Monday, August 16, 2010

Kids talk about Theatre: Storytelling in Video

I just finished this video in which the kids of Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette, California talk about what they do there, and why the theatre needs community support:



It took about a week and a half to gather the interviews. These kids are phenomenal, the way their personalities come through the camera. My job was to give them questions that they could answer in their own words, and to stay with the action. This style of documentary filmmaking requires that you stay firmly in the moment, and focus the camera on what the viewer wants to see as the action unfolds. You have to remain in the head of your audience and think about what they will be curious about, what they will want to see, and what they will need explained. At the same time, you have to be present with your interviewee, encouraging them and helping them to speak naturally and share their thoughts.

I shot all of the interviews on site at the theatre, moving around the building so that the viewer can get an impression of the setting without having to describe it. You get to see the interior and exterior, as well as the work area out back. But the focus stays on the kids and what they have to say.

When I edit, I first view all of the footage (numerous times) and clip out the strongest bits. Then, I put them in a general order following a storyline or backbone. After that comes the real editing, cutting out every single frame that doesn't have to be there. You have to jettison a lot of stuff that you love, but the more focused you remain, the stronger the message. Just like in a dramatic scene, there are beats, pauses, and points of emphasis that need to flow together without interfering with one another or confusing the viewer. This flow occurs in both the audio and in the action on-screen.

Please enjoy! And, of course, forward to anyone you know who would like to support a very deserving community theatre. Arts organizations need help now more than ever, and in the future we will be so glad we helped them to move forward.

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