My summer vacation: This summer, I volunteered with a program called Media del Monte, which is a six-week intensive media literacy workshop for rural South Texas youth. The workshop took place in Encinal, Texas, which is about 100 miles south of San Antonio and 40 miles north of Laredo. I, along with two other facilitators, taught the kids all the nuts and bolts of documentary film – everything from lighting, mise-en-scène, and cinematography to mastering the art of the interview, writing treatments, and of course, technical post-production training with Final Cut Pro. All of our efforts concluded in two short documentaries, which will be publicly screened twice, once in Encinal and once at Texas A&M International University.
Connections: I came to Wheaton intending to do Studio Art and concentrate entirely on film making. However, I got sidetracked after I took Intro to Anthropology. I was completely drawn into the field. Documentary film seems to be totally fitting for me because it combines my two main interests. The group I led did a documentary titled “La Comida de Encinal.” The short film looked at the role food has played within Encinal’s economy and culture. I applied a great deal of what I learned during our time studying Food and Ritual in Intro to Anthropology with this project. I was able to bring in a brand new perspective on food to these kids, and they were intrigued and hungry to learn more. No pun intended.
How this opportunity came about: I was probably just in the right place at the right time. A friend asked if I was interested in teaching with him. I agreed, and we went from there.
What surprised me: What surprised me most is how much one can learn from teaching.
What I’ve learned: I’ve learned just how much more I love filmmaking. I did some narration in the film, and in order to successfully record that, we needed to find a quiet space. Without the luxury of a recording booth (or time, for that matter), the only extremely quiet place we could find was inside a car. Of course the A/C could not be turned on because it makes noise. So there I was, reading my lines inside a car, while it was 110 degrees outside. That’s sacrificial love at its finest, I’d say. It’s funny because you don’t notice these things as they take place. It’s not until you look back and think about it, and realize why it is you do certain things. Then of course, there are always new things learned with each production I take part in. This was my first time using a green screen!