"A Year in Review" - A Reflective Blog of 2018
written by Marilyn Lercel
Blog #40 - What's Going on?
My latest work with HEC-TV is up on my "Professional Work" page. In this segment, I hosted Mr. Hank Harrison as he told stories of his time in the military. His recollections are extremely impactful and intriguing. You won't want to miss it! Next, I will be working on producing a short promotional film for the sunglasses company, Greek Glasses. They contacted me through Instagram to be a fashion ambassador and video producer. I have some pretty cool ideas for this video, so stay tuned for that. Lastly, I will be producing and directing a new episode of Ladue View. This will be posted sometime within the next month on lhstv.net. Thanks for supporting!
Blog #39 - My Latest collaboration with HEC-TV
Tomorrow, November 14th, my interview with Ladue High School teacher and veteran, Mr.Hank Harrison, will be airing on HEC-TV! In this segment, I had the privilege to host and converse with a former teacher of my own, as he told some incredible stories of his time serving. The process of completing this interview was a lot of fun! My mentor, Mr.Goble, and I put together a set in our own studio at school. He also helped tech direct the segment. We decided to do a set-up with 3 cameras to create more visual variety. In addition to this, I collected images of Harrison's time in the Marine Corps and captured B-roll of him teaching in his classroom. When I originally started editing I left many of my images up for 5-7 seconds, however; Goble taught me that during a longer format interview like this (about 20 minutes), it is acceptable, and contributes better to the overall pace of the segment, to leave images and videos up for at least 10 seconds. This sounds like a very minor detail, but this change made a huge difference. Furthermore, Goble helped me to create a graphic of Harrison in his formal uniform. Upon sending the first edited version to Tim and Jacqui (of HEC-TV), Tim came back with one small but important revision for me to make. Harrison's lower third title originally read "Former Marine", however; Tim brilliantly pointed out the saying, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine." Thus, I changed his title to "Veteran - U.S. Marine Corps." Overall, this is my first time hosting a show segment! I was nervous and noticed some presentational skills I can work on in the future. But, in general, I am very happy with how I presented both myself and Mr.Harrison. I cannot wait for everyone to see this incredible story. You can tune in tomorrow at educate.today to see my segment, or I will post an archived version, here on my site, following its television debut. Thank you to everyone involved who helped make this professional work a success! Your support has helped me to achieve some of my wildest dreams (but, we are not finished yet)!
Blog #38 - Wonderful things in store
Over the next couple of months, I am looking forward to some great projects and opportunities. For starters, I will be serving as a host for HEC-TV's November program, "Celebrating Military Families and Military Service" (I will be the show's first ever student host). Thus, I am looking forward to doing some planning and preparation for this show! Furthermore, I am excited to be working on producing a few "Ladue View" programs for LHS TV & Films. This will be another great credential to put on my resume! Lastly, I have some fun ideas for creative video projects in the works. Recently, I have been contacted by a few clothing brands, through Instagram, to create content for them and serve as a brand ambassador. So, I have some quick video concepts for these companies that I will put together (these should take about a week or so to produce). Also, I have been planning out a period piece inspired by the 90's. This video would be a more abstract film, recreating this era 20 years later. I have found lots of potential talent that would be perfect for this project. One of the challenges with this video will be to make everything feel authentically 90's, from the clothing, hair, and makeup to the music and editing style. However, I am super excited to make my vision come to life! I cannot wait for you all to see what I have been working on in the near future. Stay tuned for some fresh content!
Blog #37 - An Update
Currently, I am working on creating a short film for one of my college applications. Because of the tight time-frame, I am going to revise my "Daktyl - Forgettable" music video that I made nearly two years ago. I am adding a scene or two and changing up some of the editing and sequencing. So, look forward to seeing the new and improved version soon! Furthermore, I am looking forward to hosting yet another live show with HEC-TV next month. In the meantime, I will be working on my presentational skills and brushing up on my interviewing techniques. I will keep you all updated on this show as it approaches. Finally, I have so so many creative video ideas that I am dying to bring to life in the near future. Once my college application demands slow down, I am looking forward to getting back to my abstract film and music video roots. I hope you all are as excited as I am for what is in store! Keep checking back for more great content!
Blog #36 - HEC-TV'S LIVE SHOW (09/20/18)
This past Thursday, I traveled to HEC-TV's studio to be apart of their live show, "Making Meaning of the First Amendment". As soon as I stepped foot into the space, my eyes met a wall graced with dozens of Emmys and other awards. I was amongst greatness. During the show itself, I asked the guests questions, talked about the New Voices legislation (a statute being proposed across the country to protect student journalists' First Amendment rights within school), and presented my video package (an interview I conducted with the Kirkwood High School journalism advisor, Mr. Mitch Eden...coming soon to my site). This was my first time being on-camera for a professional program, and it was an amazing learning experience! I had the opportunity to meet many well-established professionals in the field and network with them. It was really inspiring to see how well they responded to both me and my work. Witnessing the production of a live show is always nothing short of crazy (but thrilling)! Things go wrong all the time, but you must troubleshoot. Working with the staff at HEC always sharpens my skills and provides me with a confidence boost. I was pretty nervous before filming the first segment, but as the day progressed, I felt more and more prepared. Tim Gore and Jacqui Poor were amazing cheerleaders and advisors! Perhaps my favorite part of the day was video conferencing with Mary Beth Tinker (Tinker vs. Des Moines). She gave incredible insight on her experiences and empowered students to champion their causes. Before my group left the studio, my advisor and I were already pitching ideas for the next few shows. The staff seemed excited by our vision. That day, I left HEC-TV with another professional credential and inspiration galore. I cannot wait to see what our partnership has in store for the future! Thank you HEC-TV (especially Tim and Jacqui) for believing in me and giving me these chances. I could not be more grateful to do what I love. Stay tuned to see the archived show on my new "Professional Work" page. I hope you all will watch and enjoy!
