As well as making films, I’ve also had over 10 years experience working within the charity world with a children’s mental health, bereavement and emotional wellbeing service. This work has been both in a clinical role and in a media/marketing role. I’ve received various therapeutic training including a diploma in childhood bereavement and have written and run therapeutic groups for children, young people and their families around topics such as anxiety, behaviour issues and bereavement.
When I make films, I’m doing more than just turning up with a camera. I’ve learned how to get to the heart of a story, how to ask questions and listen in a way that makes someone feel comfortable and safe enough to talk. I’ve had lots of experience working with children, young people and their families with a wide range of difficulties including mental illness, trauma and bereavement. This experience has made me a better listener and ultimately a better filmmaker.
Someone who is sharing their story (perhaps even for the first time) deserves for their experience to be as comfortable as possible. Talking on camera is not the nicest experience for anyone ( I much prefer being behind the camera). This is especially the case when the subject matter is immensely personal and often very difficult. They deserve to be treated with empathy and warmth by someone who is trying understand them and not be treated as another person to interview by a cold or heartless producer, however skilful.
This approach will not only keep the person who is being filmed safe but will ultimately make a better video for you as an organisation.