Making the film:
I was fascinated by my classmate Kiara Marie Narvaez when I saw her Instagram posts about her night job as a Go-go dancer and it gave me the idea to film her dancing life as a documentary.
I was attracted to the contrast in her life between a serious grad student at NYU and the New York club scene where she earns her living. It reflects the reality of survival in the big city that many artists like Kiki face. she is a great example of a strong confident woman who has clear goals and finds the means to make it happen with dignity.
It was exciting to follow her rich, full life and let the camera tell the story of who Kiki is. She was also excited about the film and very helpful in setting up the timing for shooting We mapped out a plan to schedule the filming on different days and I received all the necessary permissions to move forward with the film.
I decided to shoot the film on my iPhone to give it a realistic look, the way people document their daily life today and post it on social media,
With my new iPhone XS and a gimble the footage did have a mix of a home made movie yet with a professional look.
I kept discovering ways to be more creative with camera movement and it was fun and challenging at the same time. I was very pleased with many of the footage and had so much to choose from
Postproduction and editing:
The big challenge started in the editing room. I had an overwhelming amount of footage which was over ten hours of filming and I was not very familiar with Adobe Premiere program which made me work in a very slow pace.
I slowly put the footage in chronological order of the day from morning to night. Then for each section I looked at all the videos and picked the footage I liked the most. My very first rough cut took me 12 hours to prepare and was almost thirty minutes long. I spent endless hours editing the movie. It became a very delicate detailed work. While struggling with the program to figure out transitions and timing, often footage got mixed around or clips disappeared and there were
many frustrating moments, But slowly, bit by bit, the editing process continued, and the movie got shortened to twelve min, then ten and the final version ended up being six min. I found the editing process similar in many ways to choreography - creating a rhythm was very important. Making choices of which footage to use reminded me of choices a choreographer has to do with movement material.
I was overwhelmed by how many possibilities there are in the editing process and the film can have so many different looks. My best guide was to follow my intuition and look at the clips where I found Kik to be most genuine. There was some beautiful footage that eventually I had to cut because it didn’t serve the way the film was showing Kiki. I realized that sometimes just because a clip looks good and is shot beautifully it doesn’t mean it has to stay in the film. For the sound - I decided to keep the original sounds of each clip to give the film the realistic feel I wanted it to have.
The presentation took place on December 11, 2018 at Tisch school of the Arts, Studio 1 and was open to the general public.
All participants of the “Filming the moving body” course, presented their final project of their films.
My screening went very well. Many people who came to see the presentation knewKiki from and said it was a great way to see who she is and discover another side of her that they didn’t know.
People who didn’t know her at all felt that it was a genuine look into the life of a young artist living in New York City.
The film had a good dynamic to it as it cuts from one scene to the next and kept
the audience engaged and interested in the events of the day. I was very happy with some of the street shots especially following Kiki on her skateboard and in the subway. The shots came out very smooth and cinematic.
I could work more on the fine details to refine the editing and transitions between scenes. It would also be interesting to have more time to work on the film and perhaps expand it to a longer version, but I didn’t get a chance to work on that.
I would have liked also to take more time to balance the soundtrack and make it more even in volume and quality.
I am very pleased with the end result and it gave me a lot of confidence to make more films and use the Adobe Premier program more and be less scared to explore what it can offer.