Documentary Journalism Workshop

This page will be used to keep a weekly blog to update and track the progress of my work in a capstone class, Documentary Journalism Workshop, taught by Associate Professor Peter Johanns.

September 21, 2012 –

As I sit inside the Marriott in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida due to the rain, I was curious as to what my partners for our documentary on the Jewish social fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, had accomplished.  I finally found a spot in the hotel where I could pick up an internet signal (since Marriott charges $12.95 for 24 hours of “premium internet service”) and got in contact with my group with updates.  A week before I left, we (Julianne Feller, Kelsey Anderson and I) met with the current brothers of AEPi.  Some of the members were hesitant to let us make a short documentary about them, but after meeting them most of the brothers seemed excited to work with us.  Dave Goffman, current Master of Ithaca’s AEPi chapter, confirmed our beliefs that the brothers were more on board after meeting us and asking several questions about our vision, motives and expectations of our final project.

Additionally, after looking over the rush schedule and event list, we have narrowed down our shoots of the Ithaca chapter of AEPi to 3-4 shoots, and hopefully can finalize a list of three in order to minimize budget costs.  Also, we are working on getting in touch with the Cornell University AEPi president for an interview and access to further information about the history of AEPi.

The sun just came out, therefore I must leave my wi-fi cave.  Suns out guns out, and until next time…


December 17th, 2012 –

Well this is awkward..a lot has happened in our documentary since my last entry.  Actually, we produced our entire documentary since my last entry.  The overall experience of the project is unlike any other project I have done at IC.  For one, this was the first class where I was a part of a group that worked together for the entire semester.  The group rapport was amazing throughout the entire semester.  When one member couldn’t make a shoot, the other two members stepped up and got the work done.  When delegating what work each of us will be doing, we efficiently split up the work evenly.  With all three of us going on shoots as much as possible, we decided to have Julianne complete the binder and keep records of all our shoots, scripts and other paperwork.  Kelsey put together the trailer, while I did most of the editing for the documentary.  Julianne and Kelsey also helped with editing as much as they could.  I could not have asked to be a part of a better group.

As for our production company, we decided to name it “FAD Productions,” (mostly the girls decision).  FAD stands for Feller, Anderson and Doyle.  Our documentary is titled, “A Peak of Greek.”  After a couple months of title suggestions, Julianne came up with “A Peak of Greek,” and we all agreed.  The experience of filming together was great.  We filmed multiple alumni from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, and were given a chance to document the experience of AEPi brothers who are a part of AEPi Ithaca Colony.  We also had the opportunity to meet and interview AEPi brothers from the Beta chapter of the fraternity at Cornell University.  All interviewees were helpful in the interviewing process of the documentary.

The editing portion of the documentary was the part I enjoyed the most.  I like the editing process a lot, and thought this project was a incredibly helpful towards learning how to plan, budget, write and produce a documentary.  I feel as these skills will be valuable in my future career, whatever that may be. I hope the class enjoys what FAD Productions, as a group, has produced for their viewing.  I also hope our documentary represents AEPi fairly and accurately in their quest to become an affiliated fraternity with Ithaca College.  Best of luck to them in their future endeavors.

Lastly, I hope that after this documentary, Ithaca College reconsiders their current policy towards Greek Life.  If there is one thing this project has taught me, it is that Greeks can, and most often times are valuable contributors towards college campuses.  I believe both the Ithaca College students and campus would benefit greatly from a resurgence of Greek life.

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