Week 1: A Future Uncertain?

25 01 2010

The initial uncertainty.

Well, the new semester has begun and I’m starting at Newsy.com (via the Newsy class) as well as KBIA (through J4806).  The question is: what do I hope to take away from this semester?  I’m really very excited to develop my skills in working with web videos and audio stories, but I’m finding myself wondering where this will all lead me when graduation time comes around.  Here are some things I’m relatively certain about:

1. Eventually, I’d like to produce documentaries.  I’ve worked on three feature-length documentaries before, but each time I complete one I feel that I progress beyond that skill level fairly quickly and no longer want to use the films to promote myself.  I suppose that’s the nature of working on these projects during the high school and college years – things move fast and each new idea seems far superior to the last idea, which robs you of a sense of continuity in your work.  I’m becoming more and more proficient with effects programs like After Effects and other third party software that rapidly increase the professionalism of (the look of) your work as you become more acquainted with them.

2. I like working in an online environment and I enjoy the possibilities that online networking creates for someone who is trying to disseminate information.  There is a lot of room for innovation, but finding a relatively untapped audience/subject matter with whom my work will resonate is the most interesting challenge.

3.  Perhaps it’s less realistic than the previous two points, but I’m very interested in producing and mixing music.  I’m proficient in several instruments and I’m hoping to apply my interest in composing to some of my projects.  Naturally, so much control over a project with a wide scope – like a documentary – will spread me pretty thin.  It’s absolutely not impossible though.  Major filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez (Once Upon a Time In Mexico, Spy Kids, From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City, Grindhouse, etc.), John Ottman (Urban Legends: The Final Cut, X-Men 2, Valkyrie, Superman Returns), John Carpenter (Halloween, Assault on Precinct 13, Christine, Escape From New York, etc.) and a few others have had major mainstream success while writing, editing, directing, scoring, and producing their films (not always all at once, of course).  I’m still mulling this over and I’m planning on creating a project soon that will test my ability to utilize these skills within a coherent project.  Despite the obvious setbacks to balancing several jobs on the same project, I feel there are some huge conceptualization and execution benefits to creating a style for a film.  Certain elements of style, by the way, can really add a lot to a piece without detracting from its objectivity and truthfulness (in my view).

Stills from the MUTV show “Reacharound Clubhouse”

A new plan.

This is a project I plan on working on this semester.  It may not be “reporting” (since it is essentially a comedy format with elements of journalism), so I’ll plan for now to use this blog to chronicle my work and to meditate on my future career.  All the same, I thought this would be a nice opportunity to discuss the progress of my project.

As a student, I’ve worked in several organizations and tested out a variety of career paths to determine what type of work I might be successful in.  I’ve created a television show on MUTV, a comedy/variety program called Reacharound Clubhouse, which has actually become relatively popular.  It needs quite a bit of adjusting, but I’ve decided to take this show to more of a web-based environment for the purpose of developing a web presence.  I’ve purchased a domain online and I’ll be working on the website throughout this semester.  The material I’m producing is not documentary, but much of it is an on-the-spot interview type of format.  It’s also in a vein of humor that is currently pretty popular as far as “viral” online comedy goes.  Naturally, I’m hoping to greatly increase the professionalism of the show’s look in order to set a precedent of legitimacy.  As I’m building the site, I’m also working with my staff to determine what our target demographic, production standards, and other considerations will be.

If I can get the site set up to a reasonable degree this weekend, I’ll document it’s progress in each week’s blog and to update our viewers on the show.  Producing publicity will be even more fun, but I’ll discuss my strategy for online and real-world advertising later.

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