Edited Meditation

One familiar computer screen, one sky-high public metro and flawlessly designed coffee shops have been active partners of my daily routine in Bangkok. Since I returned from Koh Tao, the unusual off-camera period has assured on-computer productive sprees. From editing Turkey to writing Thailand, this game called “busy-ness” has required more dedication towards one specific activity; and the inspiration required for writing has faded away along with filters, cuts and transitions.

Amidst such edited vocabulary, the Turkish puzzle pieces are finally coming together. A rough cut of the video was just recently forwarded to the organization in order to get some feedback (and do the appropriate changes). This entire editing procedure has also enabled me to perceive the amount of progress achieved through the making of these documentaries. Looking back over footage from Istanbul and Ankara, and further hearing the questioning agenda, progression transpired through each pixel.

Somewhat behind schedule, I have come to comprehend that the documentation process does not revolve around the appropriate questions – and so I thought. To get the best words out of individuals, interviews must feel like intimate conversations. Turns out, several people are intimidated by the notion of having a camera staring straight at them. Hence, if you restrict the interviews to pre-established questions, all the necessary energy is directly transferred onto the hands of the interviewee. In other words, the answers will only ensue satisfactory if the person possesses natural public speaking abilities.

Some individuals have a harder time overcoming the agonizing stare of the “third eye,” but such concept should not automatically mean that some interviews are better than others. It is entirely up to the person behind the camera to direct the person and make him/her feel comfortable sharing personal ideas/stories. One of the best allies in overcoming such barrier between you (and the camera) and interviewees comes in the form of ordinary questions: one must get personal to receive personality.

Before I started the project, I asked some professional documentarians their advices on how to conduct an interview. Truth is, they all provided different perspectives. If one thing, we have different ways of creating bonds with people, be it through sentimental talk, light jokes or striking personal similarities. The one element that must be present in each conversation is connection itself. Even though, I am far from nailing every single interview, I can certainly hear the progress.

Same connections have transferred to off-camera instances. It is no longer difficult to understand one individual’s personality. Terrible moods, shyness, amicability, storytellers, personal differences are striking; and just like anyone else, I am also subjected to judgment (and approval). Much of this personal progression will be reflected on the videos themselves; so, you be the judge of my own words. Don’t judge too hard though; otherwise progression might be hindered by expectations.