Working on this mini-documentary about my family has been a useful learning experience. It required me to test my hand at some technical skills that weren’t needed for the visual essay, since I was capturing my own sound and footage. I also, unsurprisingly, have a strong emotional investment in the project so I think I endured the technical frustrations with a little more grace because I really wanted to get to a good final product.
I still view this as an incomplete piece. I might consider it more of a trailer for a longer piece that I hope to create one day. This is why I feel comfortable leaving it without a title at this point. I couldn’t come up with anything that I was happy with and I feel like a title might emerge as the project grows and takes shape a little more.
I used a few of the techniques or styles that we learned about in our readings. The bulk of this documentary is interview of my parent’s first-hand experiences – these are conversations that we’ve maybe touched on in the past but what they share on camera for this piece was specifically constructed for the camera; it happened because the camera was there. The cooking action I filmed was already scheduled to happen at the time and I set out to capture it on film. What I captured isn’t necessarily “true” in the sense that it accurately and perfectly portrays how a pie is made from beginning to end. But I feel that it captures what I often remember about the process of making the pies. I also used reflexivity and made my own presence evident in the piece, both with my own voice and my appearance on camera.
The goal of this documentary is to capture something emotionally honest about my family. There are no objective truths that I was trying to find, or even anything that I especially want my audience to learn or think after they see this. Rather, this is the type of documentary that attempts to say “we were here” and “this is how we felt”. It is an attempt to preserve a facet of personal life that is meaningful and that can be shared like more traditional family artifacts like photo albums or antiques.