The Endless Search

Whelp. It is finally done. After months of filming, weeks of editing and pacing my house, it is done. Finished. Completed.

This was a very difficult process. Even though I have known Marianne for a year, it has been emotionally hard to listen to Angie’s story and how Marianne lives her life as a result. I thought I was better prepared because I have heard their story before, but naturally it was still hard to film and listen.

I was really dragging my heels about having this project be a video. I have done video in the past and I really wanted to work on photo stories. But, I think this story could not have been told the same way with the same level of emotional impact in stills.

I think the letter is what sells the piece. The viewer really needs to hear Marianne’s voice to understand the full emotion of her life. Marianne’s life has truly changed because of these unfortunate circumstances. She now has a nonprofit helping missing people around the state as well as dedicating her life to trying to find her daughter.

For a couple weeks, I had the footage on my hard drive. I couldn’t edit it. I didn’t feel ready to sit down and actually cut the footage together. Once I got the audio track, I felt that it was elevated from what it was to my head to an actually project.

Over break, I started cutting the audio and video. I did a very rough cut, but it was a huge step within the process because I previously couldn’t look at the work.

I finished then a second cut and was starting to show it to people to get their opinions. I learned that I really value a second pair of eyes for my video work. There just sadly isn’t a lot of video people around here. I was getting the same “no it’s so great! No critiques!” and there is just no way that I made it perfect in one go.

I reached out to a friend and former co-worker Tim Nwachukwu, who currently works at Clarkson Creative in Denver, Colorado. We have previously worked together on my “Lost at Home” video, so Tim knows about my editing process and what critiques that I really need to hear. I sent him the first cut of this video and he gave me an in-depth critique about what to fix. It was so refreshing and exactly what I needed. His help was what created the polished product.

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Final Work in Progress

I gathered the audio that I need for the story before break. I then spent the majority of break trying to piece together clips and some basic sequencing. Because of the subject matter, it has been very difficult to go back and listen to Marianne’s letter. The audio is good, but I am having a hard time sticking the images with it.

All of my b-roll is of the day that Marianne went for a dig. I have car footage, digging footage, and her looking around. The issue during filming was that Marianne would just constantly talk. It was hard to film her because she was always talking. However, I think the footage from that event are substantial enough, I’m just having a hard time placing them into the video and make it cohesive.

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I also have audio and footage of her before we went on the dig describing what we were about to do. I can use that in the intro–> show images of her daughter –> start letter with images of her digging.

I feel like I have a good story and it have enough, but it’s just a matter of what it is the editing section.

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CPOY Post

I love CPOY. I only have been attending for two years, but I love the process and the educational value of it. I truly believe that I have grown as a photojournalist attending the judging.

But, recently on Facebook the idea of where the line is drawn between aesthetics and style with photojournalism. The Danish School of Journalism, like many other European institutions, prides itself on aesthetics, framing and art versus caption information and news value. They are brilliant at what they do, but it is frustrating as a working photojournalist to see aesthetics versus journalistic work.

I had the very humbling experience of watching my sports feature photo get to the quarter finals, not get talked about, then get booted haha. I, being a horrifically competitive person, was flat-out grumpy when I saw it get out. However, that is how these competitions go. It was important for me to realize that it being voted out does not change the fact that it is still a decent photograph that has a proper place in my portfolio. It does not change the fact that it beat out at least 600 images. It doesn’t make me any less of a sports photojournalist. Overall, it was a good experience to see my photo up on the projection.

But, it is always humbling seeing incredible storytelling in the picture story categories. Kayla’s stories were beautiful and all I would love to shoot for in my career. It is inspiring to get out there and do great work.

Work in Progress

I went out with Marianne to shoot her digging for her daughter in Ivy Bend, Missouri. It is a town known as “meth haven” to locals and a place just above the Ozarks. It was a cloudy day and we drove from her house to her daughter’s alleged murder site. I have heard Angie’s story a million times, but there was a definite change in feeling we pulled up to the house.

