Monday, November 26, 2012

The Things I do for Film

The first weekend of November, I went on a whirlwind trip to Colorado.

Not for a short getaway with the husband. Not for a friend's wedding. Not for a funeral of a relative.

I went to Colorado...for Obama.

I'm unsure if I've mentioned this before, but I'm making a 15-20 minute documentary this semester with two other classmates on the BYU College Democrats club, mainly their co-president (Hannah), and we are exploring the stigma of being a democrat and a member of the LDS church. Hannah just so happens to volunteer regularly for the Obama campaign and was going to be a part of a canvassing trip to Glenwood Springs, Colorado from November 2-3, and this was an opportunity to see Hannah at work that we could NOT miss. The trip provided transportation, a place to stay for the night, breakfast, and lunch as well as good company.

The catch? We had to canvass for Obama, or we would've ended up paying for EVERYTHING. Neither I or my group member, Laura, were keen on forking over $100+ for this, so we agreed to canvas for a short time in order to have a free trip.

I guess it will be hard to continue with this post without expressing my political affiliation. I've always been a moderate, so canvassing for Obama really wasn't that bad. I'm not against either candidate, so I wasn't bothered to get people to vote in general and not push one candidate or the other (which I didn't do since that wasn't the goal of the canvassing, surprisingly enough).

The drive was 12 hours, 6 hours up and 6 hours back, and it really wasn't so bad. I spent that time catching up on my reading and sleeping. When we arrived at our host family's house, I crashed on the bed and slept for as long as my alarm allowed me. I woke up to a gorgeous Colorado sunrise and a beautiful landscape. The host family's house was nestled in the lower mountains of Colorado and surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful trees. Breakfast consisted of delicious bacon, scrambled eggs, toasted english muffins with "homemade" honey (the lady owned her own bees and collected the honey herself), and some delicious herbal raspberry tea. The house was so neat! I'm pretty sure they built it themselves. But too soon we had to get back on the road and to the campaign office so we could begin going around and canvassing.

After a quick orientation, we were off with a clipboard full of literature and a script of what to say, and, of course, a giant packet of people's names and addresses. Laura and I decided not to film the first part of the morning since we had our own lists of names to hit up. We, along with Hannah, were in the same neighborhood, but even with Laura's company (we didn't want to go our separate ways since we were nervous), it was hard to knock on someone's door and try and get them to answer a few questions about if they voted early and who they voted for. For those couple of hours, I felt like a missionary and could empathize their hard work. It was an experience that I think was necessary to understand just how hard it is for our subject and how much she's ben canvassing since she's basically a pro at it.

Once we were finished with the morning route (which Laura and I never did finish we were such weenies at it), we went to lunch at a Salvadorian restaurant. Once we finished, it was back on the road, but this time we focused on filming and less on canvassing. So we drove up to a rich neighborhood and followed Hannah around as she attempted to commit people to voting on Tuesday. It involved a LOT of running around, lots of wind, lots of sun, and lots of shaky handheld shots. Eventually I gave up on going handheld and used the tripod (I was the DP for this particular shoot). In the end, we got tons of awesome footage of failed attempts, good attempts, and some great footage of Hannah being herself, stuff that we hadn't really gotten previously.

The rest of the day went by quickly and soon it was 5pm and it was time to hit the road. After a quick stop to Wendy's for dinner, all that was left was a 6 hour drive to Provo with great company and interesting conversations, all of which were off-camera so you'll just have to take my word for it that they were IN-TER-EST-ING. When you get a lot of radical political minds together, some strange things start happening...

The trip was both great for my documentary and it was something I really needed for my soul. After all the stuffy readings and papers and being stuck in the editing lab or other classrooms, it was SO GREAT to get out and have a short adventure.

I promise to update you all on some other goings on in my life, but seriously, this semester will be the death of me. Just 8 more days! AH!

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