September, 2006 Archives

27
Sep

Good Intentions

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA BOWMAN MESA ARIZONA – “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.” — Douglas Adams

DSC06343.JPGWhen we went to Zambia, we had good intentions. We thought we would bring a new industry to a country that would embrace us and our goals. We thought that Zambia would want an opportunity to expand its employment options. It didn’t occur to us that Zambia or other countries might not want to do things the same way we do things. Some people like to learn from their own mistakes instead of the mistakes of others. I am sure when the wheel was invented, people were hesitant and wanted to stay with what was more familiar. We should have thought of that possibility and been more sensitive to a people’s self-discovery.

Countries consist of people and traditions and pride. Zambia is not any different. Zambia has 73 tribes in its country. Each tribe has their own language, their own history, their own culture. Some of the tribes work together and are friendly to each other. DSC05880.JPGOther tribes don’t like each other much. I am sure history would explain their apprehension with each other. Tribes are like large families. When a couple marries then their children adopt the tribe of their father. Some tribes believe in polygamy. Others tribes forbid it. Each tribe has its own mores and values and standards. But whichever tribe a Zambian belongs to it is the best tribe in the country. If you don’t believe me just ask one! One thing they all have in common is respect. They respect the right of other tribes to live according to their beliefs. Sound familiar?

We also went to Zambia to learn about their culture. We went with the belief that every culture has something to offer. We wanted to know what their culture could offer the world. We spoke with many about what made Zambia a wonderful place to live. The people looked at us like we were crazy. They looked around them and would respond, “Zambia is my country! Why wouldn’t I love it? Look at the people, they are so friendly.” And indeed they were to us!

DSC06602.JPGI believe what ended up happening is that instead of us helping establish a new industry and changing a country, our experience in Zambia changed us. We discovered things about each other, but more importantly we discovered things about ourselves. We are becoming more of who we were intended to be. We keep unlayering ourselves and those around us sometimes are confused as to who we are. They are not alone. We are confused as we discover who we really are as well. It is a process, but it has been self-affirming for all of us.

We may not have gone and done what we intended to do, but we ended up where we needed to be.

13
Sep

I Am Enough

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA BOWMAN MESA ARIZONA USA – Logging — I sit and watch and record events of the movies and I remember the essence of Zambia. I try to concentrate and pay attention to what may be useful for the films and then a scene occurs or a moment is recorded and all the emotion I was feeling at the time floods back to me. I sit and let those feelings embrace me. I smile.

Last night I was reviewing the Danny concert. I showed my kids how they danced and sang. I wanted them to listen to the sound of Africa. Instead I sat in my chair and started dancing myself! I realize they will never understand what I experienced in Africa. Sometimes I do not understand what I experienced in Africa. I just know I am different.

Sometimes I feel I have edited my own life. My feelings prior to Africa seemed all consuming. I would hear songs or moments would flash into my mind and those feelings would consume me. I have learned that feelings are feelings and if I want to get through them I have to allow myself to feel them. I can’t fight them. They are feelings. They are my feelings. I have learned that eventually one day you might wake up for a sunrise and send your feelings away and they obey. Those all consuming moments become a faint fond memory. They become a smile.

pamsmilingsm.jpgAfrica taught me to be patient. It taught me that I cannot do everything for everybody. I can do enough and others will do their share and at the end of the day it is time to dance and play and laugh.

The crew says I seem happier now that I am home. They say I don’t seem so stressed.They attribute it to my husband and children. Certainly there is truth in that, but I also believe I am happier because I am more me. I am less of everyone else. And that is enough. I am enough.

