Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


We never thought that we would say this... but we are done!
It has been an incredible process and we are so excited to reveal our documentary to the world.
Today is our last "meeting" class and are spending it burning and printing labels for the DVDs that we are sending to the Ambassador and the state department.
As a last farewell we gave a scrapbook of The Netherlands and our trip to Professor Luskay as a thank you for all of the things that she showed us. It has been an incredible learning experience for all of us... we all agree that it would not have looked the same if we had a different professor... or other students in our group.
Thank You ... to all of the people that helped us film this documentary.
There was a huge amount of participants, and contributers and we are forever grateful.

Click on the Picture Below for our Documentary !!!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

All Night Long...

We are officially editors! We have successfully finished a rough cut of our documentary and survived an “All Nighter”... with the help of caffeine and junk food.

It wasn't easy but... during the last 24 hours we have pieced together all the rough cuts of our footage. We have tweaked many sections and went through a lot of footage finding the perfect b-roll. We began working on our title page and credits and chose our documentary’s music bed.

The editing process has taught the entire class how to truly appreciate the time and effort that goes into making all types of film. We learned how to understand what editors go through and the fiascos and challenges they endure. Whether its from a fellow editor or a producer… it can all be very overwhelming at times but it has shown us it can lead to fabulous results as well. We saw first hand patience being tested and the eagerness in completing the rough cut. Many of us are beyond tired but are thrilled to be nearing this documentary’s final phases where we will be using dissolves and audio sweetening, transition effects, titles, and credits. Upon our completion we hope to have a viewing of the documentary… as well as entering it into several Student Documentary Contests and Film Festivals. Lets keep our fingers crossed! =]

Friday, April 23, 2010

Still Going!

Currently, we are still editing bits and pieces of our documentary and we have officially started Act 2. We have successfully finished a rough cut of Act 1 and created an opening title page. We have faced some challenges in the past week, trying to capture in high-definition and back into standard-definition. Together as a team we are coordinating our editing schedules to be more effective since our deadline is quickly approaching. We are down to the wire with two weeks left of our semester and many of us – both editors and non-editors are learning a great deal during this process.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let's Keep Going!

So far this week we have created a paper edit, or timeline of our footage, and have placed it into the general paradigm. Our editors went to work putting together a rough sequence for what is soon to be our documentary. We then took our timeline and wrote it out on large sheets of paper, which we then taped to the wall for all to see while piecing together the footage for this film. This timeline will be sent out to everybody involved in the editing process so we won’t forget our plans. We acquired some old pictures of the Ambassador’s parents, which we intend to include in the documentary. We originally had some issues trying to figure out how to import these photos onto the AVID system, but with some trial and error, we were able to figure everything out. Dr. Luskay made sure that everybody stayed on track and only captured, or uploaded, the footage that we needed to follow our timeline. Everybody is working very hard. We are all brainstorming and coming up with creative ideas to make this an incredible documentary. Our final deadline is May 5th! Let’s keep going!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Let's Get It Started!

We have now officially begun our sleepless nights of editing. It is going to be a long, but productive and educational couple of weeks. Our own editing deadline is May 5! As soon as we arrived back at Pace University we started writing up our bin information and we have captured all of our footage. We have organized our bin information into bin topics with subfolders, different locations, and interviews. There are fourteen hands in one pot and we are doing everything possible to keep this one cohesive documentary. Right now we are discussing the opening, tone, and flow of the film. All of us are putting in our ideas and those contributions are going to make this the best documentary possible. Once we have finished digitizing all 26 tapes we can move on to a rough cut; in this part of the process all of our footage can be compared to clay and it is our job as creative individuals to mold it into what it should be. Stay tuned for more editing blogs!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Post Production

Our class has returned safely to the U.S. and post production is now in full swing. We have been working very hard at digitizing the many hours of beautiful footage that we filmed while in the Netherlands. It is amazing to see how all of the hard work of filming is contained within the footage we have. There are so many wonderful shots. From the U.S. Embassy in the Hague, to the busy streets of Amsterdam, we have so much b-roll and interviews to work with. The many days spent in class learning how to film documentaries have really paid off, and can be seen through the footage we filmed in the Netherlands. We will continue our post production with making any necessary script changes, recording voice overs, and editing the actual documentary. This is a very exciting time, and all of the students are working diligently to complete A Day in the Life of an American Ambassador.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Just a few words from Prof. Luskay

As I reflect on the work that was done this week, I feel the need to comment about this project. I don't think I have ever seen my students work so hard - and love every minute of it. They began shooting at 8 am and logged and blogged until after 10 pm.
It was a privilege to work with them on this project. We are honored to have spent time with our American Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin. She is an awe inspiring leader and someone that we all hold in high esteem. Her staff was incredibly accommodating and went above and beyond what we had ever anticipated. This truly was an experience that my students and I will never forget.
We will continue to blog as we work through post production beginning next week. The real work of editing this footage now begins.

