When we reached the film center, I had my story down pat. My batteries were charged and ready. My questions were done. I could almost hear the answers already in my head. And that’s when I also heard a small voice telling me that a mistake that had nearly blown one assignment was about to happen again. This wasn’t a print story. It was a video story. Once that was clear a lot of things fell in naturally. With our instructor Jim, assuring and reassuring everyone that everything was going great, I started. Holding the camera (straight) is always an experience. One that I was about to savor. Suddenly all those rules made sense. The two thirds rule, the pan shot, handles and keeping the camera for a few seconds more on every frame didn’t seem so strange any more. The story was supposed to focus on the change the films have made. Paulo, the director of the center, had lost to say about that as well. Travels in South Dakota, the 24 year old who 10 years ago would have joined a gang but instead today holds retrospectives of his films and finally the young people who teach at the center and one day hopefully will take over.
While his words were wonderful, I had no visuals to match them. So the story center had to be something else. That’s when discussions with Professor Doug saved the day. “What you have is good,” he said. “But why should I care?” Powerful characters tell a good video story and here the center was a character. So juxtaposing the kind of films it makes and the kind of city LA is gave me my first lead.
The treatment changed with the way the story developed. While earlier my opening shots were to detail the center how I had to set context of the city. My time to do is short so I used a cliche: the ever popular opening shot of the Hollywood sign. Then I use still photos to establish the center.
This led to the fact that now the center was 10 and I close with the change the films made. Suddenly video doesn’t seem so scary anymore.