My first experience with filmmaking was in 2009 when I took up the “Calm-A-Sutra” challenge to win a $15,000 scholarship. The Tea Association wanted videos to educate people about the health benefits of tea and creative ways to drink tea. So, I gathered together all my friends, brainstormed story ideas together, iterated on several storyboards, and started filming. Lucky for me, I had a friend who was a professional documentary filmmaker who volunteered to shoot and edit. I immediately became his most enthused and dedicated apprentice, and he taught me to fall in love with Final Cut Pro 7.
As soon as I could after that experience, I jumped into a filmmaking class. I took Ethnographic Filmmaking with Rosie O’Beirne and Michele Forman, who were both amazing teachers. I spent every free minute that semester coordinating interviews, interviewing, filming, and editing footage. I absolutely loved it, and while I was waiting for that project to render, I played around with the old Calm-A-Sutra footage. I somehow managed to make my own “director’s cut” before reformatting the hard drive and losing everything. I was appalled that that’s what “reformatting” meant. I’m amazed at how clueless I was with computers not so long ago.
I also took Public Service and Media with Michele Forman in which we read “Made to Stick” and studied how to make public service announcements that would inspire people to change their behavior.