The Beauty of the Netherlands

Today we filmed the beautiful gardens of the Keukenhof. From famous Dutch tulips to stargaze lilies, flowers colored the entire area.

There was even a flowerbed of tulips that formed the shape of a giant tulip! The sound of running water from the fountains and streams added to the ambience of this magnificent place.

A Dutch organ wagon also added to the excitement and culture of the Keukenhof. One graduate student, Matt West, even had the amazing opportunity to interview close friends of his family. The last one to meet them was Matt’s grandfather in 1945. The journey to the Keukenhoff was the perfect ending to the trip of a lifetime.

Here are the words of the students who participated in this incredible experience.

Pedro Rivera: “After filming the Ambassador and experiencing The Netherlands, I have a new found appreciation for the camera.”

Kevin Talbot: “I have been truly blessed to take part in such a rare opportunity. I experiencing things many never will and seen new sides to people and for that I am truly thankful. Only in Holland…”

Kenyon Hoag: “Europe was something else. I’m very thankful to have experienced The Netherlands. A lot was learning from this project, and hopefully the experience will carry me on to newer and better opportunities in my life.”

Lauren Ostrofsky: “This trip was incredible. The Netherlands is a beautiful country and being able to travel here to experience it first hand has been a blessing. Experiencing the life of a U.S. Ambassador was a rare opportunity and one that I learned a great deal from. The sights, architecture, culture, and history will always be remembered. I am very grateful to everyone for making this trip possible and to my classmates who also taught me a lot. Thank you!”

Alexandra Frye: This experience has truly changed my life. We’ve all grown and I’ve learned so much from filming and just exploring The Netherlands. I’m very grateful for all of the opportunities that I have had thanks to everyone involved.

Sandy Ng: This documentary class was an experience of a lifetime. I would never have imagined that I would not only meet the American Ambassador, but also get a chance to film her life with fourteen other students. It was amazing!!

Megan Caturan: This class, experience, and country have completely changed me. I’m so thankful for this experience and can’t wait to get back to the United States and tell everyone about my time in The Netherlands.

Shereditthe (Texas) Pashia: I have learned so much with this trip to The Netherlands to film the American Ambassador. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I could not pass up. The hands on experience will definitely help me in the future.

Michele Burch: It has been such an honor and privilege to film this documentary on the life of an American Ambassador. I’ve experienced what the film industry is all about telling a story that is meant to be told. The knowledge and skills that I have obtained from this opportunity will push me ahead in life as I make my dream come true-to finally produce a film of my own.

Matthew West: Many people have traveled to Europe for vacation and to visit sights. However, few have had the opportunity that we were given to visit and film locations such as the Peace Palace, U.S. embassy, and the Ambassador’s residence. Being able to film these places was a privilege and honor. This truly was the trip of a lifetime.

Harrison Davies: My experience with the production of this documentary has been a memorable one to say the least. Working with such great peers and experiencing all the culture, landmarks, and insights The Netherlands has to offer was a meaningful endeavor.

Courtney Novak: This experience has made me grow so much as an individual and has changed the way I see the world. This was an amazing opportunity that I will never forget. I’m excited to start my journey in the film industry. Thank you to the U.S. Ambassador, Fay Hartog-Levin, and everyone else involved in making this trip possible.

Caity Kirschbaum: I can’t believe the week is over; I finally came to terms with the fact that I am actually here. I must say that the idea of being here in the Netherlands, shooting a documentary about the US Ambassador, and the opportunity to film in restricted areas, is overwhelming. It has been a privilege and an honor to film in such a beautiful country.

I will never forget this thrilling, unique, and life changing experience. I appreciate all the hard work that everyone contributed. We have gone thru many “firsts” together and I’m glad that we did.

I would like to truly thank everyone involved with making this concept a reality; you are the reason why we were able to have such an amazing experience.

