Deana's Struggles (view this story)

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Rep: 33
Adam Wisneski Aug. 7, 2010, 9:50 p.m. permalink

Very powerful piece. Wow. As a viewer I felt for her. I could "feel" the sickness in the mornings. The opening quote is dead on. It gripped me, and I was hooked until the end. I think you had great little "gold coins" (nice quotes, moments, little treats for a viewer) dropped throughout the piece to keep things interesting.

I liked the way you opened the narrative with her story about how she found out she had aids. I think that worked because it was edited tightly, and you let her get into the dialogue of that moment. I said this, then he said that, and I thought this ... That's a great way to tell backstory, in my opinion, and you executed well without dwelling on that story too long.

"It's like what? Talk about your life spinning upside down." This was the most real, most interesting part for me. 

I really enjoyed this story. Hands down, it's work to be commended. The intimacy was gripping. And my suggestions to follow would only be icing on the cake. 

Rep: 33
Adam Wisneski Aug. 7, 2010, 9:52 p.m. permalink


I think the video fails to commit to the specific story here. One, you have a story about the benefits of medical marijuana. Two, you have a woman dying of aids. And both stories are battling for the viewers focus. Honestly, I didn't really get into the one about marijuana. It's not until 3:00 that we find out that this story will be about marijuana, and by then I'm already so invested in the aids story. I'm sure it wasnt' in your mind, but in the edited video, medical marijuana feels like it's almost an afterthought. The woman's story about having aids is so strong, so full of emotion, and then when she speaks about the marijuana taking the edge off I lose some connection with her. I guess I didn't understand exactly what the marijuana does for her.  What vital role does it play? It allows her to take her pills? How does it allow her time with her son?

I wondered about the scene at 4:10 also, when she's reading her medical bill. I may be way off here, but it seemed less genuine than the rest. Like she was acting for the camera a bit? I could be just way to hyped on coffee. All the other emotion felt very real and intimate, but this scene didn't. 

The last thing I'll say is that I'm not sure the ending quote does justice to the video overall. I think I get where you were going with it, but I didn't quite understand what she was trying to say. It has this "everything is fine" tone (she kind of smiles a bit) when throughout the video everything is clearly NOT fine. It feels abrupt that suddenly she's so optimistic. 

I'm curious what would have happened if you would have ended on  "my biggest fear" quote, or the one about turning your life upside down. Or just led up to the optimism with something before the final quote. Maybe the part about her son saying "we'll do what we can, while you're here"
I watched this like 15 times. Awesome story.

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Aug. 8, 2010, 10:40 a.m. permalink

Adam broke it down well for you especially with the "the video fails to commit to the specific story here."  I just wanted to add a few things to that;

This video is all about her which is cool but I think with such an emotional and life changing story as this having another voice in it would have helped. It would just be another way to tell the effect of what's happening to her is having on someone else. What about her son? How does he feel? Or her girlfriends, support group etc?

I think having cross dissolves can work depending on how the videos  flow between the two clips and sometimes it doesn't work at all.  For me in this video the cross dissolves didn't work at :59, 1:25, 3:20.  The one at 1:25 in the Rite Aid really didn't work, I liked the hug but there must have something else to use right before the hug so you wouldn't have to use that cross dissolve.


Rep: 444
Eric Seals Aug. 8, 2010, 10:41 a.m. permalink

Sometimes it is the little details for us when shooting. At the 4:43 mark when she is on the couch the lav mic is showing. I know for the average viewer they might not notice this and maybe I'm being nit-picky and perhaps it was a last second interview when she was getting emotional and you just slapped it on but just something to think about for next time. 

Loved the moments, the audio overall along with the natural sound and how you broke up some of the interviewing with good transitions whether it was at the Rite-Aid or the marijuana store.  

This was a well done job, adding another voice in here (like her son) and a tighter edit overall would make this even nicer.


Rep: 7
Mahala Gaylord March 4, 2011, 3 p.m. permalink

Wow, I forgot I posted this video. So here's my belated thank you for the feedback. This was one of the first videos I did that I had the opportunity to spend some time on, so in a way it was all an experiment for me. I agree with pretty much all of your criticisms.

I think I was battling with two story lines the whole time. The paper was doing an ongoing series about medical marijuana over the summer and they wanted to do a patient profile. So when we found Deana she seemed perfect for what they wanted, but as I got to know her, her story about struggling with Aids became more important to me and thus became dominant in the video, but be I couldn't let go of the marijuana piece because that's what the story was supposed to be about.

I think were I to do it over, I would definitely add more voices to the story and find a better ending.

Thanks again,

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