From Shooting to Storytelling – A Coral Film’s Second Act


We are starting to brainstorm about how our documentary is going to unfold. Tonight we start with a long blank sheet of unrolled paper marked, “Opening, Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Closing….” By the end of class we will have taped snipped excerpts from transcripts of interviews into the empty areas, creating a rough guide. There’s still analog work in this digital age!

The clock is ticking. The film debuts at the Jacob Burns Film Center on May 12th. We are very excited to share every bit of this journey with you, but we have to do it in about 20 minutes of screen time, and in a way that both captures attention and captivates viewers in a media environment flooded with TMI – too much information.

It seems like ages since we returned from the beautiful, sunny island of Curaçao with gigabytes of video, including 13 interviews and background imagery– a.k.a., b-roll – of beaches, construction work, coral and more. After logging – categorizing what we have and organizing it all to make editing swifter – we have to start stitching everything together. 

But first things first. Even before setting foot in the editing room, we need to know what shape our documentary is going to take, right? Last Tuesday, Dr. Luskay led us through the steps that help structure the storytelling.

Based on that, we have to analyze which topics and problems we want to talk about, always paying attention to our audience and what we want most to convey. Aside from the concepts and techniques, we all are putting our hearts into this project, as well.

Documentary production is often rife with adventures and surprises, and too often misadventures. In our case, the misadventure lay inside our aging computer, which refused to cooperate with AVID Media Composer v8.3, our editing program. Cassie spent an entire day a week ago trying to solve the problem and many hours of sleuthing were required to identify the issue.

But a new computer is coming, so the task of turning a script and massed of digital content into a film will soon get into gear!

Make sure to stop by to read about our progress. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram. And don’t forget to visit and like our Facebook page. See you all soon.


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