Tell Us a little about yourself & your background.
I grew up in Hong Kong, went to high school in Switzerland and came to the U.S. for college. I received a B.A. in Modern Culture & Media from Brown, after which I moved to New York City and took a 5-week digital filmmaking course at the New York Film Academy. I started working as a temp for a television/advertising production company that did commercials for clients like the Food Network and HGTV. I worked my way up from production assistant to coordinating producer and editor. It was long hours, demanding clients, crazy deadlines and a lot of fun. After 7 years, I decided it was time for a change so I moved back to Rhode Island and was lucky enough to find a position at Choices as their video producer.
What is your favorite Choices Curriculum Unit? Why?
The Civil Rights unit is one of my favorites because it takes an iconic moment in American history that we’re all familiar with and looks at it through the lens of the local communities and ordinary people (many of whom were high school and college students) who were the real driving force behind the movement. I also like this unit because I interviewed some amazing people for the Scholars Online video portion (former SNCC activists, Brown history professors and Congressman John Lewis) and heard some incredible first-hand accounts of the daily realities of organizing in the South during the 60’s.
I also really like our “Revolution Series” units – French Revolution, Haitian Revolution and Russian Revolution. Revolution itself is such a dramatic and intense event but the back-story that leads up to it is even more fascinating and often full of twists and turns (much like a good narrative film!).
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
Favorite TV shows (currently): The Wire, The Americans, Downton Abbey, Foyle’s War, pretty much anything on PBS Masterpiece.
Favorite food: Anything Japanese. Oh, and bacon.
Favorite sound: My 10-month old son giggling.
What is the best part about working on the Choices Staff?
We all do very different work within Choices and I find that I am always learning new and interesting things from my colleagues. We are also very good at finding any opportunity to celebrate with baked goods at our staff meetings.
If you could trade jobs with any other person on the Choices Staff who would it be and why?
I love my job – why would I trade? (Tough luck for anyone who said they want my job – I’m not giving it up!)
What is your favorite period in history/Topic in social studies?
I don’t really have a favorite. I enjoy learning and I’m always learning something new when I’m working on Scholars Online videos no matter what the topic.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently editing videos for our upcoming unit on India and Pakistan. I also just finished filming a round of interviews for our Vietnam War unit, which has been without videos for far too long. I interviewed some really interesting people (including JFK scholars/historians and Vietnam war veterans) so I’m really looking forward to begin editing. I’m also planning to do a behind-the-scenes video of the making of a Choices unit.
Tell us a little about your video production process for Scholars Online.
I work with the curriculum writers to identify scholars who would be interesting to interview and whose field of expertise is relevant to the unit. We have a wealth of faculty at Brown, but I also travel to interview scholars from other institutions and I always keep an eye out for visiting speakers (Congressman John Lewis, for example, was at Brown for a day to receive an honorary degree and we were able to get an interview with him for our Civil Rights unit).
My filming setup includes two cameras, a mic and a light kit and the interviews themselves usually last about an hour (although I’ve had a few that have come close to two hours!). I then edit the media into short videos. Sometimes the editing process takes a couple weeks, sometimes it takes many months – it really depends on the scholar, but I often have to distill a 10 minute answer into a 2-4 minute video, while still making the material accessible to high school students (which, when you’re dealing with college professors can be challenging!). I try and find as much imagery as I can to add to the videos to make them more engaging and to help illustrate what the scholar is saying. I also sometimes create animated graphics for the same purpose.
I then do a screening with the writers to make sure the way that I’ve presented the content is accurate and the videos work with the unit. After making any changes, I send the final videos to the scholars to review and they get posted to our website.