Friday, September 16, 2011

Telling Stories

Posted: July 10, 4:50 pm | (permalink) | (0 comments)

hand with line

If great minds don’t think exactly alike, at least they can sometimes run in similar directions. In my last post, I mentioned planning to profile a few of the folks in the liveaboard community, to help dispel the myth that we’re all rebels and dropouts and losers. Seemed like almost the next day I saw a note in one of my online sailing forums from a filmmaker who was working on a documentary on sailing and living aboard. This guy was looking for folks in the D.C. area to stay with and visit for a couple of days, and interview them about their boat, their sailing experiences and what it's like to live on their boat. Hey, wait – that’s ME! That’s MY idea too! I LOVE the idea of helping people understand the liveaboard life!

So that’s how we met filmmaker Dave Dawson and his cameraman Casey Langness. I posted back a reply, and an exchange of emails and a couple of phone calls followed, and then there we were at Union Station picking up our 4th of July weekend guests.

We had a fantastic time! They were superb guests, very low maintenance and at the same time very curious. We set up interviews for them with a few of our friends spanning a range of liveaboard lifestyles – younger and older, single and married, world cruisers with 30 or 40 thousand nautical miles and those whose sailing has mostly been confined to Chesapeake Bay. Dave asked wonderful questions – it blew me away that he learned some things about our friends in their 1-hour interviews that I hadn’t known after 5 years of friendship! Although, I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised, that drawing-out process is part of what makes it an insightful conversation... and of course, part of the job if you’re trying to tell a story.

It was a very packed 3 days. In addition to the interviews, we managed a short daysail and a windshield tour of the monuments and landmarks in the District. They even made time to take in the fireworks.

In between work, when they were just hanging out with us, Dave and Casey shared their life stories too. For every quirky fact about sailing that we offered, they educated us on cool behind-the-scenes tricks of the film trade. I just love understanding how things work! Must be why I chose to study engineering in college. I was somewhat startled at one point during our sail to realize that Casey was filming a tight close-up of my hands, coiling a line; he explained that this footage will most likely be used as some kind of filler - called B-roll - while a voice is telling some different story, to keep it visually interesting. (And yes, they still call it “footage,” “film,” and “roll” and so on, even though it’s all digital.) I’ll be anxiously awaiting their finished product, and hearing our and our friends’ stories from Dave’s perspective. Until then, his blog will have to suffice; he writes about his visit in posts titled, “Washington DC and Annapolis,” and “Happy Birthday USA.”

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