I arrived to the family home in Awaiama on Monday evening. I used that first evening to catch up with DD and learn what she's been up to since I was with her last year.
Duck. The next morning I was very grateful that I had my camera in tow when I met DD in the outdoor kitchen for breakfast. We sat down across a table from each other and began to visit, while we sipped our hot coffee and munched on fried, green bananas. The visit turned interesting within minutes. Because my camera was close and handy, it occurred to me to just pull the lens cap off, frame DD using the table surface as my tripod, and hit record. The casual conversation turned into an impromptu interview. Within moments, DD began to cry as she revealed a recent incident she had with her mother that she still feels really terrible about. The visit lasted about an hour and I am so glad that I was lucky enough to get it on film. In hind sight, I'm even more grateful that DD was vulnerable and trusting enough to share the story because it perfectly fits the narrative and its focus on the mother-daughter relationship.
Duck. A day or two later, I had a light bulb moment. I've been working on a list of five key words for many months now. This list of keywords will be the tent poles for the film. The pillars that will support the narrative's structure if you will. These words will guide my hand at least in terms of filtering the creative and editorial choices for the documentary. And now that I have clarity on these five words, I will list them here: Delightful, Breathtaking, Intimate, Authentic, and Womanhood. For now, I'll spare you the explanations of each keyword and why I have selected it. But, suffice it to say that the film project has its primary focus now.
Goose! My assistant carried the backpack and tripod. I carried the camera in one hand and a closed umbrella in the other (because it was sort of raining). DD led the way through the bush, across a river, and up a steep muddy slope. Between my wet shoes and the muddy trail, I began to lose traction. While standing on a slope, with both hands full and unable to grab hold of anything to stabilize myself, I had two choices: drop down or fall backwards down the slope. As I lowered my center of gravity—to save myself—I sacrificed the camera by pressing the base of it into the mud. Shit! I quickly regained leverage and pulled the camera up again. It was muddy but from the looks of it, it was only cosmetic and could be cleaned later. After a long walk we got to a bay with a beautiful view of the sea.
Fun Facts of Life in the Bush:
Bryan crashed and burned this week, while performing a high risk drone maneuver. According to his debriefing report, Bryan claimed he was flying low under a canopy of trees that arched over a dirt road. Apparently, DD and her family were driving down this section of the road in their family van. Bryan attempted to fly the drone at a low altitude just below the trees but above the van, while he piloted the drone from inside the moving vehicle. He had no eye contact on the drone from his position inside, and was flying blind except for the read outs on the display of his remote control. He succeeded with the first two attempts, but witnesses inside the van said he got too cocky and had to do another take. It was the third attempt that the crash happened. Off the record, Bryan flipped the bird at the concerned producer and said he "would do it again in a heart beat if it meant capturing something beautiful and interesting!" As he walked away to continue his creative work, he shouted "what good is paying for production insurance if we never file a claim?!" The drone was recovered from the crash site. It was hot to the touch after the four motors grinded to a stop. Three of the four propellers were snapped off. The gimbal and camera mount were ripped off. The only thing that kept them from separating completely was an internal electrical wire. The memory card was undamaged so none of the footage was lost.