Saturday, October 15, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Attending the conference reinforced for me how important it is to collect these memories. As I looked over the footage of my first interviewee, Gerville Larsen, a historical preservation architect, it made me realize that I really want to be able to access those memories, the personal ones, the smell of the place, if the street was shady, what did it feel like to breathe the air, was it heavy with heat, or light with a fragrance of bread baking or sweet from a ground littered with rotting mangoes. And although with this interview, even though I thought it went well, Gerville was articulate and passionate, it made me realize that I want to be able to access more, especially when I begin to interview people who actually lived in Free Gut.
I look forward to more interviews and research and continue to learn and improve production. Comments are most welcome on what you think about the footage so far.
Friday, September 16, 2011
I spent most of the summer visiting family in Cuba (my husband is from Cuba). We got stuck coming back via Santo Domingo in Tropical Storm Irene. I have to admit I was a little worried about the house. It's still standing I am happy to report, but part of the porch roof was taken off. It's also super overgrown so I am deciding between paying someone to cut it or doing it myself again with a cutlass. The latter fits more my financial status, the former fits more my energy level.
On the documentary front I have received some grant money from the University of the Virgin Islands and the Virgin Islands Council of Humanities! This is fantastic! I am very grateful and these funds will ensure the project moves forward!
So last week I met with the historian on the project, George Tyson, to begin to plot out exactly how we would do that. One of the areas we are researching at the moment are the "hucksters", vendors, mainly women ,who sold their wares in markets. A few of the previous owners in the 1700s were hucksters and seems that was how they purchased their freedom. I just admire the spirit of these women and want to learn more.
So I am back in gear! Full speed ahead!!!!!
Saturday, July 9, 2011
I started with using Vimeo, which has a higher quality, until I realized that you could not watch the video using a cell phone.
So I decided to also post on YouTube. So if watching from your smartphone you should be able to see this one.
Since this is also a production blog I will comment a bit on that. Most of the footage was shot by Jason Roberts, except the shot where I am sitting and describing the motivation for the film. Due to deadlines and scheduling conflicts I shot that myself in my living room.
I so need funding to get better equipment! But a wise friend told me this:"The best camera to get is the one you have". So I push on filming what needs to be filmed, but writing away like a mad woman to get funding to take the production up a notch.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Over the past couple weeks I have been back and forth meeting and inquiring about getting power to the building, building plans, electrical permits, historical guidelines, etc... The process has felt like a Labyrinth, a puzzling sacred path that is supposed to lead me to some center, enlightenment even. Well, I'm not sure I would use the word enlightened to describe what I'm feeling now, but I have certainly been surprised along the way. Here are a few things that I have learned:
- The women and men who work at DPNR (the Department of Planning and Natural Resources) are incredibly helpful and pleasant. My questions were answered respectfully and thoroughly. The inspector that came out to do the site visit was knowledgeable and gracious. I was told how much things would cost ($20 for an electrical permit), how long it would take (2-4 days) and exactly what I needed to bring (an electrical plan and permit form filled out and signed by licensed electrician). Courteous efficient service can really be achieved in government. Wow.
- Building plans are expensive! I am surprised at how expensive building plans are, especially considering one of the buildings is less than 400 square feet. Charging $100-$200 per square foot is a lot, especially considering that I know how to draw and measure and use the computer, so minus the fact that I don’t know the building codes, what I received looks pretty much like something I could do myself.
- Becoming a licensed electrician is hard. I couldn’t understand why so many electricians or plumbers I have interacted with over the years always got uneasy when I mentioned anything with permits. You would have thought that DPNR had a minotaur hiding inside! Well I have since realized that many of these people are not licensed. When it came time to get permits, people who I have used for years had to admit that they did not have a license and could not help me. Upon finding a licensed electrician he said to me that when he took the test he passed it in one shot, but that the woman who administered it told him that in the 25 years she had worked at Licensing & Consumer Affairs, he was only the second person to do that. Wow.
- DPNR and SHPO are actually there to help you. The State Historic Preservation Committee has been nicknamed by some as the Hysterical Society, meaning that they impose ridiculous rules and guidelines and seem to delight in telling people what to do with their property. My interaction with them has been quite the opposite. It’s a small four member committee of individuals who care about our community and see our architecture as a treasure and want to help protect Y/OUR investment and Y/OUR heritage.
So ultimately I learned that like the walls forming a labyrinth and guiding your path, that rules and regulations are not such a bad thing. They help to steer us along our way.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
In my first week of being an intern for "The House That Freedom Built" project, I was exposed to different aspects of filmmaking. From camera operations to getting funding for maintenance, restoration, and renovation. Under the direction of Ms. LaVaugn Belle, I've been able to further develop a creative eye for taking pictures and videos. We watched films and videos and Ms. Belle pointed out several camera techniques. Although, I've been watching films for a long time, the techniques she shared became more noticeable. For example, some films shift the audience's attention by changing the focus on an object and blurring everything else that would seem distracting such as people or other objects in the background. With a simple switch of the lens of the camera and a focused object, the subject comes to life. Because I've never worked with a professional camera before, the technique is very new to me but it is an example of one the many things that I look forward in learning about.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011