Astrid, Jim, Martijn, Eva, Professor Luskay, and of course Ambassador Hartog-Levin… I can say on behalf of myself and the rest of the students – THANK YOU!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Life of the American Ambassador

Last Day in The Hague

Today was our last day in The Hague with Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin. We started our day at 7:30 and it was very windy. We traveled by bus to the Ambassador's Residence where one of our classmates, Megan Katuran had the honor of accompanying the Ambassador in her daily armored car ride to her office in the US embassy.

Upon our arrival we attended the Ambassador’s scheduling meeting, which took place in her “oval office”. This was followed up by another meeting, with the Ambassador’s senior staff. We were able to grasp a sense of the ambassador’s daily schedule, especially one that consists of many meetings and organized appearances.

We proceeded to the Information Resource Center (IRC) located in another part of the embassy to interview Jim Foster. Mr. Foster is a counselor for Public Affairs. He stated that every experience has a different impact on him. Before working with the United States Ambassador to the Netherlands he has worked and traveled in many different countries

Each country has changed his perspective on America and has given him a whole new appreciation for both the lifestyles-that of Americans and people of the world. We even sat in on a presentation given to the students about the United States Embassy and its role in the Netherlands.

Our time at the embassy wrapped up with a lunch and visit to their gift shop. Many of us bought United States Embassy souvenirs to commemorate our time there.

We continued our day accompanied by Jim Foster and Astrid Bharos following the ambassador and her husband to the Sea Water Plant at Scheveningen. To examine more closely an alternative form of heat & energy, taking the heat from the water to warm low income housing… this is to be the only plant of its kind. We were briefed by Lucy Saunders and Peter Hoogvliet, both employed at the plant. It was very fascinating and an unforgettable way to end our time with the Ambassador.

We packed up the gear and finished our afternoon early. Tonight we are set to have a wonderful wrap-up dinner reserved by Dr. Maria Luskay. This week is slowly concluding with one day left with a visit to the Keukenhoff, the extravagant Dutch Tulip Garden.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Day in the Life of an Ambassador!!!

The main purpose behind traveling to Holland was to learn how to create a documentary. Day 5 of this learning experience began bright and early like all previous days. We boarded our bus to finally gain insight into the life of an ambassador. We started with an hour and 15 minute drive to the city of Hilversum. This city is home to the American company Nike. Upon our arrival we were greeted by Paul ten Hag, the public affairs officer. He assisted us in receiving guest passes for the day and then instructed us on the morning schedule. As per the request of Ambassador Hartog- Levin, Nike executives met with her to discuss its position as one of the top 'green' companies in the world. She later expressed to us her gratefulness for Nike and their role, as well as all their hard work. As her private meeting began, we were taken on a tour of Nike. We learned from Bill Bowerman about Nike's green campus and how it achieves this initiative, along with the many benefits Nike employees receive.

Our day continued at NOS, Nederlandse Omroep Stichting. NOS is is one of the broadcasters in the Dutch public broadcasting system. They have a statutory obligation to make news and programs - ranging from current affairs programs and children programs to economic and sports programs for the three Dutch public television channels and the Dutch public radio services. We learned that they have satellite offices in Brussels, Belgium and Washington D.C. We were briefed by foreign editor Rutger Mazel and walked through a few departments, viewing many people editing their stories, preparing and researching stories, and setting up for a live broadcast.

After enjoying our tour of the studio, we grabbed a very quick lunch and headed back to our hotel in Scheveningen to change for afternoon tea at the Ambassador's residence in our honor. Professional and sophisticated looking, we exited the hotel dressed in our best and headed to Hague. Tobias Asserlaan is the name of the U.S. Ambassador's residence in the Hague. Upon our arrival we were greeted by Andrew Wright the residence manager. We all were escorted to an exquisite dining room to set up our equipment before heading through the foyer to the living room where tea and delicious treats were being served. Ambassador Hartog-Levin warmly welcomed our group and introduced us to documentary filmmaker, Renee Sanders and Professor of Oral History Selma Leydesdorff. We also enjoyed the company of our new friends we met yesterday from Leiden University. This true learning experience can be described through many adjectives. We are truly honored and appreciative for being given this once in a lifetime opportunity.

