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Curb Scholar Blog: Learning and Moving Forward

Posted by on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 in 2012-2015 AY, Curb Scholars.

This blog post was written by Ben Knight.

At the end of this past summer, I completed my first full project with Curb. I had done a few small things around campus and worked in groups to generate ideas, but I hadn’t finished a full-scale creative service project until about three months ago. The project was to create a video that would preview the HOD 1700 course.

As HOD isn’t a particularly common major across universities, this preview was designed to give prospective majors a window into the coursework and structure of HOD at Vanderbilt. I think, overall, the project went well. I was able to put out something I was happy with that fulfilled what it set out to do. I did pick up several things, though, that I want to make sure go differently in my future projects. Namely, I learned that communication between different parties working together on a project is vital. In its absence, all groups end up having more work than they would otherwise. If everyone shares as similar a vision as possible, it’s much easier to cut down on wasted effort.

More recently, I have picked up a few new projects around campus. In particular, about a week ago I finished a promotional video for a charity event that a group of my friends had come to me and asked me to make. The event is the Conway Kickoff, named for a Vanderbilt student who died from a rare heart condition. After this student, John Conway, passed away, Vanderbilt installed defibrillators in every campus building and the Conway Kickoff became and annual event to raise money for the American Heart Association. This project was much faster paced than the video I had worked on over the summer. It went smoothly and reinforced my thought that keeping the vision of different project members aligned is necessary in order to work efficiently. This was an easy project in which to begin focusing on this aspect of group collaboration because I was already familiar with everyone I was working with. I still think I picked up a lot related to this, though, that I can carry forward into other projects. Side note, for anyone interested, the Conway Kickoff is on Sunday, September 28 at the Vandy Rec Fields. It’s free to go and to eat, and the event supports a great cause.

I also want to point out the amount that Curb helped me with both of the projects that I have talked about, as well as just about all of my additional projects that I don’t have time to mention. Without even going in to the equipment I can get access to through the program, the experience I have gained by just being involved with the center is pretty incredible. I have always loved working with film, but my knowledge and ability is dwarfed by the collective skill set of the group of Curb scholars interested in the medium. Opportunities to learn by simply observing abound. When Harvey – for those who don’t know, a former Curb scholar – and his team were taking footage during Curb’s opening retreat, I watched as much as I could of the angles they used, the way they moved the camera through shots, and the manner in which they framed their subjects. Especially because I have worked primary with the editing side of film, I learned a lot from this that I tried to apply as much as I could to my own projects. As a whole, I don’t think there is an aspect of my experience with Curb and the benefits that I’ve gained from it that I could overvalue.