“You must stick to your conviction, but be ready to abandon your assumptions.” Denis Waitley
Our team is currently in the post-interview portion of our documentary, Born & Raised. Our plan is to transcribe all of the interviews, so that we have a written form to peruse and analyze before the intense task of editing the first draft. The act of transcribing has given me opportunity to review the interviews and get my first real assessment of what we captured on film.
The first interview conducted for Born & Raised was with my father, Gino. At the time, Erin, Nathan, and I felt it was best (well, mostly I felt it was best) for me not to conduct the interview. My fear was in corrupting the conversation by interjecting too much of my own influence on the storytelling. My father and I have a certain style of banter which often devolves into sarcasm and conflict. Though it is all in good fun, and we enjoy riling each other up, that conversational style did not seem best for the interview. So, Nathan asked the questions, and I sat quietly in another room, listening to the pair and trying to keep myself from interfering.
Most of the time, my father is willing to share his stories of old and can hold someone’s ear for hours on end with elaborate and detailed narrative. He is animated and humorous and is willing to share personal stories without hesitation. However, from the beginning of this first taped interviewed, he seemed quite nervous and reserved, like he was being cross-examined at a trial. The interview technique was fine, but my father felt the weight of the camera, and his answers were often guarded. He gave information that he felt we wanted to hear instead of telling a natural account of his experiences. An interview was being conducted, and we all realized later that we were really looking for conversations.
After his interview, we did a similar setup in the same day with my Aunt Mary. Nathan interviewed her, while Erin shot. I was not even present. Again, the interview was somewhat sterile, and although we did get usable film in both interviews, we wanted to get a considerable amount more of their character and essence on tape than we felt we got.
All-in-all, I am extremely happy that we did those first interviews and got those results. They helped me to understand the interview process better. I saw my father and Aunt Mary through a different perspective and heard them in a way I do not often witness.