Despite all the external and internal challenges presented by the pandemic on a personal front, it was a productive time for moving this project forward. Because my main source of income was severely impacted, I had much time on my hand to learn video editing and go through all the footage. Originally, I was working with another video editor but being a self funded project, I had to take over the responsibility of ‘processing’ the hours of footage. At the end of the day, watching all the footage by myself was quite beneficial for my spiritual practice as well ideas on how to improve execution on the interviewing process. Coming from just being a photographer to being an interviewer is a pretty big stretch for my introverted tendencies so that is definitely an area that can use a lot of help!

As I mentally digest the interviews and organize the footage, the themes worth exploring are becoming more transparent. Having  broken down the themes to a ‘beginner’ and ‘someone that already has a practice’, has also helped me realize how to flesh out the rest of the themes. I am beginning to have some ideas on creating a mini ‘documentary’  that highlight certain themes such as the various lineages and etc. For next year, I will continue to flesh out the themes and work on having a few new collaborators. Certainly, it has been helpful to have the subjects write up something about their spiritual history and etc but the themes and bios definitely need a good writer’s touch to take it up a notch. 

As I reflect back on this past year’s research phase, there are a few key takeaways for next round of interviews. 

  • Considerably more time in the pre interview/vetting process for subjects. I will need to be more involved in getting to now the subjects before hand and have more define themes to before during the actual interview
  • The photography session tends to be ‘rush’ after spending so much time during the interview process. Even  though I don’t need a long time per say to do the photo session, I feel like the sessions are a bit dry for my taste and can use more creative planning. 
  • On the technical front, even though I have a decent handle on video capture, there is still quite a lot to improve on in the next round when it comes to capture and in post production. There were a few interviews where I wasn’t able to use the video footage and that was a big downer for me!

It was nice to get formal blessing for the projects from one of my teachers!