I couldn’t fix equipment issues such as my microphone not working. My interview audio was so low I barely heard it AFTER turning up my volume and the audio track volume all the way. That was a bummer, but we learn from our mistakes! I think there is improvement here in some of my shots. I tried to get more artsy with it than the first VO/VOSOTVO.
I remember the last VO/VOSOTVO being a struggle. I understand why we had to make two separate videos this time. It helps us grow and think better. I had a very hard time coming up with both of my ideas. Being in the newsroom helped me get my VO idea about Dick’s Sporting Goods, as they had mentioned on broadcast that there is a store in Lawrence and that they did sell guns. This was of course just after the Florida school shooting, when Dick’s announced they would stop selling guns. The basketball piece is not so good. It has no nat sound, I know that. Something happened while recording, and I had no idea how to fix it. The sound worked fine for my interview with a mic plugged in, but there was no sound on my other clips. I think my writing for both of these was fine, it just sucks that the audio didn’t work right on the VOSOTVO, because I was making so many improvements. It felt like no matter how well I did, something would always keep the projects from being my best.
The first package was made so easy for me because Kathy was an amazing partner! She stumbled upon the exhibit out in front of the J-school and it was a great idea to film that. Kathy also did basically all of the shooting because while we were there I had to leave to give tours to high school students (I am an ambassador for the J-school). So she really took hold of shooting the project and had some great interviews. Editing was the rough part, because to fit all of our soundbites we went way over on time and had to cut things down. Normally, cutting would be fine, but that meant speeding up our voiceovers, which got messy. It leads to a project that feels a tad rushed in the beginning, but I slowed down as it went on and just decided cutting time wasn’t worth sacrificing the quality. I think this turned out so well, and it’s the best video that I was a part of this semester. Very happy with it, and I think it showed me for real how far Kathy had come since the class started. She’s an all-star!
If I’m honest here, package two is not my best work. It was like, plan Z or something. I was running out of time after multiple ideas failed to materialize, and I just made a video about a video game. It seemed lazy to me, but it’s all I had. My lower thirds were pretty bad, and some of the lighting is off as well. My first interviewee, Sam, was not excited to be on camera. You can clearly see that in his soundbites, but I had to use them. The biggest thing about making packages for me is writing the entire script. I never wrote scripts before this class. I would just think of what to say, and record it. So this kind of added another layer to things that made me write my words, and I think that keeps you from just going with the first thing and having to sit and think about what you want to say. It wasn’t horrible, but it just wasn’t my best. It just fell in that time of the semester where you have so many things going on and I had to throw some stuff together to make it work.
This is it, the final newsbreak! You never stop and realize how far you’ve come while you’re doing things like this. I remember in January an entire TEAM of people not being able to get live newscasts going for weeks with the new set in Dole, and that’s literally their job. When putting it into perspective like that, I mean we made these by ourselves. Obviously we helped each other, but making the rundown and a national news story and scripts and weather and having to be on camera was really a culmination of this entire semester of learning and growing. And we did it! These were all SO good, guys. Really I am proud of everyone, and that includes myself. I am often critical of my work, because I feel like I can be better. I believe I only stumbled once while reading during the entire newsbreak, and I wrapped it up pretty well when I was showed the time near the end.
Well, that’s it.. You know, Doctor Collins had us all write down some contact info, and she put it all together in a document or spreadsheet and emailed it out pretty early on. I was sitting in my apartment and I felt like we had such a long journey ahead, and I was already getting confused or frustrated with the class before we had done anything. I was kind of scared, because I never want to let anyone down, especially my father who works hard and pays for me to be here and learn all by himself. I decided to take everyone’s name and number, all of you people that I didn’t really know, and put it in a group chat. It seemed simple and I felt like I might be reaching, and nobody would ever use it or would just think it was weird that I did that. I was wrong. It might have been the best decision I made this semester. We’ve all grown into this rare thing for a class of almost 20 (rare for ANY class), a family. Everyone stepped up, and everyone helped each other in those times where we were confused or didn’t quite understand Dr.Collins. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have made it through this.
Speaking of Dr.Collins, I’d just like to thank you so much. I was a semester late to taking J550. I was actually supposed to take it in the Fall, but it got delayed to this semester. I kicked myself for so long about that, thinking I should already be in J620, and closer to the end than I was. But I now realize how fortunate I was that this happened. Any other semester, I would have had the exact same experience as all the other journalism kids at KU. The same professor saying the same things. But we got YOU. Someone who has been everywhere and done everything. Someone who knows HOW to teach this class and make it different. Your school is very lucky to have you, and I would help KU fundraise in a heartbeat to pay you to stay.
Anyway guys, this is getting close to two thousand words, so I should probably wrap it up. I think I can see my growth from start to end in these videos. I grew because of the teaching, and because of all of you. Thank you all for making it a worthwhile semester. Next time we have a party, I promise I’ll bring my guitar and play a cheesy song for you. I’ll leave you with a picture that reminds me I’m in my twenties. I swear to you it was just last week.. My name is Riley Wood, Standby…