Volume 10 Number 4
[Editor's Note: careful viewers will notice an Alfred Hitchcock-like moment where (library) Director NJ Wolfe appears towards the end of the video.]
Research, My Lovely was conceived in the spring of 2007, a collaborative promotional effort between the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Library and FIT’s Information Technology Department. To date we have received a very positive response from the College administration and the library community for this project. FIT’s Communications & External Relations Department posted the video on YouTube to positive responses, garnering excellent ratings and numerous views.
In the Fall of 2006, the Fashion Institute of Technology launched a marketing initiative geared toward prospective students to highlight College departments and services. Several College departments partnered up with an IT team (the Technology Development Team - TDT) to produce “podcasts,” or short films able to be streamed across the World Wide Web. Vincent Sassone (award winning director/writer/producer), the project leader and member of FITs IT Department and TDT, approached the Library with an opportunity to produce a promotional video. Professor NJ Wolfe, the Library Director, embraced this idea and designated a library team to make this project a reality.
From the start of the brainstorming process, we were
encouraged to venture into the avant-garde as Mr. Sassone
voiced frustration with the homogeneous scripts he had
recently been involved in directing and producing for
the college. We decided to center our theme on the idea
of doing research. Thus we settled on the idea of
writing a script on “how to do research,” revolved the
story around a mystery and the film noir concept was born. Varounny Chanthasiri, the support staff in the
Directors Office and then student at NYU’s Media Studies
program agreed to write a script for the production.
Tabitha Hanslick, the Library’s administrative
Coordinator, assumed the role of producer and project
We also did basic research on our “mystery” topic to provide the visual elements for the various resources available in the library. These items were included in our “props” list along with the costume items and other tangential items used to convey the feeling of a forties film noir setting. Location scouting was the next step. The script was reviewed to identify appropriate points in the Library that would effectively help relay the “information” message. We wanted to highlight the service desks and unique areas of the library that students would find helpful when using the library. After determining the spaces, we established the shooting schedule, which was non-linear to the script based on logistics. For example, we shot all our scenes on the fifth floor before moving onto the sixth floor even though the script jumped from the fifth to sixth floor and so forth. In order to minimize interruption in services, we decided to shoot during closed hours.
Mr. Sassone, as the director and IT project
coordinator, arranged for the equipment and filming
crew, both procured from the FIT’s Media Department.
We planned for a two-day shooting schedule, without
any major set-backs we wrapped on time. The Library
team consulted with Mr. Sassone during the shooting
to ensure the content in the shot was relevant to
the message the Library wanted to convey. After
filming was done, Mr. Sassone met with Maris Heller,
our librarian actor, to record the voiceover which was
added later in the editing room. The editing
process was by far the most labor intensive and
time consuming aspect of this production and FIT
is fortunate to have the studio space, equipment
and talented staff to accomplish it. One of the
challenges in the editing process was converting
the Camtasia screen shots into Quick-time, a Mac
program. At this point we were working against a
deadline so had to come up with a quick fix,
resulting in less than perfect graphics; however,
this can always be edited in the future when
technology allows for better software integration
This project was a new experience for many of us in the Library. Overall it was more fun than what we normally consider library work. Much of the success of the project can be attributed to several key components. We had support from the administration in allotting resources including staff hours, a dedicated crew who worked toward the same vision of the end product, an organized time line for the project and a dash of creativity. Overall, we believe that our vision for the Library resembles what has been captured on film.