More Weight on the Bar
This semester has been one of hard work and closure that began with an opportunity, a choice. Chris Flook approached me about working on the Indiana Crossrails project I was immediately in. He knows how to promote a learning environment that not only achieves curriculum set forth by the university, but he also knows how to promote professionalism. These two characteristics made it a no brainer to join him on the journey to advocate for mass rail transit here in Indiana.
The semester began in January with the normal team introductions as well as how we wanted to attack this campaign. There was talk of an interpretive dance, a small theatrical play, and even just taping ourselves playing Train Conductor for a little bit in order to shed light on this situation. In the end we decided that research papers, a commercial series, and a full-length documentary were the best options we had.
In my ethics class my professor is known for asking students to, “put more weight on the bar.” This basically boils down to, what good is going through life by simply doing the minimal to achieve a task? One should want to put as much as they can into a project in order to get as much as they possibly can out of said project. When I faced my senior year and was only getting six credit hours out of the class due to taking three other classes on top of my time at the VBC I was faced with the more weight conundrum. I could sit around and only help with minimal tasks and just work in a small portion of the project, or I could step up and help direct a part of the commercial series. I chose the second option.
After I had made that choice and the teams were set it was time to begin scouting. This project would need to be one that covered exactly what we wanted to cover in order to give a solid argument for mass rail transit here in Indiana. We decided as a team that our journey would need to take us around certain parts of the country in order to show how mass rail transit is helping other states. This decision led the team to: Colorado, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois and Northern Indiana.
Through the travel process we were able to conduct interviews with CEOs of some of the nation’s leading rail lines as well as individuals that use mass rail transit on a daily basis. The footage bin was immense and it was time to get to work on cutting them into the commercials as well as the documentary. The post apocalypse was upon us.
For the past month and a half a group of awesome individuals have been working on editing the stories, the sounds, the colors, and the graphics in order to make this campaign a huge success. The amount of man hours put into this project is enormous and would have likely cost an actual company close to a million dollars in order to put together something of this quality and pay a team. I would not trade these unpaid hours for anything in the world.
This project has connected me with individuals that I look forward to seeing progress in their future lives. There are leaders in this class that will soon become executives at major communications firms. There are individuals that are breaking down the barriers that Hollywood has set forth in an attempt to keep men on top of the production ladder. There are creatives in this class that I know will continue to develop their skills and blow my minds with what they can create.
As this project now comes to a close there is nothing that I would have rather done in my last semester here at Ball State University. I know that working with this group has only helped to build my soft and hard skills when it comes to production, but it has also helped build new relationships and memories with individuals that will stay with me for a lifetime.
As I walk across the stage on Saturday, I will know that I did do all I could in order to put more weight on the bar when it came to classes. I want to send out a sincere thank you to Chris Flook for being a great mentor and professor as well as the entire team of this project. Without each and every one of you this would not have been the success that it has been and will continue to be.
Now the journey is up to you Indiana. Will you make the transit choice?
Nathan K. Wilson