Done and Dusted?

My Senior Project has come to an end. I am back at school and away from Scenarios USA. The end came much faster than I thought it would. I had no “official” ending; I went into the office on Friday afternoon – as I’d been working from home for most of the week, and showed my boss the first final draft of the film I was working on. Unfortunately, I still had a lot of edits to make to the film – I knew that much when showing him. Knowing I had a bunch of edits to make I didn’t really feel like I was saying goodbye to my job. I also didn’t want to say a dedicated goodbye. I knew that I wanted to keep interning for Scenarios USA, just on the side.

When I arrived into the office, I had an e-card from all of the people in the office saying thank you for my time and work, and that they wanted me to continue interning with them in the future. It was great to see them say that, it confirmed that my efforts had paid off and were appreciated. It also made it a lot easier when I asked if I could continue on with being a part of Scenarios USA.

Although I am not dedicating 100% of my time to Scenarios USA anymore, I am still a part of the team and am still interning for them. I have to complete the edits to this final film, and I will hopefully intern for them in the summer. I have been offered the chance to go to their film set in June when they start filming the winning script that I mentioned in a previous blog post about the final selection committee. It’s great to see how things are completed.

I look forward to continuing my relationship with Scenarios USA and hope that as I continue interning for them more opportunities can arise that will help expose me to the world of film and activism.

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When the thing you’ve been working towards is done

So, as of Thursday, Scenarios USA has officially completed their big 15 year anniversary gala and retrospective! It was a great night, the venue was beautiful and the people were fabulous. It was a night full of enjoyment, chatter and reflection. I might add that the video made for the gala (cough – I helped with that) was fantastic! 

However, now that the Gala is done I feel I am in a bit of a “what do I do now?” predicament. For these few weeks that I have been working with Scenarios USA I have been doing all sorts of things for the Gala video, but now that the gala is done and dusted I’ve been somewhat unsure of how I will continue with my internship for the next couple of weeks. 

Never fear! I have spoken to my boss, been in the office and worked solid seven hour days to discovered that I do indeed have more work that needs to be done! 

My current “assignment” if you will, is to do more editing! I am now editing my own version of a 90sec Scenarios USA gala video! It does seem that nearly my entire internship has just turned into a massive editing session of so much editing on my laptop that I feel I now have an even closer relationship to it than I did before. What was once some rookie Final Cut Pro X skills are now full out “know it like the back of my hand!” skills. Okay, so maybe they’re not that great, but they are certainly better than they were before. 

Having said that, I don’t mind editing. It’s not my favourite thing to do in the world, but then again the end result is so wonderfully satisfying. As I’ve been creating my own short film on Scenarios USA with all of the footage taken for the gala video I am getting to know the organization better than most. I’ve had to dwindle down the sixteen hours worth of footage into a couple minutes and then find the best possible moments to use out of them and somehow create a cohesive and fluid story. I like to think I’m doing alright. 

I showed my first draft of the film to my boss and he was more than pleased. I’ve never felt so appreciated at a job before. I guess when you volunteer your time free of charge, solely for the purpose of benefiting the organization, you’re really appreciated. It’s a good feeling. I’d suggest volunteering or interning somewhere if you haven’t already. 

As I’ve only got about 2 weeks (less than) left of my internship, I will be working away solidly on these two video project that I need to complete. One using different people from the footage, the other focusing on a specific Scenarios USA writer. I hope I can make them to a high standard and hopefully have them shown somewhere. Maybe on their website or something? We shall see. 

It’s pretty sad to know it will be ending soon, but I know that I’ll always have a spot open to me at Scenarios USA if I want to continue. 

Side note: If you haven’t seen the wonderful Gala video yet, here is the link.

Selection Committee

The other day was a big day for Scenarios USA. It was the day that the winner of the Real Deal contest was chosen. What is the Real Deal contest, you ask? Well, as I’ve mentioned before Scenarios USA implements a curriculum into some schools in which the students write short stories, scripts, picture boards etc. to do with a certain topic each contest. This years was Place and Power. The students then address what they feel is an accurate and realistic portrayal of what they believe an aspect of place and power is in their life. The whole purpose of this is to encourage the students to take a leadership positions in discussing things that would otherwise go undiscussed, and to also delve into a hopefully deeper understanding of one’s self. Once the students are satisfied with their work they can be entered into the Real Deal contest in which three scripts will be chosen from 3 different areas across the USA and the winners will have their script turned into a real life, cinema ready movie shot and directed by real hollywood directors. It’s a pretty sweet incentive to give the contest a go. 

