I think Lindsey Jo's story is *VERY* important for our community. One reason that I think it's important is because Lindsey Jo -- with her life and her narrative -- describes the tension between what it means to be FROM / IN Stark County and what it means to leave, return or arrive (as an outsider) to this place.
I'm drawn to this story because I am not FROM here but I have chosen to make it my home, so I'm always attuned to the voices that are becoming Our Shared Voice, to those who are not necessarily "insiders" but are definitely stakeholders. Because Lindsey Jo has worked with refugees and immigrants, and because she has left this place, she gives voice to those boundaries and their meaning that is unique and eloquent.
The OTHER reason why I think that this story is important is because academics, community leaders and community planners are engaged in a large conversation about something called "Drain Brain" -- that is the exodus of the professional and educated young insiders from Northeastern Ohio. Lindsey Jo, in this story, talks about leaving, returning and the ambivalence she experiences in trying to find a life here. This narrative seems tremendously on-point given this larger conversation / problem.
How did you choose your subject for the film?
As I've said in an earlier interview, because Lindsey Jo was one of the subjects of the Perceptions Project, I didn't choose *her* in the way that a traditional documentarian chooses the person that they make a film about. However, I did have to choose what subject I would focus on during her film. Ironically, I feel like the subject chose me much more than I chose it.
To me the subject of a film is always a conversation between the various elements of the film -- the conversation between the video and the audio and the conversation between the shots and the cuts that the editor stitches together in post-production.
Given that view of a film's subject? I would say that this film's subject: the tension between the Destination and the Journey -- emerged in ways that were beyond my control and delightful to experience.
What was the most challenging part of making this film?
For each of the perceptions films, I started by listening to the narrative, over and over, from the interview that Craig did with the participants. After three or four listens, I had a sense of the story that I might want to tell, and then I contacted the participants and suggested to them some possibilities for where and when we might film.
Ironically (you'll understand where the irony comes from AFTER you watch the film) all of the destinations that I wanted to film with Lindsey Jo were no longer a part of her life. So my last ditch idea was one that I had hope for, but also felt like a crazy idea. When Lindsey Jo responded enthusiastically, the film that I made emerged.
What was the most enjoyable part of making this film?
There were several joys in this film's production. Lindsey Jo's journey and her voice felt like a similar kind of experience to my own 20s; she is articulate, honest and passionate. Who wouldn't like to collaborate with people like that?
One joy that emerged somewhat unexpectedly was the chance to (finally!) collaborate with my friend (and brilliant musician), Martin Nielsen. I told Martin what I imagined for the score, some instrumentation that I hoped for, and an unreasonable timeline. What he provided (on time!) superseded my expectations in every way imaginable.
Finally, the actual shooting of this film was as magical a day as I can imagine. Sun, a truck, two friends, a bicycle and country roads. So nice.
Are you working on any future projects at the moment?
I am finishing up the packaging for another micro-documentary (not part of the Perceptions Project) that I worked on all last year -- Up From Sippo Hollow. We're going to sell that DVD and the profits will benefit the Mayors Literacy Commission of Canton and Massillon.
We help local storytellers make mini-docs and screen
them on the web.