My name is Alex Ponton. I was a transfer student from Frederick Community College two years ago, but now I am a 2017 graduate at Shepherd with a major in Communication & New Media and a minor in Marketing. My capstone journey started in the Fall Semester 2016, and after a rocky start in Capstone Prep I managed to plan out the majority of my capstone before filming it early into the Spring semester.
I decided that I would make a car documentary for my capstone project and I chose Professor Kevin Williams as my director . He gave very insightful advise and pointers with regards to production. I chose Professor Williams because I had prior film classes with him. Having seen a majority of my film work at Shepherd, Professor Williams motivated me to out perform my previous films. Naturally, it is not very easy to organize time to get a crew together to film when all the members of your crew are also college students, but it is even more difficult when you add finding time to get people’s cars available to use as well.
Fortunately, I was able to sit down and organize a film schedule with my crew over the winter break. With the little time windows I had with my crew we were able to get all the shots on time. I learned first hand that the most important part of any production is careful planning and thorough pre-production.
I worked in conjunction with my crew AP Video Productions for my film. In the past we have produced commercials, trailers and other visual media content for our clients. However, we never filmed a documentary before. We utilized a slew of cameras to film the documentary including a Go Pro Hero 5, a Nixon D5100, a DJI Phantom 4k drone and a Panasonic HC-X1000 camcorder. Going into this project I studied how documentaries are structured through film forums, books and blogs. I also took an online course, COMM 399B Elements of Film which helped substantially with how I directed my project. I would highly recommend to any student planning on filming something they are unfamiliar with that they consult their adviser about enrolling in courses to assist them with their capstones sooner, rather then later. Planning out your capstone earlier on is the optimal way to go for achieving what you want to accomplish.
Completing My Project
Overall I was very happy with the way my project came out. For my first time making a documentary I learned a lot about scheduling, shooting and directing with a crew. Going into the future the crew and I will be continuing to film for our business. As for me I will be going into my own self-employed business as a broadcaster on Twitch. I have been a partnered broadcaster for over a year now, but I hope to make it a career of mine. It has opened up a lot of opportunities for me including a few job prospects in California. I have also been looking into doing an internship at my local radio station at Key 103.1. Whatever I choose to do I am very confident in myself now after my time spent in college.
My advise to any graduating seniors is to never lose sight of your dreams no matter what they may be. You can accomplish them if you work hard enough! Be sure to save time for friends and family though, they’re the ones who motivate you the most!
My best wishes to all you future capstone students!
You can check out my online portfolio here!