Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Fine Arts (Integrated Arts and Education)

Department or School/College

Creative Pulse Program

Committee Chair

Karen Kaufmann

Committee Co-chair

James Kriley

Commitee Members

Valeria Krex


artistic process, documentary, media arts, personal reflection


University of Montana


Opstad, Tricia, M.A., Autumn 2006 Fine Arts, Integrated Arts and Education The Making of a Mini-Documentary: “Pockets”, the Concept, Artistic Process and Personal Reflection Chairperson: Karen Kaufmann In the making of my first movie, titled “Pockets”, I worked to understand documentary making by interviewing members of the community in Missoula, Montana. The immediate and multi-faceted nature of video as a medium gave me many opportunities to actively participate in the creative process and thrive in the spontaneity of interactions in the moment. Along with videographer Felicia Edwards, I asked random people on the streets, one question: “What’s in your pockets?” We then videotaped their responses, with the goal being to capture authentic human behavior unobtrusively. We designed the interview process as a learning experience by inviting people to participate with very little preparation, allowing for cognitive dissonance to occur. The response we received reveal the many metaphors behind the simple question of what a person might have in his or her pockets; it often seemed as though the respondent was answering a different question, such as “What are you hiding” or “Who are you?” In addition, being an intended learning experience, the project was also designed to inspire a sense of ‘play’ for those involved. Through this process, I began to understand the sensitivity required for interviewing strangers. The editing program I used, I-Movie, enabled me to develop my vision, incorporating music, effects and rhythm in transitions. The completed movie was screened on a Missoula ‘First Friday’ art night in November 2006. The screening was part of an event involving entertainment. For an added interactive element, fellow artists were staged as live mannequins who allowed the audience to look at what was in their pockets. This project taught me to pursue an artistic vision to completion using a variety of available resources. It also gave me the opportunity to learn basic technical skills necessary for making a documentary, as well as reinforcing valuable communication skills that will influence my future planning of performance events and movie screenings. In addition, I learned hands-on lessons about proper data management, project documentation, event organizing and advertising. Finally, the project was a remarkable experience in designing learning moments for the public and continuing my development as a well-rounded multi-media artist.



© Copyright 2006 Tricia Opstad