As a storyteller, I have benefited off diverse ways of life that are not my own for a while now. Often I feel almost embedded in these stories because of the nature of being ‘on the ground’, and my innate passion I have for this medium. However I am realizing this passion can blur the lines between the story and the storyteller.
In this industry where just getting your work seen is tough enough, it’s not uncommon to chase the ‘money shots’, potentially sacrificing the integrity of the work for a few sexy frames that you hope will make it stand out. Throw in some privilege there, the glamour of ‘travel’ and this is an easy recipe for exploitation.
As we all try to understand our place in systems of oppression that perpetuating many different inequalities today, I am recognizing the privilege I hold in my professional (and personal) life to be privy to and tell stories from cultures that are not my own. I realize the onus lands on no one but MYSELF to be critical of HOW I do this; where I go, why I go, and to work hard to respect the truth that I find.
I believe this means involving my subjects as part of the storytelling process in all stages: from beginning to end. Making space for their creativity and expertise to guide decision making and vision wherever possible. As a storyteller, I believe I should be asking different questions of myself and my team. Questions about who we are, our privilege, and the power we have in this medium; to cast our nets wide in the search for truth and to explore everything it touches.
This video acts as part show reel, part statement about these very questions. I didn’t want it to be your typical reel, but rather something constructive. I made it during quarantine at home, and many talented people helped me bring it to life. I thank them all for their hard work and support on my projects over the years. I am excited to share it with you all. I hope my passion comes through in a productive way.
Can you hear it?
The sound of the earth as it whistles by, and spills over.
This busyness that is all around us.
Our past, that is all around us.
Alive with history, written right here, beneath our feet.
And this beauty that time is shaping
It’s in this brilliant unfolding of things, that we find ourselves struck with joy and with sorrow,
with challenge and triumph,
and a curiosity for what may come.
Most of the questions we ask are of ourselves, so
are you ready for what you might find?
What you’ll find when you stretch out, and reach out.
When you cast your net wide, and explore everything that it touches.
A map you thought you knew, now with lines drawn all over everything
To rethink darkness and reorder the light.
And to imagine how you would be, if you were less afraid.
These visions brought to life in ways that move us, and hold a mirror up to ourselves.
An all encompassing, passionate and vigorous exploration of who we are, and what we can be.
These are the stories just waiting to be told.
And if they call out to you,
how will you respond?