Blog #35 - A New Semester
Welcome to a new semester with me! I am so excited to create some fresh content this year and I hope you all are ready. What makes this semester so thrilling is that I will be completing and sending out my college applications. That being said, this is my last semester to produce videos that will be seen by college admissions. I am pumped to start a new chapter in my life soon and thus come one step closer to accomplishing my dreams. In order to impress the many schools I am hopeful to attend, I will be tackling lots of new projects (utilizing skills I have not yet touched on). For example, I would love to produce a scripted short film, an animated short, another dance video (but improved...to show my progress), a documentary, a comedic film, and so much more! Also, I am looking forward to completing more professional work and further developing my networking and speaking skills. I cannot express enough just how overjoyed I am to share my talents and ideas with everyone! It feels amazing to see my goals finally coming to fruition. Thank you for joining me on my journey. Enjoy the ride!
Blog #34 - Wjmc Day 6: WJMC Farewell (07/13/18)
It was our last morning at George Mason. We headed over to Southside for our last breakfast together then met up as a silver group for one more team meeting. During the meeting, we discussed our favorite parts of the trip and expressed how much we would miss one another. The silver group had truly become a family. All 25 team members meant something so special to me. I would never forget them or this life-changing experience. We signed each other's Press Access badges as something to remember one another. Then, we walked together to the campus's HUB Ballroom to attend the WJMC Closing Ceremony. There, we heard from Sam Wolfe, WJMC Alumnus and current student at George Mason University. He spoke about his experience at WJMC and how he is still in touch with everyone from his color group. He expressed just how much WJMC provided him with life-long friendships and connections. I couldn't help but smile. I felt like I was apart of a family bigger than myself. Elena Johnson, the head of WJMC, then showed us a video that the interns had put together of our week. It was so fun to watch! After this, we received our certificates of completion which granted us college credit. Directly after the conclusion of the ceremony, my team met to say our last goodbyes. We cried and cried! It was so hard to leave these people! I collected my suitcases and hopped onto the airport shuttle. With my good friend, Hanna, by my side we enjoyed our last moments together before we would head home. As I waited to board my plane, I couldn't help but smile, laugh, and cry at the same time. This week was so full of hope, inspiration, and love. I knew these would be people I would stay in touch with for life! After landing in Saint Louis, I checked my phone and saw a notification from our group chat. Chris, our faculty advisor, requested one last selfie check-in to make sure everyone was safe and to see what everyone was up to. Selfies blew up my phone from Chicago, Los Angeles, Iowa City, Oklahoma, Alabama, Denver, and many more. I had friends from all 50 states and various countries now! I loved learning about everyone's different backgrounds and coming together for one common passion: telling people's stories. Not only has my network in the field expanded immensely, but the number of people I call family has grown too. Thank you WJMC for changing my life for the better!
Blog #33 - Wjmc Day 5: Exploring D.C. and A celebration (07/12/18)
Ahhh! Another early morning at George Mason. Today, after breakfast, we made our way to Capitol Hill for photos galore. The WJMC crew took one massive group photo of all of the National Youth Correspondents, and then, we were free to take whatever pictures we wanted with our friends. While many correspondents had meetings with their state's Congressional Representative, I sadly did not. So instead, I attended a tour of the Holocaust Museum. The museum was so moving and extremely important in keeping the stories of those who suffered alive. Inside, there were gas chambers, cattle cars, and millions of shoes that belonged to those who lost their lives at the foot of Hitler's evil regime. At the top floor of the museum, there were various Holocaust survivors who were sharing their stories and experiences in Europe at the time of the war. Their bravery was inspiring to say the least. After walking around the Washington Mall for a bit, the WJMC staff and students loaded the buses to head back to campus and prepare for the Gala that evening. My friends (Tess - Rhode Island, Caroline - North Carolina, and Hanna - New Hampshire) met in one of our rooms to get ready together. It was so much fun doing each other's hair and makeup while jamming out to Drake! After we put our dresses and jewelry on, we headed to Southside Dining Hall to meet up with the rest of the silver group. We packed into the bus and headed over to Westfields Marriott for an evening of dinner, dessert, and dancing. The event was a blast! We finished off the Gala screaming Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" at the top of our lungs. It was finally starting to sink in that we would have to leave each other so soon. At the conclusion of our celebration at the Marriott, we filled the buses and sang all the way back to campus. Boy would we sleep well tonight!
