The documentary project changed me and made me grateful

For my last piece for the Spartan, I will do something a bit different. 

Typically, by now, I would have forced some pun or joke about the topic at hand. But this time, I will be honest and write about something that has defined my colligate experience here at VTSU – “Castleton- Error 404 Books not Found.” 

This will be difficult for me, mainly because I am terrible at positively reflecting on a memory. I tend to overanalyze, exposing myself to every wart and bump I find. But not this time; no, I will be earnest, caring, and possibly heartfelt. 

Consider this a warning.

I remember the first class in Sam Davis-Boyd’s Documentary Filmmaking course. Everyone looked deflated. If I were to make an analogy here, I’d say something along the lines of: We looked like a popped pool floatation device. You know, the one that looks like a horse and has cup holders but no air. 

We were limp, lifeless, and devoid of hope. 

That is until Sam brought up doing something about it. About using our voice and platform to speak up against this change. 

I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe the stereotypical “meh” response that seems to be the attitude du jour for young adults. But the energy was different. It was positive, hopeful and energetic. It reminded me of the desert after a rain. Ideas were blooming everywhere.

Then we started to work our asses off.

I am not going to subject you to the process, but it was hard. I am not sure about anyone else, but there were plenty of nights I’d be in my bed staring at my ceiling, wondering what to do next. 

In the dead silence of the early morning, I would be there thinking about the project and how to improve it. I was a man consumed. I hoped to make something bigger than us. Fortunately, the people working on this project were as dedicated. We worked out the plan and executed it. 

We did it, we made a documentary. 

I would like to talk about what happened at the screening and how incredible it was, but in full transparency, it was a blur. But I remember being so proud to have worked with Maddie, Jacob, Gonzo, and Lily. 

I was taken aback by hearing how passionate they sounded as they answered questions in front of a fire marshal’s nightmare. As a side note, I cannot express how incredibly astonished I was with the scores of people who turned out to watch our film; thank you for that.

For the team, I want to say thank you for the hard work you put in. Without all of the effort you put into this project, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, and I would be stuck writing about how my hair is falling out due to finals. 

You all should be incredibly proud of what you accomplished here. Relish in this moment. Then, take that energy you put into this project and use it as a starting point for your next one.

Finally, Sam, thank you for everything that you have done. This wouldn’t be possible without you.

– Will Smith 

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