As part of my independent project, a unique feature of FableVision’s internship program, I wanted to use my burgeoning interest in video production to highlight some of the incredible things that take place on the top floor of the Boston Children’s Museum—FableVision Studios. I was excited when I realized I could create something personally meaningful because of my history with the studio.
In 2014, I needed a career change. I wanted a job where I could be creative and work on fun stuff, not stuffy stuff. I wanted to make video games and cartoons and not sit in a gray cubicle. While researching studios in New England, I discovered FableVision and Creative Juices: Glow-In-The-Dark.
Creative Juices is FableVision’s signature annual event. From its humble beginnings as a doodling competition among FableVision artists, Creative Juices evolved into an open house art show for the artistic community within and around FableVision Studios. I had to be a part of it, and registered for my ticket.
I still have it.
I was blown away and totally inspired by the show. I vividly remember the room covered in glowing Post-It note doodles by Director of Art & Animation, Bob Flynn, and an absolutely stunning celestially-themed digital painting by Hannah O’Neal, Animator. I recall how cool it was to see video games featured at an art show. The talent and the atmosphere of the studio were out of this world, and I knew I had to work here.
I enrolled in college courses again, majoring in communications and focusing on media production and writing. When it was time to apply for internships, there was only one place I wanted to be.
Achieving my dream was incredible, and I knew that documenting this year’s Creative Juices show was the best way to honor my past, present, and future with FableVision Studios.
Why did I choose a video for my independent project?
I’m a jack-of-all trades. I love writing, making games, podcasting, and filmmaking, so the chance to work on these projects with an award-winning studio was incredible. I came into FableVision with a lot of ideas for my independent project, and I was especially inspired as a fan of other intern projects like She: The Warrior and Beyond the Backyard.
As Sarah, Mitul, and I discussed my independent project, we realized there was a lot of excitement and synergy around a video studio diary, especially with the opportunity to celebrate Creative Juices.
What was the process like?
Once we decided I would create a video for my independent project, I went on to develop and pitch the idea. Something wonderful I learned from the pitch meeting was how to incorporate feedback to refine a concept. My original plan for FableFolk was great but BIG, and after the presentation, the project evolved into something that fit into the studio’s processes while retaining the heart of the idea.
Pre-production might be my favorite phase of a project because there’s so much potential and I get to figure out how it’s all going to work. The first thing I do is create project spreadsheets with separate tabs that help me track deadlines, shooting schedules, graphic and sound assets, equipment, and more.
I wanted to interview a couple FableVision staff members who could provide unique perspectives on Creative Juices, so I scheduled time with Bob Flynn and Mitul Daiyan, Communications Strategist. I knew the story angle I wanted from the video, so I wrote a set of questions that could coax the sound bites I needed. I also worked with Bob and Hannah to design the graphics I would need to make the video pop.
The more time you spend in pre-production, the less time you spend on the rest of the project, but I learned there’s something to be said for adaptability and improvisation too.
Once I had everything planned and scheduled, it was time to film! We filmed the interviews before the show itself because it gave us footage for a short promo video ahead of Creative Juices. There were a lot of moving parts to keep track of, but I kept to the checklist and Sarah Ditkoff, Communications Director, was a huge help in setting up and recording the audio. The interviews went well, and they looked great.
Filming at Creative Juices was an interesting challenge for me. I’m shy, and filming at a party made me feel intrusive and obnoxious. Ultimately, I got enough footage for the video, but I know that I would film differently, more confidently, if I did this again. Practice makes perfect.
Editing is a close second to my favorite part of filmmaking. I like assembling footage and audio and finding the story. The first stab at editing feels a little like dumping Legos all over the floor before building. As the video takes form, however, it’s a lot like sculpting clay where you have to find the right places to cut and shape the pieces.
The editing process also loops into the approval and revision process. I learned a lot about the steps the marketing team and FableVision Studios takes to ensure a project is at its absolute best before final approval and release . I found the approval process immensely fulfilling as a creator.
Once I had approval, it was time to market the video through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Something I’ve learned during my internship is that crafting effective and compelling social media posts requires skill, insight, and a sharp wit, and every platform challenges you to take up a slightly different voice.
Marketing FableFolk: Creative Juices, like marketing anything, required me to carefully consider what I wanted to convey about the video. What was my message? My instinct was to shout, “look at this new video series I made!” but the better angle was to center the story on Creative Juices. The video complemented the show as a retrospective piece, and I think the social media around the video posts reflected that. I was honored to create something that spoke for the people at FableVison.
What did I learn?
The FableFolk video project was a great way to put the skills I’ve learned at school into practice, and it was also an opportunity to figure out what aspects of production I enjoy most. I learned that cinematography is a challenge for me, but I love project management, interviewing, and editing. Working amidst a crowd of strangers at an event is something I would like to improve on.
An important lesson I took away from this project was how to create something that fits in with an organization’s identity and operations, and how to work as a team across departments to create something special. I couldn’t have made this film without FableVision and the talented people in the studio!
Interested in being an intern at FableVision Studios and honing your skills? Learn more here!