Before I started officially interning with Scenarios USA, I was a volunteer in the very early stages of their selection committee. It was during my summer break that I spent about four hours reading, commenting and voting on numerous scripts/stories/drawings and what have you, from all over the US from all different age levels and ability. The amount of entries were immense, however thanks to many volunteers they were able to widdle down the numbers to a select few. Those few would then be taken through further processing until the final ones were presented to the final selection committee; aka, the big guns. 

Now, the purpose of the Real Deal contest is to create a movie from a script that is written with heart, passion and integrity. Scenarios doesn’t want to create just any other “teen movie”. They want it to be real and relatable. It has to spark discussion and hopefully positive change or action will come after watching the film. Once the film has been made and is ready for its cinematic debut, it will be shown all across America to many different schools and education facilities in order to further spread that year’s particular topic. 

Once I had arrived at the very professional office space up in Manhattan’s business district away from the usual small and familiar Scenarios USA office in Brooklyn, I could feel the anticipation in the air. Everyone there had a purpose and they took it very seriously. They were about to change a young person’s life, this wasn’t a light and fluffy decission. That young person was about to endeavor on a once in a lifetime opportunity of creating a film with a hollywood director and forever having their name remembered with this iconic and influential film. 

With that being said, there were about 12 or so people in the final selection committee, all from different areas of expertise. Some were previous contest winners, others were educators, activists, the director was there and so on. A very thought through and deliberate set of people. With the proceedings underway, it was fascinating to see all of their minds put to work and the different things that they brought to the table. It was very much how I would picture a jury to be like. All in or no banana. 

Unfortunately, due to the confidentiality of the situation I can not reveal anything about the winner or entries. Only that I know the 2014 film will not be a disappointment if the passion of the people involved is a measure of success. 

After the long day (it took nearly the whole day for everyone to agree on the winner), Scenarios USA took some of the selection committee and it’s inspired workers (that’s me and a couple others) out to Serendipity for some celebration dessert. It was a nice treat to the end of the week. 

I feel like the final selection committee is the stand out experience of my time with Scenarios USA thus far. It was more than fascinating to see all of those minds at work and just how much effort and how seriously a project like this is taken. It’s not just another film to add to the list of films made by Scenarios USA. It has to matter, and it has be loved by everyone involved. 

I’m honestly so excited to see the end result when it’s released in a years time. 

First Week Done

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It feels like I have been working with Scenarios USA for ages now. Yet, it has only been a little over a full week. I’m not sure if I feel exhausted, excited, or just still getting used to the whole “interning” thing. I’m going to go with the latter. Working with Scenarios USA I was unsure of what exactly I would be doing. I knew they did films, but would I be working there in time to help with that? Or would I be going to schools and witnessing their curriculum in action? Thankfully, when I went for my first meeting, my boss, Rob, told me about the Gala that they are having at the end of the month and how I came just in time. I am instrumental in the competition of the film they will show at the Gala that exhibits the 15 years worth of work that Scenarios USA has completed since its inception. The film will be five minutes long. 

Now, before you start thinking that a 5 minute film surely couldn’t take up my whole time as an intern, I want you to bear in mind that this isn’t some “throw-together-something-at-the-last-minute-and-call-it-art” kind of organization. Scenarios USA is very much a “this-needs-to-be-the-best-it-can-possibly-be-and-it-sure-as-hell-will-be” type of organization. Ever since I started at Scenarios (which was during Spring Break) I have been working on different elements for the gala video. First, it started with the dreaded transcribing that I spoke about in my previous blog post, and has since moved on to “magic moments”.  As you can probably guess from the name, “magic moments” are parts of the accumulated footage that stands out from all the rest. Magic moments are the best parts of the footage that should be used in the final film. This sounds easy enough, however there is over 14 hours worth of film. That’s a lot of film to go through if you’re an editor, especially for only a short five minute film. So, what I have been doing is making it easier for the editor when the time comes. 

This week we had a meeting with Beast, an editing company. There, I met the women who would be working on the film and I got a real sense of just how important and special this film is. Without a film at the gala, well… There may as well be no gala. Having met the people behind editing the footage and making it whole, I was a little bit nervous. I felt the pressure to find the best magic moments I could. Meeting them, I realized how much they were relying on me to get the magic moments done and to a high standard. They would essentially be what they base the film around. 

