Over the course of this fellowship, I have developed a lot of skills that have helped me in the process of creating this film. One of the most important skills revolved around organization. With a documentary film, there are a lot of moving parts that need to come together in order to create the final product. A high level of organization was necessary in finding and scheduling my interviews over the past two months. There were multiple lines of communication that I needed to keep track of so that my film could offer so many differing perspectives. This later translated into rewatching and organizing a storyboard of all the interviews and understanding how I can weave the different narratives together. This level of preparation and oversight can certainly translate into my academic interests. Managing my classwork and the responsibilities of being Executive Producer for Pitt Tonight is something I need to figure out and I hope this experience will better prepare me for that.
One of the most unique interactions I’ve had was my interview with a 91 year-old man who was raised in my town. I visited him in a senior living facility and we discussed his most memorable moments in town when he grew up during the 1930s and 1940s. He recalled going to school during World War II and the little traffic on the main roads. He also met plenty of lifelong friends that he still is in communication with. Interactions like these are really what made this fellowship so valuable for me. It was a great experience to dive into the process of filmmaking, but also better appreciate the place I grew up in. I listened to many people who all moved to this town for different reasons, but join together to create the small-town community that is Leonia.
Moving forward, I’ve learned a lot about what I enjoy the most about filmmaking. Compared to pre and post-production, production really suits me the best. I love the hustle of going out, setting up my equipment and conversing with a new interviewee each time. It brings its own set of challenges, excitement, and spontaneity to each shoot. With my remaining two years at Pitt, I hope I can work on production more and become more proficient in camera and audio work. In the near future, the next steps for me include finding the adequate exhibit for my work. In addition to a screening, I’d like the audience to be able to interact with my work as well as the process I went through to reach the conclusions I reached within the film.