Monday, December 10, 2012

Final thoughts

It's over and done! 
Our Capstone Documentary Showcase went so very well on Saturday, December 1st. Each and every film was well attended and well -received. 
My key advisers and consultants, Lisa Slama and Kurt Roscoe  previewed the film the week before, their responses were very encouraging. And that was before I made some necessary changes according to my professor's advice. (thanks Mr. Weaver, you were right once again). The final product was improved greatly by their input.

So what am I glad I did while making this documentary?
1. LOG LINES saved the day. Even though I was so very reluctant to do something sooooo tedious, it really saved me time in the long run as I formed by story line.
2. Return visits for filming allowed me to fill in the gaps that I was missing as my storyline took final form on the timeline.
3. Continue working on better lighting and audio and equipment. ( my tripod was a bit of a boogerhead)

And what would I do differently?
1. Different interview locations to change up the scenery - mine was rather blah.
2. Meet and talk to the potential interviews without a camera in can be intimidating even to the bravest. Plus it helps me discern which stories to pursue before filming.

I liked this whole endeavor, and would seriously like to be part of a documentary team... I think it would be both interesting and meaningful.

Thank you for everyone's support and positive feedback!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Save the Date and Don't be Late!

Capstone 2012 Photo shoot
You are Invited to the Capstone Showcase 
From the BC Class of 2013

Mark your Calenders for Saturday, December 1st. to be part of the Annual Showcase where Broadcast Communication Majors present their student project - a short documentary film.

In particular, plan on coming from 1:00pm to 3:30pm to view the 3 film cluster that includes my own film:

"Wounded Warriors, Healing Hounds"

A film that explores veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder using psychiatric Service dogs to reclaim their lives and freedom.

Also included during that time slot is a Connor Kobis film:

"Fourth and a Miracle"

The amazing story of a former Westminster coach recovering from a tragic accident with the love and support of his wife.

And also in the line- up is Ashley Durham as she goes:

"Over the Rainbow"

A personal and revealing experience with the Gay Pride Parade in Pittsburgh during the summer of 2012.

Capstone 2012 Photo shoot

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Service Learning for Capstone

   Service Learning is a key requirement in curriculum at Westminster College. The goal of the requirement is for students to learn in the process of doing, and the doing should be helpful and beneficial to others. So how do I see the benefits of my Capstone topic? The video below sums it up better than I can say, but I will add my thoughts in text to please my professor.
     Exploring the concept of PTSD alone is valuable simply because our society must be more aware and compassionate towards the veterans that are suffering from it. So many more will be coming back from Afghanistan and will need help in diagnosing their symptoms, and finding the best treatment. I want my documentary to raise awareness, inform, and inspire anyone with PTSD, or anyone related to someone suffering from it.
   Exploring the use of Psychiatric Service Dogs as a way of helping a veteran regain his/her freedom and quality of life is invaluable as well. These animals can be so very useful to the everyday life of a veteran, its important for others to know and recognize that fact. I want this documentary to enhance the  learning and appreciation for the program, the dogs, and those who make it happen.  I hope more trainers, sponsors, and donors will rise up to keep helping these deserving veterans find the "best friend" they need.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Nat sound and music

Naturally I have some great footage of veterans and their dogs that involves a lot of barking. Wouldn't want to not use that in my video. And since there will be plenty of talking by way of interviews and barking by way of training I don't have a major dramatic music score in the works. Thanks Hans Zimmer for being so willing to work with me, but next time:) BUT I do have access to a lady with a great voice who has agreed to croon for me a patriotic song as she plays piano. If that works into the story line  then so be it.

I also had a chance to cover URAC last year, and the gentlemen performing his original acoustic guitar piece was very willing to let me use it as needed for my documentary. It's a mutual agreement, since I could use the music, and he could get his name out there.

Here is what I filmed of his performance last year.

Tim Skero interview and music

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Enter Lisa Slama

   Back in March of 2012, as I finally nailed down the concept for my Capstone, I truly was excited about the choice.  I found the subject matter interesting and really looked forward to learning more about PTSD and the training of Psychiatric Service Dogs, but the process of finding a facility that would be local and available was something I wasn't sure would work out. This meant I would have to rely on second hand film coverage, or one long summer trip to who knows where.

  My first attempt to find an organization that worked with veterans with PTSD and PS dogs was through the internet . When I came across  Veterans Best Friend  near Cleveland, Ohio I was thrilled. A trip there was possible in one day without huge expense. The question that remained to be answered was would they let me come hang around and stick a camera in their face? or their dog's? (not really, but it feels like when you first see the camera)

Enter Lisa Slama, the director of VBF. She responded to my inquiring e-mail with incredible swiftness and friendliness. She welcomed the idea, had lots of questions, feedback, and a willingness to help. She is also impressively qualified at several levels with multiple certification for dog training and a degree in Psychiatry (I'm serious... she has an alphabet after her name. Here is her picture from the VBF website.)

Jesse Tanner
Service Dog Dakota
OEF/OIF VeteranCoordinator
Coordinator & Trainer216-390-2754

So needless to say, without her opening the doors to her organization, letting me intrude upon her schedule and training sessions, introducing me to the people I have interviewed so far, answering my questions, I would not have the footage I need to do anything for my Capstone. Nor would I have seen this process up close and in action with both Veterans and dogs.

Here is a snippet of my starting interview with Lisa. I ask her how working with dogs all got started for her.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

So here is the video snippet of Sandy I wanted to put with my post but......had trouble uploading last night to blog.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Expect the Unexpected

When I first started to read about Psychiatric Service Dogs being used for returning veterans that suffer from PTSD I kind of limited my thinking, subconsciously. Not that I was actively voicing any certain expectations, but I just had some underlying assumptions that comes with limited knowledge. There's nothing like the smell of burnt rubber hitting the road to help change your pre-suppositions.

     Not to be gender-biased, because I do realize that many women are in the Armed Forces and provide valuable and quality service to our military operations and to our country, but somehow in my naivete I expected anyone suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to be someone who was under fire, as in mortar fire. In my mind that translated into wounded MALE soldier, since men are sent onto the front lines. (I am certainly aware that female soldiers can be captured and taken hostage, and are still in harms way, its just not the majority)

  When I arrived at Veteran's Best Friend in Berea, Ohio for filming, I noticed that it wasn't just men going through the program with their dogs, although certainly that was predominant. I immediately realized I needed to get a female voice into the narrative so I asked to talk to Sandy. Here is a snippet of her story and what lead up to her involvement with PS dogs and Veteran's Best Friend. Her story will be expanded on in my Capstone.