Blog #32 - WJMC Day 4: My Career in Journalism, Media, and Film (07/11/18)
This morning, after breakfast, the silver group had a meeting to assign and discuss roles for a simulation we would have later on in the day. I would be a veteran writer for a newspaper's Crime and Courts column. The different partnerships of writers would compete to get their assigned story on the front cover of the newspaper. We would have to come up with a headline, a lead, an outline, an image to match the story, collect sources, and more. After perfecting our story planning, we would then pitch our stories to the editors-in-chief. These editors would then decide who's story will make the cover page. Following this meeting, my group headed to Dewberry Hall to attend a speech and presentation by Carol Guzy, a four-time Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photojournalist. Her presentation was extremely emotional! Guzy shared various slideshows of her photography which covered such events as Hurricane Katrina, the Haitian earthquake, the Sri Lankan crisis, 9/11, and more. Her photos truly told such astonishing stories of loss, suffering, and overcoming tragedy. Beyond these slideshows, Miss Guzy opened up to us about her own struggles and the mental illnesses that have come from her hardships. She very honestly expressed to us that this career can be emotionally draining, but even more than that, photography has allowed Guzy to feel less alone. Her passion for her career far outweighs the toll it takes on both her mind and soul. As someone who suffers from various mental illnesses, I found Guzy's honesty and openness to be so refreshing. She pursued photography not only for herself but to help end the stigma around such illnesses. Following this amazing presentation, we headed to lunch on campus before attending a college admissions session led by Amy Takayama-Perez, the Dean of Admissions at George Mason University. She spoke to us about what admissions counselors look for in prospective students and assured us all of our vast potential to succeed. I found Takayama-Perez's session to be quite informative and encouraging! Directly after our session, my color group met to conduct the simulation we had been planning earlier in the morning. After all of the groups pitched their story ideas, the editors-in-chief selected a front page story. My partner and I were assigned to write about the heroin epidemic, but we had to find a way to personalize it to the state of Vermont (where our publication company was located). Sure enough, my partner and I won the coveted spot of the cover page! This simulation gave me a glimpse into just how fast-pace and demanding the industry can be. It was super reassuring to come out on top of our talented silver group! After our stressful simulation, we headed to dinner followed by a Career Exploration Session. Various industry professionals from all over the country came to speak with us. However, each student at WJMC could only pick one speaker to attend. I was asked to write and present the opening speech for Maria Pena, the President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Senior Political Correspondent for La Opinion. It was such an honor to do so! Miss Pena spoke to us about how to fight for equal representation in the media. She told us about her rise to prominence in the field as a Latina woman. It was sad to hear how much discrimination exists within the industry, but even more inspiring to hear how Pena was able to overcome her doubters. Soon after Pena's speech, Meghan ATB Reese, Producer and Photographer for PBS, took the stage. Miss Reese discussed the importance of setting aside your own personal views and opinions in order to tell an honest story. She shared her experiences of being a photographer for both the Obamas and the Trumps. Reese also told stories about her production of the show Finding Bigfoot and more. She was quite the character. I loved her raw approach to her work. Reese has never been shy to be herself and because of that, she has been able to forge the career of her dreams. Finally, after Miss Reese's lovely talk, we were sent to our dorms to get a good night's rest.
Blog #31 - WJMC Day 3: Journalism in the Capital (07/10/18)
And another day of WJMC begins. After breakfast at the usual Dining Hall, we headed over to National Geographic to listen to Susan Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief, give a keynote speech on storytelling. She was incredibly well-spoken and inspiring. As a young woman, it is so refreshing to see Miss Goldberg successfully leading such a huge company. I wouldn't mind ending up in her position one day. She specifically addressed how to tell stories on multiple platforms. For example, storytelling on Instagram (which limits videos to 1 minute) must vary from a magazine spread which must differ from a full-length film. Companies nowadays must find ways to tell the same story across platforms in order to reach the largest audience possible. That being said, I found Goldberg's speech to be quite relevant. After this, our group headed to Carmine's, a local D.C. eatery, for lunch. It was quite the feast (and much needed)! With full stomachs, the WJMC gang made our way to the National Press Club. There, we listened to speeches from Brian Lamb, the founder of C-SPAN, and Michelle Jaconi, the executive producer of Washington Post Video. Brain Lamb spoke about the importance of money in the industry. He also explained his rise to prominence in the field and how he started C-SPAN. Mr. Lamb comes from very humble beginnings (a small town in Indiana), so to see just how influential he has been able to become is nothing short of inspiring. Next, Michelle Jaconi spoke about the importance of interning and being yourself. Miss Jaconi encouraged all of us to be unafraid of asking questions. You do not always have to act like you know exactly what you are doing. Being curious and still learning are just apart of being a human being. I found Jaconi's speech to be particularly moving. I constantly am putting pressure on myself to be the very best at what I do. This pressure often makes it really difficult for me to forgive myself when I make mistakes or fail. Jaconi taught me that even well-established professionals have room for failure. Following these wonderful speeches at the exclusive press club, we headed back to campus for dinner and yet another keynote speech. This time David Culver, anchor and reporter for NBC Washington, spoke about the importance of telling local stories and the impact that local news can have on communities. Culver talked about his experiences traveling to Cuba (his home country) to cover the political turmoil there. He encouraged us to tell stories that we feel passionate about. Mr. Culver was able to find a way to tell an international story that means so much to him and localize it in the D.C. area. He taught me that any story can be made personal to an audience (It is all about the delivery). Following this last speaker of the day, my color group (silver) met to have a meeting and debrief the speeches that we heard. It was super interesting to hear what things stood out to others. After our little meeting, it was bed time.
Blog #30 - WJMC DAY 2: Journalism in action (07/9/18)
Rise and shine! Day 2 of the conference started off quite early. My team decided to meet up for our first breakfast at the Southside Dining Hall. We fueled up for the long day ahead and hopped on the buses. We were heading into downtown D.C. for a trip to the Newseum, a museum that explores the First Amendment and showcases the evolution of journalism through the years. It was phenomenal to say the least. The museum featured various exhibits: 9/11, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Civil Rights through the years, a Pulitzer Prize Winning Photography Showcase, and more. The museum inspired me and really showed me just how impactful the industry can be on every individual. I felt empowered to use my platform to tell the stories of the voiceless (only 17% of the world has total freedom of the press). After the Newseum, we headed back toward campus to attend a New Voices Panel. The panel focused on the "New Voices" legislation, a statute that protects students' First Amendment rights in school. The panelists discussed which states did and did not have this legislation in place. My state, Missouri, has not passed this statute, so after the panel, I discussed with the panelists ways to push legislators to pass this law. Hopefully, I (with help from my peers) can fight for such legislation in the near future! Directly after the panel, we headed back towards D.C. for dinner and a Twilight Monument Tour. The sights were so beautiful at night! The tour did not disappoint. We saw such sights as the Washington Monument, the World War 2 Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the Lincoln Monument, and more. Then, we loaded the buses again and headed back to our dorms. It was finally time to sleep.
