What I like to do most.
PRAGUE, Czech Republic- It was probably my ideal way to spend a Sunday if I can’t be in Orchard Park. I started off a film project in Prague the day before, doing a preliminary interview and getting the requisite permissions and connections. On Sunday I was able to begin shooting.
The story is different than what I usually cover. I’m not going to go into it too much yet but I will say that it’s about one man’s drive to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and get back on top after being knocked down by life — knocked down to a place that, almost literally, couldn’t really get much lower.
When I started the project I thought it was going to be about something else, but ten minutes into the first interview I realized that I got something wrong in my initial briefings. But the story that unfolded ended up being far better. I wish I could go into it more but it’s too early in the project. But I will include some stills from the first day of filming below.
I’ve been looking for some different types of stories to tell. I like stories of development and big changes — new cities rising up out of rural villages — but there are other stories out there. Other more human stories whose resonance we can feel, whose impact can last.
I’ve been struggling with the meaninglessness of my work these past few years. There is no longevity to it. I publish, I get paid, that’s it. There is no limit to the number of small stories that are right in front of me, but this deluge is blocking my view of the big stories that I know are out there. I can see them, but the apparition is vague and vacillating, flickering, flashing. I can see them out of the corner of my eye but when I focus it nothing is there. When I reach out to grab it it scatters — a reflection in a puddle, reflected light off a puff of smoke. I know that if I push too hard I will move right past it, look back ten years from now and realize that it was right in front of me. If I don’t push hard enough I’ll never get there, perched comfortably on laurels of meaninglessness.
“It’s one thing to know what you want. It’s another to walk through the door when it opens.” -some guy in a documentary I’m watching.
I asked myself a question the other day: If I had an unlimited budget, all the equipment, and access to all the right people, what story would I tell?
I didn’t have an answer.
A good story will last forever, and that is all I want.
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3679 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Papa Bay, Hawaii
November 24, 2018, 5:53 pm
“I asked myself a question the other day: If I had an unlimited budget, all the equipment, and access to all the right people, what story would I tell?”
I’ll tell you what story to tell. Get your family together and stand in front of a mirror. Take that picture. There’s your story and book.
Vagabond’s Journey. Vagabond’s Journey. Get it?
You have all the right people. Vagabond Journey INC. If your whole family doesn’t have access to a personal camera/ video and computer… slap yourself. Your gypsies. Time to work together like your standing on the corner selling fruit.
You know when your ass is greasy, your balls itch, you stink, cloths smell and you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror? Your camera weighs 5 pounds and you’ve already put it away for the day. That’s when the magic happens. The story or photo that got away. Bleed. Bleed more.
Your standing on the edge of the next level of this journey. Jump!
Open your eyes brother. Your story is so far out there. The fact that you can even feed yourself, plus your whole family on the road is amazing.
Your living your book now. Now. This very moment. The dream is being lived now. You did it. Pat yourself on your back. Smile. Laugh your ass off.
Your best work so far in my opinion was the story and video about your daughter getting the mohawk. Simple and focused. You hit it out of the park. Home run. Another amazing moment was when we watched your daughter speaking Chinese. Or one time when you worked at the hostel with all the mosquitoes. Pain makes good stories. Of course the road kill story was wacked.
In a way we are your extended family watching you grow.
I’ve never been to Prague. God forbid you give us some touristy shit. Do you think the Rolling Stones want to sing the same shit everyday. No. But the fans want to hear it. Thought to consider.
“ I can see what I want to do but the apparition is vague and vacillating, flickering, flashing. I can see it out of the corner of my eye but when I focus it nothing is there. When I reach out to grab it it scatters — a reflection in a puddle, reflected light off a puff of smoke. I know that if I push too hard I will move right past it, look back ten years from now and realize that it was right in front of me. If I don’t push hard enough I’ll never get there, perched comfortably on laurels of meaninglessness.”
Personally I’ve bought a film camera (Nikon FE) and started to focus on light. Back to the basics. Instead of 300 digital pics in one hour. I take 12 pics. Like you said, who needs 4k? I rather watch some grainy video or look at some shit photo instead of nothing. Slave to technology.
If you can’t walk our your front door and find a story. Then go to the local hardware store and buy a hammer and pound your big toe into the concrete. Film that. Bleed and limp slow 🙂
Just my opinion. Time for my medication.
Peace and love!
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