My documentary book, titled Integrative Oncology: Synergistic Healing, records a new branch of cancer treatment which combines traditional, Western treatment with unconventional care. This includes mindfulness meditation, massage therapy, alternative dieting, and more. Many steps were taken in the production of the book. Firstly and most importantly, I went out into the community to find my documentary subject, reaching out to fascinating people in order to document their stories. After this initial step, I used interviews and testimonies combined with my own research to formulate the structure and purpose of my book, going on to write the final product. In order to translate this writing into the final product of a book, I used InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop software to edit photos, create formats, paragraph and character styles, draw images and symbols, and structure designs with a color scheme. This second part of the process was assigned in my Design class, with content borrowed from English class. In digital media class, I supplemented the book with this corresponding website coded in Adobe Dreamweaver, as well as a video created in Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, and Pro Tools to introduce the book. In making the video, I taught myself how to animate a rotoscope using Photoshop, by importing a short video which I took. Photoshop turned the frames of the video into photos, which I then traced over individually to make a stop motion animation.
It’s so clear to me now, with my perspective from my work, that that’s the space where the actual integration happens. And the word is integrative. Oncology. So it’s this actual space where all that has happened, all that is happening can actually digest, and find its place, and come home and settle, where it can be accepted and integrated into the being
My goal in producing this documentary was to share the contemporary field of Integrative Oncology through informative research and testimonies of personal experience. When I began the project, I wanted to gather as much information as possible and dive deep into the research aspect of the subject. The challenge then was to express the emotional resonance that accompanies the human experience of going through cancer and the process of healing. I discovered connections I had never anticipated between my documentary subjects, and realized the cyclical relationship between mentality and physicality. I managed to stay motivated during this difficult project because the opportunity to have a hard copy of a book entirely written, designed, and formatted by me was incredibly inspiring. I discovered a passion for my subject and enjoyed the learning and reading that went along with writing about it. It was difficult after expending so much energy during the writing process to then have to learn to use InDesign and switch gears to focus on the aesthetic angle of the process, but this was also very inspiring because I could execute my artistic vision without having to focus on data and structure. This project took me beyond the traditional high school curriculum, and I have learned more through this project than any other in my life. It taught me to manage my time, ask for help, reach out to people, prepare for interviews, research a complex subject, use new software, and open myself up to new ideas.