Most of my career has been entertainment driven. All of my documentary style work has a little more feeling behind it, but even a lot of that is still geared towards selling a type of product. I just recently finished a big project for the Methodist church, collecting stories from five different people in five different cities, and while I'll leave the religious side out of this post (as well as any assets directly pertaining to the job), I feel the need to share a glimpse of what it meant to me.
This traveling job didn't stretch to any exotic places, rather it stayed right in the middle of the country. From Arkansas to Oklahoma to Missouri to Louisiana to Texas, each story and environment was different. The first leg of this trip was in a town of 41 people, up in the farmland of northern Missouri. The strength of a small community was ever present, as was the hospitality, which manifested in the form of two delicious farm meals in the same day.
Lafayette, Louisiana was the next stop on the job and the transition to southern fried food was set in motion.
This particular story had us hitting the streets, watching as the sound of live gospel brought out lines of homeless in return for a bag lunch. The amount of gratitude was overwhelming. Teens to the elderly helping in any way possible. The meaning of southern hospitality was in full effect here. And to end it all filming a crawfish boil, and subsequently being at the back of the truck eating forty of them, perfect.
One more story to go. After being on the road for this long, the crew is family. Everybody knows exactly what to do at every moment. The gear loadouts are down to a science, everyone is on their toes, ahead of the reality of docu-shooting. Finish strong.
Three cities in twelve days is a beast. Experiencing brief, intimate periods of people's lives will never seem normal to me. It goes beyond the job. Actually listening, talking, and eating with amazing strangers stays with you. And it should. Because at the end of it, we're all people, doing what makes us feel whole.