Carbon Trace Looking for Student Filmmakers

Carbon Trace Looking for Student Filmmakers

One half of our dual mission is documentary education. Carbon Trace Productions is dedicated to educating students in the diverse skills required for the art of documentary filmmaking. Our nonprofit film studio in Springfield, Missouri works primarily with students at Missouri State University, but we will work with any student anywhere with an important story to tell. Carbon Trace can provide significant guidance in developing, funding, producing, and distributing a documentary film. For high school students wishing to learn more about documentary filmmaking, Missouri State University offers degrees in digital filmmaking, media production, journalism, and other associated areas. The department of Media, Journalism & Film offers a documentary certificate program open to students and the public.

To take part in the documentary education provided through the Carbon Trace Team, we encourage you to apply for a filmmaking internship, submit a documentary idea, or apply to become a volunteer using the forms below.

Join Carbon Trace as a student volunteer

Apply for an internship

Submit a documentary idea

Songs From the Street to Premiere at the Moxie Cinema

Songs From the Street to Premiere at the Moxie Cinema

Carbon Trace Productions is proud to announce the release of Songs From the Street – a documentary film produced by media students from Missouri State University and the professional staff of Carbon Trace Productions.

In the fall of 2019, a group of homeless people gathered for the first time to form the Springfield Street Choir. Student filmmakers began following this unique group as it rehearsed, performed, and continue to live life on the streets. According to Christie Love, lead pastor at The Connecting Grounds interdenominational church where the group rehearses, the street choir’s core purpose is to show audiences that homeless people are regular people, who deserve kindness.

“The Choir aims to help homeless people on an individual level by giving them something enjoyable to do while promoting a message to the public to incite local change.”

The film’s Director, Mackenzie Huffman, says the project came from a desire to humanize the people that are typically ignored.

“The intent of this documentary is to give homeless people a voice and to show the public that the homeless are people too and deserve their respect and attention.”

As momentum for the choir was building, the COVID-19 pandemic approached Springfield, putting an already at-risk group in danger of greater harm. Neighboring residents and businesses also began to voice complaints about the increasing numbers of homeless people gathering at the church. With no end in sight to the pandemic and no opportunities for rehearsals or performances in the immediate future, “Songs From the Street” is a window into the world of shattered hopes and dreams of a segment of the population that many choose to look past.

“Songs From the Street” will be at the Moxie Theater on

Thursday, August 27th, at 7 pm and 7:30pm,

Friday, August 28th at 5 p.m.,

Saturday, August 29, at 3 p.m.

Pre-ordering your tickets online are recommended due to limited seating.

PREORDER YOUR TICKETS HERE

**Note on online ticket sales and social distancing**

Please order tickets in groups of the 3-4 that you want to be seated next to at the event.

After you reserve your seat, the website will block off the remaining seats close to you.

Behind the Lens with Jym: Listening

Behind the Lens with Jym: Listening

by Jym Wilson

 

Many years ago, while working as a photographer at Gannett News Service in Washington, DC, I unsuccessfully tried to persuade a colleague to write a story on listening. A few years later, while working at USA Today, I tried again, and again I had no luck. I told myself that this was irony defined: I couldn’t get anyone to listen to my ideas about listening.

In my work with Carbon Trace Productions, I find myself once more thinking about listening. What makes a person a good listener? It’s more than sitting quietly and occasionally nodding while someone talks to you. It is knowing that they are talking with you. It’s more than understanding what they are saying. It’s empathizing with them.

Christie Love, lead pastor at The Connecting Grounds church here in Springfield, MO, and an advocate for the homeless told me that,

“Listening is a form of loving. It requires us to shift the focus from ourselves to the hurts, emotions, and experiences of another person…The willingness to spend time listening to others expresses to each person that we sit with that they are seen and that they are heard.”

