“Telling stories of change to create change.” That was the simple idea that started this project over two years ago. The simple idea that by sharing stories of how others were being changed and working to change that others might be invited into it. Admittedly, I went into this looking to change others. I had no idea how much these stories would change me.
Nearly 40 different videos have been produced, but that number could be multiplied 100 times and not begin to scratch the surface of the stories I have heard. For every video I've produced, I've met dozens of people and as I work along side them, they share their stories. Not all of these stories make good videos. Not all of them can be told in a blog. Most of them are simple stories, the kind that nobody thinks about, just the stories that we share with people as we go about life. Those stories which inevitably turn into conversations that become grand moments of realization, epiphany, and that bring to light truths you have known but never had the words to express.
For every country that I travel to, there is a story to that land and its people. I try to learn as much as I can from people about where they live, hearing their stories about growing up there. The problems they have and the dreams they hold to. The history of the government and economy and how those things have shaped and been shaped by the cultures of their people. As I hear these stories, I relive the history of each culture and people learning lessons from their success and struggles.
Through out all that time, I'm taking pictures and video. Capturing the sights and sounds of the places and people. Gathering the materials needed to tell some of the stories that I have heard. I believe that video is a powerful story telling medium because it can capture and represent the little nuances of a place and person. I try to make each video do that, and to do that I take in as much about each person and place that I can. Inevitably, they each get under my skin and touch my heart.
After collecting the hours of video needed to craft these stories. I sit down in front of computer and try to communicate all that I've learned in 3-5 minutes. It's a mental task, the review of every interview, shot, scene, and person to see if they will fit the particular story. As I sit in the editing room, I relive each moment again and hear the words of my friends from each place. Watching and rewatching, honing until only the story remains; but with each review the stories sink in deeper. I have the privilege of not just getting to hear and see their stories once, but to relive them dozens of times as I edit.
Inevitably, the majority of the stories which I have heard are cut out from the videos. There isn't time to tell them all and many distract from the main messages trying to be communicated. I imagine this is one of the reasons that directors release their own version of films, behind the scene, and “making of” stories. The final released version doesn't tell it all. Their are personal moments that have been left on the editing room floor, and in those piles are perhaps the moments that were most memorable and impacting to those creating it. I know that happens with me. My favorite moments, shots, quotes, conversations, stories, don't make it into the final cut, but in the “making of” story of my life they are central.
I go through this process with each of the stories I've told so to stay that I've been impacted by them is an understatement. I've been “changed” almost seems too weak a word. I've been transformed.
If you were to look at me you might not be able to identify any changes. Maybe even if you spend time with me you might see the transformation, alteration, and growth. The changes have been subtle. Like my videos, I've gone through an editing process.
Perhaps the best way to say it is this:
These stories have changed my life by revealing the truths of this world
and giving me a way to share them.