Kristin, Brennin and I skipped town and headed to Gloversville, NY for the start of Spring break, full of excitement and anticipation for the three days of filming and bonding with the band ahead.
When we got to the Lexington Center at 10:30 a.m., Brennin and I finally got to meet Maria, the band manager, and George, the sound/music coordinator, in person. Everyone was warm and welcoming, really inviting Kristin, Brennin and I in to their world. We dove right into setting up the tripod, camera and lighting in the indoor basketball court where the band would begin practice at 11. As we were setting up, band members came trickling in. The band kicked off the rehearsal with a beautiful “happy birthday” instrumental for Debbie’s birthday (one of Flame’s dancers). What a perfect moment.
The day flew by from there. We filmed the band’s rehearsal (getting a variety of shots from both an audience vantage point and also close ups on stage), we captured some scenes of the band packing up their tour bus and conducted around 5 interviews in a row.
The biggest accomplishment of the day was the gracious invitation we got to Adrienne’s house (singer/keyboard player) to conduct a more personal interview with Adrienne and her mom. The interview was deeply powerful and immensely important, and gave us such a beautiful view into Adrienne’s personal story before and with Flame. Kristin, Brennin and I couldn’t believe how lucky we were that they felt comfortable enough with us to let us into their private lives for the film. We each left the interview with little bracelets Adrienne makes in her spare time.
Some of the challenges we faced were setting up a good space for interviews during the rehearsal earlier in the day (and getting used to setting up the lighting… very heavy box… and VERY hot lights. Note to self: let the lights cool down before packing up).
A personal challenge the three of us felt at different points was trying to keep our emotions at bay when interviewing the band members, because each of their stories of perseverance in the face of being told that they never could be where they are now are deeply human stories that tug at anyone’s inner insecurities that say “you are not good enough” or “you can’t.” Maria said to us that every person in this world has some disadvantage or “disability.” Some are more overt than others. But no one is perfect and no one is 100% able. The stories of Flame’s members are stories about everyone. The members of Flame have been told by society that they “can’t.” But we all at some point in our lives are told that. Being labeled as “disabled” is not a compartmentalized, special category for a select few. We are all disabled in some way.
Successes of the day: aside from getting a lot of footage and learning more about each band member’s personal story, we began to get to know Maria and George a little better. Building trust with them was the most important part of the trip because their trust meant that the band members would trust us with their stories, too.
To celebrate the successes of the day, the three of us had a delicious and warm Italian meal at one of the only restaurants we could find open (that wasn’t fast food). Tucking into bed at the place we were couch surfing at, we all felt proud to be here documenting Flame.