I recently realized that one thing I don’t discuss as much on this blog is the academic side of my documentary. Though I wish I meant the statistics and research into these issues, what I selfishly am referring to is how I’m also trying to obtain my MFA at the same time as making this feature documentary.
Starting and finishing any film is difficult, but trying to complete a documentary is even harder because of how much the story is formed in the editing. Does it become pedantic or personal? How specific? How universal? Whose voice ends up being part of the conversation? Add to these questions, other course work and the restrictions of the academic year, and the task of finishing a doc at school seems impossible. In looking at the docs begun at UCLA, I’d say it takes students an average of two years to complete one with a running time longer than a half hour.
So why do it? Why do students choose projects that may not be finished within the boundaries of the school year or even the duration of their MFA career?
I can’t speak for everyone, but I have learned so much from taking a feature from start to finish. Knowing that I have the endurance to stick with a feature film is a bit of a relief (embarrassing but true). And more importantly, I did it, because I believe in this story and in this art form.
If it sounds like I’m trying to sum up my feelings about my time at UCLA, it’s because this chapter of my life is slowly but surely coming to a close. Today I received the last signature on my MFA paperwork and this coming week, I will file and officially ask for that piece of paper from the University of California regents. I wanted to mention it here, because it’s one of the stepping stones between me and the next stage of my film as well.
Stay tuned, this end is the start of something new.