The Right to Marry - October 13, 2015

The Pursuit of Happiness: The Struggle for Marriage Equality from the 1950s to 2015

This documentary explores the experiences of these traditionally marginalized couples from the 1950s to the present, and offers insight into evolving perceptions of race and sexuality throughout this time. Students at University Laboratory High School, in collaboration with Illinois Public Media WILL-AM 580, interviewed 16 individuals and couples whose stories capture both struggle and triumph as the battle for marriage equality has played out.

The Right to Marry - June 08, 2015

Breaking Down Barriers - TRANSGENDER

By the end of this month, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage. Students from University Laboratory High School have prepared a series of reports on the history of the right to marry in contemporary American society. Today in the final installment of Breaking Barriers we meet Kathleen Robbins, a transgender woman.  Series producer Vinay Koshy narrates the story written by Uni High student Keisha Patel.

The Right to Marry - June 08, 2015

Breaking Down Barriers - Children

Later this month, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on several issues related to same-sex marriage. Students from University Laboratory High School have prepared a series of stories on the experiences of people who have fought for the right to marry. In part three of Breaking Barriers we hear about the stories of non-traditional couples who have chosen to have children and how their marriage has affected their children’s upbringing. Series producer Alice Hu narrates the story written by Uni High students Rima Rebei and Zina Dolan.

The Right to Marry - June 08, 2015

Breaking Down Barriers - AIDS

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule later this month on the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage.  Students from University Laboratory High School prepared a series of stories about the experiences of people who have fought for the right to marry. In part two of Breaking Barriers we hear how the AIDS epidemic helped galvanize gay rights activists in the United States. Series producer Alice Hu narrates the story written by herself and Uni High student Ellen Rispoli.

The Right to Marry - June 08, 2015

Breaking Down Barriers - RELIGION

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide later this month on two key legal questions related to same-sex marriage.  Ahead of that ruling, students from University Laboratory High School in Urbana have prepared a series of stories on the experiences of people who have fought for the right to marry. In part one of Breaking Barriers we hear from several LGBTQ residents in central Illinois about their experiences with religion. Series producer Vinay Koshy has the story.

The Right to Marry - November 14, 2014

Rough Editing and Radio Spots

This was my first year of doing rough editing and honestly I didn't really know what to expect. Being on the pre-production team for the last two years, I had gotten used to my work being done outside of school so when I had to set aside hours of my school day over the course of a few weeks really messed up my schedule. I got used to it soon enough, and found it to be quite interesting. While it gets tedious to listen to the same story over and over in hopes of cutting it at exactIy the right point, it was eye opening to get to hear the story over and over again. It was an different experience to get to hear the raw emotion in people's voices as they tell their personal and touching stories. One of the biggest differnece I noticed while working on the post-production team this year was a chance to get to hear a lot more personal stories. 

Now our next job is to write radio spots. This gives us a chance to string together people's personal stories to get one main point across. Now instead of just reading about my specific person's stories I am branching out and looking at various different people. Each having there own perpective on a specific topic, own personal stories to share, and most importantly, their own voice. I've only just begun with the radio spots, but I can't wait to really get started.

The Right to Marry - November 05, 2014

Finished Rough Editing

We have finished  rough editing the chosen stories. By this point, I have listened to or read many stories from different people and most of the stories are really moving. I was assigned to edit audio from Kathleen Robbins's interview. Her stories about being transgender and figuring out who she was are really inspiring. After hearing and reading all these stories, and being an intervewer myself last year, I am very excited that I am working on this project. The stories we have to work with are amazing and I wish we could use more of them than we can. 

Rough editing was very confusing at first. It took me practice to figure out how to select and use the markers. After I fugured it out, however, it was very fun. I only took me one day, where I used our free time in English and Uni Period. I am looking forward to making the radio spots. 

The Right to Marry - November 04, 2014

Listening Time

Kathryn Dullerud

As I listened to the stories for rough editing, I kept wondering if the interviewee knew they were being "rough edited" at that very moment. I wonder if people know the process that the interns go through to get the final documentary. I remember last year, when our class interviewed the people we are now using for our project, thinking why it took so long to make the documentary. I hope the listeners of our documentary know how long the interns worked to get to the final product, with rough editing being only part of it.

The Right to Marry - November 04, 2014

Visual or Audio?

20 Feet from Stardom and The Right to Marry

Have you ever heard of Darlene Love? Or maybe more recently Judith Hill? I hadn’t before I watched the documentary 20 Feet from Stardom on Netflix. The synopsis offered by is as follows, “Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.” This documentary just recently won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, and rightfully so. I was completely blown away by both the powerful women that were portrayed in it and the style and editing of the documentary itself. Naturally, I thought of our own Right to Marry radio project. Although 20 Feet from Stardom is a visual representation, the techniques, transitions and other aspects are very reflective of what we hope to accomplish in our own work. Music and words are used beautifully as a transitioning tool. I would recommend this documentary on the transitions alone!

We can also view 20 Feet from Stardom as something to compare audio and visual documentaries. Although serving the same purpose, visual documentaries offer, well, the visual image. This visual image opens up so many doors for the producers, offering something concrete that the viewer can latch on to. On the other hand, audio documentaries allow us emphasize the interviewee more. The listener focuses more on the emotions and the tones of the voice. This does put more pressure on the producers. We must weave our story in such a way to emphasize further what the interviewees want to say.

I would definitely recommend you check this documentary out on Netflix! I have attached the trailer from YouTube with this post.

The Right to Marry - November 03, 2014

Script-Writing Shenanigans

Nafisa Syed

After two years of sound editing and anxious waiting, I was excited to begin the process of script-writing. Despite my considerable experience with revising written work, I had, in my heart of hearts, dreamed up the script-writing process as a sort of glorious, immaculate phenomenon: we would blink, and suddenly the script would appear, glowing with eloquence. The distance I had from script-writing made it seem almost magical, otherworldly. I remember thinking, How did they do it? after listening to Beyond the Tie-Dye my first year as an intern.  Throughout my time as an intern, I remember reading blog posts describing script-writing lock-ins and what seemed like endless meetings. I now fully realize the need for those meetings, and can now completely appreciate all that the producers of the past have done.

When I first opened the script outline, my first thoughts were: Okay, I can do this.  I  immediately began to scour the story documents for the perfect stories, trying desperately to avoid the temptation to delve into transcripts themselves. Once all my stories were lined up like ducks in a row,  a realization began to set in: I have to write narration. In the past, all I had written were radio spots,  whose four-minute scripts looked microscopic compared to the vast expanse of the 1-hour-30-minute documentary.  I felt extremely lucky to have a script-writing team  in Alice and Simone. The wonderful work of my fellow script-writing producers helped me with the narration: they were happy to comment and provide feedback on my narration, as well as provide helpful  transitions between the sections we were writing.  As we worked together, I became better at writing narration that nestled between stories, providing a foundation on which to lay the glossy gems of wisdom our interviewees have so graciously provided.

I can't believe that we have finished the first draft of the script already, and are beginning to look at radio spots and music selection. I'm looking forward to polishing up the script, and to the new insights the music selection process will bring. I'm especially excited to see what the interns come up with for the radio spots!

⇒ All Blog Entries

More on The Right to Marry

outline of three people


Meet the people who produced this project

outline of a diamond


Meet our project partners