Blog #29 - WJMC DAY 1: WELCOME TO THE NATION'S CAPITAL (07/8/18)
Today, I arrived in Washington D.C. for my first time ever! As I hopped off of the plane, I did not know what to expect from this conference (Washington Journalism and Media Conference). I spotted various of anxious yet eager students also wearing their WJMC t-shirts. I no longer felt alone. After awaiting the shuttle to come pick up the next batch of students at Reagan International Airport, we finally were on our way to George Mason University: our home for the next week (located in Fairfax, Virginia). As I first stepped foot on campus, I could not help but notice how beautiful it was. The architecture offered a nice mix of traditional Ivy-League style brick buildings and more modern metal structures. It was as if Mason was a sanctuary in the middle of a lush forest. I entered the Residence Hall with all of my luggage and checked in. I received my Press Access badge and could not help but smile. Everything felt so professional. Then, I found my dorm and unpacked my belongings. My roommate, a Plano, Texas native who spoke with a southern twang, greeted me with her warm hospitality. It was amazing to be meeting people from all over the country, and even the world. Shortly thereafter, I headed to Mason's Student Center, The Hub, to meet both my faculty advisor, Chris, a D.C. local in his mid-30's, and my junior faculty advisor, Liv, a sophomore at George Mason and New York native. They welcomed me to the silver team, my group that I would do pretty much everything with for the next week. Next, I made my way back to the Residence Hall where my silver group would have our first meeting. It was... awkward. We all came from completely different backgrounds and were in such an unfamiliar place. We did not know what the week had in store for us. Following our uncomfortable first meeting, the silver squad headed over to Dewberry Hall's Johnson Center for dinner and our very first speaker, Mikayla Bouchard, Senior Staff Editor of the New York Times. She spoke to us about how to build a resume and the importance of networking. Perhaps the advice she gave that stuck with me most was: Emotions do not make you less than. But rather, passion and feeling make your communication more human, convincing, and sincere. People should utilize their emotions in order to form strong logical appeals. As a very sensitive and emotional person, these words were quite impactful. Often times, I try to subdue my emotions in fear of being laughed at or misunderstood. Miss Bouchard inspired me to be unapologetically passionate about my career goals and what I stand for. I hope to carry on her advice in my future endeavors. Directly after this speech, my silver team headed to the Hub for our second group meeting. There, we played games to get to know each other, came up with a team chant (SILVERRRR! The dolla, dolla billz y'all!), created elevator pitches, and discussed our personal goals for the conference. We were already starting to bond, and something told me that the silver squad would become a family. Lastly, we headed back to our dorms. At last, it was time for bed. I think I speak for every student at WJMC when I say, we were already EXHAUSTED.
Blog #28 - Spring 2018 Semester Reflection
Sadly, this semester of Broadcast Technology has come to an end. I am super proud of everything I have accomplished this semester (this has been my most productive yet)! I loved getting to know some of my fellow students and being able to both collaborate and work independently. Also, I learned a bunch of new editing tricks and cinematic filming techniques. My favorite project (end-product wise) would definitely have to be my latest video, "Wolves". However, the video that I had the most fun filming was my "Los Angeles Trip Montage". Often times, it can be difficult to find people who are willing to be on camera, but in LA (and especially at Venice Beach) people love to be filmed. There were so many unique characters that I had the pleasure of meeting and exchanging information with. But, there are some things I wish i would have done differently. For example, I would love to shoot a scripted film and further develop my skills in screenwriting and sound design. I even want to create an animated video at some point. Overall, there are many more skills I am excited to build upon this summer and next school year. I have so many video ideas in the works, so be sure to stay tuned! This summer, I will be attending the Washington Journalism and Media Conference at George Mason University where I will have the amazing opportunity to represent Missouri as a National Youth Correspondent. There, I hope to learn even more about media production, expand upon my knowledge of the industry as a whole, and make connections with fellow peers and professionals. That being said, there will be plenty of content from me to check out even once the school year has ended. Next year, I look forward to being a SENIOR and pursuing my college aspirations. I hope you all will stay along for the ride (it's sure to be thrilling)!
Blog #27 - Behind the Scenes of the making of "wolves"
My latest video, "Wolves", required a lot of planning and forced me to learn some new skills. So, I thought I would give you all a look into the creation of this film. The entire concept sprung from Kanye West's music video for his song, "Wolves". I watched the video quite a few times and found a few particularly interesting shots that I wanted to interpret. The four shots in the first row of photos below are the moments in West's video that I found most intriguing. As you may notice, in my video, I used the basic elements of these shots to inspire much of my own footage. After studying the music video, I discussed with my instructor some ways to make my video visually appealing and cinematic. We decided upon a black and white color scheme (like West's video), but wanted to add a pop of the same color throughout (I decided to use red because it is the color of blood, and it represents bold behavior). My teacher suggested that I take a look at the movie, "Pleasantville". This iconic film features the effect of color isolation throughout. The color scheme really carried the story and created a captivating look. Now, I just needed to learn how to apply such an effect to my footage in Final Cut Pro X. I watched various tutorials online and practiced applying the effect to various pieces of sample footage before I dived into coloring my entire video. At first the process was confusing, but after some practice, I was able to master this effect. Furthermore, I needed to learn how to apply special FX makeup in order to make the shots as realistic as possible. Once again, I hopped on YouTube and watched some tutorials (this turned out to be pretty simple). Then, I needed eye contacts for the last shot of my video to conclude the transformation of girl to wolf. There were many different colors and shapes to choose from. Originally, I planned on making the eyes red to match the rest of the video. However, I found this to be too predictable (I wanted there to be an element of surprise). Instead, I chose blue contacts because of its great contrast to red. I am pleased with my choice (I think it adds something special to the conclusion of the film). Overall, there was a ton of planning and learning that went into the production of this video. I expanded upon my skills and am looking forward to using my new-found knowledge in my future work. Go check out the video to see all of these elements come to life!
