The National Youth Forum planning committee called me with another request and a tight deadline, but this time something that promised to be quite fun. What they wanted was a short film to be played during the intermission of the forum, that basically was about what they were doing, and why they were doing it.
I met up with their chairperson the next day and we spent a few hours fleshing out a skeleton for a script and everything the film was to cover. You could argue that this was off to a good start, but after spending the next two days mulling over the skeleton and trying to put a script together, one thing became alarmingly apparent to me: “This was going to be ridiculously boring!”
You can of course imagine that “back to the drawing board” were not the words they wanted to hear with five days left to the forum and nothing to show other than bad script ideas… so I didn’t tell them that. What I did do was ask them for creative freedom and trust, to which they agreed.
I found myself looking at all their press releases and the media pieces about them, and I realized that everyone already knew what they were doing and why they were doing it. Looking at the audience that would be at the invitation only forum, the mere fact that they were there means they already possessed this information, so why bore them with it again?
What the press releases and media pieces didn’t really focus on was who they (the committee members) were as individuals, how they felt about what they were doing, coming together as a team of people who didn’t really know each other, and what went into putting an inaugural forum such as this one together.
With this in mind, I decided to take the film in the direction of being more personal and “involving” for the viewer, by attempting to make them a “guest committee member”; taking them from concept right through to execution.
I think most of them were shaking in their boots a bit though, because only one committee member saw it before it was played live and they had no idea what to expect. As I’m still alive to write about this, I’d say it went over pretty well with them.