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 West Bloomfield resident Torin Caplan, left, interviews Alexa Bernstein for a documentary he made about the COVID-19 pandemic.

West Bloomfield resident Torin Caplan, left, interviews Alexa Bernstein for a documentary he made about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo provided by Torin Caplan


WB resident makes documentary about COVID-19

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published July 16, 2020

 West Bloomfield resident Torin Caplan has completed a student documentary he made, titled “Change: A COVID-19 Documentary.”

West Bloomfield resident Torin Caplan has completed a student documentary he made, titled “Change: A COVID-19 Documentary.”

Photo provided by Torin Caplan

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — The saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” could aptly apply to West Bloomfield resident Torin Caplan.

In his senior year at Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood High School, Caplan had lined up an internship with a film company in Detroit.

He enjoys making films and editing, and he was excited about the opportunity.

But the internship was set to take place in May, and like so many others, Caplan was in quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

His internship opportunity with the film company was over.

Fortunately for Caplan, another option became available.

Cranbrook decided to open up internships to “basically do whatever you want,” he said.

What Caplan chose to do for his project was make a documentary about COVID-19 and how it has impacted people’s lives.

So with his mom’s camera and some people who were willing to talk, he got to work.

“I was thinking, what could I really do that was meaningful during this time?” Caplan said. “I like making films and editing and stuff. … I thought that it would be cool to make something about our current events and how people are impacted by it for my project.”

Caplan relied on various connections he had to set up interviews. He knew some of the subjects personally; others, he didn’t.

Some of the interviews with people he knows were conducted in person, with other conversations taking place via Zoom.

“I wanted to get as many different people from as many different walks of life as possible,” Caplan said. “So I started thinking about what connections I had and how I could contact people.”

Due to his late grandfather’s involvement with the West Bloomfield Optimist Club, one of the people Caplan was familiar with was West Bloomfield Police Department Deputy Chief Curt Lawson, who is the president of the club.

Lawson consented to be part of Caplan’s documentary.

He has since had a chance to view the finished product.

“I thought he did a great job in a relatively short amount of time,” Lawson said. “He was able to interview a number of different people with different perspectives of how COVID-19 has affected both themselves and their families, and their thoughts on how it’s affected the community.”

Aside from not getting to do the internship he had arranged, the pandemic has also personally impacted Caplan in other ways as a 2020 graduate.

“We didn’t get to have a traditional graduation; I missed out on prom,” he said. “Those were both things I had been looking forward to. At my school, we did a parade instead of a graduation, and we saw all the teachers. It was actually really nice. … But it was difficult not really getting closure. … I never got to say bye to some people. It was very difficult during that time.”

Caplan said he started the project in early May, and he estimates that it took four or five weeks to complete.

After all that was involved with the process of making the documentary, the time finally came for him to sit down and view the finished product.

“Finally, at the end, it’s like, I get to watch a 20-minute video and just enjoy it,” Caplan said. “It was really cool not having to make any changes or not having to think about things that I wanted to change.”

Caplan’s documentary is titled “Change: A COVID-19 Documentary,” and it can be viewed on YouTube.com.

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