During our exclusive interview with Ambassador Hartog-Levin, she described many aspects regarding her role. She gave us insight into her life, her reaction to the phone call when she had been selected to this position and what it was like presenting her credentials to Queen Beatrix. She also pointed out the gold inscription over the fireplace in her living room. The words were that from a letter written by John Adams to his wife. It stated:

"I Pray heaven to Bestow
The Best Blessings on
and on All that shall hereafter
inhabit may none but Honest
and Wise Men ever rule under This Roof."

This text first appeared in marble over the fireplace in the State Dining Room of the White House. To honor John Adams as the first Ambassador to the Netherlands, the same text was put over the fireplace at the Ambassador's Residence by Ambassador Philip Young. He was Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1957-1960.

We interviewed Mr. Daniel Levin, Ambassador Hartog-Levin's husband, Andrew Wright, and Wouter Pors, head chef at the residence. Being able to continue our education through "real world" experience can only be described through one word: *INCREDIBLE!*
As this busy day came to its conclusion, we all learned a great deal on ways to react to spur of the moment changes, buses being canceled, changing hats on the fly, building communication skills between our team.
Needless to say, the knowledge we have gained about documentary production has been incredible.

Tomorrow our adventure will continue with the Ambassador and her staff meetings.

Our thanks for all involved in making these past few days and the others to come possible.
Words cannot describe how truly grateful we are.
Stay tuned for our last day in the Hague and our final days in Holland.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 3 - Peace, Students, and Leiden

Today was an awesome day!!! We started nice and early with a brief meeting with Ambassador Hartog- Levin at City Hall. She met with Williem Post and Astrid Bronswijk to discuss relationships between the U.S. and the Netherlands. Once their meeting finished we were able to sit with Williem Post and get his take on recent events. He was very insightful and knowledgeable about current and past relations and very open to discussing recent events.

After we finished speaking with Williem Post, we headed by bus to Leiden University. This is the oldest university in the Netherlands, as well as one of the oldest universities in Europe. Upon our arrival we were welcomed by Bas Broekhuizen and 14 Communication Masters students from Leiden who showed us around their university and city. (visit their Student Blog) We were taken to see the "Sweating Room." This famous room is where students wait to hear if they have passed their finals exams and are entitled to signing their autographs on the wall before graduating. Some famous signatures on the wall are that of Queen Beatrix, Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill. After a quick lunch and walking tour we continued our day with an afternoon at the Peace Palace.

Welcome to the Peace Palace.

The Peace Palace in the Hague is home of international judicial institutions including the International Court of Justice or World Court, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the renowned Peace Palace Library, as well as Hague Academy of International Law.

This icon is one of the most photographed landmarks in the Hague and is the property of the Carnegie Foundation. The building's foundation marked a pivotal point at the end of the 19th Century. Andrew Carnegie donated $1.5 million of his own wealth to the construction and establishment of this palace. It opened in 1913 after six years of construction.

When you walk inside the high arched ceilings, magnificent stained glass windows and surrounding gardens giving off a classical manner. Due to its size and architectural quality, the Peace Palace is by Dutch standards a building of uncommon grandeur and that was precisely the intention. Its purpose was not just about housing a judicial organization; it was the embodiment of an idea. It fits perfectly with the dream of World Peace as cherished by the First Hague Conference and thoroughly explained in detail by Steven van Hoogstraten, general director of the Carnegie Foundation.

We received an exclusive invitation to sit inside one of the international court rooms where Mr. van Hoogstraten himself spoke to us about the history, the buildings significance, as well as current events. He even informed us that the United States is no longer an active member of the International Court of Justice. It was an awesome learning experience and an extreme honor to speak with him.

We topped off our afternoon with an arranged guided tour of the Peace Palace. During our tour we viewed numerous gifts donated by countries from around the world. There were marble floors, cast iron gates, statues, paintings and even a tiled floor consisting of 12 million pieces. We finished our tour in the lobby with the motto of the Peace Palace, "Sol Jvstitiae Illvstra Nos," Sun of Justice Enlightens Us.

As we experience history in the making, we can only say "What an honor!"
Our day was amazing - it was educational, fun and yes - even enlightening. Many of us have already grown to love this beautiful country. We can't wait to continue our journey creating this documentary, experiencing a day in the life of an American Ambassador.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Preview Shots of our Documentary!!!

