It All Comes Together

Hello!

Week three was the finale of my internship, and what a week it was! I have a lot to cover, so I might as well just jump right in. Here it goes!

The biggest change that happened this week was that I switched residences from my relatives in New York City to my relatives in Plainsboro, New Jersey. Although this meant that I would have to learn a new route to and from my internship, I welcomed the change since I knew that it would be a good experience that would teach me more about commuting into New York City. Although the daily commute by train was somewhat longer (roughly an hour each morning and evening), it was still pretty simple and allowed me to see some new parts of the city when I traveled to and from the train station.

Now, if you read my post about the first week of my internship, you might have gathered that there was a bit of a learning curve in terms of transportation. My new commute by train actually went quite well. There was only one time when something went slightly awry and it was out of my hands. On Thursday, the train I was taking into the city was heavily delayed and stopped at a station on the outskirts of New York City. The conductor announced that it would likely be 30 to 40 minutes before we started moving again, so if we needed to get into the city quickly we should use the express subway that also stopped at this particular station. I didn’t want to be late for my internship, but I also had no idea where the express subway would let me off and if it would be anywhere near Jigsaw. After some thought, I decided that I would rather take a chance and see where the express subway would take me as opposed to waiting for the train to get moving again. I exited the train and got on the subway, intent on checking which stops were available. However, only about 30 seconds after I got onto the subway and started looking at its stops, I heard the telltale hiss of the train, as it closed its doors and drove off, well before the announced, “30 to 40 minutes” of delays. Fortunately, through the kindness of some New Yorkers and some careful observing, I found that there was a transfer subway that would take me very close to Jigsaw. And so it all worked out in the end.

My work at Jigsaw Productions went very well during my final week of the internship. For the most part, I was continuing my work with photo logging and scanning pictures, but I also was able to take part in a few more activities throughout the week. The newest sort of activity was shooting some B-Roll footage for one of the other Jigsaw documentaries. B-Roll is used to overlay footage when people are talking for extended periods, and it isn’t necessary to see them speaking the whole time. For instance, if somebody is talking about Babe Ruth and how he was the Home Run King for many years, the editor may choose to show footage of Babe Ruth hitting home runs and scoring while this person is talking so that the viewer can visualize what the speaker is saying, as opposed to just seeing them tell their story. Anyhow, the B-Roll that I was helping to shoot was of a paper ball being thrown at a trash bin full of crumpled paper, which would result in several pieces of paper falling out of the bin. Now, this may sound incredibly easy and simple to you. You may be thinking that this sort of footage would only take 5 minutes, at most, to shoot and have ready to present to the editors. In reality, this process can actually take much longer. There is a lot to think about when framing any shot, and this B-Roll was no exception. From a technical stand point the lighting, angle of the shot, background, and position of the object all have to be taken into account before the footage can be taken. Then, it is important to consider how the shot will look to the viewer. Should the ball travel with an arc towards the trash bin, or should it be thrown directly at the bin for greater impact? Is there a way to make the shot more dramatic by changing the lighting, angle, or focus of the camera? How would the shot look in slow motion? All of these factors were very important to think about, and as a result, taking this seemingly simple B-Roll actually ended up taking around an hour to shoot. This was one of my favorite experiences from week three. It really helped to show me just how much work goes into every shot of a film, and how much care was put into even the simplest of tasks.

The other amazing experience I had during the final day of my internship was that I had a chance to see the rough cut of the documentary that I’d been working on. Rough cuts of a film are essentially what they sound like, versions of the film in which the editors test out various constructions of the story to see what works and what doesn’t. I felt very privileged to see an edition of the film that nobody else would ever view, and to see where my work had been going. I saw some of the pictures I’d logged being put to use in the film, and how the story went together. It felt like a true culmination of everything I’d done over the past three weeks.

In addition to taking B-Roll footage and seeing the rough cut of the documentary I’d been working on, I also got to work on filming my own short documentary. I wanted to capture some of my experiences on film by interviewing the staff at Jigsaw whom I’d worked with to ask them why they joined the film and media industry, where they’d learned the most, and what advice they had for aspiring film makers. It was awesome to get some personal experience filming my own short film, and I’m excited to start editing and putting together my footage.

Now that my Senior Project is finished, I look back on the past three weeks and realize just how much I’ve gained from my experiences. I learned so much from everyone I worked with over the course of the project. Whether it was only for one day or for the entire three weeks, each person taught me something different about the film and media industry that I hadn’t known prior to my Senior Project.

Although my Senior Project may be finished, I will take these lessons wherever I go. They helped me to learn more about where my interests lie, and about an amazing industry that I am very excited about. It’s been a wonderful three weeks that I will never forget. Thank you to everyone who made it possible! I cannot tell you how much I appreciated this opportunity. You have my deepest gratitude.

