I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Once. Twice. Three times over.
When I was working on a video project to help promote the position of a resident advisor within the Department of Residence Life, I had a pretty clear outline of what I wanted to film. I had still shots running through my head, to the point where I thought I knew how jokes would go over with the audience and how the music would affect the scene.
Oh boy. If somebody asked me what the hardest part about creating a video is, I would say capturing exactly what you set out to do from the beginning. My video took on many shapes at one point. I had a lot of creative ideas, but as I kept generating the ideas I knew some weren’t realistic so I scrapped them and came up with something feasible.
There were many points where I thought I had half an hour worth of work to do. That turned into about 4 more hours of work. Every time I thought I would do a final run-through, I found two more things I should do, hence the light at the end of the tunnel.
Overall, I’m very happy with the outcome of my project. Like I’ve stated before, my video is focusing on the position of an RA, but infuses themes from NBC’s The Office.
“Stevens Hall, this is Sierra.”
The opening scene to my project has subtly reflected, “Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam”. I wanted to open with this so people would think about the Office right away and could catch the similarities throughout the video.
I introduce the video by describing what the RA job is, which I paired with stills of RAs doing random things that I was describing. I put still titles in with the photographs so the audience was clear to what was going on and understand what they were seeing. I used Cross Dissolve transitions throughout the video, between every still. One of the hardest parts of putting the stills in was toggling the tracks of audio vs. video. I found the audio track where I turned off the visual was very difficult to work with. If I needed to edit the track, I would go to put the edited one back in and if I accidentally put it partially on another piece of audio, it completely deleted the other track, I didn’t realize this was happening until I started to listen to the video all the way through for final run-throughs and I had pieces of audio missing.
My favorite parts of the videos are the personal interviews with the RAs because of the setting, which again reflects that of the Office. The RAs I interviewed had a lot of fun filming their random scenes and answering the questions honestly, but with a unique twist. Heidi came up with 9 steps of Programming—which magically turned into 12—based on the 12 steps to building a successful PR campaign when I was studying for an exam for another class.
In the beginning, I wasn’t planning on putting photographs in the video. I didn’t want to combine video with stills, but now I like how it looks. The audience can focus on what is being said a little easier.
One of the hardest parts about editing this project, compared to our audio project, was cutting a track and putting it together with another part and realize that the movements don’t match up. This happened in the end of the video during Heidi’s programming scene. She had a brief spot that I need to edit out but when I put it in with the next scene, the video jumped quickly to her sitting in a different position and the lighting looked a little different. To fix this, I just added a video transition. It cross dissolves in to her next step in programming.
It was an interesting experience working with my RAs in this aspect. I had a lot of fun developing scenes with them. I would tell them what I was thinking and if they thought something could be added to make it funnier, or make more sense then we would implement some of their ideas. Because I gave them some creative power, this started to create a disaster. When I wanted to just get a scene done, I had people trying to pitch me ideas of what we should do even though I had already planned out the entire video at that point, which I had made sure would flow. I really just wanted to finish filming, which was drug out multiple times. RAs can be such divas. 🙂
Again, I’m very pleased with how the video turned out. I spent an extreme amount of hours on this project, whether it be gathering footage, drawing up what I wanted to convey, editing out the smallest of details in the audio, or re-shooting footage.
As I was finishing up the final edits, I took a minute to reflect on what I’ve gained. My friend peeked over my shoulder and just looked dumbfounded while I was adding in transition, editing out things in Heidi’s rants, and adding in title screens. Because of how much I had cut things up, there looks like what is hundreds of pieces in this video, which made the audio and video tracks look impressive to the eye. They looked amazed at what I was doing, which made me happy. After all of the hard work I have put into this project, I can say that I understand—for the most part—the different aspects in Premiere.
When I first started generating ideas for my video, I knew I wanted to have interviews of people to get my point across. One of my favorite TV shows–which uses interviews very effectively–is NBC’s The Office. The interviews in the show aren’t typical interviews. It’s more of mini clips where the characters can let loose how they feel. The interviews tend to be short and funny and allows the audience to get a glimpse of the character’s personality.
Since I have been focusing on the promotion of the Department of Residence Life and the RA position, I decided to do a comical video that will showcase the RA job.
To this day, there is a negative stereotype associated with RAs. Fully understanding this, I decided not to create a video that tries to ignore the negative view that most people have of the position. Instead I address it in the introduction, which I have not yet included in the rough draft. The introduction also includes a summary of the RA position. To help explain this, I filmed a few short clips of the things that I was describing about the position to play with the audio.
In order to help sell the position of an RA, I decided to interview a few RAs that will give honest accounts of the position. While it would have been easy to script the whole video, I didn’t want it to come across as fake. I asked each of the RAs what their favorite part of the job is, as well as their least favorite part. There are 3 RAs interviewed, but I only include one of them talking about their least favorite part because they all had very similar answers to the question, which was that people assume that they are only the job. Their residents and people that see them working, only see that aspect of them. They forget that they are students and that they are here at WSU for the education, not just to be an RA.
So to continue with the video, I have created scenes that will give the audience an idea of the things RAs do on a daily basis. While there are some scenes that are obviously exaggerated–like the breakfast scene with Heidi and Ashley–they still serve some purpose to give the audience an idea of the things they deal with. Throughout the video, there are stories told about things that the RAs have dealt with before, which are all true. The RAs talk about being on call, programming, resident issues, being on a staff, building community, and dealing with crisis response.
The rough draft only includes a small teaser of what the entire video will encompass. I still need to work with the audio that I have chosen to go along with the video, as well as creating smoother transitions in between the video and audio clips.
The clips included in the rough draft are part of the beginning of the video. The only scenes missing from before the ones posted, are the introduction of the position and my personal introduction.
In the end, I’m hoping that I can successfully demonstrate what the position entails, good and bad aspects, and why it would be worth applying. I’m hoping to do this successfully by making the scenes comical and by letting the audience get to know the RAs interviewed.
She messed up after the first bit, so here was the second part to her ramblings.
Both of these clips are very, very raw. I didn’t edit anything and kind of just let my friend talk and make up what she wanted, which I think made it pretty funny. There will be plenty of editing done though.
This project has by far been the most challenging, yet the most rewarding.
I started off the project by scripting most of it. I gave the people I was an interviewing an idea of where I was intending the project to go, but wanted to give them creative freedom to answer the questions I had in a natural way.
The whole point of my audio story was to give insight to the RA position and describe to people why they might be interested in applying. Instead of going into great detail about all of our duties and the contract itself, I wanted to keep the information honest and real. It’s not all rainbows and gumdrops like the Department often tries to advertise. The job does has its downfalls–like every job–but I wanted to portray the negativity in a useful way by highlighting the positive aspects of the job.
I knew when I was starting the audio assignment that this could get boring really quickly. I don’t like talking about Res Life because of the connotations that come with the job. Many people find RAs to be obnoxious, trouble makers. I do not fit this criteria, therefore I do not like to associate myself with the department. I found that this video was a great opportunity to change some perceptions about the job and the people in it.
For this reason, I wanted to do somewhat of “The Office” as a theme. Heidi, one of my RAs, really wanted to highlight characteristics of herself that are similar to the character Kelly Kapoor. She made up the 9 step model to effective programming (PORCUPINE) after I was studying the 12 step method to creating an effective PR campaign for one of my classes. At the end, she says something along the lines of “and there are the 12 easy steps of creating a great program”. We found this to be funny, 1) because it is made up, and 2) because she accidentally said 12 instead of 9 at the end. I wanted to leave little mistakes like these in the audio because I felt it made the interview more realistic and natural.
One of the harder parts about this project was the flow of back ground music with the vocals. I knew I wanted to music, but didn’t want it to overpower the interview. When I did insert songs for the background, I had a hard time making sure appropriate lyrics were in the gaps and that the fading was natural. There was only one part by the end of the project that I was not completely satisfied with.
I ended up cutting and editing a lot of the songs to be able to have the certain lyrics playing in between the scenes. The editing of clips got easier with the more time I spent on the project.
There were a few interviews where I didn’t edit out “likes” or pauses because I thought they sounded natural or they were aiding to how I wanted the person portrayed. Heidi’s interview with her talking about all of her friends probably included 50 likes at least, but because she wanted to be seen as someone like Kelly from the Office, I left every one of the likes in.
I ended up re-recording a lot of my interviews because it sounded so unnatural. I was really pleased with the changes I did make because it sounds more conversational, and less like I am reading out of a book.
As far as the content goes, I focused on what RAs actually do. Planning programs, duty, working the desk, a resource to residents, etc. At the end I wanted to include the things that I found most true for RAs to get out of the position: 1) leadership experience, 2)friendships, 3) a way to pay for school. I didn’t want to focus a lot on the compensation because that should not be what motivates people to take the position–otherwise they will be unhappy with the job if they are only in it for the money.
Overall, I’m really satisfied with the final product. I chose songs that I felt the college student would like, as well as had appropriate lyrics. I had RAs talk about funny situations that actually happened since they had been hired. I feel like I did an effective job on giving the listener an idea of who the people are that were interviewed. This is a realistic portrayal of the RA job.
First off, I’ll just say that I’m really excited about where my audio project is going.
I decided to focus on audio that would explain to the listener why they would want to become a resident adviser. Because this topic might not be intriguing to everyone, I tried to come up with a theme or spoof that would perhaps grab someones attention. If you know me, you won’t be surprised to find that I tried to come up with a similar format to the television show The Office.
To preface, while I planned out all of the audio scenes, I also shot the video portion. I tried to make sure that the audio makes sense without the video. So far it does, but I don’t think the audio portion will be quite as intriguing as the final video, since you get to see the mannerisms of the people.
To begin the audio portion, I do a spiel on what the Department of Residence Life is about and the general role of the RA. The next scene is a snippet of me answering the phone that is supposed to reflect how Pam answers the phone at Dunder Mufflin. I figured this would be a good segway between the narrative at the beginning and introducing myself and my role in the department.
The next scene is an introduction of myself. I set up the format how Michael Scott typically does his interviews with the camera. Again, this will be a little bit more difficult to realize without the video portion. I introduce the RA job, and different tasks they are in charge of.
Next, I start introducing the RAs. While we talk about real situations that will be encountered in the job, some of the RAs characteristics are exaggerated to reflect a character from the Office that they chose. This was more for an entertainment factor. I didn’t require them to change who they are, but they decided to incorporate their personal mannerisms and that of a character they thought would be funny.
The first interview I conduct is with one of my RAs, Heidi Gmelin. She decided to mirror characteristics from Kelly Kapoor. For this reason, I left the continuous string of “likes” in Heidi’s interview because that is part of what she wanted to portray. It helps to create a visual of Heidi when you can’t see what she is actually doing.
While I have gathered a good amount of footage, I’m still formulating the last bit of my script. I know the aspects that I wish to include, but I’m mostly having to configure transitions between clips. Like I said before, one of the hardest parts for me while making this is ensuring that the audio makes sense without the visual component. I’m trying not to assume that the listener will know what’s going on without the video. This makes it a little bit more tricky with the transitions and narration.
As far as the rest of the audio that I haven’t posted, I’ll go ahead and give a quick run down on what you can expect to hear next.
The next portion is Heidi’s personal interview. In each character introduction, I had the RA say how many years they have been in the department and their favorite aspect of the job. Depending on their answer, it will go into a scene or that gives a little more color to their response. This is typically a real life situation that we have encountered being an RA, that would give perspective applicants an idea of what they would see if they were hired. In the introduction, I talked about multiple aspects of the job, and each one will be covered in a little more detailed from the RA’s perspective.
You can expect a lot more references from the Office. Right now, I only have about 2 minutes worth of edited footage but I’ve filmed almost all of the audio story.