This week, we have begun filming the subjects of our long-form project, which will be a documentary. We started with a professor and faculty member of Warner College of Natural Resources, Ethan Billingsley, and today, we polled and filmed students walking to and from class on the Plaza (and we also caught a nice lady who works at the LSC Bookstore, Fran!).
However, during both of these experiences, I have been learning just how uncomfortable documentary filming can be. We have had to reach out to so many people about this project, and we heard back from some caring and helpful individuals — most, we did not. We received rejections through phone calls, emails, and most frequently, in person on the Plaza. Yelling out “Can we ask you a couple questions on camera?” in a place where people are typically accosted by those wishing them Hell is surprisingly not received all that well. We were told “no,” laughed at, and, more often, completely ignored by those who pretended not to hear us (or just stared, open-mouthed).
When we did manage to convince someone to sit in front of our camera and answer our questions, it was still awkward. Many people seemed confused or taken by surprise by some of our questions. A lot of people answered, “I don’t know,” or “I’m not sure if I know much about that topic.” It seemed that even those who were willing to help were uncomfortable by our documentary.
I’m not sure if this awkwardness is simply part of documentary-making (or filming in general), or if it’s just my personality, but I have certainly been uncomfortable this week. However, we should be wrapping up at the end of next week, so it seems that I will survive, and I will continue to try to make people more comfortable with our filming style.