Friday, January 26, 2007

Moving On

Based on the absence of my past consistently sporadic posts, one might assume that some sort of change has taken place in the past month, and indeed it has. After our end-of-the-year dinner, of which I have written about previously, we interns had about one week to pack up and peruse our routes of departure.

For Tait and I, the return home would be a permanent one, based on the fact that I had a previous job waiting for my return, and Tait has been itching to sell half of Alaska now that he is a licensed realtor. For Chris and Jason it was a different story. Both of them accepted offers to return to San Antonio after the winter break to resume work at Vf, though they would now return as staff.

My father flew to San Antonio during this time period and I had the privilege of introducing him to each member of the Forum team. What a blessing to show off my dad to everyone I had worked with, and of course the staff was very gracious as they gave him a report on my work and character. There is not a better feeling in the world than knowing you had worked hard and made your father proud.

After tossing my four months of living essentials (and non-essentials) into the back of the car, dad and I made our way to Washington with only four days before Christmas. You may recall the severe storms that shut down Denver airport around that time. Providentially, as we made our way home we seemed to be only on the edge of the storm. As we passed many emergency vehicles, wrecked cars and trucks in the ditch, and road closures all around, we were blessed to make our way home safely.

I would now like to tell you what I will be very busy with for the next 94 days or so, but since I have just completed my Subway meatball marinade sandwich (a meal choice that won’t happen again) and cup of water, I am now being beckoned back to the place where a great struggle takes place each year, starting the second Monday of the first month of January. Can you guess where that might be? Till next time.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Our Film Project, Part 2

We first set out by thinking of the questions we would be asked when we returned home by members of our families and our church. The questions we anticipated included a definition of The Vision Forum Inc., the roles we played at VF, aspects of intern life, an explanation of some of the activities we participated in, and what exactly we learned at the conclusion of our internship.

From there we made a time line on our whiteboard and wrote out how much time we wanted to give to different sections. Jason sorted through music with a program called URGE, Chris edited the outlines we had all worked on for our interviews, Tait kept spitting off great ideas and worked on our story board (his initial efforts are displayed here), and I worked on our scheduling and planning while attempting to extract from the other guys as many ideas and insights as possible.

From the onset of our internship we exchanged ideas and worked on our interview outlines, but the real work started right before we left for the F&F Tour. As I started looking at the schedule and planning what needed to happen next, we all realized that even with five weeks before our deadline, time was moving faster than we were.

As our trip to Boston neared, we were able to complete some last minute planning and coordinate time to film our interview segment. Initially I assumed we could get our segment done in three hours, but considering lighting and camera set up, as well as mic checks and aesthetic concerns (“I think that book should go there.” “Well I think it should be out of the picture completely. ”), it turned out to be more like 7 hours (6:30 PM-12:30AM). After we finally left the office that night we wondered if there was any good material produced. After all, when you sit in a chair for over an hour, with bright lighting and a live camera rolling, all while trying to shape your thoughts on four months of various learning experiences and business training, not all thoughts come out as clear as you might have wished.

After doing the interviews we then hopped on a plane to assist in the F&F, a once in a lifetime event which we were able to experience in a very unique way. The entire time we were in Boston, Plymouth, Lexington, Salem, etc, I had my little HandyCam ready to capture the highlights of the trip. However, by time we returned home I realized that only some of the best of these clips had to fit in a very brief segment. Sorting out the 4+ hours of footage was a chore in itself, but what I did was give each guy a large segment of raw .avi footage, have them cut out all pointless or ill shot scenes, and then render this new, cleaner segment into another full .avi file and put in on my 250 GB external hard drive. This made my job much easier in finding a specific shot and put it into the film.

As time moved at a quicker pace than our progress, we soon found out that a lot of the interview footage had to be cut out because it was too long. This meant reshaping our story structure. After working all night two days before our premier, we realized that the story needed voice over’s to help it flow better. After borrowing some gear, we did the recording that needed to be done, but later found out that it was done in Mono instead of Stereo. This proved to be a major problem when we actually showed our presentation and discovered that whoever hooked up the DVD player to the sound board had only connected one channel, and guess which one was left unconnected.

Finally, the day before I needed to submit our completed project to our supervisor for his review, we made a final push to get the film done. We worked from 10:30 PM through 8:30 the next morning and then handed our finished production in at noon. Since I was doing the final edits towards the end of the project, none of the other guys had any idea what the completed product actually looked like when I put the DVD into the player at our company end-of-the-year dinner.

Thankfully, with the exception of the audio problem (a quite inconvenient issue that was resolved after first trying my backup, then narrowing the problem down to a few plugs and settings on the sound board), our project was brought to a satisfying conclusion. Though it was far from perfect, all four of us were happy to have the opportunity to work on this special film project together. We learned many things and will always remember this period of our internship.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Our Film Project Part 1

One of the final requirements we had before finishing our time at the Forum was that of producing an end-of-the-year film detailing in some way our experience as interns.

As we started looking into how we were going to approach our project, we heard that previous intern classes had made somewhat of a tradition in portraying a humorous look at the internship. These films have been highly successful and very entertaining, but upon some group consideration we decided to choose a semi-documentary styling instead of the comedy. This decision was not made because we thought that our approach would be better than those of the past, but we really wanted to capture the opportunity to sincerely express our gratitude while sharing some of things we learned and experienced.

After brainstorming on the the first steps to take we decided that different job descriptions needed to be issued. Christopher was in charge of the script and story, as well as raw footage review, Jason was to investigate prospective music selections and write the credits, Tait was in charge of storyboarding as well as inputting written verses or credits into the video editing program, and I was appointed as the leader of the project, as well as the camera man and editor.
After seeing how much work needed to be done, we all agreed that our10-15 minute film plan was a rather ambitious project with the time we had, but we decided to give it all we had. All the way up to the last hour of our deadline...