Portrait: Colorgirl

As some of you may already know, I have over the past few weeks been working on another short profile documentary.

The first one was about actor Grant Elliott and how theater helped him overcome an anxiety disorder.

And this time I wanted to let Cassandra Dulek tell her story on camera.

During one of my very first weeks of college, I couldn’t help it but to notice her colorful clothing style and the confident charisma she radiated. So I wanted to know more about her, and why she dresses the way she does.

As I started interviewing her, I realized that I would not be able to fit her sparkling personality into a four minute video. She has so much to offer! But this is the best I could do –

The student-athlete

For my latest photo assignment I got to follow one of Augustana’s promising 400m runners, Karen Joesdendal, as she went through her hectic day as a student athlete.

Watch the video below!

Portrait: Grant Elliott

A few posts ago I mentioned that I’ve been working on a “documentary” for one of my journalism classes. I was privileged enough to follow a bunch of extraordinary people from Augustana College Theatrical Society. There’s just something special about working around actors. They’re so refreshingly outgoing, free-spirited, focused and ambitious.

With all the footage I shot, I could probably make a full 90-minute feature story, but since this particular assignment only required four minutes, you’ll simply have to be okay with the “short version” for now.

This is Grant Elliott and his story:

(To watch in HD, press the pinion down to the right)

Raised in Captivity

I’m currently working on a short video documentary about the actors at Augustana, and spent some hours on Saturday following them around as they were preparing for their last show of “Raised in Captivity.” It’s truly fascinating to be able to visit someone’s world like that! I don’t need an excuse to be curious or ask questions, and the best of all: I don’t have anyone telling me what to do and what not to do. I can be my own boss, and let my own creativity flow.

Here are some sneak peeks from the first day of shooting.

“The theater is a place to come and just… be” – Miranda Miller


Actor Grant Elliott backstage before the last show of “Raised In Captivity” at Augustana.
“Within the play, Grant and I kiss quite a few times… So we hung out a lot outside of rehearsal. To make it less awkward, I guess.” – Travis Clark
“I can’t believe it’s going to be over already, it’s ridiculous! – Director Teresa Preuss

In the past I’ve only done fictional short films, which allows you to “direct” the people in front of the camera, and tweak every single scene until it’s just the way you pictured it. In documentary filmmaking however, you’re not only a filmmaker, but also a journalist. And your task is to tell someone’s story just the way it is. There’s no room for directing, tweaking or enhancing of any kind.

Which is great of course, since you want to tell credible stories and let the audience see what you saw. But, it can also be a little frustrating at times, because you only get one shot. You can’t ask your subject to repeat everything they said, just because the lighting was a little off at that moment, for example. As the organized person I am, I prefer having a clear and structured plan ahead of me. But with this type of storytelling, I quickly realized that sometimes you have to trust your impulses, rather than the storyline and questions you planned beforehand. When you don’t have a script, and you’re dealing with real people, you can’t always predict the direction the story is going. Maybe that’s what makes documentaries so interesting? Either way, I enjoyed every minute of this first day’s shoot, and I’m excited to continue.

Bless y’all,

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