Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Emails To And From A Friend: Subject "Documentary Film Making"

 (Email from my friend, our discussion has helped me focus my thoughts on what and why I am trying to do this film.)

It's cool these days how average people have access to the technology
necessary to make first rate docs or films of their own.  You can post
it up on Youtube and it can find an audience all by itself.

(My long winded replies)

Yes documentary film making is undergoing a real revolution. That has been happening for 10 years plus. Now you can actually shoot 1080p HD video and high end sound on your own run and gun, then edit it yourself and make a movie. All of this I am doing. 4K video is still a bit expensive but is not to far off from all of us as well.

Of course, no mater the tech part, making movies is a rather difficult to do, you need the drive to do it, many average folks (not all of course) when they reach a certain age lose that drive and become complacent. They sit on their asses living life as normal, the days they have left bleeding away to nothing. Many of the people I work with and know have no idea how difficult it is to do this, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I think in some small ways I might suffer PTSD. A very mild version compared to most folks who live with it but I think it is still there, in my dreams, in my daily thoughts, in my strange obsessions. My past memories and feelings have pushed me forward to try the crazy shit I try. Sometimes I wake up shockingly in the night with visions of something I have photographed, and those lives I have shared. When you do documentary work you can become rather close to your subjects, those feelings and memories as a result inhabit you.

Moving making what is that exactly? The trick of course is to get beyond the tech/gear stuff which anyone can master and tell a compelling story in an exciting and interesting way. I know I can do the tech stuff, I know I can buy good gear (already did that part). But how do you tell stories? How do you communicate in movie style ways. I get stills, I understand that, have been doing that for almost 40 years now, so biggy there. But movies? Movie story telling? That is a mystery that I need to figure out and fast. My guess is it will be like everything else, the more I do it the better I will get at it.

Fred (one of the subjects of my film) says that we have a great story and that's the most important thing. I think he is probably right, but many a great story has been fucked up by lousy movie making/story telling. Will see how it all goes down.

My plan is to work on several film ideas. If I have the time I might work on several things, some possibles include:

- Fred's work in the dump along with the people family life footage.
- The story of one single child in the dump.
- The story of one family in the dump.
- //// sex tourist story (have not spoken to him about it yet but could happen)maybe his perspective as well as a sex workers perspective, inter cut, their different lives.
- blowjob bar worker story
- Bkk gogo bar story, the stories of all the girls in a single bar
- life's of homeless people (I am close to 2 friends in that world living in Bkk). Showing who they are and why they matter so much..
- Boxers (know of a good place that I have shot slum boxers before, have connections there)

So lots of potential stories there, all pretty good. The dumps stories will take precedence. Will probably think of another 10 by tomorrow :)).

I will first submit the work to various film festivals (there are tons) and see where that goes before placing it on YouTube/Vimeo and donating a free film to Fred's charity to help raise money and to educate.

Who knows where this may lead, I might be writing my Oscar speech soon....:)))
Of course I should not get too down on how difficult these types of things are. You are also rewarded in countless ways. For example the donations and smiles. The joys of the children in the dump have more than paid up for any nails I stepped on or cockroaches that crawled on me. The goodness I have dealt with there has  out weighed the blackness.

I can still remember this young girl I gave 2 dolls to, 5 or 6, barefoot, living in abject poverty in a garbage dump. Yet when I gave her one doll she was so happy and eyed the other I had in my camera bag. She kept watching that doll, watching it rather covertly, but said nothing to me about wanting it (this went on for several minutes, maybe 5 total). Later I gave her the second small used toy doll and she was so pleased. I still can see her smile in my minds eye, such sheer joy on her face! She had a doll and now a friend for her doll and she went off to play with them, smiling from ear to ear.