Before I could even type this, I started tearing up…standby….this class and semester have been quit the journey for me. Just like anybody in college, I had a lot of personal things going on and a busy schedule, but coming to this class everyday made me feel at home. I met so many great people, from all walks of life, that I hope to see or hear from in the future. I believe that everyone you met, makes an impact on your life and this is true with Dr. Collins. She was the first black female professor I ever had. I remember on the first day of class, I ran home to tell my mom how awesome that was, and how excited I was for the semester. I knew this class would be challenging but I was ready to sink AND swim!
Our first assignment was a video essay. I did not know what this was and immediately grew worried. I think the word “essay” scared me into thinking it would be very long and involve a lot of writing. This was actually the opposite! We also did not have any boundaries on this and I was hesitant with that because I’ am used to direction. Looking back at it now I realized I really made nothing into something. I left the assignment off till the last minute and had to end up shooting basically what was right in front of me. I knew this would turn out very bad, but when I started to edit I realized a story is a story and something as simple as this could be important to someone. This is something I remember Dr. Collins stressing in class “always look what’s right in front of you, there is a story everywhere.” I don’t even think I thought about a plan A, B or C in this assignment it was basically a “you have to shoot right now” plan or you will get an F (lol). I knew if anything I had to MEET THE DEADLINE, because Dr. Collins said all semester whatever you do, just turn it in on time and somehow I did! This is something I will keep with me until I die. Overall despite the shaky shot and quick editing it turned out okay. During this time I also was not fully used to Premiere Pro.
The event I chose for my first VO and VOSOTVO was the best one all year. It was the perfect place for different shots, NAT sound and interviews. During this time in the semester I was still struggling with time management and editing quickly. Looking back on this I see that I was really nailing down the W, M, C(T) shots. One thing I wish would have went differently was my interview. It was hard to hear the interviewee because I did not place the mic well and they kept moving out of the frame. Interviews were also something I felt a little uncomfortable with because I would struggle with making up questions or feel like I’m bothering the person. I had to get used to this quickly because we had to do this for almost every assignment. This was also the first time we wrote a script, I thought I would do well with this but had a lot to learn; conversational wise.
On my second VO and VOSOTVO I definitely can see improvements. My time management was better and so was my editing. I had a good interview but it was not framed up correctly. My script also sounded more conversational and less promotional which I was struggling with. During this time I was having issues with audio, so this was effecting my soundbites. Jump cuts were also something I had to learn not to do and I needed to make sure I included faces of people in my shots. I was also transferring over from the Canon cameras to JVCs at this time. It was a struggle because I had never used a JVC until this year, resulting in a major panic attack when my SD card didn’t work. After I figured out the issue, I never wanted to go back to a Canon camera again. I was happy my camera skills/knowledge was expanding. This topic was my plan B, but I’m glad I was starting to problem solve and not immediately ask for help.
My third VO was absolutely my favorite. I didn’t have to think about a Plan A, B or C, like before because I already knew what I wanted to do. It was so fun to get b-roll for this VO because I actually got to record a TV screen. This is something Dr. Collins wanted us to try and I think it turned out really successful. However, the videos I got were all very dark so this was my major downfall.It would have been really cool to add a soundbite to this video to make it even more complete.I tried everything I could in Premiere to lighten them up but nothing was working. My topic was also very relevant and my script was smooth. I also got great NAT sound on one of my clips.
For my third VOSOTVO I wanted to make sure I incorporated everything I learned so far, I think I succeeded. My interview was the best part because it was framed nicely but could have had the interviewee looking more closer to the camera. I also had a great establishing wide shot. I was able to edit and write a script fast and conversational. I also made sure to match what I was saying to the video perfectly (say it, see it). There is a really cool shot (money shot) of food steaming on a skillet pan and great shots of different faces. Everything was feeling a little more comfortable and I was able to get more creative and improve my storytelling.
