Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WWED?

No joke, Stephanie and I used that phrase, What Would Ellen Do? when we were struggling with our final documentary.

This class has really done wonders for me, from getting excited about the possibilities of production, to working uber collabratively, to being comfortable with subjects and characters that aren't my friends that have minds and schedules of their own. I was sad that Stephanie and I had such a delayed start, and then so many technical difficulties, that we couldn't get more input from the class for the different phases of our documentary. It was really great to see how everyone's projects developed, often improving for the better with a class input session. I'm the type of person who never EVER lets people see my works in progress. Whether it be a paper or a movie, I am always in complete control from start to finish, am paranoid of criticism (constructive or otherwise), and rarely let anyone see something before its been turned in and graded. Obviously, the film industry is the last place someone like me should be. However, being constantly asked for my own input, screening all our works throughout the semester, and working with a partner on the final doc was a serious reality check, and has helped me focus where I want to go from here.

The whole WWED concept happened multiple times. I think watching Troop 1500 inspired me to get over some of our hesitations and realize that the potential our footage would have outweighed not getting it simply because we were shy. And while dealing with Tie-Dye Dave and prison wardens and inmates is not nearly the same, a few main mantras stuck with us: "What's the worst that happen?" and, "We have to do it now, in case the opportunity doesn't present itself again." We slowly got over our hesitancy to approach people, while also building resiliancy to unforseen circumstances (i.e. hostile drag rats).

I have found this class extremely enjoyable and an amazing learning and growing experience. I will definitely miss the little family we've become over the semester, and I can't wait to see the work everyone does in the future.

2 comments:

  1. Lacey: "There he is."
    Me: "Where? Oh, wait. I see him."
    Lacey: "He's going to see us talking and know we're talking about him."
    Me: "Act natural. ...This is going to be awkward."
    Lacey: "He won't move away from his dragrat friends!"
    Me: "Oh, look! He's giving water to a dragrat puppy! Should we interrupt him?"

    How many times did this conversation happen? While making this documentary our excuses for not interacting with our (not at all intimidating) subject got extreme. (Don't interrupt him while he's feeding a puppy??) However, the motivation of deadlines, shortage of time and opportunity, and of course WWED? kept us rolling (ha ha, film pun).

    I think this class took both Lacey and I out of comfort zones we didn't even know we had. Or at least I didn't. I feel like I'm constantly interacting with strangers - having funny awkward moments with random people, or just making friends checking them out at the register at Tyler's. Yet, somehow this was different. Somehow going up to someone and telling him we've noticed him, want to make an entire documentary about him, and want to know his life story in the next 10 or so minutes because we need to get to class seemed just a tad intrusive. (Pretty sure we still haven't told Dave our documentary is only about him...) Thankfully, Dave's sincerity, kindness, and total tolerance of a sometimes inept film crew ("why won't the lav work?" "did we bring batteries?" "what's this flashing button mean?") made him the perfect protagonist for our first documentary.

    I really can't even begin to express what I've learned through this class. How to work with equipment (a given), how to deal with equipment check out people (just keep smiling and maybe they won't treat you like an idiot), how to hug a drag rat to keep him away from the interview (that was unexpected). Intro to Doc has taught me how to have the patience to deal with whatever comes up in the process and just go with it. You can't plan life, and (you can plan FOR, but) canNOT plan OUT a documentary. When your keys get locked in your car and you miss an important filming opportunity, just wait for the next time you can shoot. Who knows, your subject may have gotten a nose flute for his birthday. That always makes for a great soundtrack.

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