Development and Discovering Deeper

I have found that in every assignment or skill in What’s the Story? I have learned there is a hidden message.

Starting with camera equipment; when I first learned about camera equipment it was my first time dealing with a camera or even technology of any kind, not only is that intimidating but I was also unsure of how to work it. One retreat last year I was learning how to do camera basics, from turning the camera on and off to filming with the two-thirds rule. I was practicing outside with a partner when I started to get really frustrated that my camera would not film content. I was really confused and started pressing random buttons. As I found out later, my camera was just powered off but, at the time I felt like I had broken it. After a while I took a deep breath and realized what I had needed all along, patience. This program has taught me patience like no other, you have to be patient with your camera, teammates, and the process. 

Another thing I learned with the What’s the Story program was decision making. In this program the goal of the year is to make a film addressing a topic you are passionate about. An extensive project is undertaken to find something you are passionate about and along the way you work with others to blaze a trail of open answers. In this process you are learning the basics of brainstorming and decision making however, I found this process a way to make my advocacy impact. I was able to educate myself about topics and teach myself how to stand up around others both literally and figuratively as well as voice my opinion to be heard by all. This year NextGen has helped even more, I have gotten to learn about topics like gun violence that have such an impact on communities just south of mine. These communities have given me a clear view of advocating for others, what I care about, and what I can do not just in What’s the Story but, everywhere!

I remember last year, I was at my first Massachusetts Next Gen conference, we were sharing our stories, and in my head I was like “Oh no no no, I cannot talk in front of this many people, what if I said something wrong, they will hate me!” I was so scared to mess-up but, I stood up anyway for every sharing session (literally shaking) and said my message in as clear of a voice I could muster. I talked about racial justice, climate change, voting rights, women’s issues and many more things that I have always needed change but, it felt amazing to get the chance to say them, advocate for them, to this day I dream of the day I can advocate again, marches speaking they are all ways I can do my duty to the progression of out country like I did this day in the fall of last year. 

The third main lesson I’ve learned in What’s the Story is editing. Why is editing a big skill? because it is what perfects your video. Editing is the process of taking your interviews and picking them apart for any imperfections to make your video seamless. I learned the patience needed and the skill of actually importing video and b-roll. From this experience I have learned the need to understand that nothing is perfect. In film there are so many things that could have been done to make them stunning but, when talking to people, you must remember that the interviewees are people too. ONe of my interviews addressing climate change includes someone hiccuping but it can be too close to the audio to cut out. From this clip in the film you must remember that perfection doesn’t exist. Someone can do everything to make their interview seamless but, at the end of the day it is the small relatable moments that make your film about people, experiences, and real life. In real life nothing, I repeat nothing is perfect so, when making your film or even in that moment where you are questioning if something sounds perfect you have to remember even in the most professional film or most perfect lives nothing can always be perfect. 

What’s the Story? has taught me so much about the reality of life, and what I want my life to continue to look like with Social Action! Thank you!

Farren Stainton

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