Making Trial & Error Creative

Since the very beginning of my research in January, my documentary’s focus has taken drastic twists and turns to reach the place it is today. The original focus was not about my town at all, but the future of the city right across the Hudson River. I examined multiple New York City industries over the course of the Spring semester through recorded Zoom sessions with professionals in areas such as healthcare, real estate, retail and many more. With each conversation, I was uncovering the aspects that interested me, as well as the ones that did not. These Zoom interviews continued until the Spring semester ended. Much similar to the homework written in my agenda, I would record my goals and expectations for the film each day as if I was writing down my economics homework.

When the semester ended, my focus officially turned to the film. I had a big obstacle to face: what was the topic I wanted to investigate and who did I want to interview in-person? With no more academic assignments, I began reading and taking notes on numerous New York Times articles as references for what journalists thought were compelling storylines. One thread that ran through each of these articles was the importance of safe and effective public transportation to bring commuters and tourists back into the city. I then shifted my time to viewing films that were already produced about the pandemic. One thread that ran through each of those films was the personal struggles of the individual people living through this, rather than the overarching predictions and statistics of experts. By incorporating these two themes together, I reached my central focus of having the personal story of my town intertwined with the changes of mass transit to bring commuters back into the city and revitalize the NYC economy. Without both the literary and visual techniques and resources I utilized, I would not have gotten to the point I am at right now.

That discovery allowed me to begin the assignments associated with networking, scheduling in-person interviews, and tailoring a to-do list that will help me reach the benchmarks I laid out for this summer. This approach is very similar to my approach to academic work. Organization and preparation are the two matters in my life that remain consistent in everything I do. I always have an assignment list that pinpoints my objectives, and leads to future ones that keep me on target. These habits have led me to tackle the goal of completing five in-person interviews so far. Below is a screenshot teaser of my very first one with a town resident who would like to return to in-person work in New York City, but fears taking public transportation:

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