Tuesday, November 6, 2012


For this class’s final project, I’ve enthusiastically decided to go with the second option of creating a video.   The main focus of the video will be myself being interviewed (in the same manner that the subjects where interviewed in the UP! Series) by someone you can’t see (a close friend of mine).

I will include my friends and family and speak on our relationships but I won’t actually interview them.

Some of the subjects I will cover:

-What experiences in life have led you to where you are now?
-What’s most important to you in life right now?  Why?
-What drives you in life and what do you ultimately want to accomplish? 
-What is your relationship like with your immediate family and why?
-Who are your friends and why?
-Why and what are you studying at St Johns?  Why are you in school?
-What do you want to be “when you grow up?”
-Where are you living?  What neighborhood, what city, with whom?  Why?
-Where do you want to be at 28 and 35?
-Girlfriend?  Why or why not?
-Hobbies?  Interests?

I really want to focus on this critical time in my life: after the Marine Corps, before my career, this whole college thing.  Where I am in life.  What drives me?  Where I want to go in life.  What do I ultimately want to accomplish?  I think it will be interesting to look back at this in 10, 15, 20 years and see if I succeeded in doing what I wanted to do.  I’m going to try to ask similar questions to the ones asked in the UP! Series. 

Besides me actually sitting down and being interviewed, I will show scenes of my neighborhood, the city, (and explain why they’re so important to me), my family being my family, my friends being my friends and me out and about doing things I do on a regular basis.

I will really only predict my life and not make predictions on much else.  I will start this project by getting together with my friends that are going to interview me and map out or let them come up with questions.  From there we will film the actual interview segment.  After that, I will go around with a camera filming clips I want to add into the interview until the videos ready. 

The introduction will be a few short clips of: me and my friends out partying/drinking, me at the gym, my with my mom, my dad, then from there I will transition in the interview, my city, my neighborhood, etc.  


In Reporting on Your Own and Writing about People: The Interview, Kalita and Zinsser explain what interviewing really is and how do it properly.  Interviewing is more than sitting down, asking a few questions, writing down the responses, going home and putting it on paper.  To interview correctly is a long hard process that takes a lot of work and there’s a few things that an interviewer always has to keep in mind.  My favorite point was Zinsser’s point on finding the human element in anything.  Finding the human element (to anything) and exposing it brings life to an interview or any work.  It can make the most boring subject interesting.  This reminds me of the move “Waiting,” a movie about a restaurant. This doesn’t really sound interesting and a movie simply about a restaurant wouldn’t be interesting.  But the film finds the human element of the restaurant (the workers), and exposes it.  Their experiences at work, interactions with costumers, the shenanigans that go on in the “the back,” (the kitchen, freezer, and other areas of the restaurant that a costumer wouldn’t see) and this all makes for a very interesting and very entertaining movie.  This also reminds me of anytime someone documents a conflict or war.  It’s one thing to talk about the political reasons behind the conflict but to interview people living the conflict brings life to the documentary and makes it interesting.  The documentary goes from being about two fighting political parties to being about the locals living through the conflict;  their struggles and hardships, or the soldier fighting the conflict; his pain, his struggle, the horrors he endures.  Another strong point in the articles (this one by Kalita) was that when one interviews it is necessarily to forget everything we already knew about the subject of the interview.  An interview is meant to tell a story, from a specific persons point of view: their opinions and their stances.  We cannot bring what we already know to the interview.  Doing so would be to bring our own personal opinions and cloud the direction and outcome of the interview taking away from its authenticity.  And lastly, (to me) the most insightful point in these articles was (Zinsser’s) the point on the process of coming up with an interview worth publishing and an interviewing staying true to the interviewee.  Coming up with an interview worth publishing means taking many different interviews and extracting worthwhile material out of them and putting it together into one flowing interview that makes sense.  This takes a lot of work, and a lot of times it might mean rewording some of the quotes or editing sentences so that they make sense.  Though that’s a necessary part of the process, it’s always important to stay loyal to your interviewee and not put words in his mouth or change the message the interviewee had to say. 

For my project, I (myself) will be the main focus of the interview.  The project is about my life and my predictions for my future.  My family and my friends will have cameos in the video, and will say a few words, and I might ask them a question or two, but I won’t actually interview them for my video.  Me being interviewed will be the main focus of the video.  I’m going to get together with a very close friend of mine and show him my proposal of the video along with an outline of the video and the subjects I want to discuss (in accordance with the guidelines for the project) and together come up with possible questions.  Or I may let him come up with all the questions and surprise me.  I want to keep the interview genuine and sincere not too rehearsed.  I think it’s only right that I be the main focus since this video is about my life and my predictions for the future.    I want to make something similar to the UP! Series as far as interviewing goes.  

Monday, November 5, 2012


Thorne, B. "The Seven Up! Films: Connecting the Personal and the Sociological. "Ethnography 10.3 (2009): 327-40. Print.

In the article “The Seven Up! Films: Connecting the Personal and the Sociological," Barrie Thorne describes how gradually the original intent of the UP! Series became less relevant and the films focus shifted to a more personal direction.  The original intent of the series was to make a political statement on how social inequalities shape individual lives and help determine their futures.  At first the children where shown grouped together with other children from similar social and economical backgrounds.  Yet, throughout the series the focus of the films took a turn and the series developed an “emphasis on ‘human drama,’ ‘human nature,’ or ‘human interest “ (336).  The characters became more so individuals and focus was lost on their perspective social classes.  There became an emphasis on the personal struggles, accomplishments, and outcomes of the lives of the individual characters and not as much emphasis on the characters social class and how it molded them.  The individual families the characters had developed became a great focus in contraction to there being no focus on the families of the characters when they where children.

Apted, Michael. "Michael Apted Responds." Ethnography 10.3 (2009): 359-67. Print.

In the article "Michael Apted Responds," Apted does what he describes as odd for someone in his profession: he engages in debate with criticism of his work.  Essentially in the article Apted is defending himself, the UP! Series, and it’s intent.  He describes how the film shifting focus from sociologic to the individual characters was inevitable.  Many factors led to this shift in focus: each installment needing to be able to stand on its own as an individual film; the characters wanting to tell their own story, their way; and the characters wanting to prove the original intent of the film wrong, are just a few.  He says that the shift in focus was “organic and inexorable, and not the will of some bottom-line,”(366) defending the accusations that he shifted focus to make the film more appealing and make more revenue.  He goes on to say that the UP! Series wasn’t really planned; it was more so invented as he went along. 

Ebert, Roger. "The Up Documentaries (1985)." Rogerebert.com. Sun-Times, 25 Oct. 1985. Web. .

In the article “The Up Documentaries (1985)”, Ebert gives his take on the UP! Series and describes the changes some of the characters go through throughout the series. He touches on some of the differences between England the United States such as how different social classes have more significant differences in England than in the United States.  He also touches on the traditional gender roles of the late 1900’s and how men controlled the lives of women.    He touches on different characters and the paths their lives have taken.  He determines that some characters are happy, some are not and that’s because some are doing what they enjoy and “That seems to be the key: Doing what you like.”