Topic: I am trying to explore what it means to be american. When I travel abroad people often assume that I am not american. I get Brazilian most of the time. Also I have this background of being latino adjacent. A direct experience of my american friends feeling like they aren’t american. As for why I want to do this I guess it is to exercise some thoughts that I have heard going around. Perhaps to find out if I even know what it means to be american.
Jessica: because she struggles with what american means to her how it relates to her identity and how she is treated abroad based on the fact that she has internalized American without feeling american.
Dj: He wasn’t interviewed but represents something that is not often portrayed day to day. He features heavily in the B-roll and my life. He is very tight lipped about his experiences and often says that he lived nothing out of the normal. Which I feel is relevant, but I was unable to get him to share…..
Alexis: Has a view point other than my own on the American experience of African Americans. She is also much more a part of the community than I am and as a result has more insider information on the thoughts currently in the activist part of the community.
Rajiv: On becoming american, and his feelings and thoughts; he is a friend from freshman year who has had his own trials and tribulations. I though his interview was particularly striking because it was un expected.
Guadalupe: a person who is here under hazy circumstance, and toes the party line when it comes to describing what it means to american.
Jaily: again another aspect I feel is ineffectually covered. She has a matter of fact and bouncy nature that I feel provides a light contrast.
Argel: a more masculine view perhaps, and also he has a lot of things to say, but a simple point. He mixes diplomacy with realism.
Locations: the interviews were taken wherever and whenever. It ended up being a mixture of my apartment and the ARTD building. As for the B-roll we walked around campus at night and took shots on the main quad, by the ARTD building and that was about it. I shot the B-roll to try to break up the audio and maybe to create spaces for my voice, but we will see how it turns out.
B-roll: I guess the vibe I want from my B-roll is maybe a bit Yugen.
Yūgen (幽玄) is an important concept in traditional Japanese aesthetics. The exact translation of the word depends on the context. In the Chinese philosophical texts the term was taken from, yūgen meant “dim”, “deep” or “mysterious”. In the criticism of Japanese waka poetry, it was used to describe the subtle profundity of things that are only vaguely suggested by the poems.
Yūgen is said to mean “a profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe… and the sad beauty of human suffering”.
Yūgen suggests that beyond what can be said but is not an allusion to another world. It is about this world, this experience.
That is to say that I hope it grabs the watcher a pulls them in a bit breaking up the interview and providing a space for thought. I am trying to create an analog of that three am alone plagued by thoughts moment.
Takeaway: I want my audience to think about their notions, not necessarily change them but to do a little check in with themselves, send some sonar out and see how they feel.
Summarize: This film is an exploration of the idea of being American through the eyes of a diverse group of friends with varying experiences. Hopefully the interviewer will not be present the entire time. The goal is not to be heavy handed but to provide the watcher with a chance to think again about themselves. it is key to check our understanding of the wold and revaluate periodically.
Plan It Out:
Most of the interviews were shot by Tuesday the tenth.
The final interview was shot on Saturday the 8th.
B-roll was shot Monday night the 9th.
Two DSLR’s, one tripod, one shot gun mic, and a few friends were used as equipment. Wide lenses, a telephoto lens and a close up lens were all used. I secured spaces at a conference and one cultural event for my footage.I relied heavily on the good will of friends.