Today is going to be a full day focused on the film, as was yesterday. I've taken two vacation days from work so that I can keep things moving forward. It's a good time to do it since Independence Day is a holiday, which gives me three full extra days (in addition to the weekend). So, it's almost like having a full week to work on the film. I can't help but fantasize that this is what it would be like to have my "full time job" actually be filmmaking, as this has been my dream for so long. It is incredible to feel one's dream converge with reality.
I feel like my research on Hollywood is starting to solidify, too. For so long I have watched and read actors and filmmakers talk about how "lucky they are to work with such great talent" and how they "would work with so-and-so on another project any time", but now it's starting to get ingrained in my head.
You have to surround yourself with people that are far more talented than you are, that bring incredibly valuable skills and ideas to the table. You want to go to war with these people, and you have to trust that they will understand your vision and help you make it come to life. You need to know that they will be there to help carry you, when you are too weak to walk on your own.
It's not too different than being in the jungles of Vietnam with a Montagnard at your side to show you how to survive eating the poisonous plants and life-threatening wild life that could kill you at any moment, or a barrage of enemy fire heading straight in your direction. It is no wonder why American troops trained them and fought side-by-side with them. But, where are we now when they still suffer in Vietnam? Where are we to fight by their sides when they need us?
As I sit at this cozy Cafe Carolina in Cameron Village, waiting to meet on of the Montagnards to chat about his studies in Texas, I am reminded at how surreal this whole project feels. Yesterday was an incredible day, and it feels like each one just keeps getting better and more exciting. There is much to tell and little time to share it at the present moment, but that will come soon I am sure.
There are three interviews scheduled for today, and a meeting at the Apple store again. I've logged some of the HD footage, and recognize the insurmountable help I'm going to need editing everything into a succint 30-minute piece. But the reasons for the film are never forgotten.
Yesterday, one of my interviewees smiled at the end of almost two hours of talking, and looked me in the eye to if this film was going to help his people. The love he has for helping his people (both in Vietnam and here in the States) just pours from him. He has seen so much, survived incredible circumstances, and sat across from me yesterday asking for my help.
Every day is incredibly humbling. I told another friend a little more about the project, specifically how we want it to bring about positive change. He said, "Really? Is that one of your goals?" I like his questions because he is very grounded in reality, and helps me keep my head out of the clouds.
"Yeah, it is. We're hoping that by telling others about what's happened and is currently happening, we can make change take shape," I replied confidently. I'm hoping so. Counting on it. Knowing that this is all choreographed by something much larger and more important than I am, I feel that it could make positive change happen.
And when my interviewee looked at me smiling, asking that question yesterday, I genuinely meant that response. The Americans that fought with them made many promises, and as an American, I feel it's the least I can do. For now.