The end of the semester is always a crazy time around the doc|UWM office. Students are frantically working on edits and it’s not uncommon for us to be running out on a last minute shoot. When the band Blessed Feathers said we could film their Tuesday night concert at Turner Hall we jumped at the chance.
After meeting the band and putting a wireless microphone on the band’s lead singer Donivan Berube the crew began following him around the venue, getting him used to the camera, and recording him as he mingled with family, friends, and fans. Most people, even performers, are not used to have a film crew following them.
We’ve spent the entire semester documenting bands for our Cream City Soundcheck video series and at this point in the class I am confident enough with my student filmmakers that I feel I can give them a little more distance, hover a little less, and trust their instincts. While the crew was taking a break from filming I overheard Colin Perkins, a student from the class, say that he heard Donivan talking about being nervous and having a ring in his pocket. My ears perked up and I quickly began asking questions. Mistakenly, I thought Donivan and Jaquelyn Beaupre – the other half of the band – were already married, or at least engaged. I began to question my assumption and ran off in pursuit of an answer.
Not wanting to ask Donivan directly, I inquired with others who knew the band. Luckily, local filmmaker Erik Ljung was also there documenting the band. Erik and I proceeded to have an interesting conversation where we each tried to figure out what the other knew. He finally realized that my students had discovered Donivan’s plans for the night. Erik then admitted that Donivan was indeed going to propose Jaquelyn after the fifth song in their set. Taking this information, I ran back to our crew and told everyone to be prepared for the proposal. While I am sure no one on our crew was as nervous as Donivan, I could sense that everyone on our team knew the uniqueness of this moment and the importance of capturing it with our cameras.
So much of documentary is about being in the moment and capturing that moment. It’s a certain sort of excitement you don’t get from scripted filmmaking; that uncertainty and unpredictability of life happening before your eyes. doc|UWM has gotten to film a lot of magical moments, but this is certainly one for the ages.
We wish Donivan and Jaquelyn the best and congratulate them on this new chapter in their lives. We also want to thank them for allowing us to share it with us and we can’t wait until next semester when get to take them on an adventure in Milwaukee. So, that leaves us one with one big question, “Where do we go from here?”
– Ryan Sarnowski, instructor/co-producer
Blessed Feathers – Proposal – Cream City Soundcheck Special Feature (by creamcitysoundcheck)
It’s always nice to hear back from alum working in field, especially when they are helping one another out. Brady Holden and Robyn Braun first worked together in 2006 on our Elder Abuse project. This week they reunited in New York City.
Brady wrote to tell us about a new project he’s working on for Northern Light Productions, “So, we’re profiling 5 people around the U.S. about any financial hardship they’ve experienced and highlighting the changes they’ve made to their spending and savings habits that may position themselves to a better retirement…I hired Robyn semi-last minute because all of our sound-skilled-staff-members were unavailable and I knew Robyn was in NY.” Robyn adds, “At first I wasn’t sure if I’d be free so I recommended some sound friends to Brady, but they were all busy. Then my regular gig editing Alien Dawn for Nickelodeon went dark so I actually got the whole week off and everything worked out! It was great to work with Brady again and shoot a little interview, just like old times. “
For the next few weeks, docUWM has two interns from UWM’s Office of Undergraduate Research. Monika Oliver and Danielle Stobb are assisting with a wide variety of tasks, including scouting Milwaukee places for Cream City Soundcheck: Part II and providing commentary for works in progress. Get to know Monika and Danielle below by reading our Q&A with them!
Monika Oliver hails from Wrightstown, WI and plans to study photography this coming fall at UWM. So far, her favorite thing about Milwaukee is the vibrant social and music scene.
Favorite documentary: African Cats
Favorite band: Walk the Moon
Favorite holiday: Halloween
Favorite social media site: Tumblr
Favorite director: Sam Mendez
Idol: Juliette Sims
Go-to movie: Wayne’s World
Favorite place in Milwaukee: The Rave
Hobbies: Listening to music and going to concerts
Danielle Stobb comes from Green Lake, WI and plans to study Film this coming fall at UWM. What she enjoys most about Milwaukee is it’s busyness and architecture.
Favorite documentary: Catfish
Favorite band: Mumford & Sons
Favorite holiday: Christmas
Favorite social media site: Pintrest
Favorite director: Marc Webb
Idol: Zooey Deschanel
Go-to movie: Fun with Dick and Jane
Favorite place in Milwaukee: Art museum
Hobbies: Reading and watching movies
Welcome to the office, ladies!
doc|UWM students working on a current project about UWM’s Women Resource Center documented Take Back the Night – an international sexual assault awareness initiative that is dedicated to empowering survivors of sexual assault.
This is just one of my events our students are documenting this semester as we create a serious of documentaries about the Student Life organizations on UWM’s campus.