This process has been life changing. Making this film has been some of the most challenging and most rewarding work I’ve done at Medill. It’s the best feeling in the world to see the movie we’ve created start to really take shape. I’m so happy with the video we took, I’m so happy with the editing and I know that even at this point, the film we have is something I will be proud of forever.
Our main subject was difficult to work with for so many reasons but we had to be patient. I started to realize that while we as a documentary team felt abandoned by our main subject from time to time he was dealing with his own feelings of abandonment himself. He struggles with issues I cannot even comprehend, from homelessness to poverty and loneliness.
I felt like I went through an emotional spectrum with our main subject. He would miss our meetings, he would not speak clearly during our interviews and he was so hard to reach. He rarely responded to text messages and there were times we worried he might disappear from the project and leave us without a conclusion to our story.
There is a story arc. This alone kind of blows my mind. Creating a documentary is so much harder than, perhaps, making a scripted movie. I think this has to be the case because with a film based on reality there is no guaranteed resolution to the story. There’s no guarantee anything will drastically change during filming. A large part of the success of our film comes from just getting lucky.
It was a wonderful idea to make the climax the moment our subject buttons up his shirt before he goes to his interview at Chipotle. We trusted Brent, even when we were worried that the climax would be a weak moment. In Brent we had to trust.
When we screened the movie for our class I felt so connected to the film. I got emotional watching it. I could see all our hard work, all the hours we put in filming and then editing. I care about our main character. He’s like “our” kid. I feel like this project is part of me. This whole experience has made me more sure than ever that going into film making is the right career for me. I love being behind the camera. I loved expressing my creativity through film. And I’ve been so lucky to work with Zongwei. She’s a wonderful editor and the two of us spent nearly 70 hours together editing. I love seeing how this film has evolved. From an interview that no one could understand without interesting video attached to it, into a lyrical and thoughtful film that takes the audience into the life of this one person.
This is why I love watching documentary films, because you get to see into someone’s world. As a filmmaker I have loved seeing this movie come to life. I think we did what we set out to do. I think we have made a great film.
For distribution we wil link our video up to the Curt’s Cafe website. I want to submit to the student Emmys, also look into other local film festivals to submit to. Maybe shoot for the stars a little bit and use withoutabox to submit to some international film festivals.