SFPC: Day 31 - Video Shoot: Green Party Documentary
Today I woke up to a text from my friend Jonathan, who is a video producer I’ve worked with many times. He wanted to know if I was free to film some post-election interviews. I said, “Yes, of course”, and out the door I went, camera bag in hand.
It was a heck of a day. That’s right, a heck. A real hecking heck.
Post Election Hangover
My story begins here, at the bus stop on Throop and Madison.
I took the bus, then a train to Trump tower to meet my friend Cecile, who is a French journaliste par excellence.
From the train platform
Our assignment: we were looking for Trump supporters to interview, to explain to a European audience why Donald Trump won the presidential election in the United States of America.
The weather was a bit chilly, grey-skied, and lightly raining. Not the worst weather, but kinda gross. Appropriate for the day, for the malaise that New Yorkers, and probably a significant portion of the world was feeling.
I arrived to meet Cecile and her field producer, Melanie, at the corner of 53rd St. and 5th Ave. We introduced ourselves and took inventory of our gear. I was informed that we were waiting for our first interview, who was, annoyingly, not picking up his phone. So we stood and waited on the corner, on the side of the street where all of the fancy American media cameramen were set up.
There were lots of people in the area. Some came to gawk, some to yell hate at passers by, and others - Trump supporters - who came to bask in their victory at their subscribed mecca of Trump Tower.
After waiting long enough for our first interview call back, Cecile and I began to wander around the crowded block and I grabbed b-roll shots while she had quick, informal chats with different people to see if they’d be good for our interview purposes.
On the sidewalk, we soon met Joey, a 24-year old commercial fisherman from Orlando. Joey is also a latino and a Trump supporter. We spent the day interviewing him, getting shots of him, and then traveling back to Cecile’s apartment in Harlem so that we could do a proper sit down interview with him. We needed “shots of him in his apartment” for the piece. Since Joey was visiting NYC on vacation and staying with family, we had to uber uptown from 53rd St.
Panasonic GH4, our weapon of choice for the day
At Cecile’s apartment, Cecile made us omelettes for lunch. They were so good!
After lunch, we got shots of him coming home, and browsing political memes on his computer. Then we filmed a proper sit down interview. Took about 30 minutes.
We didn’t have any lighting with us, which was worrisome, but ultimately the footage turned out to be usable. Was a bit anxious until we got to the edit and everything turned out ok.
Joey was really patient with us, and we were extremely lucky to find him. I don’t support Trump(!) but it was interesting to hear Joey’s point of view and I do believe that he is a genuinely decent person.
After that, the whole crew - me, Melanie, Cecile, and Joey - ubered from Harlem through rush hour traffic to Park Slope to interview Jill Stein. It took about an hour and a half to get from Harlem to Park Slope.
We got to the Park Slope apartment where we were filming the interview, and set up our gear in a small living room.
This is our shot, without Jill Stein in it
I know, I know - you’re probably thinking “Oh that’s the candidate who ruined the election and doesn’t believe in vaccines.” Believe what you want about the election, but I can tell you that the notion that Stein doesn’t believe in vaccines is misinformation. She’s a doctor, for chrissakes.
I like her. She speaks clearly and thoughtfully. She speaks for peace, progressivism, people. How could I not have a brain crush on Jill Stein?
The interview lasted all of 30 minutes. The fact that we got an interview with her on the day after the election is nothing short of amazing, at the very least because campaigning for president is a tough job and she could’ve easily turned down a small crew from a French television channel. She’d also been sick the past three days.
After that, we took another uber to SFPC. We took a picture together and said goodbye to Joey, who declared today “the strangest day of his life(in a good way)”.
Also, Bryan was there with his dog, Stella(“The Space Chicken”).
At around 10pm, Cecile began to work on the edit and Melanie and I bought groceries and wine, then got burgers at The Bus Stop Cafe. I was ravenously hunger - the burger hit the spot. Over dinner, Melanie told me the story of how the documentary project came together and we talked about central Oregon and Portland and how pretty that part of the country is.
Melanie and I returned to SFPC and I helped Cecile with the edit - mostly the color correction and sound.
At around 2am, everyone ubered their separate ways home.
Tomorrow I am to meet Cecile in the morning to finish the edit. It is a quick turnaround since this is a newspiece. I will be able to share it soon!
President-Elect Donald Trump
Donald Trump has been elected as president. There were protests in Union Square tonight. In Seattle, a shooting that killed at least three people.
How bad is this going to get? I guess we won’t know until January and onward.
Cecile makes a fabulous authentic French omelette. She made for our small crew at her apartment right before we interviewed Joey.
Burgers at Bus Stop Cafe with Melanie, our field producer.