Monday, May 18, 2009

Good Days, Bad Days and Family

One of my cast members told me that his time in Vietnam was some of the happiest and saddest times in his life.  There were good days and bad days.  Naturally, it was a war.  The highs were high and the lows were very low.  He laughed a lot.  Cried occassionally.  Wouldn't really trade that time for anything.

Today, I am having a down day.  Writing, for me, becomes very difficult on days where I am not the happiest.  But today I have decided to write anyway, because it's important to remember the challenging days just as much as we remember the joyful ones.  Filmmakers know that the good becomes even better when contrasted against something bad.  It's why we have comic book heroes and arch nemises, after all.  Superman's great, but compared side-by-side with Lex Luthor he looks even better.  So, we have our good days and we have our bad days.  My point is that it's important to recognize and appreciate both. 

My reason for writing is not to complain or rant, but merely to remember that I struggled today.  The film is a blessing in so many ways.  A challege that has helped me grow into a much more confident young woman.  It's helped me understand what I want to do with the rest of my life.  But, on days like today, I have to appreciate the pains that come with those joys.

Today was a struggle, for certain.  And when one thing goes wrong, it's easy to see how everything can come crashing down around you in a second.  I write in these ambiguous ways because the details of what specifically went wrong are nebulous to anyone that doesn't know me very well.  My sister came over, listened to me, and sat with me.  It's the people to whom you are incredibly close that make things like a documentary film happen.  They may not be doing a specific task like designing, editing or writing, but they support you and hold you up in ways you never knew you needed.

Without my sister, without my family and friends, I would never be able to dream of doing something like this--and it is to them (as well as many others) that I am incredibly indebted and grateful.  We are given a family by birth, but we have the chance to make our own families at various points throughout our lives.  Seth Godin happens to call them tribes.  We get to make our own circle of people that are interesting and valuable to us.  Entrepreneurs call them a brain trust.  Businesses call them a board of directors.  There are many names for family.

One of the Montagnards to whom I have been introduced as a result of this project--a great leader in his community who works harder than many men I've met--calls his American friend a brother.  It's such a simple term, but holds so much weight.  Brother.  It's a term they use with love and respect, honor and gratitude.  Brother.  It is a term that unites two grown men who made great sacrifices together, long ago, so that I could enjoy freedom in my country (and do things like make a documentary film).

Family.  We are given a family, but we also make our own families as we journey through life.  It's not without our families that we accomplish much of significance, either.  Sure, it's possible to do great things without the support of your family (whether a given or created family), but it's so much more enjoyable to share the experience.  Even when you're pitifully sobbing like I was today.

There are many people that make a project like this happen.  Some you see in the opening credits.  Some you don't.  Yep, in a film, there are so many people that make it come together.  And that's one of the reasons I really enjoy this form of art: the collaborative efforts.  Maybe I'm old fashioned, but it feels like one of those barn raising events where the whole community comes together to build something.  And that's pretty excellent in my book.

1 comment:

Jennifer Griffin said...

Great post, Camden! Very insightful! Great way to explain the whole film making process to those of us who are less savvy :)