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From Violin to Erhu

My Video scholarship 2010 entry: From Violin to Erhu

WORLDWIDE | Monday, 28 June 2010 | Views [2041] | Scholarship Entry

In summer 2010, I studied abroad in Shanghai, China. On my trip, I met another student from my university named Alex McKamie, a senior violin major on a quest to learn the erhu. The erhu is a traditional Chinese two-string instrument. Alex provided me a unique opportunity to follow him on his journey and track his progress as he improved. The story is original, allowed me to explore the Chinese culture while minimizing the language barrier, and showed I am capable of sticking to a project lasting over three months.

I planned my project around Alex’s schedule, including his practice and lesson times. I worked on the project up until the deadline so I could show the most of Alex’s improvement as possible. I wanted narration from Alex to guide the viewer through the piece. To do this, I conducted an in-depth interview with Alex asking him everything from his history in music to his plans for the erhu in the future to his impressions of China. This main interview, combined with some other shorter interviews, provided the script for the piece.

Condensing three months of material into less than three minutes was a major challenge. Equipment limitation was also an obstacle. The entire documentary was filmed with a Kodak Zi6 pocket camcorder and recorded with an Olympus voice recorder.

As a documentary maker, I hope to bring in-depth and investigative news reporting into the mainstream. My biggest influence is Current TV’s Vanguard team.

Tags: 2010 travel video scholarship


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