By Kaitlyn Kushner '22
Good afternoon y’all, I hope you are all having a relaxing Sunday. On my calendar, today is marked as the conclusion of my Summer Independent Study, "Commercial Applications for Video." What an amazing journey this has been. I am so happy that I am able to reflect on where this study has taken me and dream about where it will lead me in the future. In this post I will share some closing thoughts, memories, and a few other items along the way.
I began this summer with a completely open schedule. We were already a few months into the Covid-19 pandemic and most of my summer plans had been canceled. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do the next three months. I saw a lot of people online sharing how they were going to take the next few months to better themselves by cultivating a skill, pursuing some hobbies, or even taking the time to do nothing and just relax. All of these people had some kind of task that they were determined to pursue for the next few months and I realized that I wanted to do something with that similar type of purpose as well.
A few days later, I happened to open an email from the head of my high school where he detailed a new program that would help students fight boredom as well as pursue a topic that they are interested in: The Jack Linger Independent Study Fund.
Now, I am no stranger to Durham Academy’s Independent Learning options. I had just finished my spring 2020 Independent Study centered around commercial applications for video. I loved that experience so much, I was rather sad when it ended. That’s when I decided to apply for this prestigious grant. Little did I know how far submitting this one proposal would take me this summer (even while working remotely)!
After being one of the lucky few recipients of this award, I got right to work. I began my summer with a week long internship at a DA sponsored film camp. You wouldn’t even believe how much I gained from this experience! I worked alongside longtime filmmaker Andrea DeGette, whom I later interviewed about her work, where we taught first-graders the basics of making a movie. I couldn’t believe how tired I was even when I was teaching these kids virtually!
If you followed my blog throughout the summer, you see how I like to have one or two big projects going on simultaneously with little activities and lessons sprinkled in. One of my smaller activities at the beginning of the summer was reading Sidney Lumet’s Making Movies (you can see my posts about it here and here). It is one of my favorite books ever, even outside of my Independent Study! Another smaller activity I had at the beginning of the summer was a reflection on a video I made a while ago (you can view that here). I truly believe that reflecting on where we have been helps us progress even further forward in our studies as well as in life. This Independent Study has proven to me that this is fact.
My next item on the list originally started as a small activity, but it ended up turning into something bigger than I could’ve ever imagined: The Legendary Cinematic Pictures Through the Ages List. This ended up being one of my most popular blog posts among my subscribers, family members and friends. It has now turned into a movie night that my parents and I look forward to every week or so. If you haven’t checked out the list or my technical movie critiques yet, please do so! I had so much fun making them.
As I previously mentioned, I enjoy having one to two projects going on at the same time, and one of the two is usually my interviews. My Independent Study helped me to realize that if I wanted to pursue filmmaking as a career, I would need to talk to people in that field. I had two amazing interviewees this summer that helped me learn about what a filmmaking course looks like in college as well as what one pathway in the film industry looks like. I would like to once again thank the interviewees for their time and wisdom. It was and is much appreciated.
During my summer study, I took on the larger than life challenge of learning Adobe Premiere Pro. I am grateful to the Durham Academy Technology Team for allowing me to use this industry standard product. It was a great challenge to learn the basics by myself, but now I am overjoyed that I know them! The switch from the complimentary Apple editing program, iMovie, to this better editing software was something that I have always wanted to do, and now I am so glad that I can check that off the list.
Yesterday, I posted the first video that I edited on this program (check that out here). I would like to thank Mukta for being an amazing interviewee and letting me talk to here about her summer study. I am very proud of this video; go check it out. Also, using the links below, you can check out my other YouTube videos that I made for my Independent Study. It’s super cool!
There are so many other activities and projects that I can talk about, but I recommend that you go and read my blog posts on them. I want to thank everyone once again for your support this summer. You helped me learn so much about filmmaking and how I can become a better filmmaker. My summer study might be over, but my pursuit to learn more as a filmmaker is nowhere near over.
Have a great rest of the year everyone! Stay safe.
Links to the other Jack Linger Independent Study Fund recipients' blogs:
http://mdharmapurikar.sites.da.org — Psychological Attitudes towards Climate Change
http://dross.sites.da.org — Daoist Rock Garden
https://abhutani.sites.da.org — Solar Powered Battery
http://ahogue.sites.da.org — Connecting Kids with Art
Editor's note: This blog post was originally published at kkushner.sites.da.org.