Self Evident

Mediac Productions presents Self Evident, a documentary piece focusing on the racial barriers in America described through real accounts of people with unique cultural, religious, and racial background, coming in 2016. Follow our progress here or on our production facebook page.

A personal notes from the director, Trevor DeSaussure. I wanted to find a way to talk about these subjects without coming down on an audience so I chose to exclude the use of analysis which I understand is a little weird when talking about making a documentary. I want this project to be as close to unbiased fact as possible. I didn't call in a "professional analysts" just real people to tell you their stories from real accounts; nothing more and nothing less. I don't give my opinion on race issues and I don't let the subjects either. The problem is that it is so hard to have this type of conversation in real time without being offensive or starting to demean other cultures. By striking the use of analysis in the film I'm hoping audience members have that much more space to create their own personal discussion. I don't want to think for you, you have your own brain, I'm just presenting you with information.

The concept of this project came from a few different places. A friend of mine was in town visiting and a group of us decided to go out to dinner. I have no idea how but during the discussion that night the subject of "individual perspective," came up. Individual perspective meaning every, single, separate life view from every person on the planet Earth (this conversation got deep out of no where). We talked about how each person on the planet Earth has a different understanding than another one does through unique filters such as culture, religion, race, region, political views, life experiences, etc. To put it in very short terms, only you know what it's like to be you. Only a black man knows what it's like to be a black man. But what if you put a group of black men together in a room? Sure they share similar life experiences from the filter of race but each individual has had slightly unique life experiences. What if you then factor in black women? This same scenario goes for all races. In this project the questions are formulated to where I'm not asking about the black experience, the Muslim, or Hispanic experiences. I'm asking each subject questions that only pertain to themselves. By grouping a black man's statements with other black men and women (same goes for all the other races) I'm hoping the audience will pick up on the similarities of their statements. Again, I don't want to think for you.  

I visited the Hirshhorn Museum last summer with a friend and we stumbled upon this exhibit focussing on the Muslim experience, more pertaining to women. I forget who the artist was but there was this movie screening using a double screen format. We absolutely hated it. I remember making eye contact with the friend that I was with and whispering to her "please don't make me stay here for the whole thing." The rest of the exhibit was ok  but the entire time I was sitting in the theater all I could think to myself was "I could do this so much better."I decided to go for it. That's right this project is meant to be played on two different screens simultaneously. As this project has developed it's kind of shied away from that format but is still being filmed to allow me to do so if I choose. I do want to enter this project into festivals so I'm not sure if I'm actually going to take the dual screen route; but YEESH that would be so great to do. There might be a private screen where I implement that technique, we'll see. I'm a huge geek about pulling off technical feats and still reel at the idea of going for it. Technique was a major influence in developing this project. 

I wouldn't take on this type of project if I weren't taking something away from it. The entire point of a documentary is to teach and I'm learning a lot about different people during interviews. Some pretty intense subjects have been brought up. The concept of Self Evident is very...self evident. This is what I've told each of our subjects,  "Explain who you are to me. I don't want you to explain anyone else's experiences to me, I only want to hear about you and what you think."

Foundations

Being a realistic dream chaser.

Starting a business large or small is a huge undertaking.  I by no means have all the answers to starting a successful business, I've barely gotten my own off the ground. But I did want to pass along a few tidbits of wisdom that I have learned in starting my very young career as a filmmaker.

1.) Everyone follows a different path.

I'm admittedly a very prideful person, I refuse to ask for very much help. With that being said, after undergrad I had the hardest time finding a job. I was watching friends move on with their lives but it seemed like I was stuck in a stand still. Mentally I was going through a slight depression, I wouldn't dare show it physically.  In order to stay mentally healthy I had to stop comparing myself to other people, you never know what someone else is going through or the help they received along the way.  Just like I put on a really good happy face, you never know who else is doing the same. I read this article a while back on the psychological cost of being an entrepreneur. I forget where I found it but it had the best analogy:

Being a successful start up is a lot like riding a lion. People are watching you like, "Wow he/she is brave, they must really have it together." Meanwhile you're sitting up there terrified trying to figure out; "How the heck did I get on top of a lion?!"
 

2.) Build a team and ask questions.

Piggybacking off of the last point, I tend to put on this super-human persona. I can handle anything. I have a analogy for that that as well:

"Even Superman needs the Justice League."

If you don't know the answer to a question the only way to figure it out is by asking. Don't fake like you know, get off your pride before you get something important wrong. I watch so many young people try to take on the world by themselves. It makes your life so much more difficult than it needs to be. It's one of the first lessons that I learned, the industry of filmmaking is a team sport. I don't have all the answers. For example, when I first started this venture one of my main concerns was keeping track of my money. I'm not an accountant, so I sought council from one. I was having trouble writing contracts, I'm not a lawyer so I sought council from one. The best way to fix a problem in business is to deal with it before it ever comes walking up to your doorstep. It's just economically sound. Speak to people you trust, there are loads of forums online full of people asking the exact same questions you are, it's really nothing to be ashamed of. One youtube channel that I frequent for business advise is Marie Forleo (when you visit tell her Trev sent yuh).

3.) Move with a plan.

Every step you take on your venture should be strategic. Don't just throw money at your start up, create a business plan. It starts you on a foundation. If you ever fall off track its something for you to go back and look at. It makes you ask yourself "What do I want?" and "How do I get it?" There are no excuses for skipping this step. We live in a digital age, everything you need to know about anything is on the internet. Here let me save you a google search. That link leads you to the SBA website where they take you step by step through the process of beginning your business. Take your time, think about the long-haul as opposed to the short-term. Take it from one of the most competitive people you will ever meet...you're not in half the hurry you think you are. Don't rush and make mistakes.  Now we're getting on to my last tidbit of advise...

4.) Don't be an ass. 

No one likes working with or for that guy in any venture you pursue. Build trust, strive for it, constantly do the right thing, and be flexible. Again you never know what someone else is going through and honestly it just feels good to be the nice guy. 

Until next time,

Trevor DeSaussure