My Cohort of Collaboration

When I wrote my proposal back in November of 2020, it was just me and my computer typing away about an idea that intrigued me in the present moment. Since March of that year, all of my academic situations revolved around me sitting at a desk in my room, typing, talking, watching, reading, all on my MacBook Pro computer. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the social interactions outside of my two roommates was extremely limited, for obvious reasons.

The following January of 2021, my idea for a documentary film was accepted on behalf of the Pitt Honors College’s Creative Arts Fellowship. Little did I know, I was not the only candidate who received this news, but five other Pitt students did as well. During this time, yes, all of my meetings and classes were still conducted through Zoom. With our first Fellowship introduction meeting that Spring, things felt different than the 40-person Zoom lectures I was accustomed to at this point. Since there were so few of us, I had no trouble introducing myself, my project and expectations for this Fellowship. With creative endeavors, the imagination behind them transcends any computer screen. This is certainly one of the special things about this program.

There is a large range of creative ideas within a small group of five people. There is a deep musical analysis, a detailed artist reflection, an intricate set design, and a fellow documentary film. Although most projects are very different from my own, I am able to explore their creative process and see how it helps them translate it into their final result. We each have a flurry of inspirations flowing through our heads, which is a process that is meant to be shared and reflected on within each of our meetings and discussions. An obstacle of that style for me is making sure we are constantly in communication. The Zoom format is difficult at times, so having these blogs and check-ins are very important to make sure we are all sharing our progress.

Outside all of their amazing talents and skills, a creative skill I would love to learn is how to play music. One of the fellows is currently examining the intersection between storytelling and musical expression. This is certainly something that overlaps within a visual medium, like a documentary film. Without a musical score, it is tough to convey the emotion attached to any film’s concluding message. I hope to have a better understanding of how and why music is so important to storytelling within my own film this summer, and the many more films hopefully to come.

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