Blog #26 - My latest short film, "Wolves"
I just completed a new abstract short film! This is one that I am super excited for you all to see. The theme is very dark and much more haunting then anything else I have ever created. I also utilized some cool new editing tricks such as the Pleasantville Effect. This effect allowed me to isolate certain colors (in this video it's red) to make them pop. I decided to desaturate all other colors within the shots to create a black and white base. In the end, a wolf-like eye looks into the camera. This symbolizes the girl's (me) full transformation into a werewolf. I wanted to include an element of surprise at the end, so I decided to color the eye blue (a contrasting color to red). Overall, I was inspired to make this video due to Kanye West's song, Wolves. I have always loved the eerie sound of the track, and after watching the music video, I knew I had to craft my own visual interpretation. Please go check out my video under the Films tab. I am certain that you will find my project to be both interesting and a little spooky. Thanks for reading and watching!
blog #25 - UAViation Commercial
Recently, I completed a quick commercial for the drone company, UAViation. The video was super simple to make, but it is different than anything else I have created, as I am new to the world of marketing and advertisements. One of the most difficult parts in making this video was editing the song to the beat (it is pretty fast and changes tempo often) and finding a song in general. While working on this project, I stuck to the phrase, "Less is more." Simplicity is key in making a persuasive visual creation. Overall, I am pretty happy with how the video turned out, and more importantly, UAViation is excited to feature the video on their website and at various conferences. Feel free to watch my latest work!
Blog #24 - Los Angeles trip Montage
Just this past weekend, I returned from a trip to Los Angeles, California. There I visited family, toured colleges, and had some time to explore. As colleges go, I absolutely loved all of the schools I visited (Chapman University, Loyola Marymount University, University of Southern California, and University of California-Los Angeles)! Being able to actually step foot on these campuses and experience them for myself really reassured me on my goals for the future. The film schools had spectacular facilities and the staff and students had incredible credentials. I really hope to be apart of a program like one of these in the near future. Also, I did capture quite a bit of footage of my trip, so I decided to put together a short montage upon my return. The video is now posted on my video page, so you all should check it out! For this video, I played around with colorization and color scheming. It was really interesting to see how much color has an effect on each shot's overall look. I look to use this newly developed skill in my future work as well. Overall, I think my montage really captures the energetic and vibrant vibe of Los Angeles. I had a blast making this project! Enjoy.
Blog #23 - What I have been working on
Recently, I have been working on a scripted film called "Black Skin, White Spaces" with a fellow student and friend, Courvaun Hill. This project will aim to tell the story of a black kid who feels like he must assimilate to white culture. This is a story that feels all too personal to many students at Ladue. With this project we aim to portray the experience of many minorities. Courvaun and I have never produced a film with actors so we hope to expand our skillset through the creation of this project. We have recruited a group of actors and are currently working on our storyboard and script. Courvaun will play the main role of the black kid. He will be shown in various settings, surrounded by white students. In these settings, he will appear to be an outcast and feel uncomfortable, but, towards the end of the film, you all will see Courvaun surrounded by friends of the same race. Also, you all will hopefully be able to recognize his change of mood, as he becomes more comfortable and "at home" around people like himself. This project is something I feel super passionate about and, I cannot wait to share the final product with everyone!
Blog #22 - My Latest Abstract Short Film
In my latest short film, I decided to take the emotion of love and show a unique perspective of this feeling. Towards the beginning of the semester, I had been listening to various Alan Watts' voice-overs. I was really inspired by his philosophies and incredible speaking voice. I knew my next project had to be centered around one of his works. So, after a little more digging, I came across a speech of his about love and was hooked. I thought, "Why not create a video that utilizes the universal and relatable concept of love?" But, I knew in order to create something innovative and unseen, I had to stay away from the cliche portrayals of love that are all too common. This being said, I contacted a fellow film-making friend, Luke Minkler, to be apart of my project. After a lot of brainstorming and story-boarding, we decided upon an abstract representation of the emotion. We expressed our own experiences with love to each other and found that love has the power to alter one's mindset. Luke and I agreed that often times one's love for another can drive him mad, as his partner can takeover his thoughts. I found this realization very intriguing and was ready to take on the challenge. Luke and I shot much of our footage at local art museums and outdoor locations. Once we captured the footage, the concept really came to life in editing. It was a lot of fun to play around with different filters and transitions to portray the "craze" that can come from love. Overall, the video showcases a lover's imagination of her partner. She sees him as a "work of art" (hence all of the artistic/abstract shots). I am so excited to have another video completed! This is one I am pretty proud of! I think the way we approached this topic is super unique, and I hope you all agree. Enjoy!
Blog #21 - My Latest News Package
For my latest video, I interviewed my sister, Eleanor, about her passion for hula hooping and fire spinning. I have always found her hobby to be super impressive and unique, so I wanted to tell her story. The story starts out with her explaining why she got into hula hooping, and as the story progresses, Eleanor describes her growth and what it is like to spin fire. Towards the end of the package, she leaves the audience with a wonderful message: Do what you love and add something special to the world. Don't be like everyone else. It was interesting to hear from Eleanor that a lot of people take her talent as a joke and make fun of her for it. However, she really shows throughout the video that others' opinions on what she does do not matter as long as she is happy. I have always admired my older sister for her strong sense of individuality. She has really instilled in me (although she may not even realize it) a confidence and belief in myself. Without her influence, I would not be the young woman I am today. My hope is that you all will find her to be a refreshing character, and after watching the package, are inspired to follow your own path. Can't wait to publish the video soon and hear all the feedback!
