After my Journalism 1550 class last semester, it should be no surprise to anyone that I did another near-semester long project on the the Studio 013 Refugees. This time around, I decided to do an even more in depth story than last semester, if that was even possible. Here is how it was done.
I came up with the idea for this story back in May. When interviewing former Studio 013 Refugees president for my Journalism 1550 project, he mentioned attending a workshop before he auditioned for the group. After being around the group so long last semester, I had never learned what the workshops were all about. The following month, I was hired for Marquette's Student Media Interactive. Right off the bat, I had my first story idea: to find out what these workshops were all about.
I talked to presidents Bill and Charlie at Marquette's organization fest during the beginning of the semester. I pitched my idea to them – documenting the process of becoming a member of the Fugees. They agreed to it. Just like that, I was about to spend the majority of my semester with the Fugees again.
Both of my Fugees projects have lasted over the course of a couple months. I intended the first project to only involve photographing two Fugee practices and one show. But, due to circumstances in my class, I ended up photographing four practices and two shows. I was around for a good three months.
Because of the route I decided to take for this story, I was going to be around for five weeks straight – four weeks of workshops (which I learned is just teaching prospective Fugees the basics of improv) and a week of auditions. So, it's gotten to the point where people have asked me if I am a member of the troupe, or affiliated with them in any way. After one of their shows, I was talking to some of the Fugees and audience member congratulated them on a good show. He almost congratulated me on a good show as well. True story.
Although I released it later, I actually began this story before I began my video on "The Foreigner." So, the first Fugee workshop I attended was actually the first time I ever used a video camera. I was thankful that I had three more workshops to film. During the first workshop, I did not realize that the tripod my camera was on could come up about six inches higher than where I had it placed. So there I was leaning against walls and positioning myself in awkward crouches to be able to see my camera screen. Oh, how I have learned since then.
Once I got the hang of using a video camera, the rest came fairly easy. During the first two workshops, I just filmed random scenes. Eventually, I decided to save film and strictly film scenes featuring current Fugees and workshop attendees, Bill, Charlie or the rest of the group believed to be standouts. I kept up the same strategy during auditions.
Besides filming workshops and auditions, I also conducted two interviews with Charlie and Bill. The first interview took place before one of the workshops. It was a simple, straight-forward interview. I was actually pretty surprised that Bill and Charlie were so serious in the interview. I also briefly interviewed the guys after the group acquired Newgees. Our interview was in Helfaer Theatre. Because I do not know my way around Helfaer that well, we just ended up in a small hallway. Charlie immediately decided to flatten himself up against the wall and pretend he was on a building ledge. Bill decided to follow Charlie's lead. During the interview, I don't think I got one serious answer from them. That made it all the more fun to film. At the end of interview, Bill pretended to jump off the "building" and Charlie jumped off after him. It was funny to see how I could get such a different dynamic in the interview from the same pair of people.
Putting it Together
For the past two months, I was actually really worried about how this story was going to turn out. My last project on the Fugees was well received by my classmates and Marquette's twitter account tweeted out my project. I had a lot to live up to. I guess that's what happens when you work on a 3-minute video and 500-word story for three months.
For this project, I decided to blog after every workshop, was assigned to write a story to appear on the Marquette Tribune's website and decided to make a long video. For my project on "The Foreigner," I was bursting with ideas before I started interviewing the cast. That's always how I can tell if I have a good thing going. For this project, I had nothing. After the group invited me to stick around for this whole process, I couldn't *not* come up with something good. It wasn't until the night before I decided to start editing, which was about two weeks ago, that the ideas finally started to come together.
First, I decided to watch old advertisements for past Fugee shows. For nearly every show, the group puts together an advertisement that relates to the theme of their show. Since the Fugees constantly create their own advertisements, I had to find a style that Fugee fans would be able to relate to the group. I actually created my own video for the story that I tried to model after past Fugee videos.
The style I decided to go with was to mix footage of workshops and auditions with narration from Bill and Charlie's first interview. I would show a clip of workshops or auditions, and then Bill and Charlie would tell viewers what was happening or reminisce on their own experiences. This way my story had a beginning, middle and end.
The most fun part of this video was adding music. About four minutes into the second video, Charlie decided to wear his aviators. Clearly, I needed something to back that swag up. I've always wondered how certain songs were picked to appear in movies, so I decided to challenge myself with that task. For the "Meet the Newgees" section of the video and the opening song for both parts, I knew I wanted some hip hop. I was sort of surprised that I decided on the Beastie Boys for the opener, but Tech N9ne was literally the perfect song for the "Meet the Newgees" section. For the deliberations, I was switching songs around on my iPod and came across "Here it Goes Again" by Ok Go. Half the reason I picked the song was because I thought the title was fitting for the section where the Fugees decided on members for the group. As for the closing songs, I'm pretty sure I picked "Rapper's Delight" for the first section, because I constantly listen to History of Rap by Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon, which features that song. The final song used in the video was the easiest to select. I heard "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons in the "Perks of Being A Wallflower" trailer and have been obsessed with it ever since. It was so very perfect for the wonderfully cheesy ending I picked for the video. And now I have to listen again.
As soon as I finish this blog post, I will officially be done with this project. I can't believe I spent the majority of another semester documenting the Fugees, but it's been a blast again. Because of this project, I have decided to pursue behind-the-scenes internships in comedy this summer. Check out both videos below! And please, let me know if you have any ideas how I can stalk the Fugees next semester. I have a reputation to uphold.