New Kid on the Block is the journal of Ryan Schnurr, NeighborLink storytelling intern. He’s blogging his experience during his time with us this summer.
I’m a glutton for content. What I mean by this is that when editing together a documentary-style piece, I want to begin with everything, and pull together the elements that best portray the feel of the environment and story, so I am obsessed with capturing every single moment of every conversation, process, or event to make sure that I don’t miss anything. But I (we) have to be careful here; it’s easy to become so focused on the end product and recording everything that I begin believing that these moments somehow only retain their value if they have been recorded. When this happens I begin to make content the goal but don’t do anything with it, sort of like Mr. Brainwash.* Actually, exactly like Mr. Brainwash.
But being captured on film doesn’t give them value.
It’s amazing the things that people will tell you when the camera is rolling, but it’s equally, if not more amazing what they’ll tell you when it isn’t; when the lens cap is on and the audio equipment is packed securely away in the back of the car. And when I cringe and say “No! Why couldn’t they have said that when I had my camera on?” I do them, and myself, a disservice.
See, these moments are all intrinsically beautiful. I can no more add value to them by capturing them on camera than we can add value to a sunset by viewing it. My job as a filmmaker is to capture what I can and share it with others, but it’s privilege enough to be part of these moments myself. I can create a glimpse into something with my film, but I cannot capture the whole. And this is good, for images cannot and should not replace the real thing. The experience. So as you watch the NeighborLink videos that are being produced and see recipients and volunteers, do not simply accept them as a substitute. They are a window, but to experience the fullness of these relationships, you must go outside.
Here’s a door: http://fortwayne.myneighborlink.org/projects/pid/3341
*Mr. Brainwash is a subject of Banksy’s film Exit Through the Gift Shop, which I highly recommend as a video treatise on art and commercialization.