Blog #20 - Voting Opens Soon!
I am excited to announce that voting for the AudFest Music Video Shorts Contest opens next week, November 20th at 1:00 pm (Central Time) and will close November 28th! Please head over to Audience Awards' website and vote for my music video, "Forgettable - Daktyl". Copy and paste this link into your browser to vote: https://theaudienceawards.com/films/forgettable-daktyl-170444 . I hope you all will take the time and support my work! If my video makes the top 3, my film will be featured at Audience Awards' Film Festival in North Hollywood, CA. I am the youngest contestant entered and it would be an amazing victory for a MIdwest teen to win such an honor. Thank you everyone! I will keep you all updated.
Blog #19 - HEc-tv LIve Show at Ritenour HIgh
Last Thursday, I went to Ritenour High School to observe and help out with HEC-TV's live shows on media literacy. My instructor, Mr. Goble, was featured on the panel of experts for all three shows. For the first show targeted towards middle school students, Courvaun and I sat in the technical production room. There were about six HEC_TV team members working on cues, shot placement, and conference calls. I was super surprised by just how many cues the team had to remember and execute. The environment was very hectic and nerve-wracking. The staff had to stay on their toes and keep up with the fast-pace demands that come from a live-show. For the second show, I sat behind the studio audience and observed the cameramen and panelists. There were various cameras covering just about every angle and panelists had to remain professional and project their voices at all times. During the last show, I sat in the live studio audience. It was interesting to be apart of this side as I am used to being the talent on-screen or behind the scenes. Overall, I found the show very informative and important. It was very interesting to see professionals working right in front of me. Now I understand just how crazy the world of television can be. I made so many great connections and am excited to work with more professionals in the future.
Blog #18 - Students with Anxiety
Recently, I worked on a project alongside my instructor, Mr. Goble, for a character education day for teachers. My friend Courvaun and I set up four interviews with students who have anxiety and asked them questions about their daily experiences with the mental illness. It was really interesting and refreshing to hear the students' responses, as I could relate to much of what they expressed. Looking back on the actual interviews, I wish i would have offered more open-ended questions such as "Tell me about...". This phrasing of the question could have allowed the interviewees more freedom in their responses. After conducting the interviews, we sat down and took the best sound bites from all our interviews. There was lots of great material to work with! Then we selected a main character to carry the story, Jack Glon. Jack offered amazing insight into his daily life and provided great suggestions for students and staff. The next step was to piece clips from all four interviews together in order to create a sequential storyline. Overall, I am very happy with how the video turned out! Goble and I decided to begin the piece with a short voice-over introduction and a split-screen of all four interviewees. Creating the split screen was quite tedious, but the outcome was well worth it. This experience taught me some new editing tricks, and collaborating with Mr. Goble was fun and helpful. We helped each other out and shared our suggestions. This teamwork enabled us to create an informative and well-done video! Looking forward to future collaborations.
Blog #17 - The Shooting Gallery: 19 Shots
As a short project to help us expand upon our skills, our teacher had the class record 19 different shots each. Practicing these various shots taught me some new techniques to use while filming. Overall, there were so many shots I did not know about before. Many of them I loved, and I am eager to utilize this newfound knowledge and skillset in future projects to come. Below are my 6 favorite shots. If you hover over each picture, there is a description of each shot.
Blog #16 - HEC-TV "BEHIND THE MINDS"
Hello all! I'm excited to announce that my newly revised video on the total solar eclipse will be airing on HEC-TV's live show, "Behind the Minds", on September 27th! I am very proud of this wonderful accomplishment and hope you all will check it out. Working with professionals in the industry is of great importance to me, and I couldn't be happier to collaborate with HEC-TV. In the future, I look forward to working with even more professionals and expanding my portfolio. As always, thank you for following my journey! Can't wait to share more content with you all in the future!
Blog #15 - Total Solar Eclipse Video Response
To start off this semester, our class was assigned a project to cover the total solar eclipse in the United States. At my school, Ladue Horton Watkins High School, students and staff all came together to watch the once in a lifetime event. I really enjoyed producing this video because the event was so unique! It was awesome getting to collaborate with my fellow students and create informative content while still being creative. Personally, I am very happy with how the intro of my video turned out. I find it to be intriguing and exciting. However, there are some things I would like to eventually go back and revise. The audi0 could be more consistent and smooth, as well as the incorporation of the interview. Overall, I had a great time making this project and I hope you all enjoy the finished product!
Blog #14 - Semester Reflection
This semester has been a difficult one for me outside of school. Because of this, it made producing content challenging. It was hard to find time to organize filming days and recruit talent. Although I did not complete all the projects I had intended to this semester, I did create a music video that I am very proud of. The artist of the song I used, Rich Daktyl, has viewed my video along with many others. I am pleased to see all the positive feedback I have received and am looking forward to more to come. Thank you for all your patience and grace with me in producing content. I greatly appreciate your loyalty and faith in me. If you haven't already, please check out my latest video on my "Reel Life Films" page. I'm sure it will excite you all. Looking towards the future, I have plans next year to produce a short film or two that I will hopefully submit to various universities. I have lots of ideas in the works and hope to continue to produce content this summer. My teacher and mentor, Don Goble has been very gracious with me this semester and has provided me a space to create and explore my passion. He has given me great advice and guidance this semester, and i look forward to working with him these next two years. Here's to another wonderful semester and many more to come!
Blog #13 - What's New?
Lately, I've been making great progress on my music video. Filming has picked up and should be complete this upcoming weekend. I am extremely proud and excited about my recent work, and I am thrilled to share it with you all in the near future (within the next week!). Also, I am sure you all will find the talent featured in my video to be fresh and innovative. If you would like to hear the song I am using, search up Forgettable by Daktyl on Youtube. I chose this song for its interesting message and Daktyl's refreshing sound. My hope is that you all will fall in love with the song just as I did. Once again, thank you for your patience in waiting for my video releases. It has been a difficult semester for me, but I believe my work to come will excite and inspire all of you.
