Friday, December 5, 2014

The Making of Our It Gets Better Project Video, by Alec Frazier and Autistic Reality

A few years ago, there was a particularly noted rash of gay suicides. Gay people were killing themselves because of peer pressure, and especially because of being bullied. On his way home by train, world renowned sex activist and columnist Dan Savage thought up an ingenious idea: give people hope by recording a message for them that “It Gets Better”. The idea took off like a firestorm, and pretty soon almost everybody was recording It Gets Better videos. Dan was the first, and he was followed by everybody. Teachers, ministers, office workers, students, and even the President of the United States recorded a video. Dan also established the It Gets Better Project to promote the idea and host all of the videos.

Of course, I did a video relatively soon after the project got started. However, it was very terrible quality, done with a web cam with low-quality in my living room. In addition, I rambled on and on in that video about various things. It should also be noted that I did it in front of a bunch of Twilight posters, which not everybody wants to look at. I showed the video to my Sex, Gender, and Pop Culture class, but it did not see very high circulation. Eventually, it was added to the official It Gets Better Project YouTube channel, but it still did not see high viewership after that. By the time I pulled it yesterday, it only had about one hundred and fifty views.

In the time since I made that rather horrible video, I have evolved significantly. I have gained a lot of awesome friends! I have started my own advocacy firm! I have gotten a lot done, and am even happier with my life now than I was when I filmed that first video. So, I started thinking about having a new It Gets Better Project video made that would include all of my friends! My best friends, Sebastiano Spurio, Amanda Gollhardt, Megan Krug, and Marcus Cherry run an independent film production business called Journey to the Best Productions. They offered to help me make a new It Gets Better video! They decided that it should be just me, although it could include images of them to illustrate my social progress.

I went over to my best friends’ house the Friday after Thanksgiving for a belated Thanksgiving party. The day afterward, a couple of them, Sebastiano and Marcus, got together with a couple other friends to help me film a video. They posed me in a wingback chair in front of a green screen that they keep for such filming projects. The funny thing about the wingback chair is that it has no legs. It was literally placed on a stack of bricks. Marcus’s sister, Britt Cherry, was kind enough to do my hair for the video. Sebastiano thought that there was something missing, so he gave me the sweater he wears when he is busy studying the world through his books. He is, after all, a sage and a wizard! There was talk of having me take off my glasses, so that there was less glare for the camera. However, I then leaned forward, which eliminated the glare completely.

I started talking to record the video. Unfortunately, I had to restart and asked them if they needed to turn off the camera. They just responded that they would cut the unwanted part from the beginning. I then started to speak again, and recorded a message to give people hope. My It Gets Better video is aimed at the gay population specifically, and the LGBTQ population in general, as well as the autistic population. The reason for this is that It Gets Better for a number of people who are bullied or otherwise maligned, not just LGBTQ folks. I simply spoke to the two populations that I belong to, using my experience to give people hope!

As rough editing was being done, I found photographs to include in the video, including one that would be a great backdrop to put on the area covered by the green screen. There were photos of me with my friends, with my family, and just having fun! When it came time to do the fine editing, I actually did most of the work pointing out where to cut, where to insert images, which images to insert, and so on and so on. My friends did the actual clicking, but I called the shots. My friend Sebastiano then told me that I was directing! This is amazing to me, as I had never seen myself as a film director before! When it came time to do incredibly fine manipulation, such as moving captions around on images, I actually physically did a portion of the process myself, as I am very particular about how captions appear on screen. My friends also managed to get a soundtrack for the video, because they have the right to use music made by Secession Studios. The only catch was that the video had to be posted on Journey to the Best’s YouTube channel first, and then mine.

When the video was first posted to YouTube, the soundtrack was almost inaudible. I also learned that I could not use the It Gets Better logo, which I had placed at the beginning of my video. So, at my direction, my friends placed my logo at the beginning of the video, and boosted the soundtrack. They then posted it to their page, and I downloaded it and then posted it to my channel. I then shared it via Facebook and Twitter. Then, I decided to write a blog posting about making it, and here we are!

My It Gets Better video is meant to be inspirational to the gay and LGBTQ population, as well as the autistic population! It is an official production of Autistic Reality. It is also meant to be partnered with my book, Without Fear: The First Autistic Superhero, as inspirational media put out by my firm. I hope you enjoyed this blog post on how I made my It Gets Better Project video! And now, here it is for your viewing pleasure!

This blog posting is both the personal opinion of Alec Frazier, and the professional policy of his advocacy firm, Autistic Reality. If you oppose it, please screen grab it! We are very proud of this opinion!

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