Thinking Beyond: on making a first film

7110 – The number of times Beyond has been played since it was released ten days ago.

It’s been featured on PetaPixel, F-Stop Lounge and Monster Children. David Hobby, yes the Strobist, has shared it on Google+. It’s been shared among our collective friends, family and followers more times than either of us can keep track of.

I’m not entirely sure what to think of the hubbub that my little documentary about Flemming has generated. On one hand, I’m thrilled to bits, on the other I’m all “!!!!!!!!”


I’ve received an amazing amount of messages from people everywhere with support and encouragement. My mother said it was “awesome!!!!!” and that Flemming’s story made her too, wish she could travel forever. My mom’s a tough customer. “Awesome” with exclamatory punctuation, as well as her expression of a desire so close to her heart, is unprecedented. I must have read that email twenty seven times, flabbergasted for days. Having some of Flemming’s oldest, closest friends say that I’d managed to capture him completely, made me feel like I had finally, managed to make a real portrait, and understood what it was I was doing.

What is tremendous about all of it is: This is the first movie I’ve ever made.

I wanted to write all sorts of things about it – about how I was completely baffled as to how to frame a moving picture, how difficult it was to be handholding a small DSLR in howling sandstorms, how it had taken me many many painful reworks to carve that ten minute film out of 7 hours of video and 1.5 hours of interview audio, how strange it was to insert pictures of myself into the movie, limited as I was to the stills relevant to the footage.

But really, what it comes down to, is that I’ve finally made a documentary, even if it’s a little one. Over seven thousand people watched it, a number I can’t wrap my head around. There have been all manner of reactions to it, good, bad and ugly. But people have been impacted by it in little some way.

That’s a big thing for a first film.

That is work worth doing.



8 thoughts on “Thinking Beyond: on making a first film

  1. Be a freelance video biographer. There are people who would want to tell their life achievements, dreams and setbacks documented in video, not in writing. You have the talent to do this kind of work and the passion to make it into a career.

    1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Uncle. Video was an unexpected directions, in the last few years of unexpected directions, so who knows? :)

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