Updates and Thoughts: May 28, 2012
T-13 days until Bangkok! I’ve decided to start doing posts online on my progress/livelihood. These are meant to be personal and casual rather than professional.
On the Film Project and the concept of Access:
My idea is to get more than just a surface look at ladyboys– look at the lives of those beyond the world of Soi Cowboy, meet Third Gender people who are professionals, students, their families, their friends. I’m realizing how difficult it is not just logistically, but emotionally/psychologically. Journalism sometimes requires a brazen disregard for propriety and a gregarious personality that invites disclosure even in the face of language and cultural barriers. As a naturally introverted person, contacting someone out of the blue or walking up to them and asking for a favor (“Hey! Help me out with this! No I can’t pay! But this is my vision!”) is really taking me out of my comfort zone, let alone when we don’t speak the same native language. Which is why I’m reaching out on the interwebs for help to whoever I can. (ESPECIALLY: Thai speakers/ people who work with/know TG people well).
I’ve also been thinking a lot about access and the act of looking legit vs. being legit. To be honest I constantly feel as if I’m faking it until I’m making it, but I suppose that’s how everyone feels in independent filmmaking. Access isn’t just about credentials– I’m hyper aware of my own race/gender/identity/culture in all of this. A white male making this film is going to have a very different level of access than me, a young asian female. That said, white men also attract a different kind of attention, and one of the greatest things about Bangkok that I’ve found is the ability for me to move through the world unnoticed, undisturbed (this might change when I have my camera equipment, but I’m good at looking inconspicuous when I need to).
On Cameras and More Access:
I’m in the process of buying additional camera equipment for the trip. I’ve already invested in a fancy Canon 60D camera with an even fancier mounted Rode mic, and I’m looking for a nice 50mm lens (f/1.8? I’m not made out of money here!) and a tripod in Bangkok. If it weren’t for my paid video work for the Princeton Alumni Weekly’s Class of 2012 Commencement coverage next week, I probably wouldn’t have invested in such expensive equipment. But part of having a fancy camera is again, the access.
Travel: Buying a week ticket to Chiang Mai. Also looking at: Chon Buri, Pattaya and Nakhon Pathom. Couch surfing hosts still greatly appreciated.