It never fails to amaze me how much better people feel about themselves after talking on camera. Now, I don’t mean giving a 30 second sound bite for the local news about a neighbor who’s gone bonkers. What I mean is settling in and telling their life stories on camera. That can take hours, as it did recently for the docYOUmentary I produced for Hollywood actor Zack Norman.
“My story has gotten clearer, as I’ve talked to you,” Zack told me at the end of our interview. “What I came out of this with is an arc that I never thought of before.”
It wasn’t only Zack’s on camera interviews that helped him put his life in perspective. It was what I asked him to do before we even shot a frame: Think about his life and organize it into chapters, highlighting the most meaningful anecdotes and relationships along the way.
I’m not sure what Freud would say about it, but I do think the process of talking to a person and the camera behind him can be cathartic and clarifying, even if it’s not from a couch.