Right to Marry Blog
This was my first year of doing rough editing and honestly I didn't really know what to expect. Being on the pre-production team for the last two years, I had gotten used to my work being done outside of school so when I had to set aside hours of my school day over the course of a few weeks really messed up my schedule. I got used to it soon enough, and found it to be quite interesting. While it gets tedious to listen to the same story over and over in hopes of cutting it at exactIy the right point, it was eye opening to get to hear the story over and over again. It was an different experience to get to hear the raw emotion in people's voices as they tell their personal and touching stories. One of the biggest differnece I noticed while working on the post-production team this year was a chance to get to hear a lot more personal stories.
Now our next job is to write radio spots. This gives us a chance to string together people's personal stories to get one main point across. Now instead of just reading about my specific person's stories I am branching out and looking at various different people. Each having there own perpective on a specific topic, own personal stories to share, and most importantly, their own voice. I've only just begun with the radio spots, but I can't wait to really get started.
We have finished rough editing the chosen stories. By this point, I have listened to or read many stories from different people and most of the stories are really moving. I was assigned to edit audio from Kathleen Robbins's interview. Her stories about being transgender and figuring out who she was are really inspiring. After hearing and reading all these stories, and being an intervewer myself last year, I am very excited that I am working on this project. The stories we have to work with are amazing and I wish we could use more of them than we can.
Rough editing was very confusing at first. It took me practice to figure out how to select and use the markers. After I fugured it out, however, it was very fun. I only took me one day, where I used our free time in English and Uni Period. I am looking forward to making the radio spots.
As I listened to the stories for rough editing, I kept wondering if the interviewee knew they were being "rough edited" at that very moment. I wonder if people know the process that the interns go through to get the final documentary. I remember last year, when our class interviewed the people we are now using for our project, thinking why it took so long to make the documentary. I hope the listeners of our documentary know how long the interns worked to get to the final product, with rough editing being only part of it.
Have you ever heard of Darlene Love? Or maybe more recently Judith Hill? I hadn’t before I watched the documentary 20 Feet from Stardom on Netflix. The synopsis offered by IMDb.com is as follows, “Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.” This documentary just recently won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, and rightfully so. I was completely blown away by both the powerful women that were portrayed in it and the style and editing of the documentary itself. Naturally, I thought of our own Right to Marry radio project. Although 20 Feet from Stardom is a visual representation, the techniques, transitions and other aspects are very reflective of what we hope to accomplish in our own work. Music and words are used beautifully as a transitioning tool. I would recommend this documentary on the transitions alone!
We can also view 20 Feet from Stardom as something to compare audio and visual documentaries. Although serving the same purpose, visual documentaries offer, well, the visual image. This visual image opens up so many doors for the producers, offering something concrete that the viewer can latch on to. On the other hand, audio documentaries allow us emphasize the interviewee more. The listener focuses more on the emotions and the tones of the voice. This does put more pressure on the producers. We must weave our story in such a way to emphasize further what the interviewees want to say.
I would definitely recommend you check this documentary out on Netflix! I have attached the trailer from YouTube with this post.
After two years of sound editing and anxious waiting, I was excited to begin the process of script-writing. Despite my considerable experience with revising written work, I had, in my heart of hearts, dreamed up the script-writing process as a sort of glorious, immaculate phenomenon: we would blink, and suddenly the script would appear, glowing with eloquence. The distance I had from script-writing made it seem almost magical, otherworldly. I remember thinking, How did they do it? after listening to Beyond the Tie-Dye my first year as an intern. Throughout my time as an intern, I remember reading blog posts describing script-writing lock-ins and what seemed like endless meetings. I now fully realize the need for those meetings, and can now completely appreciate all that the producers of the past have done.
When I first opened the script outline, my first thoughts were: Okay, I can do this. I immediately began to scour the story documents for the perfect stories, trying desperately to avoid the temptation to delve into transcripts themselves. Once all my stories were lined up like ducks in a row, a realization began to set in: I have to write narration. In the past, all I had written were radio spots, whose four-minute scripts looked microscopic compared to the vast expanse of the 1-hour-30-minute documentary. I felt extremely lucky to have a script-writing team in Alice and Simone. The wonderful work of my fellow script-writing producers helped me with the narration: they were happy to comment and provide feedback on my narration, as well as provide helpful transitions between the sections we were writing. As we worked together, I became better at writing narration that nestled between stories, providing a foundation on which to lay the glossy gems of wisdom our interviewees have so graciously provided.
I can't believe that we have finished the first draft of the script already, and are beginning to look at radio spots and music selection. I'm looking forward to polishing up the script, and to the new insights the music selection process will bring. I'm especially excited to see what the interns come up with for the radio spots!
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.
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