I’m currently working on a short video documentary about the actors at Augustana, and spent some hours on Saturday following them around as they were preparing for their last show of “Raised in Captivity.” It’s truly fascinating to be able to visit someone’s world like that! I don’t need an excuse to be curious or ask questions, and the best of all: I don’t have anyone telling me what to do and what not to do. I can be my own boss, and let my own creativity flow.
Here are some sneak peeks from the first day of shooting.
In the past I’ve only done fictional short films, which allows you to “direct” the people in front of the camera, and tweak every single scene until it’s just the way you pictured it. In documentary filmmaking however, you’re not only a filmmaker, but also a journalist. And your task is to tell someone’s story just the way it is. There’s no room for directing, tweaking or enhancing of any kind.
Which is great of course, since you want to tell credible stories and let the audience see what you saw. But, it can also be a little frustrating at times, because you only get one shot. You can’t ask your subject to repeat everything they said, just because the lighting was a little off at that moment, for example. As the organized person I am, I prefer having a clear and structured plan ahead of me. But with this type of storytelling, I quickly realized that sometimes you have to trust your impulses, rather than the storyline and questions you planned beforehand. When you don’t have a script, and you’re dealing with real people, you can’t always predict the direction the story is going. Maybe that’s what makes documentaries so interesting? Either way, I enjoyed every minute of this first day’s shoot, and I’m excited to continue.