Thursday, April 1, 2010

Two Years, Lots of Changes

When we first started this project, it was a pretty small one.  We planned to take a few months to interview five people, and then put that together to make a short film on the subject.  We just dove in the deep end and started it, with little regard for the challenges that lie in front of us.  (Or is it lay in front of us?  I can never get that one right.)  We were confident that it would be finished within one year, since it would only take a short bit of time (maybe a month or two) to interview the people on our list.  From there we could easily put that footage together to make a short film.  We started it in March and would have it finished by fall of the same year.

Here we are two years later, still wrapping up the film.  It's been an incredible journey, to say the least.  Over the course of these two years, so much has changed.  Our team of people helping with the project has grown by leaps and bounds.  The interest in our project--and when we will finish it--grows daily.  I started this blog as a public diary, thinking few people outside my family and friends would find interest in it.  Now I hear people follow our project and want updates regularly.  We have also upped the ante in terms of production quality, too.

When we first started, we were shooting in standard definition.  We then switched to HD after the first few interviews.  Over the course of time, I got more and more used to the differences in film and still photography and picked up tips from people to improve our composition and lighting.  My background in still photography (including studio lighting) helped greatly, but film is very different than still photography.  Additionally, I was learning all about the Vietnam War, Montagnards, Special Forces, interview techniques, trade policies, immigration rules, war strategy, and capturing audio/visuals.  It was a lot, and I am grateful to have been so ignorant of just how big the challenge was when I accepted it.  But that's what you do: you learn, try, and improve along the way.  There's no better way to learn to walk than by taking the first step.  Eventually you start walking with confidence, and before you know it you take the act of walking for granted.  One of the interviews I shot in DC is a particular favorite of mine since the lighting and background were pretty great, but there was still room for improvement on the whole.  It's hard to do all of that (or rather a little crazy to try it that way).  Many hands make light work, and much more fun.  Collaboration is the key to making the film great and working with talented, creative people is a passion of mine.

Last weekend, I felt a touch of dreams turn to reality. 

Sounds cheesy, but it's beyond exciting to have professionals willing to lend a hand to a project that's so near and dear to your heart.  Joshua Steadman and Gabriel Nelson helped me reshoot one of our standard def interviews.  I know firsthand that it takes a great deal of time and effort to make a set look and sound as good as Josh and Gabe did.  They have won my heart, professionally speaking! 

Josh and Gabe gave me the great gift of being able to simply show up and interview George.  What a joy!!  I didn't have to pack/carry equipment, set up a set, test audio/lighting, break down a set, or break a sweat at all.  I just arrived on set and interviewed when the time was right.  They even let me watch some of the footage while they broke down the set (which was probably a kind disguise to keep me from getting in the way or breaking anything since I'm terribly clumsy).  The whole day was entirely too easy, and I will be forever grateful for their help.  I will always want to work with people that are this down to earth, kind, professional and committed to excellence.  What great guys!

More information about these fellows will be posted soon, but for now I wanted to capture just how wonderful it is to see the changes that have happened over the course of two years.  The only thing that hasn't really changed?  Policies that support the allies we abandoned so many years ago.  But that's the thing: there's hope for that yet.


Annie Beth said...

Yeah, Camden. By the time you need me, I *may* have an infant. Not really sure right now. Bwahahahahahaha!

Glad to see the project grow. Looking forward to seeing more film.


Alida@IMakeStuff said...

How exciting! I can't wait to see the final product!