Some time in March, while brainstorming about how I could make a living off my land where there is such a tiny population based (and a fairly economically challenged one at that), a friend of mine suggested that I work towards making the place an education/demonstration farm. While talking about the idea he proffered that the likes of David Suzuki (Vancouver’s most famous environmentalist) might be interested in supporting the farm, and also suggested the Vancouver based universities that have agriculture programs may also be interested in working with me to teach sustainability and self-sufficiency.
About a week and a half ago, with that friend’s idea in mind, I finally decided to take a look at the Suzuki Foundation web page just to see what he was up to. I didn’t get very far into the site when I happened upon a call for submissions. David Suzuki, is running a contest for pesticide free gardeners this summer. They say you don’t have to be a master gardener to play a starring role in the ‘David Suzuki Digs My Garden’ contest. They want a passionate storyteller who believes pesticide-free growing is the way of the future–which needless to say I do–that they can follow this summer in video, pictures and print, from soil prep and composting, through seeding and weeding, to reaping the harvest. There was an e-form to fill in so I did, and promptly went to bed. While it is not exactly what I was looking for, it certainly would be a good opportunity to start with if I make the cut!
The next day, I received an email saying I was accepted to the second phase; the video audition. How exciting! There were, of course, many problems with this: I didn’t have a video camera, I didn’t know anyone with a video camera, I hadn’t ever used a video camera, I live 500 kilometers from the nearest store with a video camera, and no, I can’t buy one over the phone from the Vancouver camera stores. Consequently, I spent Saturday hunting down some options via the internet, and finally a friend in Vancouver came to my rescue: he bought the camera and put it on the plane to Bella Coola last Sunday morning.
It arrived at 1:30 pm that Sunday afternoon. I spent the afternoon reading the instruction booklet whilst charging its batteries, then wrote my script and practiced it twice on an old tape-style video camera (that won’t let me translate it to an AVI file so I can upload it to You-tube as the Suzuki Foundation requests) and honed it down to about 90 seconds. There were, of course, several technical glitches along the way, or example I got half way through what was going to be my final take–on the newly charged, fancy, digital, jet-lagged camera–and then hit something that made the whole thing mute and couldn’t figure out how to undo it!!!
It is amazing that in this tiny valley there are still plenty of people I have not met. I am continually surprised by the number of talented, creative, and technically savvy people who come out of the woodwork. Lucky for me, Buddy Thatcher materialized just in time–we stood in front of each other for the first time the previous day when he came to the farm to pick up eggs for some community event! Buddy, who owns ‘Box o’ Bones Productions’ agreed to come to my aid. He edited out some of the wind in the outside shots along and added a few other technical details–all for the price of a basket full of my produce.
Thanks to my friend encouraging me to think about my farm differently, the technical savvy of Buddy, and my other friend in Vancouver who did the running around town shopping spree and courier service, I managed to find this opportunity and get the video complete–and with a day to spare!
Here is the final product:
Although this was my first ‘feature film’, I found the whole experience so creatively stimulating, that I’m thinking of expanding into more short films to document my life and work here. I have spent this past year writing words and am now intrigued to write scripts and story-boards for this visual medium. I am now continually thinking about the video camera and what would make nice clips and/or shots. Of course, I have yet to actually get to the stage of bringing it with me so I can actually catch those moments!