During cold winter days, when there a snow dancing in the street, many young journalists wearing woolen socks and enjoying hot chocolate would rather stay at home, work with their computers, surf the web and watch favorite movies. I am the opposite. I have always loved smart active learning. That’s why I went out to our Faculty’s club «Fruza» where I met an American film producer T.C. Jonston.
“…always smiling and with a cute cap, he told “his story”
When I watched the American short film «Teens Press» and communicated with its director, I understood that T.C. Johnstone has got a good sense of humor, because his motto is: «The fact that I create films proves that God has a sense of humor»
Very positive and open, always smiling and with a cute cap, he told «his story». And what is more, he shared his experience how to make a person talk to you, which is really a necessary ability in a profession of a journalist.
«First of all, you need to be a journalist to make documentaries. I traveled around the world collecting stories, and one day I decided to tell my own one and realized that it was a hard work. I saw many of those who gave up their work. But if you really want to achieve something, many problems are not paid attention to during working process».
To be a journalist means to tell people stories. In order to create them, you need to learn how to ask questions. If you have such personal traits as aggression, anger, it is unlikely that you will be able to interview people. «I’ve created my career on trusting relations. When I reached mutual understanding, I realized how to make my stories. It is important to find out your interviewees, to look into their eyes and shake hands”
«Speak» is a word
Now I’ll tell you five steps, how I discover a person and his/her story.
Speak – «speak» is a word that is formed from the capital letters of five steps.
1) «s»– story — the first question that you ask as a journalist «Tell me your story».
2) «p»– passion — what is your passion, what are you keen on?
3) «e»– encouragement — support, motivation to communicate.
4) «a»– assistance, how can I help? — How can I help you?
5) «k»– knowledge — what should I know? What can you tell me?
The work of a journalist is to unite our efforts and create something new and common. Later, I began to ask permission to shoot their stories».
“How do you feel about it?”
Next, the director showed two commercials for the new Lexus model. The first one is an addition to the main advertisement, which is based on a dialogue with the ballerina. She was just asked a couple of questions about her story, her passion, and she was also asked to share her knowledge and they just added a video as she dances.
The second video was based on the contrast and comparison of the ballerina dance and the movement of the car.
A few minutes later, Johnstone asked:
— How do you feel about it?
The students began to express their lively opinions:
— The first video is more convincing.
— And I liked both videos. However, everything depends on the target audience. The first video is more suitable than the second one for adults and mature people, and the second one is better for young people.
— It all depends on the purpose; the first video is suitable for popularizing the ballet, and the second, correspondently, for the car.
— The first one told us the story, and the second showed strength. It remains only to guess what is hidden in these stories.
T.C.: In order to understand how to tell a story related to culture, it is important to understand what you report and who you report to. You have a lot of ways and tools to do it. It is necessary to remember that you should be precise and respectful to your audience.
«So is the guitar your passion?”
Then T.C. offered to shoot a three-minute video in the lecture-hall. He invited one of the students to become his interviewee and one more was asked to shot their conversation.
T.C.: My name is T.C., what’s your name?
Peter: My name is Peter, nice to meet you.
T.C.: Tell me your story…
Peter: My story is not so interesting. I study at the Institute of Journalism, I am keen on playing the guitar.
T.C.: What kind of music do you like?
Peter: Different sort of, but mostly rock.
T.C.: So is the guitar your passion?
T.C.: How can I help you?
Peter: Sorry, but I don’t need any, still thank you. I know what I want and how to get it.
T.C.: If you need some, don’t hesitate to ask me.
Peter: Thank you, kindly.
T.C.: Tell me something about Belarus.
Peter: As you have noticed the Belarusians are not so sociable, but if you start the conversation they willingly chat with you.
T.C. (Smiles): That’s how it happens. Journalism and documentaries is the ability to tell a story. It is an art.
“A movie is a possibility to express your thoughts, emotions, feelings”
At the end of the meeting T.C. answered some students’ questions.
— If you shot a film about Belarus, what would you include in it?
— I would concentrate on people and people’s soul that buildings might not give us.
— How does your fund solve social problems?
— The films I’m doing are aimed at issues people are greatly worried about. I do not shoot a movie that propagates something. I believe that I can make the world a better place. It has always been hard to declare a problem and try to solve it. It takes from two to ten years to create a good movie. But it’s important to decide to become a part of the world.
— Could you tell a few words about the film of your life?
— I’ve been working on it for 11 years. I’ve visited 50 countries working on it. This film deals with peace, solving conflicts, leadership, education, medical care as well as all my projects. I think that it will take my entire life. I believe that this film will reach the hearts of the audience. One can do nothing, but if we unite to solve the problem, I am sure we will definitely succeed.
— If you shot a film about modern life in the USA, how would you provide objective information to viewers?
— I would show contrary views, with all opinions. Normally, it is a hard task. A movie is a possibility to express your thoughts, emotions, feelings.
Act and Create!
On such a positive note, a meeting with the director and producer T.C. Johnstone was finished. Time flew by. The event gave me unforgettable moments, made me think about acting and creating, making the world a better place.
Harmaza Margarita, a fourth-year student.