Who are good listeners? We hope that our family and friends listen to us and hear what we are trying to communicate. We need our doctors to listen as we explain symptoms, aches, and pains carefully. We expect our elected officials to listen to us (but are not surprised when they don’t appear to hear us). Musicians and music lovers are good listeners.

Who else are good listeners? Talk show hosts can be. Think about the difference between David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon. Letterman’s long pause as he mulled over a guest’s answer before he asked another question was the sign of a man listening. Fallon always seems to be waiting for an opening to insert a joke as his guests talk.

Reporters listen for a living. In my career, I have worked with truly great reporters and with some who, well…not so much.

Once I arrived early to cover an event (because when you’re on time, you’re late), to look around and size up the scene. When the reporter arrived, I told her who I had already photographed and suggested a few people she might want to talk with. “Oh, I already know what I’m going to write,” she told me, “I just need to find someone to say it.” Not a good or even a willing listener.

On the other hand, I was enthralled as I watched a reporter roll his wrist and quietly say to the woman he was interviewing, “Say more.” It was an act so graceful and filled with empathy that it took my breath away. That was great listening.

The story I proposed years ago came from my suspicion that even though there seemed to be a lot of people talking, no one seemed to be genuinely listening. This was during the early years of talk radio and shock jocks. Years before Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram were considered valid sources for journalists. I recently heard someone say they had given a magazine article a “grad student read.” By that, they meant they had looked at the piece and absorbed some of the meaning but perhaps not the nuances. As we face the daily deluge of information overload, are we giving life a “grad student listen”?

Recently,  two of my Carbon Trace colleagues and I visited the small town of Eminence in Shannon County for a pre-production interview for our film A Portrait of the Ozarks. During our time with Crystal Creek Ranch owners Bill and Bette Byrne, Bette told us, “If you ask someone about themselves, they will think you are a good listener.”

I might be reading more into her remark than she intended, but that seems to be a low bar. However, by asking, she is taking the essential first step of offering to listen.

07/30/2020 — Eminence MO  © 2020 Jym Wilson/Carbon Trace Productions

How does any of this apply to the work of Carbon Trace Productions?  All documentary filmmakers need to plan and prepare for their interviews and filming sessions. But by the unscripted nature of the medium, they must listen with finely tuned ears to what people are saying at the moment. It is then that great listening is as critical as a good camera and right mic.

There is a philosophy that photojournalists moving into video production were taught to embrace — in the video, audio is far more important than visuals. As a visual journalist, I’m afraid I have to disagree with that assumption, but I accept the premise. The clarity of people speaking and the quality of ambient sound can engage viewers or turn them off. Proper audio techniques, equipment, and engineering can resolve or ease the obstacles of producing excellent sound. Good listening will create better stories.

Planning, as I recently wrote, leads to success. Part of our planning process will be to arrive prepared to listen. Christie Love told me, “Everyone desires and deserves to be heard.” Filmmakers who are good listeners will hear good stories and tell them well.

As documentary filmmakers, we will be listening without prejudices and preconceptions. Words matter. They really do, and when people like the residents of Shannon County entrust us with their stories, it is incumbent on us to listen and tell that story perfectly.

 

Support Nonprofit Documentary Filmmaking

Check out our Patreon memberships. At the $5 per month level of support, you get free VIP codes for all Carbon Trace pay-per-view movies, including the right to download a copy to keep! It’s a great way to watch our documentary films while supporting our nonprofit mission of documentary education and humanitarian service.

Carbon Trace can provide significant guidance in developing, funding, producing, and distributing a documentary film. For high school students wishing to learn more about documentary filmmaking, Missouri State University offers degrees in digital filmmaking, media production, journalism, and other associated areas.

To take part in the documentary education provided through the Carbon Trace Team, we encourage you to apply for a filmmaking internship, submit a documentary idea, or apply to become a volunteer using the forms below.

Join the Carbon Trace as a student volunteer

Apply for an internship

Submit a documentary idea