We are producing a web docu-series relating to the Filipino-American immigrant experience. We’ll be profiling/interviewing elders of the community, b. 1925-1945 (the Silent Generation).
This bootstrap production is being managed by a non-profit organization founded last year, called The Balik Project. In Tagalog, “balik” means “to go back”. We want our subjects to go back through their life journeys on camera to share stories never before told to the public.
Our mission is to provide a more inclusionary Asian-American education to those who want it. The Asian-American experience as it relates to the Filipino culture is rarely discussed in main stream media, let alone school curriculums. We would like to change that.
We have a very modest $5k budget for five 25-minute episodes, the first of which will be done by June 2020. Each of the episodes will be produced, directed, and edited by the family (children/grandchildren) of an elder community member.
We will be conducting a nation-wide search for families to participate once our 1st episode has been completed. Clips will be available to view to those who are interested in joining our endeavor.
The families will have creative control over their respective independent productions, but will allow edits (color correction/sound/subtitles) in post to be done by the lead production staff at The Balik Project — so that there is uniformity among the 5 episodes.
We envision the series to go live on the website in January 2022. Production will take time due to our group’s relative inexperience and time management constraints. None of us are professional, full-time filmmakers.
Each production team will spend 2 months developing a “script” through informal conversations between family members. 2 months thereafter will be spent writing the script so that it runs chronologically. The elder will review the document and make corrections as they see fit. Then, 2 months will be spent filming/editing the interview. The script will be used as a guideline; elders will not be expected to recite what is written verbatim on camera.
(The complete scripts will be posted online as supplementary educational material for the videos.)
Production costs (labor/equipment), in large part, will be absorbed by the families. The project is meant to be very much DIY. We’re encouraging iPhones be used for filming with a lavalier microphone for sound. 3-point lighting. GarageBand/iMovie/Final Cut Pro X for editing. Pretty straight-forward.
November 2019-April 2020 — 1st episode completed to use as a tool for recruiting
May 2020-October 2020 — filmmaking participants for the remaining 4 episodes acquired
November/December 2020 — the families start developing their script
January/February 2021 — they complete final version of the script
March/April 2021 — film the Q&A and edit
May 2021 to December 2021 — submit the film to The Balik Project for final edits (8 months to polish 4 episodes)
January 2022 — premiere all 5 episodes simultaneously on thebalikproject.org
The idea is that we continue to accumulate episodes as the years progress. 5 episodes = 1 season. Thus, we’ll be building a digital archive of both written and filmed testimonies for academic research and general reader/viewership to use and enjoy in the future.