Right to Marry Blog
Normally I don't have trouble with technology, but Audition gave me some serious problems.
It wasn't so much the actual workings of the program -- everything was great, no glitches or anything. No, the drama I had was with saving my progress, which was what I least expected could go wrong. I took all the steps that were necessary -- saving the file into my Userdirs folder as soon as possible, saving my progress every time I had the chance. It never seemed to matter, though, because the next day I would log on to a Mac and it wouldn't be there anymore! Only on the third try did I finally triumph in saving it in the right place where it would stay.
Although this was inefficient, time-consuming, and downright frustrating, completing the rough editing over and over again gave me the opportunity to hear the Moores' story multiple times and understand their struggle with racism and discrimination against interracial marriage. One particular quote from Thom has not left my brain since Monday:
I remember when I was twelve years old, my mom said to me, “Hey, Thom, let’s go downtown,” downtown Pittsburgh, “We’ll have a birthday celebration,” “birthday lunch,” and I said, “Great” so she says, “You can go anywhere you want” and so I picked a restaurant to go into and she said, “Oh, but we can’t go there because they won’t serve us.” That was a shock to me. I didn’t know what that meant.
Now let's get serious for a moment. People casually make racist jokes every day. They talk about race like it's nothing. Many of those people take for granted the progress that the United States has made toward equality in the last century. What they don't realize is that it was ten times worse not too long ago. It wasn't uncommon for people to be kicked out of public buildings and areas just because of their race. What Thom said made me think hard about this, and while I'm not saying that we should pity every African-American person we see, I do think that we should be a little more considerate of them and the things that we say.
On a completely different note, I have to say that I did not expect that finishing my rough editing three times would have any benefits for me, other than the extra practice with Audition. Maybe we all should listen to our assigned interviews a few times and see what insight comes from it.
One of my favorite things about working on the Right to Marry documentary is the insights it gives me into the lives of people I would never look twice at. The way we are often taught history, we are led to believe that only larger than life individuals change the course of history, but this is hardly true. History is carried forward on the backs of the ordinary, as I've learned, not by necessarily by those in positions of power. I was just recently editing an interview we conducted about an interracial couple. Though they themselves were not active advocates for interracial marriage, they're open-mindedness helped to change the opinions of others around them, who would in turn spread tolerance farther and farther. Though we wouldn't think of the couple as particularly important historically, they nonetheless had an impact on the people around them.
I just finished my first rough editing assignment, and I thought it was really fun. At first, it took me a while to figure out how to use the software, but once I got the hang of it, it went by really quickly. I enjoyed reading back through the stories selected for rough editing because they are all so interesting and I didn't have a chance to look at all of them before editing. Overall, I really enjoyed editing and I'm excited for the next step - radio spots.
Today, I finally finished my rough editing for the Right to Marry Project. I was assigned one interview with thirteen selected stories within it. These stories were chosen for some outstanding quality they had - be it heartwrenching, astounding, appalling, relatable, etc. I really enjoyed hearing these stories, which were extremely touching and got me thinking. Over the summer, there wasn't too much work for the Right to Marry Project, but listening to the audio and manipulating it really got me back in my oral history groove. To do the rough editing, we used Adobe Audition, which looks pretty daunting when you first look at it. Thankfully, the project leaders provided us with very detailed and helpful instructions (shoutout!) that helped a lot. I also worked with Rima and Sankhya, two other R2M interms, and teamwork made the dream work. We all helped each other through our clumsy first time using this complicated software. It took me about 40 min to just understand what was going on and edit my first story. Once I got the hang of it, it got a lot easier. I was able to do the other 12 stories in 45 minutes. Rough editing was really hard at first, but once I understood it, it became fun! I'm not very tech-savvy, and being able to cut and edit audio makes me feel like I have technological superpowers. I'm really glad that I learned this new skill and I had a lot of fun. I'm so excited for our next step in the Right to Marry project!
Being a WILL Intern is turning out to be a very interesting job. I enjoy being able to read the stories of others because it connects me with the outside world, and it shows me what is going on in the community, state, or even country that I might not know about.
I have really enjoyed my first few months being a WILL intern. Last year as a subbie, when I heard about the oppurtunity to be an intern, I knew that it was for me because I had enjoyed my subbie interview so much. I am excited to keep working on the radio production and to see what happens next.
While I was looking over my own and a few other transcripts this summer, I kept finding myself surprised at how many people were being treated. It was as if people had no regard for their own feelings. One thing that always surprises me is how parents can react to their child coming out or being with a different race in such a negative way.
