In my previous blog post, I introduced my "One at Marquette" project. That assignment was supposed to be my midterm for Journalism 1550. Clearly plans changed. This is due to the timing of our recent MNNS projects. Because of that, I have stuck with this project for more than three months, which is something I've never done before. To understand this whole process, I'll have to break it down by month. Yes, that's how long this thing lasted.
After a couple weeks of pestering my professor, Herbert Lowe, for the go-ahead with my project, I got approval. After a few attempts to contact Andrew Pauly, president of The Studio 013 Refugees, Marquette's improv troupe, I reached him over email. Pauly agreed to let me photograph practices and an upcoming show, with a one-on-one interview to come afterwards.
Since the Fugees had a show coming up soon, I was working ahead of most of the class. I didn't anticipate what a problem that would be for me. Our class had not yet delved into photography. I attended the Fugees' practice at Humphrey Hall auditorium a few days after I emailed Pauly. I was equipped with my little digital camera, and thought that would be fine.
I started snapping pictures and, just as Pauly warned me, the lighting absolutely sucked. I was getting nothing. Best of all, my camera died in the middle of practice. Imagine my panic. I ran out of the room as quietly as I could. Leaning against the other side of the door, I called my roommate and begged her to bring my camera charger.. As I was on the phone, I could hear the Fugees talking inside. One member asked, "Guys, did she just leave?" "I was gonna turn around and scream at her, but then she was gone," another one of the Fugees said. Needless to say, that practice was a failure on my part.
I went back to another practice three days later. I thought I was more prepared. My camera was 48-hours charged. I decided not to be afraid to use flash, like I was last time. I thought everything went great, I assumed that would be my last time at their practice. The next day, my journalism class reviewed my pictures with me. My professor ripped my work apart. I was upset at first, but looking back, in what world would this be an acceptable picture? Who knows what I was thinking.
Yes, I had to go back for a third practice. This time, I was determined to make it the last practice I would attend. I checked out a nice quality camera from the Wakerly Technology Training Center. I wasn't afraid to run around the room to get some good pictures. I got some really great ones. Their improv show was that Friday, so I photographed that as well. I was incredibly pleased with how my pictures turned out. Read more to see how my remaining months with this assignment progressed.
A few days after the show, I interviewed Pauly. It was my first time using audio and, once again, I was working ahead of the class. So I didn't learn what is now common sense to me: an audio recorder will pick up every little noise. But hey, I figured I could make it work. I then wrote my text story for this project, and figured I would soon be done with my assignment.
March became the dormant month for this project. Like, oddly dormant. We literally did not speak about this project in class at all. Sure, we were all hard at work on our MNNS projects, but still – nothing. During the interim, I reviewed my audio. I was not thrilled with it but, whatever, I thought. I didn't want to bug Pauly again, so I worked. I wrote my text story in a rush, but I figured that I would have time to fix it, too. March was almost coming to a close, and still no word of this project in class. I even ran into Pauly and had to tell him, "This project really exists, I swear!" But, I was actually starting to doubt its existence.
Here's where things get interesting. We finally wrapped up our MNNS projects, so it was back to "One at Marquette." This sudden renewed focus panicked our class. Professor Lowe told us to start thinking about our *second* "One at Marquette" project. Wait – second?! That was what was in the syllabus. We had a month left of classes, and no one was near done with their effort. Our class became somewhat of a 10 person-angry mob. So our professor gave us a choice: we could do two two minute pieces or extend our original piece to three minutes.
Naturally, I picked the second option. I hated the idea of bugging Pauly again, but this was an opportunity to redo my audio and text story. But three minutes of audio means I would need more photos. It would look silly to have Pauly in four different outfits (two practices and two shows), so I made the near-heartbreaking decision to start over with my pictures. I developed an odd attachment to them. I'm not sure, maybe it was the six hours I spent acquiring them. There's a chance I looked over that picture album a few times on my computer. My own form of mourning. But, for journalism's sake, I decided to start over on everything. That's right, everything.
I got in touch with Pauly, and he so kindly let me to photograph another show and practice. After a few months with me, the Fugees got a little too used to me at practices. As I walked in, one of the Fugees said, "Make sure you get a lot of pictures of me. I look good today." Another Fugee joked that she was going to count the number of pictures she was in. They even decided to have a little fun at Pauly's expensive.
After taking probably close to 200 pictures, I interviewed Pauly again. I'm not sure if I just understand the dynamics of Pauly and the group better, my journalism skills just have improved, but I got much better audio for my story. Pauly gave me such a wonderful kicker quote to use for my story, and I spent the rest of the night geeking out about how wonderful that quote was. You know you belong in journalism when you obsess over how wonderful a quote is.
After gathering all my information, it was time to edit. And boy, did I edit obsessively. This was my first solo attempt at editing audio. I downloaded a free trial of Final Cut Pro X to use. I expected learning to use that program would be impossible. After a few tries with it, I got the hang of it. I even had fun with it. One of my friends would make fun of me for repeatedly watching my video on Final Cut Pro X, and constantly finding tiny portions of pictures or audio to edit.
After an estimated 11 hours gathering all my info, and God only knows how many hours editing, the project is finally done. I will go to my Journalism class tomorrow and present my project to the class. If all goes well, then I can finally post it online.