This paper chronicles the four years that I worked on my thesis film "Learning To Fly," which I screened at the RIT May 2010 screenings. Much of this process included significant obstacles that I was thankfully able to overcome due to the support of friends and family. I have tried to include many of the details of this journey, however this has created a lengthy account. For me it's important to include many of the traumatic moments that I experienced so that I can move on and create more, hopefully less distressing productions. Because I retained so many emails and photos I have included them for accuracy and informative purposes. Therefore, much of my content revolves around documentation that I kept, much else has been forgotten or is recorded on the over 200 tapes that were shot during the making of this documentary.

In creating "Learning To Fly," I went through numerous stages. I spent approximately a year in pre-production on the first iteration of this film called, "Inspirations of Life: Rochester - Zambia."

I then progressed to the production phase of the Rochester half of the film. When that was terminated, I began production on it again, this time called "Inspirations of Life" in Rochester with RCTV15. I was then finally able to progress to production of the second half in Zambia. I wrapped up post-production while in New Jersey during the winter of 2009 until it screened in 2010 as "Learning To Fly." The final documentary is 28 minutes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Motion pictures--Production and direction; Documentary films--Production and direction

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Film and Animation (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Film and Animation (CIAS)


Cathleen Ashworth

Advisor/Committee Member

Jack Beck

Advisor/Committee Member

Tom Gasek


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at PN1995.9.D6 T74 2010


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes