Saturday, August 21, 2004

My film debut: a teacher with advise

Last week I worked with a group of students who refuse traditional
schooling to make a film that they wrote. I attended one of the
planning meetings some weeks before. It was really a disaster. Hours
spent with the outcome being that they would return to their original
premise and film that. I lost it with them in filming too for a
similar waste of people's time, mostly mine.

I was supposed to be at the Smile Forever house at 4pm and be ready
for filming. Later the adult leader of the group called and said that
I should get there around 4:30. They were running behind schedule. I
arrived there at the appointed time and waited outside for 1 full
hour. It was a hot August day, hot enough to send a few people home
from the filming after one boy vomited from to much exposure to the
heat. By the time we got inside it was 5:45 and I had an appointment
with my family at 7. It would take 35 minutes from the house to my
home. By the time we got ready to film, it was after 6. My part was
admittedly very short, and I did not memorize my lines. They were in
Japanese; I got them the night before, and I was not told to memorize
them. So when one of the young people told me to memorize them before
we started to shoot, I was ballistic. I almost walked out, but
thought that was too much, but I did say that even if I could
memorize them in time to be home by 7, I was not emotionally inclined
to cooperate. That was the end of that story.

If I am ever asked to return, I will suggest that anyone with
creative intentions should be encouraged to pursue them with the
group. That person should be in charge of the project, and in
addition to the successful completion of the project, these
objectives should also be considered:
1. development of leadership skills,
2. development of communication skills,
3. development of organizational and logistical skills.

These projects should be planned, executed, published and evaluated
by the group in a way that benefits everyone in the group, everyone
associated with it, and the community at large, since it is thanks in
large part to support by the community that these projects can happen
at all.

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