Making a package was probably the most challenging project for me all semester. It was my first time ever doing one, and I was intimidated by how much we needed to do. Being able to have a partner was very helpful though! Askinya and I had a blast with our topic in general and I was lucky to have her as a partner. We both helped out each other in different ways – she helped me with questions for interviews (which I get nervous at) and I helped her with making the script conversational. Since we both had hectic schedules this was actually our plan D. We had to go back and re-shoot some things which made us feel bad thinking it would not be good the second time or felt like we would annoy/look unprofessional to the people allowing us to shoot but I’m glad we did re-shoot. We realized sometimes that is going to happen, you just have to stay positive. As hard as it may seem I was very camera shy and awkward when it came to the stand-up. I kept messing up my lines and got frustrated, it also didn’t help that people were around watching. I had to get used to this and just perform like Dr. Collins always says. I ultimately faced my fears during this project (actually touched and held animals and creatures). The worst part about this project was editing the video because we had so many great shots and we also had to fit soundbites, and our stand-up in. The script was also a little challenging to write. Overall it came out great and looking back at it now I’m very proud of myself for learning patience and not to care what people think. Askinya also taught me to always email the event coordinator 3 days before and make sure to arrive early and sometimes stay late.
The second package I made was all by myself. I knew what I had to do from my first one and had all the skills/knowledge to do it. I wanted to do a stand-up again to get the experience, but had no time and didn’t want to stress or miss a deadline. I did a really good job with getting different people for soundbites and storytelling. However some of my shots were shaky because I had limited space to move, and things were constantly happening in the store. When I was shooting video I really tried to only shoot what I needed and try to picture the story in my head, I think that helped me out a lot. This was also my best script and a really unique story to do. I didn’t think I would be able to get three interviews or get the video to a minute thirty, but I did!
Saving the best for last our final newsbreak was my favorite part of the whole semester. I had been dying to get on our new and improved stage, and I’m glad Dr. Collins gave us the opportunity to do this. I had a little practice from being on a previous student run show at Media Crossroads, which made me not so nervous when I go up there. I was super excited to use what I had learned all semester and actually go LIVE! I’m usually wearing athletic clothing so it was also nice to dress up and actually put on makeup. I enjoyed being the producer for my partner and maybe in the future will give it another try. I noticed I’am very animated with my facial expressions so that is something I need to watch. I definitely brought energy though and felt relaxed on camera. When it came to wrapping up I struggled a little but did what I had to do. I enjoyed assisting other classmates with camera operating and kind words. I was happy we got to do a weather report, because I have always wondering what it would be like to do weather. Doing that was super fun and I hope to try it again someday. I wish I could have ad-lib’d more to bring more of my personality, but I think this showed in the CNN reader because I like to focus on things I care or more interested about. I can only get better from here and more practice will certainly help that.
It may come as a surprise to some, but I did not see Journalism in my future when I came to KU. I always knew all my life that I wanted to be on TV (singer, actor, comedian, TV show host/personality) but didn’t know how I was going to get there. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college it all clicked for me. After that, I still struggled and wondered if this was the right career/major for me, because I love to do so many things and don’t like restrictions. That’s a big thing I had to cope with when coming to college, because I honestly feel that someone can be good at many things and shouldn’t have to settle for a certain major or one career in their life.
I think this optimistic lifestyle I have is a great asset in this career, because it is always adapting and changing. With that being said, JOUR 550 finally gave me the experience to be in control of what I wanted to do. I was able to pick my own stories, shots, report, get creative with writing my own scripts and many more. This was just what I needed…I’m not sure where I will end up in the journalism field (maybe anchoring, reporting, or some of those other things I listed) but all these skills will be very useful in whatever I pursue. To Dr. Collins and my classmates, “I HOPE YOU HAD THE TIME OF YOUR LIVES,” because I did and I will remember each and everyone one of you. THANK YOU for everything Dr. Collins and I will truly miss you. <3
Sorry I wrote so much, I really could write all day but for now…
I’m Jasmine Keys, a SWIMMER… singing off and…smiling!!!