Last night I was back for my second session at the Burns Media Arts Lab of documentary filmmaking with Bobby Houston. I come to this new table with lots of digital storytelling under my belt and lots of confidence. And I’m trying to put some of that confidence on the side as I try to create a fresh space inside my head for a different way into someone else’s composing process.
For Bobby, the power of at documentary is the story, the personal journey and then how to craft this journey as it moves to film, I think.
Over the years my digital compositions have been crafted in the comfort of my own space with tech support of my Apple guys and feedback from my NWP/HVWP community. My story crafting has been organic and multilayered, working with the soundtrack and the visuals right alongside the story.
So far our focus in the course has been to work the story first. A bit of writing beginning with “I have a problem…” and then an oral retelling with a partner who then share the story with the group and Bobby, as the seasoned facilitator points out moments, directing us to the story structure as screenwriters using a play format-Acts I,2 and 3.
We moved some of the stories in the second half of the class to Flip Cameras as the storytellers retold them and then a demo was prepared and shared with Final Cut software, already comfortable for me.
Yesterday morning to prepare my piece I worked with Tom at the Apple store in my way, considering ways to start with archival footage from marches on Washington- Martin Luther King’s march, marches against the war.
But I’m putting this prep work on the side for now, giving myself up to a this more collective approach to composing. What I love about the National Writing Project and our Hudson Valley Writing Project is the communities of writers that we create. Here at the Burns, it feels like a goal here is to create communities of digital composers. This group of 8 serious adults includes the founder of Burns Film Center and his wife with stories to compose.
So I was relatively quiet, listening and finding my place of in this group as I get comfortable with this story process and my new story.