The Hague

Day 2 ~

Our second day in Holland began bright and early. At 9A.M. we took a tour bus into The Hague. Upon our arrival we walked over to City Hall meeting up with Martijn Kuiper. He greeted us and welcomed us into his presentation for the "Welcome to the Hague Program." After his speech and question / answer section, we viewed a movie clip and followed with a walking tour around City Hall. We were able to go on top of the roof of the City Hall taking panoramic views of the Hague. He pointed out the Department of Justice, the Peace Palace, the ministry and the official logo for the Hague.

We walked through the streets avoiding the treacherous bike paths to the Queen's Working Palace. The palace elegantly sits behind iron gates with a flag flying high. We learned that the flag symbolizes that the Queen is present at the palace. Although the Queen is technically out of politics but she still has a strong opinion regarding current matters.

We toured a very historic and wealthy section of the Hague well known during the Golden Age. There still stands a house known as Step Gables. It is 400 years old and in the original shape from the 17th century. We learned about what changed the way Dutch architecture grew. A new style based on French and Dutch influence flourished increasing this area's wealth.

Later in the afternoon we boarded the bus and traveled to the U.S. Embassy. After going through security we were greeted by Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin. We all exchanged brief introductions and we were invited to attend her meeting with Maria Andrews. Marie Andrews role is Commercial Counselor in the Ambassador's Office. Following that meeting we proceeded to the conference room for a briefing with John Kim. Originally from California, Mr Kim is the Counselor for Legal Affairs in the Hague. We learned about his role and some of the trials he has seen since he relocated to the Netherlands.

After that we enjoyed a presentation by American astronaut Steven Smith. He joined the NASA team 20 years ago working with Human Space Flight alongside the European Space Agency (ESA). Recently they have finished the International Space Station (ISS) infrastructure and explained how dangerous flying shuttles into space can be. He communicated his presentation to all audiences including the children present. He finished up repeating that NASA's main goal and purpose is the (1) take care of our 'island,' our world and (2) world peace.

We completed the day with the quick trip through The Hague and will continue into the night logging the video we shot.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

We have Arrived!!!!

Day 1 - We spent our first day in Amsterdam!
We are staying in Scheveningen, the Beach area of The Hague, where Queen Beatrix's residence is located... we took the Tram and the 40min train ride into Amsterdam.

We were taken on a guided tour throughout the city, to learn of various locations and the history that accompanies them. During our tour of the city we took plenty of B-Roll to include in our Documentary. (Some were so focused on shooting that they were separated from the group and were lost for a short while.) We learned of the great impact the water levels have on the city, as well as how the canals separate the different areas of town.

Even though Professor Kleager warned us "DO NOT WALK IN THE BIKE LANE!" we had to learn it the hard way.... bike, trams and streets are off limits to pedestrians. As we learned more about the culture and the surrounding area, such as the upside down Cow Gift Shop, and Brown Bars (aka local Pubs) we immersed ourselves in the excitement of beginning our documentary.

One of the last stops of the day was the Anne Frank House, where we were able to reflect on the impact a small girl had on a world after the Holocaust.

Check back tomorrow for more!!!
-The Graduate Students

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Almost There!

Hello All,

I hope everyone is packed or busy packing, because the Holland trip is almost here! Please remember to bring the tip sheets and various documents we have compiled that will help aid us in shooting the documentary. Also, keep up with Holland news, so we are prepared for all current events once we arrive. We will be shooting lots of great b-roll and interviews, so be ready! We are going to visit many amazing sites and experience fascinating events. This really will be the trip of a lifetime.

Monday, March 15, 2010


When we arrive in Holland, things are going to be very exciting, and extremely busy. We will be in a new, fast-pace setting, so everyone should be prepared. In terms of cameras, everyone will be shooting at one point or another, so be ready! Take everything you have learned from class and use it in the field. Simple concepts, such as slow pans, slow and few zooms, different angles, and holding the camera steady can and will make the final documentary solid. Also, while shooting, have a plan. We do not want three cameras all shooting the same thing, at the same time, or in the same fashion. The cinematography we use will not only make post-production easier, but will also help us catch the true beauty, and live action of Holland.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Clock is Ticking...!

We are now coming down to the wire, we have two and a half weeks left to prepare for Holland.

I must say as a group everyone is doing fantasically, we are trying to iron out all of the kinks now so that we do not have to worry about it later.

Going over the itinerary for the trip and the shooting schedule makes it feel as through we are really doing this! Excitement is the only word that comes to mind.

We will be blogging while we are in Holland, and make sure you check out our photos along the way!!!