Doing what it takes

What I love about documentaries are the places it takes not just your body, but also your mind and spirit. It forces you to plan ahead as well as adapt in the moment. Once, I found myself standing on a sled pulled by a snowmobile driven by my cameraman. It was pitch black and minus thirty degrees Celsius with a flurry of snow pelting against me. We were led by a single beam of light and a memory of how to traverse the river and trails back home. However, we were ready with winter survival gear and key contacts notified in advance. The benefit? The trip saved us precious daylight hours to film with our subject the next day.

Our attitude is one of “can do”. Subject doesn’t show up? No problem, we’ll find one another one. Weather is horrible? Let’s spend the time editing or picking up indoor shots. Budget is tight? Let’s use it as creative constraint. Snowmobile breaks down? Build a fire and stay alive!

Like many documentary crews, every team member is expected to do what is needed. While everyone has specific roles, the Director of Photographer may find himself asking interview questions while the Director may just as readily find herself moving equipment, holding a camera or a boom pole. Filming real life often demands small, mobile teams flexible enough to adapt to the situation. Hidden Story is about reading the situation and doing what it takes to get to the heart of it while showing it on camera.