Breaking down the Ballet

I originally picked my topic by searching “Eugene” on Wikipedia and stumbled upon the small ballet culture that this city has.

I started my journey by venturing to Ballet Fantastique for my audio slideshow. Hannah Bontrager, co-producer/choreographer for the company, was easy to contact. She gave me her phone number, and texted me throughout the two weeks I shadowed her company.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for this audio slideshow was the company I happened to pick. They were gearing up for their big production, Zorro, the same week that I needed to get most footage. The first day didn’t go so well – tension with the dancers built up and when the arguments began I was politely asked to leave due to being a distraction for them.

Throughout the next week, I pretty much worked around whatever time schedule worked best for them, canceling and rearranging time commitments to make it work. The interview with Hannah and Donna was hurried, as the only time that would work for them was in between show performances. “Can we do this in 20 minutes?” Hannah asked me before the interview began. “They’re going to kick us out soon.”

At the same time, however, I feel like the timing worked perfectly to my advantage. I was able to get shots at a regular practice as well as their official dress rehearsal. I took photos alongside professionals – a little intimidating, especially given the size of their lenses compared to mine. Taking photos was tough. There was a lot of movement, and an unskilled photographer me. Every once in awhile, I’d find a diamond in the rough. But that took a LOT of photos – and a lot of memory. I took photos at the rehearsal until I drained my SD Card.

Overall, I am proud of what I produced and am pleased with the results. It was my first time working with the new FinalCut program, which made me nervous – I didn’t want to risk losing any of the work I had done. Luckily, I didn’t have any technical issues and was pleased to find I had an overabundance of audio I could work with and include in the piece. My only wish was to have more B-Roll audio – that is definitely something that I lacked, partially because I’m not very good at it. I definitely want to work on gaining the intuitive skill for knowing when and where to place B-Roll in my audio.

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About Brittany Nguyen

I am a sophomore studying advertising and journalism at the University of Oregon. As the current public relations vice president for Gamma Phi Beta - Nu chapter and in transition to become the next creative director Ethos Magazine, my free time is limited but I enjoy staying busy. In my free time I enjoy reading a good book or exploring the beautiful Eugene, Oregon.

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