Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 11 - We Got That B-Roll!

Thursday (June 16, 2011) several students in the 2011 Navajo Oral History project drove around the Navajo Nation capturing video of interesting things or places that may fit into the documentary films being made about four Navajo elders.

The term B-Roll refers to video used in a news or feature story -- other than the main interview --that helps explain or reveal a situation to aid the viewer in understanding the story.

Watch this funny video on YouTube to get a better idea of how videographers think about B-Roll:

One of the student teams this summer is interviewing WW II Navajo Code Talker Keith Little. Robbie Christiano thought it would be a great idea to visit the Navajo Code Talker Museum in Kayenta, Arizona, and get some shots of the equipment used by the Code Talkers during the war.

We also stopped at Miranda and Vernon Haskie's place in Lukachukai, Arizona, to shoot some B-Roll of sheep, goats, horses, etc. I called it Vernon's Wild West Show, when he lassoed the goat and rode bareback on the gentle horse he just rescued.

(Ben Haskie rides Blackie-Two, while his dad, Vernon, looks on.)

Later, Michael Ruka and Alyssa Reimers wanted to set out to get some panoramic shots of the Chuska Mountains since they figure prominently into the life story of Harold Morgan, legislative assistant to the Navajo Tribal Council.

In the evening, our group drove to Chinle, Arizona, to enjoy a sit-down meal at Garcia's Restaurant in the Holiday Inn. It was delicious. We needed some down time after all the running and deadline stress that has been looming the last few days.

It seems every year about this time -- the middle of the second week -- a few students seem to hit the wall and have some down emotions. I'm sure this is related to the fast pace of the program, the constant driving, running, and working, and the self-imposed pressure that comes from wanting to do an excellent job of telling the elders' stories. We experienced that a bit today.

The camping weekend in Canyon de Chelly is coming at a perfect time. For the next two nights we'll be camping with the Lettie and Flemen Nave family in the canyon. We'll be enjoying delicious food, hiking in the sun, and hanging out late into the evening around the campfire. We'll be able to get some rest and prepare for the last official "in the field" class day on Monday (June 20, 2011).

Please note: for Friday, Saturday and most of Sunday (June 17-19) we will not have internet, and will probably be out of cell phone range while we are in the Canyon. There will be no blog updates, and probably no phone calls. We'll be fine, relaxing and having fun. We'll be back "on the grid" Sunday afternoon or evening.


In the past few days, the remaining three members of the WSU delegation in the Navajo Oral History project earned their nicknames:

- Alyssa "Giggles" Reimers -- For the obvious reason
- Alex "Phishmonger" Fisher -- because she has tried hard to interest the rest of us in the music of the jam band Phish. It kind of worked. I found several of the band's tunes that I like.
- Dave "Pigpen" Dvorak -- this refers equally to his somewhat messy room, and to Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, an original member of the Grateful Dead, one of Dave's favorite bands.

Things are going great and the documentaries are coming along well.


-- There will be two receptions to premiere the student-produced documentaries this fall. The dates haven't been confirmed yet, but they will most likely be in early October. Since this is a collaborative project, receptions will be held both at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota, and at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona. The public is invited to attend these events, to view the films and meet and congratulate the filmmakers.

The featured Navajo elders will be present at the reception in Arizona, and we've heard that one of them may be able to attend the reception in Minnesota as well.

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