Student Blog #11 pt. 2

by Guest Writer Rikki

Now that it's time for the show, I'm really excited about how it turned out. I'm glad that it's turned into sketch instead of a stage reading, because I think it's a lot more fun this way. I hope the people who come to see the show feel the same.

It's been a great experience working with everyone, and I've learned so much. Not just new vocabulary either; I've learned more about myself. The process of Cleaning Closets has opened my eyes to a lot of new things. It's also been a very fun process. I'm grateful to have been a part of it. The things that I've learned during Cleaning Closets will be with me for the rest of my life.

Student Blog #11

by Guest Writer Rikki

With only one week left before the show, I am extremely excited for what it’s becoming. The cast is amazing, and I have so much respect for everyone. They have so much courage, and they inspire me every rehearsal.

It’s been a lot of fun putting scenes together and doing acting exercises with everyone. The scenes are really coming together. It’s a lot of fun to be in the scenes, but it’s also fun to just sit back and watch. Some of them are really funny while others are touching. It’s been a great experience so far, and I have high hopes for how the show will turn out.


Morehead, More Stories

In less than a week I will be at Morehead State University creating art with a whole new generation. I'm excited to see how different the campus is since it's been almost a decade since I graduated.  I'm excited to see how different and similar this generation is, to see old friends like the professor I'm boarding with. I am excited to hear new true stories. I'm excited to "give back" as I've mentioned before. Have times changed in Eastern Kentucky, or is it a place stuck in the valley frozen in time? MSU was always pretty gay-friendly despite its position on the GPS, but there was definitely some work to do. 

But I have a lot to get in order before I head out. I have to make sure everything is in line at both of my jobs so that I can work remotely and keep my employment! I have to finish up some things with my friend for the film documentary version of Cleaning Closets so that the next big announcement will be ready by the time I get back. I really want to tell you more about that but it'll just have to wait. Until then, you can enjoy blog posts from the students as they recount their journey through the Cleaning Closets experience. 

Interview Skills

So this project is really the first experience I’ve had conducting interviews, so there’s a lot to be learned.  And interviewing people for the film documentary is even more difficult because you’re capturing everything on video.  And when I say everything, I do mean everything—including yourself.  This means I have to be careful not to talk over the storytellers so as to keep their stories clear on the audio tracks.  But as an interview I want to be sure I’m personable and conversational so as to keep the storyteller at ease.  You also want to be sure that you’re giving them enough time to react because a film is both audio and visual.  Thank goodness my film partner has a lot of experience behind the camera because she gave me some great advice.  Just give them more time in between questions to have reactions because sometimes they’ll even keep going and reveal some really candid moments.  Looking back at some of the footage I collected on my own, I was afraid I wasn’t asking the right questions.  My film partner said my questions are great, but I’m cutting into their honest moments.  There was one time in particular we could see that I had a question and was no longer focusing on what the storyteller was saying.  She advised me to keep a notebook and write those questions down and ask them once the storyteller finishes their anecdotes.  The sad part is, I was keeping a notebook with me!  However, it’s a difficult balance to stay engaged in their story without missing important information while also writing down a question and not be distracting.  I guess I’m not as good at multitasking as I thought.  Thank goodness I have a great film partner who’s already on the same page as me with the editing process! 

Tearful Teaser

My friend Charli and I finished editing the teaser for the film documentary last night.  It's going to premiere at Cleaning Closets: A Night of Storytelling on September 27th.  It's crazy how long it took us to edit a teaser that's just under two minutes.  But we were also being very compulsive trying to get the cuts just right.  We're proud of it, and when we watched the finished product, it made us teary-eyed.  There are light moments and serious moments, and it left us wanting more.  We hope our audiences feel the same, especially because we're also going to use the teaser as a starting point for the promo on our crowd sourcing campaigns as well as for the full length trailer.  You won't want to miss the sneak peak at Cleaning Closets: A Night of Storytelling.

Lights! Camera! Action?

I’m not a cameraman.  I know very little about filmmaking.  I’m a theatre artist by trade.  So when I had to conduct a few interviews on my own earlier this month while also having to operate the camera equipment, I felt completely lost!  My friend who owns and operates the camera had a rehearsal so she let me borrow the equipment.  I’m trying to appear as professional as possible when interviewing storytellers for the film documentary, but I clearly look clueless when it comes to operating the camera.  During the second interview, I ran out of memory on the drive (or disk or chip or whatever it is that plugs into the camera) because I hadn’t transferred the footage from the first interview on to my computer yet.  I thought my friend had another drive in her bag, but none of them were compatible with the camera except the one that was full.  Thank goodness I was interviewing a friend, so he let me upload the footage onto his computer.  Then I came over the next day to transfer the files onto my hard drive.  Not only did the drive need to be cleared off (twice during the interview), but then I had to switch out the battery!  I swear, I don’t know what I would’ve done if I wasn’t at my friend’s place!  But thankfully everyone that I interviewed on my own was patient and excited to share their stories.  As if that wasn't bad enough, the sun started going down in both interviews, and I started to lose my great lighting.  Who knows what the footage will look like, but thankfully my friend who owns the camera will be editing it with me! 


First for Film

I recently interviewed the first storyteller for the upcoming film documentary!  My friend Charli, from one of my many jobs (oh the life of an artist), has agreed to use her brand new (at least new to her) hand-held camera to record the documentary.  I'm super excited to be gaining more stories for the archives, while also equally excited to be collaborating with a new artist and friend!  And my film "crew" and I both learned so much from our storyteller.  I met this storyteller at Tribe, a discussion group hosted by Project Vida.   

This middle-age storyteller admitted that she still struggles with her identity.  To herself she identifies as a heterosexual transgender woman, but due to health reasons she'll never be able to fully transition which makes her feel like the woman inside is sometimes dead.  Therefore he outwardly identifies as a bisexual man so as not to confuse the people around him.  However this doesn't always make things easier since like the T in LGBT, the B is quite often the least accepted letter in society.  According to several of the interviews that I've conducted, many of the people who identify as transgender and/or bisexual are often ostracized by both the heterosexual and the homosexual communities.   Being bisexual is often misconstrued as being confused or being greedy or even as being a stepping stone to becoming gay. 

I won't share the whole interview with you because you'll have to wait to see that when the film documentary is finished.  Instead I've included one of my favorite anecdotes from the interview in a small sound bite in the Archives.  Be sure to check back next Friday when I talk a little bit about the actual filming process which is always new to me as a theatre artist!