At the beginning of the fall semester, Andy Cline, a professor in the department of media, journalism and film at Missouri State, approached us about an idea for a documentary he wanted to see executed.
The concept? Share the stories of MSU students, faculty and staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thus, “16 Weeks” was born: a documentary showcasing these stories through vlog-style footage. We recruited around a dozen students to vlog themselves over the course of the 16-week semester. We asked these students, our content contributors, to document everything that makes up student life during a pandemic — attending virtual lectures, ordering takeout, going out to bars and clubs, getting a COVID-19 test and even quarantining.
We learned a lot about the MSU community during production. These content contributors cataloged nearly every aspect of their semester, and we are excited to showcase a glimpse into the lives of some of our peers.
Through the vlogs, we found each student approached the semester from a different perspective with varying expectations. Some dreaded attending virtual classes and felt their motivations slip. Others were ambivalent and kept their heads down to grind through the semester.
To supplement the vlogs, we conducted formal interviews with our content contributors and MSU faculty, including Magers Health and Wellness Center Director David Muegge and university President Clif Smart. The interviews, woven in with vlogs collected over 16 weeks, tell a unique and sincere story of the ups and downs of a college semester caught up in the COVID-19 pandemic.
This student-led documentary is exciting because it is the first collaboration between The Standard and Carbon Trace Productions, a local nonprofit film studio dedicated to educating college students about the art of documentary filmmaking. We hope this project is the first of many collaborative projects to come. Learn more about Carbon Trace Productions at carbontrace.net
The Standard’s editor-in-chief Greta Cross is the director of “16 Weeks” and Diana Dudenhoeffer, The Standard’s digital editor, is the project’s producer. It is a lot of work, but like any big project, we could not have done it alone.
We want to extend a huge thank-you to our editor Grant Schwarz, social media manager Shannon Noonan, associate producers Megan Burke and Brett Schutt, production assistant Cameron Durington and illustrator Katie Batliner.
The entire documentary would not be possible without the help of the Carbon Trace Productions team, including Cline, Shannon Bowers and Shane Franklin.
At the time of publication, “16 Weeks” is in post-production. Our team hopes to have the documentary completed during the spring 2021 semester.
Follow the progress of “16 Weeks” on Instagram and Twitter @16Weeksdoc
Follow Greta Cross on Twitter, @gretacrossphoto
Follow Diana Dudenhoeffer on Twitter, @kisstein
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