9
Sep

Producers Pow Wows

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA BOWMAN, MESA, ARIZONA — One afternoon, Cyndi and I let our documentary cinematographer, Robbie, join us for the producer’s meeting. He had his camera with him. He heard our conversation and he recorded some of it. His comment was something like, “I wondered what you guys talked about. It’s fun to hear the inside scoop.” I think he enjoyed the Cyndi and Pam pow wow. Much later in the trip, after a particularly frustrating day, Carlos said, “Man, I can’t believe it. Cyndi and Pam go through this every day.”

carConference.jpgAs producers on an enormous project with responsibility for 14 students traveling to another continent, Cyndi and I would discuss every little detail that had occurred throughout the day. I felt honored that she trusted me. Sometimes we vented and sometimes we celebrated. There were only two times I publicly humiliated her. She humiliated me a few times as well. (Pam, SHUT UP!, on camera no less.) It’s hard not to make a few blunders when you’re managing such a huge task in a pressure cooker situation. For the crew, we tried to stay positive and encouraging about everything. Sometimes, the challenges would get to us, too. Mostly we confined our negative comments to the car trips between sets so they wouldn’t know the hard time we were having trying to keep it moving. We learned to trust each other. Being from different lifestyles and yet accepting of each other encouraged a partnership of trust.

We could see crew members behaving similarly with each other. The feature crew became a very tight-knit group because of how much they needed each other’s commitment and support to accomplish their responsibilities. The documentary crew struggled as they were expected to support the feature crew and get great documentary moments. They vented and struggled just as we did.

I know there were times where we both were so frustrated with events and/or each other that we wanted to bolt for the next plane home. Fortunately for the project, instead we would discuss the situation and resolve the issue of the moment. I guess that is called damage control. There were times when I relied on MK and Jeniece to vent my frustrations. I knew they were my roommates and more importantly my friends. They would listen and they knew that my feelings needed to be heard. They also knew once expressed they were allowed to dissipate into the African night. Cyndi knew I shared with them. She knew sometimes I needed others to help me sort out my feelings of frustration. She trusted me and by extension trusted those I had faith in. In doing this we avoided the grudge match.

powwow.jpgI believe one of the unique qualities of the crew is our ability not to hold grudges. Instead we lightened the load by making it and any situation a joke. Life is too short to hold on to stuff. Conversation and clarifying our opinions helped avoid contention and misunderstandings. Knowing that everyone was committed to the success of the project no matter what encouraged tolerance for each others differences and respect for each other.

The project is still not done. Cyndi and I still continue to have our pow wows. If you read the blog, you see the crew is in the same space. They want to continue working, too. We are in negotiations on how we can keep this momentum going in future projects with this crew. We believe we have something unique to offer the world. If you don’t believe me listen to one of pow wows, but be forewarned, our ambitions are contagious.

7
Sep

It Begins…Again

by Pj in Random

breakingRock.jpgBY PAMELA BOWMAN MESA ARIZONA – The editing process begins today. Editing is tedious (not as tedious as breaking rock beneath the noonday sun in Lusaka) but it is the end result that should make all the hard work worthwhile.

Sometimes, as you go through the footage it is painful. There are moments you want to capture, remember and use, but as you ponder upon what the point of the movie is, sometimes you have to cut out something that won’t support the story. It is rather symbolic of life.

In life we all get distracted. We have a plan or goals or dreams. Then something or someone comes along and you get lost for a little while. If you are paying attention you can correct your course and get back on track. Sometimes the distraction shows a better direction or more noble goals. Sometimes you readjust or change completely. Sometimes you become disappointed in yourself for choices made or wasting time on insignificant things. Then, if you are true to yourself you edit out the unnecessary or start all over again. Being true to your story should always be the determining factor. What has to be cut doesn’t always have to be thrown away. Sometimes the footage is saved for the future…just in case.

Cyndi often says the following in regards to an actor or a scene. “That was authentic or real or true.” As we edit these movies I know she will once again teach us to search out the authentic moment that supports the story. Sometimes it may be a matter of opinion. Hopefully it will be obvious as to what scene best portrays the story line.

So the next process begins. We are all nervous and extremely anxious. We want to view the rough draft and see our efforts manifested. At the same time we hesitate. This last process is crucial. We can not let up now. Today we started planning the edit. Tomorrow we will all work together to get it done quickly. In the end we will have our movies. And at the end of the day it will be our crew that did it all, through pre production, production and post production.

