Between the three of us, we poured more than 260 hours into the project over the course of the semester. We drove dozens of miles between Wilmore and Lexington, ate countless donuts and ventured forth at 3:30 a.m. for a shoot. There were tears, angry words and threats to drop the class. But in the end, there was a seven-minute documentary about a really awesome revitalization happening in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. It was for a little class called Documentary Filmmaking, a requirement for all Journalism & Digital Storytelling majors at Asbury, and one of the scariest classes any journalism major has ever had to face. Especially those journalism majors with little experience in video and editing. It was a wild ride, to say the least. Cassie and I chose each other and Kajsa on the very first day of class, and from then on we were a team; the three of us against the world, ready to take on any challenge life could throw at us…and there were many. Our very first interview was set for 9 a.m. on a Thursday morning, so Kajsa and I got into my roommate’s car and headed for North Lime Coffee & Donuts, only the best donut place in all of Lexington. We had to redo that shoot a few weeks later. Something about a poor background and bad composition. Strike one. We had to redo our second interview as well; this time it was fuzzy, and, again, bad background. Strike two. The way our professor, Greg Bandy, ran the class, was that we had a certain amount of time for pre-production, the planning, researching and setting up of interviews; then we moved to production, when we were supposed to get all of our shooting done (we didn’t–strike three. Whoops). Finally, there was a month allotted for post-production, in which we did editing. And also a lot more shooting. The day our second cut was due, every single student in our class gave us the same feedback: MORE B-ROLL. So we got more b-roll. And then we edited. And edited. And pulled our hair out over low audio, shaky b-roll and where to stick that one clip. We giggled over a resemblance of one interviewee to a classmate, and over the iconic, “…and people yelling.” We batted around titles, including, “Candace is awesome,” and, “Some people talking. Also Candace.” (We love Candace…you’ll see why.) In the end, the long hours and hair-pulling out sessions paid off: we turned in a seven-and-a-half minute documentary to our professor. And hey, I think it’s not half bad. More importantly, though, I had a great experience figuring out how to plan, shoot and edit a documentary. I think I can safely say it was an unforgettable experience.
Life on Lime from Kajsa Swanson on Vimeo.