Friday, May 23, 2008

Counting Down to Interview #1

Everything seems to be coming together. I'm meeting my Dad at my grandmother's house tonight to pick up the camera equipment, which gives me just a little bit of time to practice with it and pick up any additional materials needed (batteries, tape, etc.). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will work out well, and I have faith that it will. Since it's a loaner, though, I may still purchase my own equipment in the end. I want to be sure we have broadcast quality, but this one will get me started.

I've been going over my notes repeatedly this week to help everything sink in before tomorrow. Charlie and his wife are my first interviewees, and I don't think this could be any better place to start. I've spoken to them on the phone twice and they are so kind. They spent 14 years in the Central Highlands of Vietnam through the war, serving as missionaries. I can't even imagine the stories they will share with me tomorrow. I'm so humbled by such incredible people.

On the project scope side, there's still so much to do to make this thing happen. I've been focused on writing plans for the project so that I will stay focused on completing it. Juggling so much always proves to be difficult, but writing about the journey in this space online is truly helping. Blogging is a familiar activity, and by recording this process I am able to stay on task.

There is so much to do, and I've hardly started!

Once the interviews are completed, I have to get them translated. That's the #1 goal of the project: written translation of the oral history. But simultaneously, I will be working to figure out how to have the film edited together. How will the story take shape? Where will the film start? What music will be used to amplify/exemplify the emotions of the people sharing their lives with me on film?

After editing starts, I want to focus on promoting and screenings. That requires an inordinate amount of planning and conversation with local business owners--all while simultaneously managing the editing to be sure that the final film is taking the shape we want it to take.

This journey is a great learning experience, and I'm trying not to get overwhelmed. What I'd really like to do is jump in and knock it out. The balancing act between working full time, performing improv and creating this film is challenging, but I know this will all be worthwhile. I am so humbled by the chance to make it happen.

In the meantime, I'm learning so much. Some how, the fact that the Vietnam War lasted so long escaped me. I have much to learn, and am grateful for the chance to share this with others. At the end of the day, it is the people that inspire me most. What they have been through, and how I can share that with others.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Good News!

I'm very excited about the fact that I will be able to borrow a camera for the first interview this weekend. I've been debating about using a camera or not for this first meeting, and things are falling in place. By borrowing this camera, I'll be saving about $4k!

It's always a painful thing for a photographer to have no camera, and I am learning that the same is true for filmmaking. It's painful to know you're going in to interview someone and possibly have made the wrong decision in choosing to not record it.

The reason I'm weighing this decision is because I really want to connect with the people I'm meeting this weekend. I want to focus on getting to know them, hearing their story and letting their experiences wash over me. I don't want to be distracted by setting up equipment, worrying about lighting, or focusing on mics. I'm prioritizing meeting the people, not focusing on the final footage. Call me crazy, right?

This is the perfect solution to meet all of my goals for this first step this weekend:
  • Record the interview without being too intrusive
  • Not worry me too much about dropping such a huge chunk of change
  • Still have broadcast quality footage for the final film
  • Save $4k by borrowing the camera instead of investing in my own purchase
It's amazing when these things come together so easily like this, and is proof that some things are meant to happen! I really feel a connection to this story, and am so excited to be recording it to share with others. Pinch me, this can't be reality.