Filmmaking is very powerful thing. We are given the opportunity and ability to share our vision and experiences with others. For me, the key with this is making sure that what I put into the world is helping it be a better place – however small in impact that may be. Because of this, finding an instant connection to a project is a constant battle with almost all productions I work on. To stand out, these projects I instantly connect with need the following:
- It needs to be a story worth sharing.
- It needs to include a team of like-minded individuals with similar goals and desires.
- It needs to have some element that pushes me creatively.
One such example was a project I was recently apart of that documented a living legacy. The story itself featured Apo Whang-Od, a tribal tattoo artist for the But-But tride in the Buscalan Village of Tinglayan, Kalinga.
A Story Worth Sharing
Any story worth sharing needs to have one of three basic elements. It needs to either teach your audience something, provide a window into a place and a time they may never get to experience or shed a new light on a subject matter. For this project, the goal was to give a window into a time a place that most people likely wouldn’t choose to experience.
A Strong Team
Having a strong team is imperative when you are traveling long distances. If you can’t hangout in close quarters, your time traveling will definitely be a challenge. When you have a strong team you get along with, the experience is so much better.
Something that Pushes me Creatively
All projects need to push me creatively in order to feel like I am evolving with all work I produce. For me, I always want my last project to be my best and the only way to ensure this is by taking risks with my work.
From this project, my goal was to shoot a feature doc that showcases the Butbut Tribe. This doc is currently in post production with an early 2017 release date target. As this feature project starts to come to life, I will be sharing more production based posts from this trip.
An Incredible Journey
Lastly, any project needs to include the journey / adventure element. For this project, the journey of just getting to our subject was the most challenging. From many flight connections to a 16 hour drive, we were taken to a very remote region of the Philippines.
How to find unique stories
Now one of the more challenging things is finding these unique stories and there are a few tips you can do to help.
- Subject Matter: It is important to have a rough idea of objects and subject matter. Having a few key elements to shape the type of character/story will help in your search. As a filmmaker, it is your job to find your own voice and be able to connect with the stories you hope to tell. Create boundaries and have a clear set of objectives with the work you produce. Being able to measure your success is very important if you hope to improve. For this project, the goal was to find people who have living legacies. These people needed to be doing something unique with their lives inherently crafting their own legacy. These people also needed to be living selflessly.
- Research: Scouring the internet is probably the most effective way to finding stories you find fascinating. Whether through news articles or other video features, I find great inspiration in this process.
- Interaction: Get out there and let people in your circles know you are on the search for a unique story. Using your personal network to find these stories is a great way to extend your reach.
- Forums: Putting out calls to people in different online communities will really help in this search. For this project, Brent put a call out on a fixers forum asking for an leads on characters and many nominations came forward. Whang-Od was one of them.
Now that I am back home and able to reflect on the experience, it is definitely one for the memory bank. I truly can’t wait to share my film from the experience. More soon!