I was scheduled to meet at 11am so I went to the office early to start to get things in order and have the time to leave the office for a few hours without issues. I already knew that I needed to know to set good boundaries as the film crew was already asking to film before we had our schedule meeting. I told them no. I meet with my supervisor to be clear on what could be filmed during work hours. We also discussed what time off I might needed because I was still waiting on the decision to send me to S. Korea. I had everything as organized as possible and to the meeting I went. We meet at the martial arts school with Andrew and the producer Momo.
They explained to me that the overall purpose of the documentary was educate youth about bullying and offer them inspiration towards improving themselves. The documentary would have four themes: my personal life including family and friends, my professional life including my work at HAWC and my motivational speaking, Tae Kwon Do accomplishments, and my trip to South Korea. We then went over the schedule for the next week. I spoke to them about my commitments at work and what things could filmed there. We worked out a schedule that worked for Master McCorry’s Martial Arts school. Last we discussed how to include my family and friends.
The filming ended up going on a little longer then I first thought. I had been told seven to ten days however they were here for fourteen. I think the best way to explain the two weeks is to reflect back on each day as best as I can. January 18, 2012 the filming started with and afternoon meeting with other advocates. We were meeting to discuss changes that we were making to our manual for the HAWC’s required training. My friends were great at work being willing to be filmed. They had me wear a microphone and then began filming it was a bit weird because the camera was at a distance one minute and then almost in our face in the next. Then there was light that I was told was not bright but it was in my opinion. They left after this meeting and meet me at my house after work. At the house they filmed me coming into the house and then getting ready for Tae Kwon Do. They were interested in simple tasks like eating dinner and cleaning up. They then filmed Tae Kwon Do I warmed up the class and then we did kicking drills. As they started to film I started to see how this filming going to play out. They filmed me along with other students. Then they were interested in impromptu informal interviews. They filmed Master McCorry asking him random questions along with other students and myself. Once class ended we all went home and they planned to film me getting ready for work the following morning.
January 19, 2012 I woke up and got showered and dressed. Then I waited for them to arrive. I thought they would be there for 8am however they were late. They arrived about twenty past at first they wanted me change back into my pjs but I explained them I needed to be at work in a half hour so that was not possible this morning. We agreed that we could do that part Saturday morning. It took them a few minutes to setup the camera and then got some breakfast, washed so dishes, brushed my teeth and a few other morning activities. There were several times when I was asked to repeat an action so they could get a better shot. The setting up and repeating of things seemed less real life to me. I guess I had this assumption that they would just film the day to day as is but I was learning that was not the case. This was explained to be the difference between reality tv and a documentary which is what we were doing.
Momo then drove with me to work that day. This allowed him to film me driving. We got to the office and I introduced him to everyone. They he asked to go back outside and come back in because it was important to film transitions. Everyone was cool with this and so I came back into the office as if it was first thing in the morning. The filming then captured a meeting with a volunteer. Then they interviewed HAWC’s executive director Candace. She offered I thought to see if the District Attorney’s Office would be interested in being interviewed as they do much around bullying and teasing. That after I had a personal presentation at Salem Hospital where I was talking around my experiences growing up within the medical field. The hospital was kind enough to allow this to be filmed. They filmed most of the presentation and then left and said they meet up with me later that afternoon. They needed to get permission from the pizza place for tonight’s dinner with my parents. We went to dinner at my favorite pizza place Santarpio’s in Peabody. My parents and I beat them there so we needed to reenact our arrival for the camera. My parents laughed when I had told them this might happen because the coming and going was important to film. We sat down and had some casual conversation at first. Then there some informal interview questions to both of my parents. The filming stopped for a time to eat and times we repeated stories that Momo wanted capture as we talked through the evening. Over all it was a nice evening.
January 20, 2012 on Friday there was only a little amount of filming done. Momo installed a small camera at my desk to capture things that I did throughout the day. I was able to get a hold of my friend Misty and was able to confirm that we could come down to the Cape on Sunday before the game. Misty’s son has TAR Syndrome as well and we hoped to have this trip work out. Throughout the day I tried to reach the roller skating ring so we could go skating unfortunately I was having no luck so we decided to just go and hope for the best. Throughout the day Momo was filming the Northshore and the Boston area in order to capture the area I grew up in. That night I meet them at the roller ring with a few friends. Unfortunately, when we arrived we found out that we could not film because it was open skate an far to many kids arounds and we could get releases if the kids got filmed. Despite the no filming we decided to go skating anyways. This would be only the second time in 15 years that I skated I was here with friends why not. We stayed for about an hour and a half had dinner and fun.
January 21, 2012
They arrived a little early to filming my morning routine. They had me wake up which had me in giggles at first. Then I got some breakfast and got ready to go to Tae Kwon Do. After getting changed they wanted me to put on different cloths that I had on earlier when they had filmed the morning routine. I explained we will be late for Tae Kwon Do if you want to do that and I do not want to be late. As it was it had snowed the night before and I still needed to clear the car off and that was going to take sometime. We all agreed it was time to go. I went out side turned on the car and started to clear it. It only took a few minutes since there was not a lot of snow. As the cleared they filmed me and asked me a few questions. I bringing to get use to the random questions during activities. They then filmed me driving a bit in the snow and wanted to do more however again I expressed that we were going to be late for class especially since it snowed last night. I got into there car and we went to class. We arrived late has I feared but not to late. We did a variety of things in Tae Kwon Do that morning forms, kicking drills, and belt combinations. They also did some impromptu interviews with some of the other students.
After Tae Kwon Do we went back to my house. I had collected pictures, awards, medical papers, school records etc from my childhood and they were interested in get all of that material. Also my friend Danielle was coming over for lunch. Danielle and I have been friends since I was maybe ten and she had told me how our friendship had made a positive impact on her life. When she was fourteen she had cancer and us being friends helped that experience. Danielle and I had a great lunch and I made her food which might of been the first time ever. She was then interviewed and talked about our friendship when I heard her speak about me it brought tears to my eyes.
Later that evening I went to Drum and Dance with my mom. This is a spiritual space for me and many of my friends. I checked first to see if it was alright to have some filming done. It was decided it was fine conditions. Momo would not be able to use the light because it was to bright and it would only be allowed for about a half hour. We had a small group that night probably because of the snow. It was very enjoyable for me. Momo did not seem to getting the footage that he would of liked because the room was rather dark. Nothing could change that because this was community space was not all about me. I think of all the filming this was the place that I had most nervousness about because I did want disrupt others. There was opportunity for and interview but Momo left before the end and missed the chance.
January 22, 2012
We got up really early to get to the Cape by 9am to visit with Misty’s family. We had plans to join Michael at his Kung Fu class. I had been excited to learn that Michael was involved with martial arts and was loving it. Michael has TAR Syndrome as well I had meet the family through Shriners about five years ago and we became close friends. Michael’s leg problem were different then mine and so he is still learning to be able to walk. This weekend I was able to see him walk for the first time and this was very exciting. Michael Kung Fu class was a lot of fun I learned that I knew a lot more about Kung Fu then I realized. After the class ended Michael and I worked together to see how each of our styles could help the other. Then we went back to house to have lunch and hangout. Michael showed me how played video games using one hand and his chin. I realized that this worked out pretty well. Momo then interviewed Misty and Johnny about our friendship. He also interviewed Michael as well. Over all it was a great day. Shortly before the football game we drove home.