Reflecting on her passions


Maddie Harris

Sophomore Maddie Harris, left, sings with her theater group, Grand Performance Arts in Livermore. Harris recently self-produced a documentary about her theatre company and the heroes in it for the PTA Reflections contest.

Christine Oh, Co Editor-in-Chief

Can you imagine being behind a camera, adjusting sound and light effects, all while directing at the same time?

Sophomore Maddie Harris recently did just that while di- recting, and producing her own documentary for the 50th Na-tional PTA Re ections contest.

The annual competition, sponsored locally by the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs, allows local students to showcase their artistic passions.

Harris was able to bring to- gether her love for both theatreand lmmaking in a ve-minutedocumentary that showcases the heroes of Grand Performing Arts, a theatre company in Liv- ermore that is open to all ages.

After only two years of work- ing with the theater group, Harris and her fellow performers have already felt the community aspect of the company. Since the

Re ections theme this year was“Heroes Around Me”, Harris knew who she wanted to focus on for her project.

“My documentary was about how Grand Performing Arts has a bunch of role models on their staff, and how [they] feed into their community and create better people,” Harris said.

Harris also wanted to pro- mote the company and the wonderful community that comes along with it.

“I just wanted people to know about this amazing place that’s hidden within the Tri-Valley,” Harris said.

She started creating the documentary by simply asking performers in the company tolm short interviews.

“A lot of people wanted to shout out their favorite staff members and role models,” Harris said. “Whenever we had free time, I would go outside and shoot a quick interview during rehearsal.”

The completely self-pro- duced project was guided solely by her creativity and the coop- eration of the theatre company.

“As her parents we support her with getting equipment, [but] for this particular project, we didn’t help at all,” Maddie’s mother, Vicki Harris said.

Despite this, Harris only experienced a few bumps throughout the journey.

“One struggle I experienced while making this documentary was background noise and audio,” Harris said. “Our studio isn’t soundproof and I had to tryand x a lot of audio and workwith more sound problems than I have before.”

She encountered this prob-lem most often when lminginterviews.

“I haven’t lmed as muchdialogue, so it was kind of hard to go through the interview pro- cess without any experience,”said Harris, who nished herdocumentary within a month. “I think it turned out well, and

I learned a lot from it.”
Kristi Grand, who serves

as artistic director at Grand Performing Arts and is one of the heroes featured in the documentary, agrees.

“[Maddie] truly captured the essence of the program and the entire team it takes to make Grand Performing Arts what it is,” Grand said.

Reflections’ projects will be showcased today from 5-6 p.m. in the Pine Valley Middle School multipurpose room. An

awards ceremony will follow at 6 p.m.

Harris’ documentary has already passed the school level and was reviewed by the Na- tional PTA Council on Nov 1.

With over 350 views on YouTube under the channel title,M46 lms, Harris’documentaryhas proven to be a success.

“I’m so proud of her,” soph- omore Anna Truitner, one of Maddie’s close friends, said. “[The documentary] was really good and professional.”