Adventures in Digital History

My Video Project is (Finally) Complete!

For my digitally enhanced project in History of Mental Health in the U.S., I took on a project that both interested me and put me very far outside of my comfort zone. As a history major, I’m used to doing research to write papers and creating presentations based on that research. However, I’m also a communications and digital studies major, which means I tend to dive headfirst into technologically advanced projects that I have no prior skills or qualifications for. It’s terrifying, yet I also think it’s a good way to learn.

Getting back onto the topic of my project, I decided to take up Dr. McClurken’s challenge of creating a short video documentary. Apparently no one has ever done a video for this class before, so I was both excited and terrified. Thankfully I wasn’t the only person doing a video this semester and found the courage to go through with it. I almost switched project methods, but over Fall Break I committed myself to making the video and finally have the finished project for everyone to see!

This video took me three re-starts, countless hours of reading, even more hours of watching videos and interviews, and then multiple takes of recording audio and slicing video clips together. The entire time I was doing this, my video editing software kept crashing, and at one point my preliminary recordings got corrupted. However, I finished it and I’m proud of it!

My project focuses on the life of John Forbes Nash Jr., an American mathematician who dealt with schizophrenia for most of his life. Since this class is dedicated to the study of the history of mental health, I approached this project by creating a short documentary that focuses on Nash’s experiences with schizophrenia by examining his symptoms and diagnosis, the treatments he underwent in two very different mental hospitals, and the speculations of whether he suffered from more than one mental disorder. Since this project had to be limited to fifteen minutes, I cut a good chunk of information. The finished video is about fourteen minutes long, so I cut it very close without going overboard! Despite this, I still think the video does well as getting the information I wanted to focus on across.

The script I composed has a more conversational feel, because I do not think a word-for-word research paper on Nash’s life would have worked well for the video format. This does not mean I did not put effort into the project, though. It took me approximately two weeks to write the complete script, because I kept cross-referencing sources and making sure I had a good pool of information to pull from. It was also very useful that many of my sources were videos, which meant I pulled video footage and information from them. I personally think the end result turned out great, because I managed to integrate quite a bit of my primary and secondary sources into the video rather than just summarizing them.

On top of making the video, I also published a transcript of the video that includes all the sources I referenced in the footnotes, and then a full bibliography on a second page attached to the after-mentioned transcript. To access the bibliography, you must scroll down to the bottom of the page. There you will see a “1” and “2.” Simply click on the “2” to look at the bibliography. The video is also embedded at the very top of the first page, making everything accessible in the same place.

So, without further ado, please take a look at my project! You can access it by clicking on the button below!

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