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Monday, 15 July 2013 18:53

The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum: A NewTV Member Produced Film

Written by Anastasia Bogomolov, Digital Marketing Specialist
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Two of NewTV’s longtime members have recently completed their first short documentary about one of Boston’s most significant historic buildings – the Waterworks, Boston’s first public water system. Upon connecting, Ellie Goldberg and Laura Johnson embarked on the enriching, and at times incredibly challenging, journey of taking something inspirational and developing it into a cohesive story. The end product, which Ellie and Laura titled The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum: Big Buildings, Big Machines, Big Stories, depicts a motivationally genuine account of what’s possible with high-end TV production training, some necessary film and editing equipment, and unwavering hard work. Ellie Goldberg, a former teacher and current children’s environmental education health advocate, first heard about NewTV through her work with the Green Decade. Someone from NewTV was always around taping its shows, and Ellie soon found it important and beneficial to be aware of NewTV’s role in the local community. Ellie’s interests in community access TV quickly led her to become a NewTV member. She stands firm in her belief that NewTV’s ability to document specialty issues and spread the word to those who both do and do not have cable is of paramount importance in today’s age of fickle information overload. One Monday in October 2011, Ellie and NewTV veteran Dan Fitzmartin set out for the museum with an HD camera to interview two of its staff members and a facilitator. Dan expertly filmed the interviews and captured some glorious B-roll of the High Service Station and its big machines. From there, it was off to find an editor. Ellie had worked on several projects with NewTV over the years, but she hadn’t been too involved with such tools as Final Cut Pro, and therefore sought out a partner who was more familiar with editing software and producing. Enter Laura. Laura Johnson, now a 5-year NewTV member, had a stable career as a copy editor for Boston Magazine but when the economy plummeted in 2008, she was laid off. Laura knew that she wanted to stay busy and branch out of the increasingly endangered industry of publishing, so she joined NewTV in hopes of expanding upon her passion for production. After taking a Final Cut Pro class, her innate excitement for the process of post-production editing proved relentless, and she immediately wrote, directed and starred in her first film, a two-time award-winning short titled The Adventures of Mighty Macrobiotic Girl! Since then, Laura has edited more than a dozen NewTV productions including three Newton Symphony Orchestra concerts, nine episodes of the Newton Community Education series Create a TV Show!, and the first two episodes of NewTV’s member-produced show Wine Inside Out. Laura found NewTV’s welcoming and fun atmosphere encouraging, and thus began to interact with other members whose similar agenda to partake in media-related projects further motivated her to learn new skills. She has taken every course in NewTV’s curriculum; has crewed for 19 producers; and contributed more than 500 hours of service, a feat which earned her NewTV’s Volunteer of the Year award in 2011. Then a little over a year ago, Ellie put out a crew call in search of an editor for her initial concept of the Waterworks project – Laura responded. After initially signing on to edit and design graphics, Laura grew increasingly intrigued after realizing that she had driven by and admired the beautiful Waterworks site since childhood without knowing precisely what it was. What followed next was a tireless adventure into something that neither co-producer saw coming. Some of Ellie’s more immediate tasks for the documentary included representing the museum as a local treasure and showcasing it as an example of community money for public profit. Her background in environmental advocacy proved essential in her decision to move forward with the venture – believing that viewers would be inspired by the pro-social idea of standing up for the issues they feel strongly about, which in Ellie’s case is clean water as the basis for public health. At first review, Laura saw about an hour’s worth of captivating footage that she thought resembled a painting, and featured gripping speakers and a rich story. Following, Laura and Ellie met every Saturday for about three hours, working on slicing and dicing the 20-page transcript Laura had typed down to a final 6-page script, and using trial and error according to one another’s diverse visual perspectives. As the researcher, music arranger, and editor, Laura was primarily responsible for turning Ellie’s material into an actual film, complete with historical references and a storyline. Before long, Ellie and Laura morphed into a team on a mission. They truly cared about the project and those involved, thereby taking their time with all aspects of the soon-to-be documentary. For instance – and astonishingly enough – they, like the museum’s staff, had no luck tracking down a photograph of the building’s original architect (Arthur Vinal, who was actually the well-known and accomplished City Architect of Boston). After embarking on some detective work, Laura located a journal at the Boston Public Library with genealogical clues that eventually led her to a photo of the architect with his wife. The man who provided the picture – the architect’s great-grandson – didn't know much about his great-grandfather, and so the two were coincidentally united in history through the making of the film. Overall, The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum: Big Buildings, Big Machines, Big Stories was an unforgettable undertaking for both NewTV members and co-producers. Now completed and available for viewing right here on, the 12-minute documentary is generating considerable buzz in the local community and beyond. It has a Facebook page and has already gone on its first tour – to Colorado for the American Waterworks Association Annual Conference and Exhibition. Laura and Ellie are grateful to the NewTV organization and staff, especially Member Services Coordinator, Michael Sills, for helping them channel their vision. On behalf of NewTV, we couldn’t be more proud of Ellie’s and Laura’s incredible achievement.

Read 1167 times Last modified on Saturday, 23 January 2016 21:12

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