What this project involves
- Video documentary segment
- *20 minute time limit (*exceptions considered)
- Shot like an interview (but see details below)
- May include shooting B roll in some instances
- Shoots where you are (probably in your home)
- Audio podcast discussion
- No time limit
- May be video-recorded in some cases
- Records where you are (or by remote)
Also, note that we will be working from an organized list of talking points that you provide to make sure we cover everything you wish to discuss (see further down for details).
Video documentary segment
This is shot like an interview – where I sit across from you and listen – but rather than be interviewed, you simply introduce yourself, share your story, and talk about what you learned.
While I will be present to listen (you will be talking to me, not the camera) and to help prompt you to provide clarification or to cover certain things you wanted to discuss as indicated in your list of talking points (see further down this page), I will not be featured in your video segment.
The video segment is composed of 2 parts
Part 1: Introduction & backstory (5-10 minutes)
- Introducing yourself & providing some information about your background
- Discussing your story (the life experiences & challenges that led to the lessons you are going to share)
Part 2: Lessons & advice (5-10 minutes)
- Discussing the lessons you learned and any advice & encouragement you wish to pass on to others.
While it’s good if you can present everything as one seamless segment, this is not a formal presentation and it does not have to be seamless or presented flawlessly. You get as many takes as necessary to present yourself and your story and the lessons you wish to share as clearly as possible.
How you use your time is up to you, but the total time it takes you to introduce yourself, share your story (this could be one story from your life or several) and discuss what you learned should not exceed *20 minutes (some exceptions considered).
The total amount of on-screen time you get is 20 minutes, but the actual amount of time it takes to shoot a segment typically takes longer due to breaks, mistakes, restarts, clarification, etc.
I’ll be working with you every step of the way to help you convey the message that you wish to deliver with the tone you wish to delivery it with. This should a rewarding experience. Any aspects of your (video or audio) segments that don’t add value to it will be edited out.
We don’t start until you’re ready & comfortable. After I arrive at your location, it typically takes me about 20 minutes to set up. During this time we will talk — and/or you will prepare — and then we will begin when you’re ready & comfortable.
Things to do & consider
Make a list of talking points
In preparation for your segment(s), please make an organized bullet point list of things you wish to discuss. This includes:
- Details you don’t want to forget mentioning
- Lessons you want to share
- Organizations, products, resources, or causes you want to draw attention to
We will both refer to this list to help make sure you cover everything you wish to discuss.
This list is important because I don’t yet know the details of what you wish to discuss and it can be easy to lose track of important details during the process. This list helps us stay on target.
REMEMBER: 20 MINUTES MAX
Although there is some flexibility with regard to the length of your introduction, backstory, and the lessons you share, the overall time it takes you to discuss everything should not exceed 20 minutes.
Remember, our audio discussion will allow you to provide more details and information
If you can't meet with me in person...
If you can’t meet with me in person, I’d still like to have an audio discussion with you. Our discussion will be recorded over the internet (or phone) and presented in podcast format (details provided when applicable).
*Audio podcast discussion (with video when convenient)
In addition to your video segment, we will also have an audio discussion in which we talk about you, your life experiences, and what you’ve learned. There is no time limit and you are welcome to go into as much detail about your story as you wish.
In this segment, I will be asking you questions, but we will also go wherever the conversation leads. One of my goals is to take an honest & thoughtful look at people’s successes, setbacks, failures, and struggles in life while discussing the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
We will also be discussing topics related to the primary theme of this project: resilience and hope. Excerpts from our discussion may be used to help supplement your video documentary segment.
*Audio discussions may be informally documented on lower quality video — and could possibly be streamed as a video podcast.
Time: As long as necessary (expect 1 to 2 hours)
Unless otherwise arranged, video documentary segments are shot in subjects’ residences.
While we will need a small area of tidy space to shoot in, you do not need to clean your place. I do not care about the state of your household.
The primary requirement of any shooting location is that it is comfortable for the subject and quiet enough to have a discussion without distractions.
- We simply need a comfortable place for you to sit and a non-distracting background (that will be blurry in the video).
- It is preferable if we can shoot near a major source of light that helps illuminate you — such as a window, open door, etc. Otherwise, we will use the lighting that already exists in your place — such as the lamp you have next to your couch.
3. An audio-friendly space. This means:
- No barking, whining, or noisy pets (cat hair, etc is not an issue)
- Limited hum of appliances like air conditioning
- Quiet family members or roommates while we shoot & record
If in-residence shooting isn’t a workable option, we will consider shooting outside at a nearby location (such as a park) — but we will need to contend with weather conditions as well as noise.
"What I wish I knew then..."
In some cases, it may help you to focus on or narrow down the lessons you wish to share by thinking about what you would say to yourself “back then” (the time when you were dealing with things) or what you would say to someone who is currently facing a related experience.
Also keep in mind, if you did have the ability to go back in time to talk to yourself — how would you talk to yourself in order to make the greatest impact? Because, we often “know” things in life, but we ignore it.
Order of segments
We may record the podcast first and the video second or vice-versa depending on subjects’ comfort or personal preference.
That said, depending on the type of experience being shared, it’s better — in many cases — to tell difficult stories on camera first, because the emotions captured are raw and genuine and allow an audience to identify with a subject much more than when conveyed through audio alone.
More is always a possibility and will be discussed when applicable.
For example, I will be doing a ~6-month follow-up with a family I already met with to see how things have changed — this is before any of our initial content has even been released.
B Roll (supplemental video)
When time allows, will be shooting B roll (video footage) to help supplement the main video. This includes casual or behind-the-scenes footage of you being you. It may also involve following you as you go about your day (work, play…). We will collaborate to come up with fun and interesting things to shoot — but the goal is to shoot things that are authentically you.
Shooting will take anywhere from 1-4 hours (possibly more depending on circumstances — which will be worked out with you). It may also span multiple days & locations depending on what we decide.
“Do people cry? I feel like I might cry.”
Yes. All I ask is that you be genuine. Otherwise, you can express yourself in any way you wish.
“Can I use profanity?”
Again, you can express yourself any way you wish. I just ask that you be genuine & respectful.
“Can I use the real names of people I know?”
To respect other people’s privacy and for potential legal reasons, I would suggest that you don’t use real names with regard to people you talk about — this includes family members & friends — unless you are absolutely certain they are ok with it.
“I’m under 18, but I have something I want to share. Can I be a part of this project?”
Yes, but you will need permission from an adult guardian and they will need to be present when we work together. If you are under 18 and it hasn’t been made clear to me, please let me know.
Rough-cut excerpts from video and podcast segments
For an idea of some of the types of content already recorded, please see the rough cut excerpt from an early video segment below (and an audio podcast excerpt below that).
Note, the tone & style of individual segments will vary greatly depending on the guests involved.
Long-term goal: Feature length documentary
It is a long-term goal to eventually cut together videos and supplemental material from this project into a feature-length documentary that focuses on resilience, hope, the path less traveled, lessons people have learned, and recurring themes presented throughout this series.