This past week was filming week! It was pretty hectic, but we got a lot of great footage. And, I was reminded of how tedious cinematography is. Simple shots could end up taking 45 minutes for 15 seconds of footage. And, setting up for an interview could take double the amount of time as expected.
Another challenge has been “Peruvian time”. By that, I mean that a rigid film schedule can’t really exist with our project. 5 minutes could mean 45 minutes, or tomorrow morning could mean the morning after. As I tried to organize a shot list for filming week, I had to confirm a schedule with our subject. However, often the answer to working on a certain day was often “Si, es posible”, or “Yes, it’s possible.” So, there was a lot of indefinite plans and last-minute confirmations. Surprisingly, I wasn’t that stressed about it all—although it’s been frustrating at times. A few years ago (before I started to travel), I probably would have been pretty stressed. But, I’ve learned by now to deal with situations as they come, adjust to what’s necessary, and accept alternative routes to the end goal. I still love being Producer, and I think this role fits me best. Especially as the communicator for our group, I’ve loved practicing Spanish with our subjects. It’s been amazing to be so heavily involved in this project, as there’s always something to do.
I’ve found that in order to make a compelling documentary, you need a compelling story. Unless, you choose to break the ethics of documenting someone’s (or something’s) story. But, I find it most important to present a story with pure honesty—no matter how lost you can get in the editing process. You might latch onto an idea so dramatic and interesting, then find out you’re pushing the story into a direction of something it’s not. And, something else you must be aware of when documenting people’s lives, is being sensitive about the material you intend to present. There were often times where the crew and I wanted to capture moments that would shock the viewer a bit. Putting something at stake.
It’s also been challenging to create a documentary in such a short amount of time, while being tempted to explore our amazing home base of Cusco (and its scenic surroundings). But, we decided to take a break from footage-sorting to take on “Rainbow Mountain” or “Montana de los Siete Colores.” It was one of the most challenging hikes I’ve ever done—it felt more like a crawl from one resting place to another. That’s because we were trekking at 21,000 feet elevation!