Throwing open my camera bag, I swiftly attached the microphone to the handheld camera. I dragged my roommate over to hold the camera. I felt uneasy coordinating a video interview in the middle of a crowd with eager kids running to take their place on stage, followed by a flock of parents propping their phones up for the perfect photo op. As my roommate adjusted the headphones, I lined up the shot of my interviewee, a dance instructor. In the middle of the shuffle I asked myself, “Why am I doing this?”
It’s been almost a year since I produced a short documentary covering a fitness event for my video journalism project at the University of Westminster in London. The final video told the inspirational story of a once-overweight marketing and sales professional who, after losing 60 pounds by doing Zumba, decided to leave her career to become a full-time instructor. Through clips of her instructing a class as the students followed her lead, I illustrated her story in a way that I couldn’t convey in print while also explaining the significance of the fitness event in the community. Even though taping the event made me tense, the final video made it all worth it. I think I even impressed my harsh professor who commented, “You need to work on your levels, but this is a good.”
Since taking that Multimedia Journalism class in London, I’ve wanted to continue practicing and building my portfolio in video journalism. Now, in just a few days, I’ll be meeting with my current video instructor at Arcadia, Professor Alan Powell, to discuss equipment for my senior thesis creative project.
So for my final project, I’ve decided to create a video series featuring profiles of Philadelphians who are promoting sustainability. My plan is to produce at least five videos that I will post on YouTube and my travel blog and promote on social media.
I was introduced to Philadelphia’s thriving eco-conscious community when I interned at Grid magazine, the sustainability monthly magazine. Inspired by locals trying to build a more sustainable Philadelphia, I wanted to continue sharing their stories through my project.
When thinking about my creative project, I knew I wanted a challenge, and the video that I made about the fitness event in London came to mind. The typical projects for journalism students are usually blogs and print magazines—both media that I’ve worked with in the past and am very comfortable with. When reflecting on my college career, video journalism is a subject that I always wished that I could spend more time on. After all, this is my senior year—my last opportunity to learn as an undergraduate student.
When it comes to journalism, there’s always a struggle to contact potential interviewees and convince them to participate in your project. While producing the video project for my Multimedia Journalism class abroad, I found it especially difficult to find willing participants since many people are camera shy. Plus, I know from that experience that I will need to get proper permissions to shoot on location. For the fitness event video in London, I contacted the local government a week before. When I got approval I still had to abide by certain restrictions they placed.
I’m certain that I’ll hit setbacks while working on this project. That’s something I’m used to. My biggest problem is a personal one. I want the final videos to be perfect, but I know that’s not realistic. Every class meeting Professor Powell constantly points out, “It’s not about the final project. It’s about the process.” As somebody who loves to see a tangible final outcome, I know I will have to constantly remind myself of this advice.
Photo by Cierra Adair ’15