I finished finding the magic moments and sent them over to all the people involved. Thankfully, I had a good response. Since I have completed the magic moments in the interviews, I must now find the magic moments in the films to change up the visual aspect of the film. We didn’t really want the whole film to be just of people talking to the camera being interviewed. We wanted to show the finished work that they’ve actually been doing for the past 15 years. 

I’ve been all around New York this week, running errands between Union Square, Hanson Place and Uptown. It’s been exciting. A real The Devil Wears Prada “I am Anne Hathaway running all over the place like a headless chicken” moment. I loved it. I like when I have to travel between each place and go back and forth between the two offices, noticing the difference in the trains when just minutes have past. One minute I have a seat, the next I am crammed into the subway cart like a sardine. I love it. (I say that now, though I’m sure it will change). 

Another something special happened this week during my internship that I think I will share in my next blog post. I don’t want to bore you all with the same repetitive things each week, so I thought I would spread out the exciting stuff. 

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week and I’ll write again soon. 

The ‘unofficial’ start of my Senior Project.

I do not “officially” begin my Senior Project until April 7th, however I already feel like it is well and truly underway. As you may already know, my senior project is with the non-profit organization of Scenarios USA. A wonderful organization that creates first-class movies based on scripts and stories created by youth. The work and impact they have on the day to day lives of the youth of today is remarkable. I am lucky enough to get the opportunity to work with them and see exactly what being a member of Scenarios USA is all about. 

I was a bit late on the whole ‘sorting out my internship thing’, however here I am interning with my first choice organization. I hit the jackpot with applying for Scenarios, as it so happens to turn out this month is one of the busiest for Scenarios USA as they are getting ready for their 15 year anniversary with a Gala at the end of the month. One that I have volunteered to work at and one that I will be instrumental in creating elements in. 

As I mentioned above, although I do not start my senior project until April 7 officially, I have already started. Given my trip to Australia, I was unable to start my internship until later, however they seized the opportunity of my long flight back home and asked if I would transcribe an hours worth of footage for them. When I had met with my boss, Rob, he mentioned that I would be instrumental in helping put together a big anniversary advertisement for the organization. This is great, I wanted to work with film for my internship. When Rob gave me the interview to transcribe I was happy to accept, it was only an hours worth of footage and I was sure it would be easy to do. However, I quickly realized that was not the case. I have never transcribed anything before, and although Rob warned me that even for a good transcriber, transcribing an hours worth of footage can take them three hours I was sure I could finish it in no time.

Having downloaded the videos, I went to start transcribing on the flight, only to, somewhat ironically, be hit with a dose of travel sickness in the form of a killer headache every time I tried to concentrate on the screen and type what the interviewees were saying. Reluctantly, after only completing a 3 minute section (that took my about 15 minutes to transcribe) I had to put it away and succumb to the fact that I was in too much pain to continue. After realizing how long transcribing was going to take me, as soon as I landed in Australia and was going home to get ready for bed, I stayed up until I had finished transcribing the entire video. I would say it took me a good four hours to complete. It was not pleasant, and I am not a fan of transcribing one bit. However, I did it and I had sent it in in time for when they needed it. I had officially completed my first ‘assignment’ for my internship.

I have already volunteered to work at the Scenarios USA 15 year anniversary Gala at the end of this month and I am excited to see what work I will be doing and what company I will be surrounded by.  I feel it will be a great opportunity for me to truly grasp the impression Scenarios USA has on the older generation, the people instrumental to the financial side of the organization continuing and being so successful for such a long time. I’m a little bit nervous as well, but they’re good nerves. 

For my trip back to the States I have (very reluctantly) accepted to transcribe some more footage for the advertisement. It’s all a part of the job I guess – I’m just kidding, transcribing isn’t so bad now I know what to do and all the tricks. I shall have that finished soon, considering I can’t do it on the flight, but I haven’t told my boss that. I always feel it is important to say yes to work, especially in the early stages of the job. 

Despite having not officially started my internship, I feel confident and ready to get well and truly underway. They have already given me work which proves that I am needed and I won’t just be grabbing coffee for the next two months. My work will be of value to the organization. As nervous as I am about messing up, I’m excited to jump into the working world and seeing what I can do.