So it begins…again.

5
Sep

Third and Final Week Summary

by Pj in Random

VictoriaPrecipice.jpgBY PAMELA BOWMAN MESA ARIZONA
Requested by readers.

Monday August 28 2006 —
Visited Livingstone. Hiked around Victoria Falls. Great photos and footage
Ate lunch downtown . YUM!
Returned to Lodge. Enjoyed evening under the stars.
Slept well!

Tuesday August 29 2006 —
Took Helicopter ride over falls. AWESOME!
Toured wild animal park. Tons of elephants.
Drove back to Lusucka!

Wednesday August 30 —
Shoot court room scenes and prison scene. Intense!
Issue with frustrated actors. We don’t blame them!
Create courtroom out of nothing!
Once again problem solving capacity building.

Thursday August 31 —
Crew and cast at business for shoot.
Wrong location, but make do.
Pamela’s luggage is picked up. YEA!
Laundry is done- Good thing. Clothes were beginning to stand up all by themselves!
Shoot concert scene at Dolphin restaurant. Fun night! Dancing again.

tonsElephants.jpg

Friday Sept. 1 2006 –
Sound person Susan leaves set early. Bummer!
Shoot exterior shots. Drive up to location.
Beautiful location, but not right for scene. Oh well shoot it anyway.
Drive back home. Worried about money for gas, food and essentials.
We make it back.
Go to Concert for Danny. Shoot concert. Fun!
Head home hungry and tired. Pam won’t stop for food. Lousy producer-tight with $.

Saturday Sept. 2 2006 –
Shoot more exterior shots.
Lunch with Mulenga-very productive for Cyndi and Pamela
Crew blogs and return home for party.
Cast angry about money issues.
Cyndi addresses issues then retires for the evening. She has had it.
Crew Dances and parties all night!

partyTime.jpgSunday Sept. 3 2006 –
Crew sleeps in. Too much partying!
Cyndi and Pamela meet with Danny. What’s up with that?
Pack up.
Head out.
Shop for 15 minutes.
Get to airport in plenty of time.
So glad to be going home!
So glad to be done with this movie.

Monday Sept 4, 2006
Arrive home at 5 pm. Lost 8 hours in flight.
Pamela and Mike loose their luggage. Pam is cursed!
Hugs good-bye.
How to survive with out each other?
Go to bed and sleep!

5
Sep

Holding Hands – Holding Hearts

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA BOWMAN — MESA ARIZONA USA – We are home. And once again one piece of my luggage is lost. For some reason it seems appropriate. While in Zambia I left my life behind and for 23 of the 27 days I had very little to remind me of that life. Now upon returning I bring back only the luggage I recently had been reunited with. All that I acquired in Zambia was in the luggage the airlines has misplaced on our return flights. Two different lives and perhaps two different people living them. I’m sure there is meaning there somewhere. I am just too tired to analyze it all.

pushTheBus.pngNow that the filming has been done I wonder who will read our blogs. The work is not finished. There is post production still ahead. Our crew does not have the luxury of taking a few days to rest or have jet lag or time to absorb recent events. We still have to push the bus! So push we will.

When I told my family about some of our challenges and some of the highlights I kept seeing the faces of our Zambian friends. I would love to be able to reach out and touch their faces and hold their hands. In Zambia everyone holds hands. Grown men are seen walking down the street holding each others hands. It showed the world they were brothers of the heart. It was endearing and sweet and good. There is sweet intimacy in holding hands. I think it says you trust those hands with your life and with your heart.

We are home. Now we are with others who missed us and supported us and loved us. Once again that is really what life is all about. Being kind to each other. Loving each other. Encouraging each other.

To the crew I would love to say…..what, what, what. And thanks for sharing the best of you. You have enriched my life. I would hold your hands any day because we are brothers and sisters of the heart.

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