The Story of My Life, Part 2

Posted by Jill Chivers in Interviews and Profiles, Shopping in the Movies and Media

In the first part of this post, I shared how the story of my life came to be chosen as worthy of being told by Australia’s premier film school.  You can catch up here.

So I’m picking up the story after all the preparation and when filming actually commenced.

There were two filming days – Wednesday 23 April and Monday 28 April.  The days in between were absorbed with technical rehearsals, story boarding, and public holidays (the latter being the only thing that included me – the crew did all the other work without my input).

Shoot Day 1

The first shoot day had a look and feel that was somewhat familiar to me.  And by that I mean that the studio was set with regular studio furniture – chairs for interviewer and interviewee, and the format of the shoot was straight question-answer.

What was so fascinating and powerful for me was the crew.  A reasonably large crew, I was told for this kind of film, all of whom had clear and technical jobs.  Two on camera – the cinematographer and focus puller; a sound guy; various stage people including people who moved stuff around as required (lights and so forth) and the clapper loader; the continuity person (also our editor); plus the producer and naturally the director.

To walk into the studio and have all these people ready for the shoot was wonderful, and humbling.  I don’t know how some performers/presenters become “divas” and behave badly on set, wasting everybody else’s time.

For me, I wanted to be at my absolute best, not only for myself, but for these people.  Everybody was invested in creating a quality outcome, and was professional and ready.  I had to be, too.

Part 2 - AFTRS shoot 1 - 1

My preparation

My preparation for this shoot, and the second day as it turned out, was emotional.  I didn’t have any lines or a script to learn, or any other content to remember.  My preparation involved being open, present and being ready to respond to whatever was asked of me.

That was my role – to be authentic and available.  And as articulate as possible when it came to responding to the questions being asked of me.

Sounds easy huh?

Well it was when the questions were easy for me to answer.  Lots of fun questions about the role of clothing in my life, the ‘story’ of clothes, how I’ve always loved clothes and getting dressed up, where corporate dressing came into the picture, my love of animal print, and even questions I’d answered before about my shopping problem.

All good.

Rocks up ahead

But then we got to some tough stuff.  I knew there’d be tough questions – these people were trying to tell a compelling story after all, and it’s not compelling unless there’s drama, and emotion.

I just didn’t expect to get so emotional.  To cry.  Not in a room full of people, some of which were pointing cameras at me.

These tough, emotion-provoking questions were about my moment of realisation that I had a shopping problem.  How deeply that moment touched my life, my core, my identity.  The words I said about myself, to myself.  How wretchedly I felt my failings as a human being.  And my imaginings and assumptions about what others would think, and say, about me and my shopping problem.

Because of the trust I had in Shaylee, my director, and the relationship we’d built up (and also my commitment to being authentic and available), I allowed myself to go where the emotion of the moment took me.

Which was to actually feel those things again.  To feel the wretchedness, the self-loathing, the crushing weight of imagined harsh opinions of others.

Re-experiencing those emotions was a very real moment for me.  There were tears.  And silence on the set; which felt respectful and present.

Part 2 - AFTRS shoot 1 - 2

I think it’ll make for great viewing.  But it was difficult for me to experience – a truly vulnerable-making moment.  The trust I felt in that moment, and feel now, in the people who have my story in their hands is enormous.

Being vulnerable is not a state many humans enjoy – I certainly don’t enjoy it.  But I took comfort in what Brene Brown has shared with so many of us – we value and respect the expression of vulnerability in others, whilst experiencing it as weakness in ourselves.

I guess the final film will determine how my vulnerability shows up.

In the next, final, part of this post, I’ll share about the final day of filming. There was more drama, and emotion, yet to come!

Keep reading to watch the final video piece “Preloved”.

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