I am just starting to realize that I am actually going to Tahiti to film a documentary. I am torn between excitement and fear. As usual I think: What if I am not good enough? What if I produce complete cr*p? To add to the pressure, some of my classmates told me they were looking forward to watch my piece. Well, don’t get your hopes too high because I have 5 good reasons to be worried about the final result.
1. The story
I want my documentary to be about the layboys of Tahiti but let’s face it: it’s more of a subject, not a story. Discrimination among the ladyboys of Tahiti would be a story but I am not sure I have the ability to report on that.
3. the angle
I always had trouble trying to focus on something specific in a story. Basically, when I am covering an event, I always want to include all the details. My documentary is no exception.
Right now, I am desperately trying to tie up two different angles: the story of the ladyboys of Tahiti from the historical point of view and the problems they face in their daily life. But if I emphasize the historical side too much, I could end up sounding like a textbook.
2. the peg
The peg is summarized into a question: why now? What’s makes the story relevant at that particular time? I am fully aware that my peg is completely nonexistent. The only reason why I am still going forward with my idea is because I really want to cover it. I hope that a lot of digging while I am on location will magically unveil the newsworthiness of my piece.
4. camera skills
We used to go out every week to film a news package when we were producing the program “The World Tonight” but it’s been a while since I touched a camera. Plus, I will shoot with a JVC which is new to me and I still don’t feel comfortable with it yet.
5. characters access
In my proposal, I included an indicative timetable. Emphasis on the word “indicative”. I managed to contact almost everyone on my interviewees wish list and they all agreed to meet me. However, when I called back this week to get a confirmation, it was impossible to get in touch with my main character. I guess it could potentially be a big problem but I could always try to see this as an opportunity to change (find) my angle.
Only one teaching day left before I quit education and enter the big bad world as a journalist. But before worrying about this daunting prospect, I have one last assignment to carry: the final MA project.
On Sunday I’ll fly to Tahiti to self shoot a documentary about ladyboys. After I explained to someone the subject of my piece, two types of reactions generally ensue:
Reaction 1: stunned silence while trying to process what I said followed by “wait, what?”
Reaction 2: *laugh* “Are you serious? How did you come up with that idea?”
Those reactions reveal one thing: my project idea is perceived as random and quirky which actually pleases me. At least, it catches people’s attention and triggers curiosity. So hopefully, people will be tempted to watch it.
I want to follow the lives of the ladyboys in Tahiti, find out what challenges they face and see how integrated they are in French Polynesian society.
When I went to Tahiti two years ago, I was surprised by their number, but mostly, I was amazed by people’s tolerance. A 16 years old is able to go to school wearing a dress or a skirt and nobody bats an eyelid.
But of course, it’s not that simple, otherwise there won’t be a story. The ladyboys in Tahiti seem well accepted but there is still a long way to go. Prostitution and unemployment are among the problems they have to deal with. Sometimes family rejects its effeminate teenager.
I am fully aware that the angle is a bit loose and the peg nonexistent but I will expand on that in another blog post. All I know is that I am fascinated by the subject and that I want to represent my characters with accuracy and fairness. I just hope I will have the ability to live up to my expectations.
This title is actually misleading as the video above probably only covers 10% of what we have done during the hostile environment training course. I spent three days saving lives, avoiding grenades and I also narrowly escape from a hostage situation. Only problem is, I don’t have the footage to tell the story.
Because if you are filming, you are not completing the assignments and I didn’t want to miss out. Hopefully in the next few days I will find time to blog about the experience, meanwhile, you can watch this short clip. Enjoy!