Marianne also talked the whole way there about the creepy people living near the property and how we were trespassing. I was a little on edge and was trying to focus on the work and try to get the best footage available. I had Marianne mic-ed up the entire time so the audio should be good. However, the video came out different than what I imagined. I haven’t sat down yet to edit it through, but I just know that it’s different. Part of that is because I had it in my head what I wanted it to look like and the other was that I was so involved with my surroundings that it was hard to get exactly and cinematically in my head.

But it always changes when in the editing room, so when I build a callouss to this experience I can finally go and see exactly what I have and what I need to move forward.

Self-Reflection- Group Project

It is always nice having a big group cover a topic that is important. In the early stages, I felt like there was critiques about how we were going to make the project cohesive because we are interviewing so many different people, but I feel like as a whole we made a good piece.

I felt like as a whole, the group did a lot of news gathering and passion to make this story work. Also, while Asa, Luke and Erin were out getting final b-roll, Davis and I sat down and created the full story board for the video. Because of the group’s efforts to transcribe interviews, it made it a lot easier. Davis and I then spent two hours sculpting the narrative and felt like what we came up with was the best way to tell the story that wasn’t one-sided and that also let everyone speak their peace and feel heard.

I did a lot of the editing, obviously because that was my grad component. I essentially spent time from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. editing. It only took that long because I had class and ADOP shift. But, I really enjoyed how everyone helped out with edits. It was nice to have people’s opinions on narrative and visual footage, especially in video editing because it is so time consuming. We spent more time talking about sequence structure rather than what we want where.

Overall: I felt like we got a diverse amount of sourcing. I wish we could have gotten a more “man on the street” personality, but I think it was a diverse and told a lot of the story. I think that our video was successful in providing insight into multiple opinions on guns and how different people associate them with different things.

If I were to do it all over again, I would try to include more footage of a “sensible gun owner” and footage of people hunting. I think the hunting could have added to the overall story and content, but I think it was still a successful piece that accomplished what we set out to do.

Mary Anne Golon

Hearing her at the her master class about editing reiterated how much I look up to her. I mean, the obvious is the fact that she A) worked for TIME, B) worked at TIME during 9/11 and Katrina, C) TOLD NEW YORK TIMES “NO” and D) Now is Director of Photography for the Washington Post.

I loved hearing about how she realized how important the 9/11 addition was to her and how she felt so passionate about going through the edit again and making sure it was the proper way to tell the story. This easily translated to her visual leadership and innovation with the Washington Post.

She showed a truly brilliant of Hurricane Katrina and the 10-year followup. As a person who has family in New Orleans, it was an edit that was represented. But it also was a visually successful edit that had such a rich narrative.

That and I always love seeing a strong woman who is a strong visual leader and widely respected within the industry.

Oh…and can we talk about how she is bffs with Pulitzer Prize winner James Nachtwey, who she casually called “Jim” in her lecture?? I mean….

Derby drivers compete in Smash Fest

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Devin Hook, left, drives one of his teammates to have their derby car inspected before Smash Fest on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. This was Team Hook’s first derby and they won in the chain-mail division. There were three divisions in the fest: chain, weld and compact.

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Justin Harp, center, and his teammates attempt to get their derby car able to pass official inspection at Smash Fest on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. The team’s car did not pass inspection and they did not compete in the derby.

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A fan waves a race flag at Smash Fest on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. Derby drivers represented multiple towns in mid-Missouri, such as Moberly, Fulton and Centralia.

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Frank Johns slams his derby car into a competitor at Smash Fest on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. Derby racing has been in the Johns family for three generations. Johns won his derby division.

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A child puts his hands over his ears at Smash Fest on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. Spectators are monster truck rallies and derbies are exposed to noise levels from 95 to 100 decibels, according to the US Department of Health and Human services. Exposure to sounds that are 85 decibels or louder can increase risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

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Smash Fest is a monster truck and derby race held in Moberly, Missouri. Derby cars slam into each other and the last car moving, wins. It is not about the appearance of the cars, but about their internal parts, like engines and transmissions.

Self-Reflection

This has been a topic that I have wanted to cover for years. I, honestly, had very different expectations about what I thought I was going to experience during the rally itself. However, the sources were very nice and willing to explain the sport and what goes into the event itself. I am usually very detail oriented when shooting, and I feel like this shoot doesn’t reflect that. The light also got really bad, really quickly but I think that I made the last two images work.