I realize it’s been almost a month since my last update! Been taking on lots of exciting projects lately! Apart from the managing-my-life aspect (work visa to stay in the US longer, mourning Germany’s loss at the World Cup), here’re some updates on what’s been keeping me busy.
Been pretty involved in the production of Maria Finitzo’s Invisible Seasons, a documentary that explores how change takes place in a democracy and the effects of Title IX on women’s athletics. Absolutely love going on shoots with the team doing 2nd camera, still photography, and filming behind-the-scenes footage. It’s always a blast when you put Maria, DP Peter Gilbert and Sound Recordist John Mathie together in one car. :) We’ve had opportunities to be a part of events like the Chicago Sky Opening Night at the Allstate Arena, the farewell banquet for the Kelly High School Women’s Soccer Team, and just learn so much through interviews with some really amazing people! Look out for the new demo that Editor Leslie Simmer’s been hard at work on, coming out mid August!
I’ve also had the pleasure of working the talented folks at Modea on the Invisible Seasons website. The initial draft concept they’ve sent me looks beautiful! It’s going to be such a fun and interactive website, I cannot wait for its official launch. :D
Innovations For Learning
I’m deep in post-production for the videos showcasing the company’s wonderful Online Tutoring program that brings together working professionals in the corporate world with 1st graders who need help with learning to read. They truly make it easy for the tutor because it only takes 30 minutes a week and he/she doesn’t even need to leave the office! All you really need is a phone line and an internet connection. Neat huh? I hope to be able to showcase all that through compelling stories told by our interviewees at the elementary schools and corporations we’ve visited. It’s so much fun exploring the various institutions and learning about what they do. It also gives me a great peek into the world of elementary education here in the US, since I didn’t grow up here. Plus it’s always heartwarming to be surrounded by 6 year-olds. :) Many thanks to my friends/DPs Karl, Alex, Trevor & Josh for coming on these journeys with me.
I got a random phonecall from Karl one day asking if I’d wanted to teach theater kids about film for a week-long summer program. Having no experience in the world of theater, I thought this would be a good chance to learn a little about it, while sharing what I know with a group of very expressive kids. Working with Aaron Shapiro and Tamara Drew at Studio BE was a ton of fun. We came up with a weeklong plan that would enable the kids to plan and shoot their very own promo video for their upcoming musical, RagTime!
Reel Talent Productions
That’s what my Cabrini Connections Film Club kids have decided to name our production company. We’re currently in the midst of an 8-week long summer course where they’ll learn filmmaking techniques through producing their very own music videos! The kids chose, right from day one, that they’d be working on music videos for Lil Mama’s Lip Gloss, and the opening theme song for the anime Air Gear. Two very different pieces, with very different feels.
Just earlier this week, the kids had 3.5 hours to shoot everything they needed. While one group had scenes with dancers, make-up and lots of attitude, the other group had shots of an intense card game, reminding me of casino scenes from James Bond. Over the next 4 weeks, we’ll be hard at work on editing, finishing and summing up with our big screening party. Whee!
Manchester United Soccer School & 1World Sports
The Manchester United Soccer School started off their US tour in Chicago, where kids from all over had to compete for the opportunity to spend a day with coaches from one of the world’s best soccer teams around. How exciting it was for Jane, Jenny and I to be there to capture all the action on video at UIC. :)
1World Sports knows that’s a lot of life lessons that can be taught through sports, so they designed the “Responsibilities of an Athlete” program to teach kids about them. Mixed that with running around under the sun doing soccer drills with the Man U coaches, and the kids went home with smiles on their faces (and plenty of cool Man U merchandise!).