It's Never Too Late (view this story)

3 comments - Login to comment

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Jan. 30, 2012, 9:36 a.m. permalink

Hi Pat,

I've always liked stories about adult literacy.

"Larry Huffman's a crossing guard at Pomeroy Elementary School, he's also the oldest student"  Good tight scripting but now when you say it I want to see it...that interaction between the oldest student and those kids.

Where there times when Larry was in a elementary school class when the teacher is reading to the little kids and he's around or when they all take turns reading aloud to the class?  Or is all his learning from Robin always done in that room you shot in?

I ask this because that classroom setting (if it happens of course) would of been a great way not only to introduce this piece but built it on the timeline to slowly reveal the surprise that there is a 72-year-old listening and learning with them.  Shot and edited in such a way that we start off seeing cute kids with their little voices reading to the teacher then the surprise...we see Larry doing the same thing.  If not cool, I have no idea how it's all structured but was just trying to think of a way to make your piece sing more than starting off with the crossing guard and the sign of the school.

Any moments where he's "with the kids" at lunch, walking the hallways or perhaps the transition where at first he's the crossing guard then you show him going from that duty to that of the student?

Was getting permission to shoot video in the school or classrooms hard? I know how some school districts across the country can be real tough with that.

To give us a sense of place perhaps interviewing both he and Robin in a typical elementary class with the little desks, chalkboard, etc and framed so individually they are the focus but we have a sense of place.  I didn't get that school vibe at all from the two scenes you had in this piece. One looked like the break room of any office park and the other (with that nice window light you had) just didn't have that school feel either.

And I don't think it's a stretch at all to place them in a classroom for the interview. It's basically a really nice video portrait and with enough good b-roll to cover, their screen time could be minimal. At the same time for those seconds on the screen we know exactly where they are at versus where you had them.  Of course them reading in the classroom would be a major stretch if that's not where they have their sessions. 

Were there lower thirds added later for when it ran on TV?

Love the framing and light on Robin and when you cut to the shot outside the window then back inside, her reaction to him reading, nice!!

At the 1:44 mark when you transition between Robin giving him a goodbye kiss and him in the chair about to read to his grandkids a nice fade to black would of been nice, Same at the 2:13 mark when they kiss him.

When you said "This was the first video packages I've worked on that was more about the sound than visuals. That made it a challenge."  I was thinking you were talking about some good nat sound breaks used as transitions between various scenes before I watched this a few times.  I've seen some of your nice work in the past were you working with some different equipment or something? 

How do you like PluralEyes?  I've used it a few times on some recent pieces I've done and it's so helpful.


Rep: 48
Pat Shannahan Jan. 30, 2012, 11:10 a.m. permalink

Thanks for the thoughtful review Eric. This one was a challenge because there really wasn't a lot of visual opportunities. There are only so many ways you can shoot two people looking down reading. She teaches him to read at lunch, usually in a hallway or conference room. They don't use her classroom which would have been great and might have given it more of a school feel. I agree that it would have been nice to shoot him interacting with kids but the school got weird. He works as a playground monitor and I think there would have been some good interaction there but the school wasn't cool with it. It was one of those situations were you have to make the best of what's available.

I love plural eyes. It works great. I usually record all of my interviews into a Marantz audio recorder. The Marantz has controls that make adjusting the audio levels really easy. 

Thanks again for checking out my story,

Rep: 444
Eric Seals Jan. 30, 2012, 11:20 a.m. permalink

Yeah man, I figured there were things totally out of your control and it turned into a "it is what it is" type of thing.  Been there done that! LOL!!

You do good work and it's to bad the school didn't let you do what you want to do in order take this video to the next level. It's great pr for them!


Login to comment


You must be logged in to like this story