Blog #12 - What have I been up to?
Recently, my teacher, Mr. Goble, came to me about submitting my "Ladue Equality Protest" news package to impact Film Festival 2017. The film festival is centered around issues of social injustice. My video tackles issues of racism, homophobia, religious persecution, and more. Along with submitting my video, I created a campaign to raise awareness for those discriminated against and provide everyone a safe space to share their stories. My campaign, "Colorblind Minds", works to enlighten, encourage, and educate all on these issues. If you would like to join my campaign or just check it out visit uptogood.org and search up "Colorblind Minds", or my name, Marilyn Lercel. Finalists for the contest will be announced soon, so I will keep you all updated on how I do. Along with entering this contest, I have plans to film this Sunday with a new talent, Annie Morgan. This shoot will be apart of my final music video which I hope to share with you all by the end of the semester. Thank you for patience in waiting for new video releases from me!
Blog #11 - The Start of Filming
Over the weekend, I conducted my first day of filming for my music video. My friend, Jenna and i went to downtown Saint Louis, near the Arch to capture some artistic footage. We came across some interesting street art on the riverfront and decided to film some shots there as well. Along with filming video, we also had a mini photoshoot (some of the shots are featured on my site). The photoshoot allowed me to get an awesome home-page picture for my site as well. Our next filming day will be scheduled for March so I hope to get the video to you all sometime within the next month! I can't wait to share my hard work with you all!
Blog #10 - A work in progress
Recently, I have been working on a brand new project that I would like to share with you all. After seeking inspiration, selecting a song, and coming up with a concept, I am working my way out of the pre-production phase of my music video. With this project, I plan on telling the story of forgetting someone or something. I realized that the word, "forget", often has a negative connotation, so rather than portraying its negativity, I wanted to give the word a new meaning. The concept is that forgiving can be liberating, and that leaving things in the past sets you free. I am beyond excited about this project and cannot wait to share more with you all soon!
Blog #9 - So I have some ideas...
In the past month, I have had some time to think up some new ideas! My creative juices have been flowing and I would like to share my ideas with you all. First, I would love to make my page more interactive. I want to be able to receive submissions from viewers and share their work on my site as well (whether it be videos, paintings, photos, etc.). Next, I have been brainstorming some ideas to make my home page more welcoming and exciting. I decided that I needed to more-so express my personal aesthetic, so I have plans to do a photoshoot around my hometown of Saint Louis. I want to get some super cool photos of myself in unique locations around the city while showcasing my style. After collecting these images, I would love to create a slideshow on my home page of the shoot. This will allow all my viewers to understand me even more. Lastly, I have plans to expand my website to be a full art portfolio. I want to include my photos, fine art, and dancing as well. I think that broadening my site will allow me a space to completely express myself! Oh and btw, be expecting some new video projects soon. I have some exciting ideas in the works!
BLOG #8 - SEMESTER REFLECTION
Today is my last day of Broadcast Tech 1. I'm sad that it is over, but am looking forward to enrolling in the 2nd level class soon. I've learned so much from this class and have met some great colleagues and mentors. I always knew I had a passion for film but never knew where to get started. Now I really think I'm on track to accomplishing my goals and have established a solid foundation for myself. I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to meet Mr. Goble and Mrs. Davidson this year because they have shown such great enthusiasm for the work we are creating and have always been a great support system for me and all the students. They've helped inspire me to really dive into video production. My favorite thing about this class would have to be how independent, yet collaborative the class environment was. My teachers have done a wonderful job at creating a relaxed space for everyone to learn and feed off of each other. This class was truly the perfect blend of individual freedom and teamwork. I loved it! Broadcast Tech has helped me to reassure my passion and has encouraged me to keep moving forward. I've seen a great deal of potential in myself, and I'm confident that I have the talent to continue forward.
BLOG #7 - FINAL NEWS PACKAGE
I completed my final news package! I am very proud of this work and am excited to share it with you all. I chose to cover our recent protests at Ladue High School. The particular protest I created my package about was very inspirational and purposeful. The environment felt encouraging, hopeful, and peaceful. My goal was to capture these feelings in my video. Overall, the topic I chose was one i felt a great deal of passion towards, so therefore, I was motivated to create something powerful. This project taught me a lot of new and valuable skills such as: voiceovers, sound fluidity, shot sequencing, interviewing, etc. I think I was successful with my voiceovers and shot sequencing, however; I did need some help with adjusting audio levels and making my various sound bites flow. But, with a little guidance, I was able to put together a sequence of audio that was intentional, smooth, and professional.
BLOG #6 - Practice interview sound bites
In addition to watching professional news stories online, each individual in our class also filmed practice interviews. For my practice, I chose to interview my good friend, Morgan Burke. Morgan plays on Ladue High School's football team as their only female player. Her story is unique as she talked to me about overcoming gender barriers and proving herself to the coaches, team, and entire community as a whole. I also found her to be a prime candidate to interview as her team is amidst an impressive playoff run. They have found themselves in the final four and looking to clinch a state title. Overall, Morgan gave great insight into her relationship with the guys on the team and what it's like to play football. Technically, I did learn some skills I need to work on, such as sound, communication with the interviewee, and utilizing the rule of thirds. But, I did a great job of picking a character and story. Overall, this was great practice and I learned a lot about the art of interviewing.
