From Krista Schinagl:
The project was a semester long project that was supposed to combine all the skills we’ve learned while at Western. We had to write a proposal for it and it would be a combination of stills, ambient audio, graphics (if applicable) and video and it had to be presented in a web format.
After several weeks of not finding a project I decided I would do it on my sister. I knew she had a good story, I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but I knew there was a good story there to tell.
I didn’t realize going into the project what kind of impact it would have on me. At this point I barely knew my sister. We barely ever talked and I only saw her once or twice a year. I had never really talked to her husband or met his family. In my mind she was going to be just like any other project. I would commit just as much time and work just as hard as any other project I had ever worked on. The only difference was that I knew I wouldn’t have to work to gain access. I would already have access because I was family and she already knew me.
One of the hardest things was to not get involved. Watching my sister break down because she was so over whelmed with bills was the hardest situation to stay an outsider or just an observer looking in. I honestly was standing behind that camera crying for her and feeling helpless and trying not to get involved. I felt kind of guilty or like I was doing something wrong filming her crying and I kept having to tell myself that this was very important for people to see and that she’s going to work through these problems on her own. I felt like it was my responsibility to remain a viewer and show the world what happens when you don’t manage your money and that someone would learn from watching my project.
It actually stressed me out a lot. I would be at school and she would call me up crying and I just didn’t know what to say to her. Our relationship grew so close during this project that we began talking on the phone several times a day. I knew everything going on in her life and she told me more than she would have if wasn’t her sister.
It was also hard to edit the project because I grew close to my sister and became emotionally attached to her and her situation. It was hard to edit some things out even if I knew it made the project a lot stronger. I spent so much time editing that I became numb and couldn’t see the mistakes anymore or couldn’t see the spots that repeated themselves.
Other small struggles were that she lived two hours away. I would miss things like having to go to the doctor with no health insurance or when they went shopping for a new camper. And living in the camper with them was not always easy because it was so small and I slept on the table.
The best thing that came from the project is that I got to know my sister and her family. Now that a couple months have passed we still talk on the phone at least once a day. And if I hadn’t done the project on her I probably wouldn’t have gotten to know her in-laws.
Ethically I think it’s important people realize Carly is my sister. I have it written on the about page but I don’t know how many people actually read the about before watching the project. I have plans to include a video interview of myself talking about the effect this project has had on me which will make the project more ethical, but it’s hard now that I’m out of school and don’t have access to cameras and programs.
Posted by: B Foster