During my two years in the MIAS program, I have been diligent about pursuing a vast array of hands-on experiences in various archival institutions in order to develop and foster a diverse set of AV archival skills. From commercial archives, to nonprofit institutions, my on-site practica allowed me to observe first-hand how the fundamental power-structures at play in each archive collectively affect the preservation, and presentation of our audiovisual history.
UCLA Film & Television Archive
As a UCLA Film & Television Archive intern, I had the privilege of processing and inventorying a large collection of pornography from the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives – Outfest UCLA Legacy Project collection. From what I gathered, I was the first person to go through this collection, and will probably be the last for a very long time. This collection occupies a full pallet of space in the Archive’s pallet room, which consists of some 30 boxes, and each of these boxes contains anywhere from 25-40 items in various different film gauges: Super 8, 8mm, 16mm and 35mm.
While many people at the Archive were supportive of my efforts and applauded me for being the first person to work on this collection, many have noted that the collection will once again go unprocessed after my internship is over. Although many archivists at the Archive support porn preservation, it quickly became apparent that nearly any other collection in the backlog will take priority over this one as to not upset or offend more conservative institutional leaders. This internship allowed to put into to practice my advocacy for porn preservation, and I quickly realized the severe difficulty of trying to employ a preservation strategy for this type of work, as it’s still very much a touchy subject to bring up around older, more conservative senior staff. However, I'd like to think that my work at the Archive with pornography finally opened up a much needed discussion about the neglected status of these works in archives.
USC Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive
During the 2015 Winter quarter I began volunteering at USC’s Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive where I learned most of technical aspects of moving image archiving from Dino Everett. After volunteering for a couple of months, I began an internship with Dino and spent a total six months refining my film handling skills (Super 8, 8mm, 9.5mm, 16mm, 28mm and 35mm), along with familiarizing myself with a variety of different magnetic tape formats. I was ultimately able to digitize a large collection of 16mm films from the Petersen Automotive Museum and learned how to conduct basic digital repairs of digitized films in Adobe After Effects and Adobe Audition.
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
During the Fall 2015 quarter, I was lucky enough to land a position as an Archive and Resource Library intern at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank. Although this was my first internship at a commercial instituions, this relatively new archive was the smallest department I've worked at thus far. While I did processes and asses a large assortment of audiovisual material, I was forced to come out of my comfort zone and work with paper collections such as original pencil drawings, storyboards and paintings. This proved to be very challenging at first, but I quickly adjusted, and by the end of my internship, I felt completely comfortable handling and processing these collections.
(Inspecting a Ren and Stimpy film print without proper film handling equipment)
The Academy Film Archive
I worked alongside Heather Sabin at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Film Archive to inventory and catalog unedited b-roll footage from the 88th Academy awards show. I am also in charge of verifying the content of various Digibeta master tapes from previous awards show and inputting additional descriptive metadata into the Archive’s Adlib cataloging software. This position has provided me with an important, hands-on introduction to a hierarchical database system, which has allowed my to finally put into practice the various theoretical principles I learned in last year’s MIAS’ winter-quarter Cataloging of Moving Image Materials course (MIAS 230). The Academy’s ability to effectively promote and provide access to this vital collection relies on the accuracy of the catalog record, and seeing first hand how cataloging and access are inherent interdependent on one another will forever shape the way in which I continue my professional work in the field.