Cheers!

Geoff

The Pace Increases

Hello!

My second week interning at Jigsaw Productions went very well. This week started off with an interesting adventure. On Sunday I decided to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the coolest places in the city. When I had gone as a child, I was not able to appreciate all that the museum had to offer, unless you want to count the Arms and Armor display as the entire museum. Being older, though, I was excited to see the museum on a grander scale. All in all, the visit began well enough. I started by viewing the Egypt exhibit, followed by the Sculpture, 18th Century Home, American Artwork, Arms and Armor, and Exotic Instrument displays. When I finally ended up in the European Paintings exhibit, I realized that I had no idea where I was in relation to the exit. I had forgotten to pick up a map on the way in, so I had no way of knowing where I was in the sprawling Metropolitan Museum. Normally, this wouldn’t have been much of an issue, but I knew that it was getting close to closing time, so I wanted to be cognizant of where I was so that I wouldn’t still be wandering around the exhibits while the museum was being closed down. I enjoyed the challenge of finding my way out of the museum well before this became an issue, so I didn’t end up in a situation similar to Claudia and Jamie from The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Though I’ll admit, that would have been fun as well.

Apart from this minor incident, my week went exceptionally well. Unlike the first week, transportation never proved to be an issue. This took a weight off my shoulders, which allowed me to put my full energy into my work. This week, most of my activities were focused on scanning and photo logging. The consolidation of my work allowed me to perfect my skills in both, and to get into a working rhythm. It felt exhilarating to constantly challenge myself to work at a faster pace, while still creating the same high quality product. I was also happy to know that the people I was working with were appreciative of my work. Throughout the week, I had a chance to have lunch and trade jokes with them, which allowed me to get to know them better. This made working with them even more enjoyable. I also gained a lot by just listening to them, even when they weren’t talking to me. From their conversations I learned about the various processes that surround getting the rights to archival footage and pictures. I can’t tell you any specifics due to my confidentiality agreement, but I can tell you that there is much more thought and planning that goes into this process than you would imagine. Hearing about the complexities that surround this process was fascinating, and it really helped to broaden my understanding of the how a documentary is made.

Speaking of the process that documentaries undergo before completion, I was able to attend a meeting at which the Jigsaw staff members who were leading the project I was assigned to met with their adviser and editors. During this meeting, the adviser and editors would ask for updates on certain tasks, cancel others, request footage, begin inquiries, and discuss other various topics. This provided a context and helped me better understand the importance of what I was doing when I logged and scanned photos. These photos fulfilled the various requests and needs of the editors and advisers. It helped make my work more enjoyable and meaningful to me, since I had a more exact idea of the purpose of my work.

Before I even knew it, the week was already over, and I was very happy with what I had accomplished thus far. I was completing my assignments efficiently, gaining more and more knowledge of the city, and constantly building confidence as an intern. At this rate, week three will definitely be the best of them all. I can’t wait for it to start!

Cheers!

Geoff

Lights, Cameras, Action!!

Hello!

My name is Geoff, and I’m about to embark on my senior project. With only a few days remaining until I go, my anticipation is building with every passing moment. For my senior project, I will be spending three weeks in New York City interning with Jigsaw Productions, a documentary film company that has won Academy, Emmy, and even Writer’s Guild awards for their work. Over the course of my internship, I will be partaking in activities such as photologging, transcribing interviews, running errands, and attending daily question and answer sessions with the staff of Jigsaw.

This project is a dream come true for me. Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated with the art of storytelling, whether it be through writing, artwork, songs, or film. In addition, I have also been passionate about activism and spreading awareness of various social and environmental issues such as hydraulic fracturing. Documentary films in particular have piqued my interest as a way of accomplishing both. They allow you to tell a story while also spreading a message to others. In addition to the content of my project, I am also excited about the location in which it is taking place. The constant energy of New York City has never ceased to amaze me, so I look forward to spending three weeks immersed in it.

My hope is that this internship will help me to know whether I would like to pursue a future in film making, or if this isn’t really my calling. I also hope to gain insight on the film industry and how documentaries are created, from concept to reality. For instance, how do you attain funding, who do you pitch your ideas to, how do you assemble a crew, and how do you make your vision of a film into reality? On the other hand, my main concern going into this project is that I won’t get the depth of knowledge I’m hoping to attain. However, I know that regardless of my exact experience during my senior project, I will learn an innumerable amount about myself through this internship. For this reason, I am incredibly excited to start my senior project and to delve into the film industry.

A mere three days until my project begins. Let’s get that camera rolling!

Cheers,

Geoff