On Monday I walked into class confident in the fate of my Capstone project. The night before, during a heavily caffeinated homework binge, I had a moment of clarity. I saw my finished project. I was feeling inspired by an album I had just happened upon (Departure Songs by We Lost the Sea, for anyone interested in post/ambient rock). There’s nothing quite like listening to one of your favorite songs for the first time. As this song (linked below) began to play, I saw old pictures from the aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and other historical landmarks for the labor movement. I heard passionate rally speakers–from decades ago and today–riling up underpaid workers. I saw video clips of workers from all walks of life on strike.
This song samples an interesting monologue about engineering manned space flight. The speaker’s analogy about dreams tugged at my innards. When he speaks of the importance of seeing his hands, I envisioned the soot-black mitts of a post-WWII factory worker. Then I zoomed out and saw the structure of my complete artifact. As the song builds in intensity, we move closer to the present and discuss, with pictures and dialogue, the rise of the Fight for 15. Finally, as the song reaches its climax, I saw the driven folks I organize with reaching out their hands to offer the audience the chance to help.
More concretely, I will construct a video which gives a timeline of the labor movement in the U.S., from its origins up to the current state of the Fight for 15. The finale of the piece will give the audience the impetus to get involved. All this to say that my only concern having my pitch peer reviewed was that I wasn’t far enough along in producing my project to receive useful feedback. In other words, I was so confident in my plan that I didn’t think any outside feedback–that from anyone outside of my head–could help.
Truthfully, though, I gained a lot of insight from my peers’ feedback. For one, my peers helped me realize that I may be too ambitious in the amount of history I want to tell. The labor movement is a huge slice of all of America’s history and only so much can be condensed into the length of a song. I was recommended to be deliberate and specific in the timeline I construct, i.e., only include the aspects of the labor movement that explain the rise and success of the Fight for 15. Also, I was advised to interview the folks I’m interested in discussing and record those interviews to include in the video. Overall, I took away a sense that I should not be too quick to tie down my plan. It’s good to be prepared, but I shouldn’t necessarily commit to a plan just because of one manic brainstorming session. It may be the case that my final project looks much like it does in my head right at this moment. However, I will not hold myself accountable for doing so. There is much time between now and April and there’s much more inspiration for me to come upon before then.