Password: jay

Before I began my interviews with Jay, I first considered my own role as an documentary filmmaker. As with all forms of film, so much of the filmmaker’s self becomes exposed through filming and editing. The questions we pose to our subject, our choice of perspectives, the quotes we keep and the ones we discard — All these decisions become markedly important in the creation of a documentary; especially because it is a form through which people expect some seed of truth.

Thus, I made the decision to keep a hands-off approach to my film of Jay, trusting that the interviews would allow me him to reveal what was important to his design perspective; in order for me to better craft a narrative about his story. This proved to be successful, as we ended up working closely together to understand this process — I looked outward for points of interest and relevance, and Jay looked inward through self-reflection — allowing us to meet in the middle.

In many ways, the ethnographic video was discovered rather than created. As interviewer and interviewee, we celebrated brief moments of synchronity. An interesting interview, when watched in full, can be very boring due to its predictability and lack of rhythm. However, any interview, when interspersed carefully with sensible links and transitions – much like telling a story – can be interesting and feel well-paced. Allowing the audio and visual to take turns, much like in a dance, can also allow different elements of the film to lead into each other, creating a much smoother expeirence.

I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to film Jay. To share in the personal space of another person; to see the environment in which they live, relax, and work, can be an intrusive experience, and I’m glad that Jay was very open and willing to let me into his life. It was altogether a very enjoyable film to make.


2 responses to “”

  1. Mrityunjay Marol says:

    The film-making process started off slow due to my flu, but Jia was amazingly understanding, allowing me to get better before interviewing me. Once it did start, it was an interestingly awkward process. I didn’t realize how uncomfortable I was if front of the camera until I was actually being film, and because of this there were many shots that were re-taken. I realized that I didn’t really know how I felt about a lot of things I do on a daily basis, but through the interview process and the constant reflection it involved, I was able to collect and organize my thoughts to a fairly understandable level for the recordings. Jia did a wonderful job of editing out all the recordings where I sounded like I didn’t know what I was talking about. The other odd experience during the process was understanding my own body language. There were so many times when Jia would tell me to look up or would start doing something silly so that I would lift my gaze. Initially I didn’t think that simply lifting my chin up a tiny bit could make a difference, but when I watched the videos the difference in the energy I seemed to have in the two cases was tremendous. There were also a lot of times when I didn’t sound confident when I was speaking, but this was solved pretty easily. Jia just had to make me aware of it and that somehow automatically changed my confidence levels in the successive recordings.
    The final video itself captured some wonderful moments and portrayed me in the best light possible. Seeing a bunch of my thoughts condensed and edited into a 5 minute video gave me a fresh view on my own thought process. I really enjoyed the ideas Jia decided to focus on. During the interviewing process I was afraid I was telling her too many different things about too many different ideas, but she managed to distill them and string them together into a lovely narrative.
    Design, music, cooking and nature – I think she covered almost everything that’s important to me.

  2. Mrityunjay Marol says:

    As an additional note, I feel like the sped up video part when I’m cooking felt a little out of place with both the speeding up itself and the abrupt end to the sound.

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