It would definitely be an understatement in say that the class was very beneficial to me because I got more out of than I thought I ever would.
As a graduating senior, I was narrowing down to my last classes and Documentary was a genre I had always been interested in and eager to know more about. I have always felt that documentaries go overlooked by so many people, mainstream and professional, when in all actuality, they are some of the more creative minds in the business. This was one of the reasons why I wanted to take the class, so I could understand and learn more about them.
At first, I thought the class was going to be the same ol same ol as ever other class. Have lecture, go home, read 30 pages and some article on documentary filmmaking, and then come back adn take notes, etc. Many times I do not get much out of that, however the structure of this class was extremely absorbing. We are often taught the technical aspect of film so much that classes never dig deep into the actual narrative filmmaking process and how to go about it.
This class has taught be how to think outside the box. Not EVERY thing will fall your way or be as black and white as you want. You really have to work for things and figure it out. Sometimes things just come to you as well. Patience is a definite virtue. I also learned that the closer you become with your subjects the more your story will become enhanced. In my film, While talking to Erica she spoke of skydiving, and then mentioned to had footage of it. Well, I never would have known this without digging those answers out of her and making her feel comfortable to give me the footage. In Matts film about craigslist the "card" lady called a friend of hers to see if we could interview her as well for the film. Again, these things just happened, for no apparent reason. It seems that stories are formed over time and as you go versus having it pinpointed from the start. The best line of thought and approach I will now take is to let the story come to you, instead of trying to find the story and give it meaning. The best ones are those that are right in front of you.
I also just wanted to mention on a sidenote because I think it is important. I have gone through a large amount of teachers through my time at UT, and most all of them teach because they teach. There are very few teachers who teach because the care. Ellen, you are one of them. It is extremely evident that you genuinely care about the progression of your students and only want to see them succeed. It is evident in class and with the speakers that are brought in, and that I want to thank you for. It has been a great joy to be part of the class and learn from someone who is so enthusiatic about what they do. It has been great motivation. I am definitely proud to say that you have probably been the best teacher I have had at UT, so I saved the best for last! Kim has been wonderful as well. Thanks for a great semester!