Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Doc Talk

Back in October I was contacted by a Carleton journalism student who asked if I would like to be the subject of a mini-documentary her group was making, for a class assignment on people who 'live green'. I said, "sure, why not?" Over the next few weeks they came and got footage of me at home, at a workshop I gave on kitchen herbs and they interviewed two friends. This is what they came up with.



I enjoyed working with the group of young ladies involved with the project and thought they did a good job of creating something that looks quite professional and making me sound reasonably coherent. And it gave me another opportunity to plug Shannon Hayes' Radical Homemakers!

I learned a few things from the experience too.

1. My face does strange and unusual things. For whatever reason the whites of my eyes seem very prominent, and what is up with my neck tendons!?! I am a freak.

2. I am very uncomfortable with how much of the piece focuses on me. Yes, I know it's supposed to be a documentary about me, and that makes feel weird and awkward.

3. Demonstrating the use of a neti pot is apparently good footage. It was used twice.

4. My friends spoke incredibly kindly of me and left out all mention of me being annoying, over-zealous, strident and kinda judgy about personal lifestyle choices.

5. Journalists will often tell their story, not yours.

For example: I am definitely NOT self-sufficient in growing my own food. I wish! I grow a teeny-tiny fraction of the food I eat. The rest comes from CSA's, farmer's markets, the 'wild', and occasionally the grocery store. Yeah, that part where I say, "I don't shop at grocery stores anymore", I go on to the list the exceptions like cooking oil, vinegar etc... but they cut that out.

When I talk about my concerns with climate change and resource depletion being the primary motivators for doing the things I do, only climate change was mentioned.

Small items of context are sometimes removed, creating confusion. Why is my friend J.G. pouring black beans into a pot? What does that have to do with anything? (I grew them and gave him some.) And when he is talking about people being weirded out that I might poison them at potlucks, he's referring to dishes with foraged foods in them.

Oh and also, the Tositos jar is actually filled with dried sumac berries, not salsa. That's not really relevant to anything, I just felt the need to clarify that. :)

In the end, being a part of this project was all worth it.

8 comments:

wendyytb said...

It was a really bright spot in my day seeing the lady behind the words of encouragement and support that were so often offered me. You have helped me find a new path. You have opened my eyes and are my inspiration.

I hope to see you one day...(perhaps when you visit the Kawartha's to sample the harvest again. We are just down the road!)

I have only one question... Which of those fellows was the ADG? They both seem pretty awesome to me!

Tricia said...

They did a great job. I smiled when I spotted your 'raison d'etre' out of the corner of my eye when I was watching 'slightly nutty, very passionate'. That description matched you prefectly. Thank you for making me smile. That was an inspiring little vid.

Amber said...

Thanks ladies! I always channel my inner Woody Allen in moments like these and have a hard time seeing anything else beyond things like weird neck tendons and eye whites so it's lovely to hear your feedback.

Wendy, I will definitely stop in for a visit when I'm next in the area. I didn't realise you were so close to where my friend's farm is!

And sadly, the ADG is very camera shy. I tried but there was no way he was going to be interviewed!

J.G. said...

Hum... I suppose we'll have to wait for the release of the "Making of" video to fully understand the context of the black bean clip. :)

The poor women who produced this certainly had to put up with a good bit of my rambling so I was impressed with how they managed to cut it all together.

I mentioned ADG several times in the last clip about foraging for black walnuts, butternuts and grapes. For example, "I bumped into ADG and Amber at a tour that Transition Ottawa held" was my original quote around the 7:35 mark. It appears my mention of ADG was easily edited out and it simply looks like I stutter a bit. They did that a few times -- sorry ADG. Perhaps the producers (or Amber's publicist) felt the mini-doc would sell better if people thought she was single.

J.G. said...

Hum... I suppose we'll have to wait for the release of the "Making of" video to fully understand the context of the black bean clip. :)

The poor women who produced this certainly had to put up with a good bit of my rambling so I was impressed with how they managed to cut it all together.

I mentioned ADG several times in the last clip about foraging for black walnuts, butternuts and grapes. For example, "I bumped into ADG and Amber at a tour that Transition Ottawa held" was my original quote around the 7:35 mark. It appears my mention of ADG was easily edited out and it simply looks like I stutter a bit. They did that a few times -- sorry ADG. Perhaps the producers (or Amber's publicist) felt the mini-doc would sell better if people thought she was single.

sherry said...

First off, there's nothing wrong with your eyes or neck! Shadows do funny things depending on the camera angle. I find it interesting how people are always intrigued by what they think are extreme things instead of the small everyday acts that add up. For a follow-up I think they should do a 'day in the life' so can see all the mundane things that make for a green life instead of focusing on a few things here and there. Keep it up! Sherry

Amber said...

Sherry, I beg to differ! :) Prominent eye whites definitely noted at the 35/36 second mark and again around 1:30 to 1:32. At 1:55 to 2:02 I look like a spooking horse. And more eye whites at 5:36! And there is no doubt that weird neck tendons make an appearance at 5:39 and 8:46.

Now I was never a big fan of Seinfeld, but from what I recall, they made an art out of highlighting funny quirks. I do remember "Man Hands" and the Two Faced Girlfriend in particular. (Thankfully, I suffer from neither of those conditions that I'm aware of. In fact, I think my hands are one of my best features. In my next documentary, which will be feature length obviously, I'm going to insist on A LOT more hand shots.)

But, J.G., if I were single, I'd have no chance with the Seinfelds of the world overly senstive to eye whites and neck tendons. And you with your rambling stutter, ppfft, good luck!

My publicists did suggest faking singledom to increase my popularity, but when they learned that I pee in a bucket, they were all like, "oh never mind." I tried to tell them that Ellen Page does it, and they came back with, "yeah, but she has normal eye whites and neck tendons." Sigh.

Which incidentally, I would classify (the peeing in a bucket thing) as a small, everyday act that adds up! ;)

Artizan said...

Very nice! Will there be a full length documentary one day?