Tonight was the last session of Making Media That Matters and one could certainly feel it in the air! When I arrived to the space, groups were already focused and in full-on work mode (as many students had arrived hours in advance to get a head start). Some students were hovered over a laptop with noise-canceling headphones editing their scenes, while others were primping their sets and setting up cameras for the final shots. We normally gather as a group to begin the night with an opening question, but with only one week left until the final screening of the films, we decided not to interrupt the productive work flow.
The Isosceles group was hard at work on a stop-motion scene. Since I have zero background in film, I am constantly learning new information about all things camera. I learned that the process of a stop-motion scene is a very tedious one. The camera has to be stopped and started several times while the objects that are being shot are moved in tiny increments. For those of you (who are like me) and don’t know, this is a technique filmmakers use when they want to portray an object moving on its own (such as in animated films). In this case, the director was behind the camera taking still shots, while simultaneously giving careful instructions to two group members on where to place the objects next: “a little bit down and to the left- now up and a slightly to the right.”
Meanwhile, a separate group was filming their final takes directly behind the Isosceles group, which took an incredible amount of communication and teamwork to pull off. One minute, two girls would be acting out a scene as sisters in a dispute and the next minute, the other team would scatter to assemble their objects. There was a lot of multitasking happening in the space throughout the night and it brought on a bittersweet feeling. I couldn’t be more ready for summer break, but I also couldn’t believe this was the last time I would get to watch this group of talented students work their magic in front of the camera. I will definitely miss these moments.
Time flew by us (as it always does) and it was time for us to gather for one final closing of Making Media That Matters. Vera gave a heartfelt speech in which she expressed her gratitude and thankfulness for the authenticity, creativity, and brilliance of the group. She stated an expression in Italian that translates to, “all beautiful things come to an end.” She expressed that as things end now, new beautiful things will surely begin. Vera welcomed each of us back in hopes that this wouldn’t be the end of our budding friendships.
Instead of closing with a question as we normally do, Katie had us do a self-esteem activity! This is an exercise she has her Master’s students do in class, so I was so excited to do it in this setting. Here’s how it works: Katie spins around in the middle of the circle with her eyes shut, acting as a spinner in a classic board game. Whomever she lands on is who will stand in the middle of the circle while everyone randomly shouts out things they like about that person. It’s naturally a little uncomfortable because I don’t know how about you, but it’s not often that multiple people come up to me and start shouting several things they like about me. However, it’s important to tell others the positive things we see in them, because they may not see it in themselves.
The compliments were sincere and thoughtful. They ranged from appearance (beautiful, stylish, great hair, contagious smile) to personality traits (witty, funny, chill, happy, charismatic, bubbly, friendly, sweet, outgoing, open to others ideas, good heart, entertainer, calm, kind, inspiring, approachable, energetic, theatrical) to strengths (hard worker, creative, helpful, reliable, committed, cautious, inspiring, determined, diligent, focused, dependable, motivational, good listener, good editor, super talented, creative) and of course inside jokes (rice crackers, sweaters, home depot, wonderful “walk”). There couldn’t have been a better way to wrap up a wonderful program. Taking a moment to appreciate one another is especially important for women, because too often we are left feeling unsupported by one another.
Just like that, a whole session of Making Media That Matters has come to an end. Each Friday, whether I was having the best day or the worst day, I looked forward to spending my night with these wonderful humans. The amount of talent and creativity never ceased to amaze me, but I was most impressed with the way they respected one another, always validating each other’s opinions and ideas. I feel so fortunate to have witnessed this group create and grow together. This may be the end of Making Media That Matters, but it is not the end of the wonderful relationships this place created.