Blog #5 - Hey, You, SEE...SO
In preparation for our next project, we are watching and analyzing inspirational news packages. Bob Dotson, an expert on "happy news", created a model: Hey, you, see...so. Broken down, the "hey" means you're grabbing the viewer's attention. What is it that is going to make them want to keep watching? Next, the "you" means you are applying the story to the audience. Why does it matter to them personally? In continuation, the "see" means that you finally introduce the point of the whole story to the viewers, sort of like saying, "You see now this is the point." And finally, the "so" is what ties the whole story together. Why should your audience care? For my first video, I watched a Steve Hartman segment called "The Animal Odd Couple". This news package was about an unlikely animal pairing: an elephant and a dog, who are best friends. The "hey" was the introduction of the elephant sanctuary where retired elephants retreat. The "you" in this story happens when the owner of the retreat refers to the elephants' relationships with one another as "just like best girlfriends". Experiencing friendship is something the audience can relate to. The "see" happens when a different pair is introduced: an elephant and a dog. They are the stars of the show. Lastly, the "so" comes when Steve suggests that if animals can get along so well despite their differences, than humans can too. For my second news segment, I watched another Steve Hartman story called "Middle School Football Players Execute Life-Changing Play". In this package, the "hey" happened when Steve talked about the teams' "scheming" for their "remarkable play". It intrigues the viewer. The "you" is introduced when the team talks about how they want to be there for each other and make someone's day. This sort of family nature is something everyone can connect with. Next, the "see" is revealed when the viewers realize that the players on the team had a "special play" in mind so that a disabled kid on their team could have a chance to score a touchdown. Finally, the "so" appears when Steve interviews the team's wide receiver, and he reveals that he now makes it his mission to make everyone's day and not focus on himself so much. Overall, these two stories were very inspirational and well produced. Steve does a wonderful job of making every story relatable, purposeful, and emotional. Hopefully, this will help prepare me to make "happy news" as great as his!
BLOG #4 - MY 6-WORD STORY
After researching others' 6-word stories, I was ready to finally create my own. First, I drafted a storyboard that included possible transitions, shot angles and distances, text placement, filters, sound effects, music, etc. The base for my project started on the storyboard and later came to life when I went out and actually filmed the shots I planned on. Once I physically began to film, I found that many of the shots I had conceptualized would not actually work realistically. This helped me to learn a great deal of troubleshooting. I took a step back, found new solutions, and took the inconveniences as learning experiences. People with careers in film must run into problems similar to the ones I faced on a daily basis. Knowing how to make compromises is just a part of the business. Although certain things did not go as planned, I loved this project and am still thrilled with the finished product. I think my use of editing elements really helps to emphasize the story: a story of using dance to overcome mental illness. I chose to have my beginning shots in black and white to set a sorrowful, empathetic mood, but as the story progresses, the filters change to become more light and white-based to give an almost dream-like aura. The story is one that is very relatable to me, so therefore I think that is why this project has more meaning to me. I am excited to share my latest work with all my viewers!
Blog #3 - 6-WORD STORIES PROJECT
Our next project we will be kickstarting is our "6-Word Story, 6 Unique Shots" video. For this assignment, we are being challenged to create a story using six textual words and intentional visuals to tell a meaningful story about whatever we may choose. Our teacher, Mr.Goble, showed us a few student examples in class, and I was very impressed with how much thought was put into every minute detail. After watching these videos for inspiration, I think I will go down a more serious path, depicting a more personal story with deep purpose. I have a few ideas running through my head such as how I use dance as a creative outlet and stress reliever, my cousin's struggle with addiction, or my own struggle with mental illness. All are extremely real topics for me, and I am excited to provoke great emotion in my audience through such a creative project. My goal with this video is to speak to my audience on a very emotional level, as opposed to my previous light-hearted work. This is the project I'm most looking forward to thus far!
BLOG #2 - VIDEO SCAVENGER HUNT
To help introduce us to using our cameras, we completed a video scavenger hunt. This project we like to refer to as the "Circus Wagon" project, as it has no real purpose: an organized chaos. We had a various number of objects to capture (ex: something red, a teacher sleeping, a drinking fountain, etc.), each with a unique shot distance and angle (ex: wide, tight, medium, low, high, etc.). This project was a great opportunity to play around with the cameras and establish a familiarity with the equipment. Also, it provided us a great deal of freedom and creativity. There are an endless number of ways to capture each shot, and it was interesting to see each group's unique interpretation of the prompt. I found that I really enjoy tight shots that bring the viewer right into the center of action. For example, my partner, Courvaun, and I filmed a few shots in the Airbrush Studio. The space is quite tight, so to compensate for that, we did various low shots under our subject's hands. We chose this composition, as it made the action look larger than life, giving the viewer a look at both the artwork itself and the movement of the subject's hands and arms. In addition to filming a wide range of shots, we practiced fine-tuning our editing skills on Final Cut Pro. The program is, as our teacher calls it, "iMovie on steroids", and he's right. We practiced everything from inserting transitions, to applying filters, and attaching sound effects. This project helped to make me comfortable with thinking outside of the box when both filming and editing. Altogether, our scavenger hunt greatly helped to create a sense of personal professionalism, as I'm starting to feel like a real filmmaker!
Blog #1 - "I AM MARILYN" VIDEO
For our first class project, I made a trailer on iMovie to give a short glimpse into who I am. The project was fairly straightforward and smooth, as the program is very streamline and user friendly. I chose to showcase more of who I presently am in my project, as opposed to a timeline story starting from when I was born. I did this because I feel like I've really come into my own and that my current passions are ones I will truly enjoy for the rest of my life. I also chose to focus on showing my viewer specifically what I do in my life through sharing pictures of my travels, my artwork, and my friends. This was to allow my viewer to have a deeper understanding of myself and feel as if their experiencing what I love firsthand. Overall, the project was fun and simple, and I am looking forward to further creating a videography portfolio I'm proud of!