Saturday, July 28, 2007

Finding the Story

Jim and I have been working on this film about teen parents on and off for 13 months. We have interviewed parents and counselors and doulas and administrators and health care professionals all to help paint the picture of these young lives. We have been working very closely with a non-profit called Teen Parent Connection. The TPC folks are incredibly upbeat and positive and everyone we have dealt with on this project is nice and caring. There is no judgment or negativity or religious affiliation, or politics, just positive actions. It is as if they have over dosed on Happy Pills. For a cynical, ironic guy like me it is very disconcerting- why is everyone so nice I ask myself.

So, the other day, on what might be our next to last day of production, we were interviewing their executive director and I asked her, "What makes you different from other social service organizations?" And she said, "We talk the talk because we walked the walk. Many of the staff and administrators (herself included) where teen parents themselves."

Ah! that's what makes them different. (Note to self, next time ask this question like 9 months ago.)

My point here is not about teen parents, but about the process we go through to paint a complete picture. Our not realizing this was not our fault- Teen Parent Connection does not promote themselves as a place for teen parents by teen parents, nor do any of these women wear their past on their sleeves. We needed these 13 months as a time of discovery. This little, almost anecdotal, piece of evidence will completely change our approach to the edit. And we may even decide to go shoot some more from this point of view.

In an earlier post I talked about good, fast cheap- pick two. In this case I hope you see why fast was not picked. We needed the time to find the story to make the best film possible.


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