MediaLab Update: ‘Type Cast’ Goes Into Production

Story by Kenya Zeigler, Producer
Photographs by Courtney Gayle and Eduardo Luna

Producers Kenya Zeigler and Viandra McCarthy

My name is Kenya Zeigler, and this is my first summer in MediaLab. I’m having a great time, learning lots of new things and getting a lot done.  I joined MediaLab because I want to pursue a career in journalism, and I feel this program is the perfect place to sharpen my media production skills. Currently I am one of four fantastic producers.
During week two of the program we began the production phase for Type Cast, a documentary about diabetes. Our objective was to capture footage to illustrate our concerns about the diabetes epidemic, so we spent the week focusing on first-hand accounts from people either living with or treating patients with the disease.
Mentor Cristina Guerra leads the set design.

Early in the week while our set designers worked on the backdrop for our interview with Joshua Ramos, a teenager with Type 1 diabetes, the producing team developed interview questions for both Joshua and his doctor. First we focused on becoming experts on the topic. We did tons of research online and even took a trip downtown to the Bodies Exhibit with volunteers from Virgin Mobile USA.  There we had the opportunity to examine the human body up close and learn about body systems that are affected by the disease.


The Sprint Prepaid team enjoyed working with the MediaLab students on their nutrition projects, and we talked in detail about the impact of a healthy lifestyle on different biological processes and organs.  They are very well-informed about complex biology and chemistry!


Our triumph of the week was a visit to the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, located in New York’s very own Washington Heights. The Center is committed to helping youth cope medically and emotionally with having diabetes. Our film crew captured some amazing establishing shots of the Center, b-roll of Joshua, and an interview with Dr. Ileana Vargas.
Joshua Ramos at the Naomi Berrie Research Center.

We had twenty minutes for the sit-down with Dr. Vargas, so the producers had to pick out only those questions that seemed most vital. This was no problem: we made content decisions on-the-spot, asking only the most important questions and listening attentively to detect whether Dr. Vargas had already answered questions on our list. Thankfully, the doctor was incredibly open. She shared with us her extensive knowledge of diabetes and gave us some background on her work with Joshua.
I am enjoying my time in MediaLab, but I still want to learn more about the camera and go deeper into my role as producer.
That’s all for now. . . . Stay tuned for more updates from our producers.