Moving forward through sustainable beginnings

  1. How have you, your teammates, and mentor been working together since the overnight?

Mateo, Sam, and I are working on a documentary film about sustainable ways to live in Vermont. We did a lot of brainstorming on ideas, and decided on this project because we all agreed to do something that could have a direct impact. We discussed other possibilities like the impact of climate change on winter sports and tourism, and we also talked about the possibility of looking at the impact of winter sports on climate change because the ski industry uses a lot of energy resources. 

It’s been really nice to have such active and supportive thinkers as team members. We are a little bit behind but we are taking action steps today to catch up on our work. Tonight we had a detailed discussion on each of our roles and actions. The first major thing I am going to do is email a bunch of people (see below) to interview and I am going to contact the Vermont Historical Society (also see below).

  1. What have you accomplished, and what are your next steps?

So far after initially deciding on our idea (at Common Ground), I have shot some B-Roll with my group members and have been planning. We are meeting today to refine our plans and get started.

The B-Roll we shot is footage of trees. This was practice shooting but may be useful too. I imagine that we might want to show shots of the natural beauty of Vermont with voice-overs of subjects talking.

My team and I have to decide if we will work with a script first or let the plan develop as we get information from people. We need to do more planning and refine our idea. We need to decide our style too. There is such a difference between director’s styles. There is a big difference between a Ken Burns documentary and a Michael Moore documentary for example.

I have started a list of people to pre-interview (and then interview down the line). I met a lot of state legislators when I was a Legislative Page last year, so many of the Representatives and Senators who work on these issues came to my mind. Rep. Tim Briglin is the Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee. Also local Selectboard members, someone from Sustainable Woodstock, and Barnard resident Chloe Powell, because she lives off the grid and is an activist. We will interview her not as an expert but as an example of how to live sustainably. We should interview people from various generations to get different perspectives. I also have the idea to write to my town listserv to ask if any residents moved to Vermont in the 1960s for sustainability reasons. I know there was a “back to the land” movement that brought a lot of people like this here because I saw an exhibition at the Vermont Historical Society about the counterculture in Vermont. I am going to write to, or call the Vermont Historical Society in Barre to see if we can interview the curator of that show.

I think we can find interesting, captivating, motivating people through this.

We decided that we won’t interview people about general climate issues, but about sustainable ways to live in Vermont. We won’t just interview people who can discuss climate problems, but who can discuss climate solutions. 

Sam, Mateo and I brainstormed this list of what we want out of interviews, when we where at Common Ground.

An interview can:

  1. Challenge someone’s perspective
  2. Educate viewers
  3. Tell a story
  4. Define concepts
  5. Expand your view
  6. Capture emotions
  7. Find impactful stories
  8. Discover where to go next (the journey documentary)
  9. To provide depth
  10. To provoke/challenge viewers (or your interview subject [but that is questionable ethically])
  11. To legitimize/demonstrate authority and fact
  12. To set the stakes
  13. To create a character (other than experts, for the most part)
  14. To humanize
  15. To convey information
  16. Engage the audience

3. What are your most pressing questions? 

I want to use iMovie or DaVinci Resolve, but I understand that we are not supposed to because of equal opportunity. I am frustrated by this, because if we do have the resources I would like to use them especially because these are not that expensive or rare. I would understand the equal opportunity argument if I was asking to use a $50,000.00 camera or something but I just want to use a $9.00 application. In terms of the equal opportunity rule, I wonder if we can use some of this if we integrate back into the software we are all using. I also wonder if we are not allowed to purchase a good light from Home Depot.

General issues I want to make sure we discuss and make decisions about as a group are maintaining viewer interest and having good lighting. Sometimes interviews can get boring so we have to discuss how we will manage that, how we will edit. I noticed that some of the films we watched did not have good lighting. I hope we can pick up a good light from Home Depot.


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