institute for documentary studies

{Week 11: Multimedia}

Week 11: Multimedia

This week was an exercise in calm amid a storm. And faking it until you make it. And a lot of other things, but we’ll focus on these two.

This past weekend I drove three hours north to shoot for our video profile assignment. Basically, we were supposed to find someone with a good story to tell – and then tell it. Sounds simple, right? Oh, dear goodness, no. No, it wasn’t.

On the drive north, all I could think about was that I had clearly forgotten something. Obviously I was going to pull up to this person’s driveway and realize that I had forgotten batteries, or the lav mic, or the lav mic’s extra batteries. As it turns out I had everything and as this person was inviting me into their home, I realize I would just have to own this. I had no idea what I was doing. My fingers fumbled over all the equipment looking for the right buttons and knobs, but I just pretended that this was the way it goes. If this shoot was going to get done, I would have to take charge and get it done. I was literally saying these things to myself in my head, a mental pep talk. This is what it takes to get good video when you’re not confident in your skills – just fake it. Make a check list of things to do while you’re shooting and check it often – blatantly! In front of your subject. Because even if you only remembered to focus your shot because you checked your to-do list, they are going to think you’re professional. Or at least they are much more likely to if you don’t have to call them to do the interview all over again because you screwed up because of your own ego. (Realize that “you” is, indeed, “me”).

Oh, and that storm of which I was speaking. The deadlines. And the fact that technology is a cold master that doesn’t love you and never will. If you accept this now, in the eleventh week, you might make it out without a broken heart (broken heart = sleep deprivation and deep inner turmoil due to repetitive mouse clicking).