as little fear

made a thing: ladybugs 001: katie and mary

Before reading this post, you should check out the feature I’m talking about here, Ladybugs 001: Katie & Mary.

In starting this project I wanted to reflect on the significance and layers in female friendship. I wanted to see how this played out in my life and in the lives of people around me. I value intimate relationships and one on one interactions over most other social situations like big parties and a huge network of friends. I want to talk to people about what these kinds of relationships mean to people and what they look like in the real world. There should be more stories in the world about female friendships, just as many as those of romantic, hetero, boy-girl pairings. Platonic friendships with other women-identified friends is so incredibly formative to most girls. From a young age we have so much access to information about romantic or sexual navigating relationships we have (if those relationships we have are with cis men) but so little is offered to us in terms of being a good friend and fostering intimacy outside of sexual relationships. Even less covered than these feel-good, positive stories is insight into what happens when a friendship is over, or even just needs work. Hollywood, literature, and dominant culture gives us platforms to talk about our romantic breakups and other relationship moments milestones but doesn’t give us a good way to talk about those moments in friendships.

My aim for this project is to be an examination of every facet of female friendships. I’ll focus on creating these multimedia online features profiling real life best friends while highlighting and sharing other perspectives on the topic, like other written or artistic pieces, movies, media, and so on. I completed the first feature for this project, in which I sat down with my friends Katie and Mary to talk about their friendship. Getting to this point has been a seven month long process, having posted the first call for friends to feature in the end of March. I want to use this post to talk about the process and think about how I want to do the next feature.

Screenshot 2015-11-09 14.34.49

Process

  • I got Katie and Mary to agree to let me blog about them, the easiest part of the process.
  • I drafted some vague interview questions and emailed ahead of time so that they’d have time to think about their answers.
  • I took a DSLR, my macbook, and my iPhone to their apartment in Long Island City.
  • Over the course of about two and a half hours, I asked them the questions while I filmed holding a DSLR camera, recording audio on my iPhone and MacBook, as a backup.
  • The interview style was really informal. I would simply ask the question and let them answer until they were done talking. I shot the video holding the DSLR camera, sitting on a chair or the floor in the front of them, moving every few minutes or when asking a new question.
  • I edited the video in Premiere. I edited the audio in Garage Band.
  • I designed the layout of the feature post. I chose and edited photos. I designed graphics to accompany photos and videos.
  • I edited the video down to several shorter videos, between 2 and 8 minutes. I edited the audio down to one audio file that’s about 40 minutes long.
  • When the draft of the site was ready and all the media was placed in the layout, I shared a link with Katie and Mary to make sure they’re okay with the content of the post. They are.
  • I posted the audio to SoundCloud. I posted a few of the shorter videos to Vimeo. I published the post on WordPress. I shared the post link on Facebook, Twitter, and tumblr.

 

Next Time

I hope to keep making more of these features. My next two to talk to are my girlfriend, Katie and her best friend Katie. This would bring the project two a three out of four Katie to non Katie ratio. If you and your best friend would like to be featured, please let me know. It doesn’t have to be a big huge feature like this one. It could be one smaller aspect of it, like just the audio, just a short video, or just a written interview or conversation conducted over gchat or email.I’ve got some thing I’d like to work on next time. Here’s a list in no particular order.

More written content

I’d like to do more writing about the interview, a summary of the experience and more background information about the pair. This would require me to use more of the interview audio to draw content as opposed to using it in its entirety as an audio upload. This would mean less editing and more transcription.

More multimedia content

I’m excited that I thought to use GIFs of the video in the post and I like the idea of the graphics. I’m interested in having more visual themes for each feature. For Katie and Mary, theirs was based mainly off of the colors and textures in their clothes and home. Next time I want to try creating more specific visuals. Additionally, I’d like to include scans of notes and handwriting, older photographs, and visualizations that help to tell their story.
Screenshot 2015-11-09 14.35.06


Focus on the design of the feature first

In this process, I didn’t consider the design of the feature itself until I had the content of the interview. The design was informed by videos and photographs that I got and that ended up being mainly arbitrary and ill considered, seeing as I’m not terribly experienced in video or interviews. Now that I know just a little bit more about the process and can better articulate what I’m looking for, I feel confident setting up shots, looking for compositions, and having some kind of visual theme or motif. I plan to sketch out not only a storyboard for the video pieces of the next interviews but a wireframe and mockups for the design of the post itself. I want each to feel like their own thing, more experiential with engaging visuals rather than a writing focused piece. I want to create and solve visual problems in the feature, rather than merely decorating which I feel like is what happened in this first feature.

Be more intentional in the interviews

I want to ask better, more specific questions in the interview process. This time, I didn’t really know what kind of responses I was going to get so I played it very safe and asked general and vague questions. These kinds of questions are good to help get started and warmed up but I hope to be able to get an idea of how they’ll respond before hand so I can get more in-depth. I also want to repeat the practice of sending interview questions before hand not only so I can know generally their responses and plan for that but so they know, and can feel comfortable articulating their answers. I want it to feel natural and informal but I want to be more in control of pacing and flow

Screenshot 2015-11-09 14.35.17

Use a tripod

It’s important to me that the features feel comfortable and organic since I’m trying to evoke emotions around a relationship and don’t necessarily need something to be razor sharp and formal. I realize now that there are a lot of ways to do that while also having clean video, shot with a tripod. A lot of my takes are really shaky, with awkward pans and zooms. I want to be able to get more takes and angles but I also want the video to have a certain amount of deliberateness and polish.If you are interested in having you and your friend featured, I’d absolutely love that and you should email me at hi@joelleriffle.com. I only know so many people and I want this project to extend and be able to relate to people outside of my very limited circles! It’s important to me that those featured in this project represent a range of gender and sexual identities, ethnicities and nationalities, ages, and abilities. 

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