Picking up the pace!

Friday, July 26th

Today we spent the morning at Portland State for homeroom with Phil. We all discussed the events of the week (speakers and filming) and received really excellent feedback on the directions our films are going, and Chetty and I feel pretty confident with the progress we’ve made so far. After the collective homeroom meeting, Chetty and I had our personal meeting with Phil to talk more concretely about our project. We came away with some great ideas for artistic shots, as well as a good idea of what type of pacing we’d like to create in our documentary. The footage so far sets up an interesting juxtaposition between fast-paced, screen-heavy, mainstream culture, and the slower, detail-oriented feeling that one has when working in the IPRC. Pacing was something I hadn’t thought very intentionally about before, though it seems so intuitive now. I’m excited to experiment with our footage!


After homeroom, I made my way back over to the east side to pick up our camera and tripod from the IPRC. Some of the people we’d interviewed and chatted with were working, so I said hello. They all seem very excited to see our finished product, as are we! We’re working on getting an interview with Nicole J Georges this weekend, who has a long history of working at the IPRC, as well as her own impressive career as a cartoonist! It feels great to see this all coming together. I’m excited for what’s in store!

Bridges, cyclists, and skate punks… Oh my!

Wednesday, July 17th


Today we were released into the field with a bunch of beautiful video and sound equipment, thanks to Portland Community Media! Chetty (Nicole) and I wandered the east side for significant Portland landmarks to use as context footage at the beginning of our film. Nili at PCM is going to help us create a time lapse of traffic over the Hawthorne bridge, so we set up our tripod near the east end and chatted for about half an hour as cyclists, cars, and walking commuters streamed past us.

Next we ventured over to the Burnside Skate Park, hoping to catch some Portlanders in motion (again, for our B-roll footage). I was a little nervous (skaters can be intimidating!) but Chetty is way cooler than me and has hung out at skate parks often, so she took the reigns with entering the space and getting a few great shots. Seeing her take control of the situation made me realize just how confident (or confident-seeming) you sometimes have to be in order to get a worthwhile shot. After lingering on the edge of the skate park for a while, we traversed through the industrial district, finally ending near Hawthorne.

In the evening, we and some of the other students got together for pizza! We talked about our favorite documentaries, embarrassing stories, and social issues that we are passionate about. It was a nice reaffirmation of the solidarity we’ve been building as a group.

For Chetty and I, the next chapter is to begin interviewing people from the Independent Publishing Resource Center! We are really excited to work with this vital community building organization.

Discussion with Sunny Petit and Interviews

It may be hard to believe, but each day seems to be even better than the last here at the Media Institute’s Summer Documentary program!

We started the day with a discussion with Sunny Petit, who generously donated some of her time to speak with us about opportunities for women to make a difference through public policy. We learned about her role in the Center for Women, Politics & Policy through Portland State University, and engaged in a passionate discussion about her work to stop human trafficking. While we are studying media this summer with the intention of catalyzing social change, sometimes it is difficult to articulate how exactly this change might come about. We can influence public opinion with thought-provoking pieces of art, but to what end? The discussion helped answer the question of how we may use what we make to encourage social change in the realm of public policy. It was very motivating to hear Sunny mention a great number of films when asked how she first began to develop a consciousness around the issue of human trafficking.

After Sunny’s visit, my audio documentary partner Catherine and I left for the eastside to interview the Board of Directors for PDX Pop Now! We grabbed coffees at the Hawthorne Powell’s and wandered the beautiful neighborhood of SE until our meeting. After eight or more interviews, we found ourselves with a great beginning to our project. Over the next few days we will interview local bands (one of them has even offered to play some brand new tracks for us!) and then edit our documentary. Things are on the up and up! We can’t wait to see what else is in store.