It’s been a long, long time since I’ve last visited an amusement park.
The last visit was in 2006, the year I graduated from high school. Every year, the seniors get to go on a field trip to Kings Dominion; it’s sort of a nice farewell treat for enduring the four brutal years in high school (Everybody agrees with me, right? High school kinda sucks!).
Well. That year, as long-time readers may know, is the year I got hospitalized and officially diagnosed for anorexia nervosa. Even though my counselor didn’t really seem to want me to go for fear that I might faint or something during the trip, I went. And although I couldn’t eat the hot dogs and crinkled fries like my friends or ride the scary roller-coasters, I had a blast just walking around and cheering for my friends. I had just gotten my acceptance letter to Northwestern, so I was in good cheer and high hopes that things would get better from then on.
I’d forgotten all about my trip to Kings Dominion until I sat down four minutes ago to write this post. I forgot how much I used to love visiting amusement park as a kid. I’m a wimp so I stuck to merry-go-rounds, ferry wheels and Little Teapot rides, but god I loved the laughter and screams of people whooshing down roller-coasters, the pastel dots of cotton candy, the warm, sugary aroma of donuts and funnel cakes (sometimes mingled with the faint smell of puke) and the never-ending swirl of colors.
Unfortunately, my amusement park experience is sorely lacking. I’ve been to California’s Universal Studio and Disneyland when I was 12. I’ve been to South Korea’s Lotte World a long, long time ago. I’ve been to Singapore’s now defunct Fantasy Island at Sentosa in what feels like decades ago.
I’ve forgotten what amusement parks sound and look like. So when I learned that Monday’s assignment would be an all-day of filming at whatever location, for whatever topic I want, I chose Coney Island.
Coney Island, of course, is America’s most famous and iconic entertainment district in New York. It’s a place of wonderful and crazy history, a main attraction site for families, couples and freaks alike. Unlike the majority of today’s amusement parks, Coney Island was a motley of family-owned games and rides, which meant it was a pay-for-ride theme park. Which also meant that admission was free!
Monday’s project was for our film instructor Clayton Sizemore (the manager of operations at CNN, ooh-er!), and he wanted us to spend a whole day filming and then come back with enough material to create a 3-minute broadcast news video. If I’m going to toil under the 90-degree sun for 6 hours, might as well have fun doing it!
Funny thing how you remember stuff years later that prove to be extremely useful.
About a few years ago, I remember reading on some news publication that Coney Island was deteriorating. And then less than a week ago, I read on the New York Times that Coney Island had just released two brand new thrill rides as part of a multi-million dollar revitalization plan by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Boom. There’s my news angle! Woo hoo!
Mr. Sizemore was worried that going all the way to Coney Island (about a 50-minute subway ride) would be unsafe, but I already had my buddy and roommate, Catherine, hooked in as my film buddy.
We would be shooting separate packages, of course, but heck yes, we’re going to Coney Island! I purposely dressed in red, blue and (kinda) white in celebration of Memorial Day.
I was the only one to dress in patriotic colors, even though I’m one of the two only non-American citizen in our class. What’s up with that? Okay, I’ll admit, I dressed up only because I just bought those funky red jeans from UNIQLO (on sale for just $13!!).
Anyway. Here’s a slideshow of pictures I took at Coney Island.
Dude, it was HOT. I was sweating by the buckets! So I wasn’t in the best of mood when it was time for me to do my stand-up. Which is why I might have slipped a cuss word or two, and made a whole bunch of hideous faces.
Catherine insisted I post this on my blog in full. She thinks it’s hilarious. I think that guy who tried to hijack the screen is even more hilarious.
Unfortunately, my computer ran out of space so I had to delete a whole bunch of stuff. And then iMovie got stubborn and it took me more than 2 hours (I think it was like 2 hours and 48 minutes) to just upload my shots into the video editing software. By the time we were supposed to show off our package, I still had 23 minutes left before I even got any footage copied to iMovie.
I felt bad, but I had to be plugged into my computer trying to squeeze in a hasty edited package with voiceover while my classmates presented their videos. But I made it. Phew.
Here’s the finished package:
That’s not the original. The original package consists of a voiceover that is breathy and flustered, with an accent so thick even I couldn’t understand what the heck I said. I also made some inappropriate jokes about “freaks” that Mr. Sizemore recommended I leave out. So that video above consists of a new voiceover, though the visuals are the same.
By the time the whole class presented our videos, it was almost 11 p.m. It was a long, hectic, overwhelming and freaking fantastic day.
Just another day in the journalism world. And I love it!