I started working as a WILL intern when I was a freshman two years ago and honestly can’t believe I have done work in three different project. I can still remember working on my project with four other girls three years ago. When I started as a WILL intern, I started on what we call the ‘pre-production’ aspects of the project. That normally included doing background research and going out to find the people we wanted to interview for the new radio documentary. Now as a third year intern, I’m getting the opportunity to do the ‘post-production’ aspects of this project. I’m especially excited to work on this project because I started with this project from the bare bones and now I get to see it come full circle into a completed and meaningful one-hour radio documentary. Last year, I did four pre-interviews and when we were doing the initial reading of the transcripts, I realized that I was reading the transcript of one of the women I pre-interview. This was a truly meaningful moment because I got to know more about her, go deeper into her life story than I had before in the 45 minutes we shared chatting about random aspects of her life. I’m really excited to hear more of these incredible stories in their entirety and I can’t wait to see this project turn from a bunch of people’s life stories into a cohesive piece that moves us and tells us a story about what all these people have in common.
I started my first WILL Oral History project back in 2010. Just looking at that date is almost surreal to me. Has it really been almost five years? Where has all of this time gone?
I still remember my very first year as the Team Captain of a group of four boys. Our mission: to interview a Mr. Richard Adkins, a veteran of the Vietnam War. Slowly, but surely, we emersed ourselves into the beautiful and colorful world of Counterculture here in Urbana-Champaign. A now, about four years later, a group of five seniors embark on the second half of a journey to explore the right to marry (or R2M, as we fondly call our project). We started off with nine different project ideas. That's right, nine. As you can see, a lot of work went into choosing the right topic for us five. We eventually chose to delve further into the issue of marriage, not only because it was (and still is) a hotly debated and discussed topic, but also because we wanted to compare the harships and stories of other "non-traditional" marriages and unions, both historic and current. Orinignally we focused on four different topics: interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, interfaith marriage, and intercultural marriage.
Now that our project is becoming something more than just words on a piece of paper, I am really able to appreciate the people in our community that have shared their stories with us. Throughout the whole first year process, I met so many people who were really passionate about our the right to marry. Everytime a new project begins, I meet more and more individuals who truly open my eyes to the amazing and diverse Champaign-Urbana community.
One of the stories that has struck me is of Kathleen Robbins, a transgender woman who served in the Marines and married a women before her sex reassignment surgery. Ms. Robbins shares an abundance of stories of her life that we hope to include into our final documentary. For now, I want to share just a short segment of her 1.5 hour interview.
"I did all the normal things for a boy; I played sports, I was an Eagle Scout. But I also had a secret that I was carrying along all the time. I knew two things about that secret. Number one: it was impossible. Number two: it was shameful. So I did everything I could to avoid that."
I feel that this segment, although quite short, really encompasses what a lot of youth are going through today. Many of the interviews we have gathered this past year, and in other years past, have opened my eyes to information and experiences that I would not have dreamed of knowing otherwise. So although this is my final year and my final project, I know that my years as a WILL oral history intern will stay with me for quite some time.
Last year was my first year as a WILL intern. We started off the year by researching different topics of the Right to Marry project and uploaded them to the wiki for our use in the future. When pre-interview season rolled in, we did several of them and it was just a great way to hear many interesting stories from many people in a very low key, off pressure way. We generated a list of interviewees for the subbies to interview, and I myself remember excitingly looking forward to listening to the actual interviews. When we began conducting the interviews, I was there for two of them. I sat in the interview with Becky Lewis and helped with the transition between the interviews with Leah Mosser and Karen Bush. I just loved having the opportunity to listen to their great stories. Some interviewees know how to tell their stories extremely well. You almost feel like your living in the past with them in some moments. It’s just amazing how you can feel a story even when it’s just through audio. I loved being in an interview environment so much that I want to be the interviewer myself. I got an opportunity to become one for an intern-led interview with Becky and Jan Himes. I loved it. Being the interviewer was a lot different than just listening to the interview in the sidelines. I just loved having the chance to talk to the couple and listening to their story. It was truly a different experience because I had a chance to engage in their story, ask for more information myself to feel the complete story. At some points I remember feeling completely emerged in their story, like I traveled back into time with the couple as they were talling their story about how they met each other and the various difficulties. Same goes when I pre-interviewed the Allston-Yeagles with Simone. I just loved being in that environment where I was learning about another person’s life stories. I just found that so interesting. I am looking forward to a new year as a WILL intern, a new year of life stories.
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