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Would strangers be willing to open up on camera?

Discussion in 'General Support and Advice' started by lovetoomuch, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. lovetoomuch

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    Hi everyone, probably not the place to be going for this type of advice, but I go here for everything - lol.

    Also, want to say I'm not promoting my social media here or anything. I want general advice on whether you think I could get responses with my idea.

    I'm thinking of starting a video series in which I ask 5 random strangers a deep question.
    The whole purpose behind this is bringing more real things to social media. I hate how social media has become this platform for people to basically glorify their lives and this then causes others to compare their life and get down on themselves.

    Anyways, that is the idea. For example, a question could be "What was the lowest point of your life?"

    I am very excited to start this, but since I am starting this soon, I'm now getting worried no one is going to be willing to talk to a stranger.


    (I'm not bragging or anything, far from that) But friends have always told me I'm a very approachable person and someone they want to open up to. I'm also honestly quite introverted, so this will be a big step for me.
    I don't plan to put a camera in people's face and force them to talk. I will approach them without it, treat them like the humans they are, and ask if they would feel comfortable.

    If they say yes, great. If they say no, also great.

    Do you think people would be willing to open up?

    Just FYI, I'm 23 so not too young where I would be putting myself in danger. Obviously I could encounter some characters, but this is why I'm not going to be rude and I will not just approach them with a camera. I understand the risks, though.
    Please let me know what you think.
     
    #1 lovetoomuch, Dec 2, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  2. Destin

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    I don't think you'll find many normal people willing to tell real stories to a stranger on camera like this. More likely you'll get narcissistic people making up a good sounding story to get their 15 minutes of fame on someone's camera.
     
  3. lovetoomuch

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    I understand what you’re saying. That’s what I was fearful of, but I figured that might not be the case. Thanks for your honesty.
     
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  4. Shorthaul

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    I think you would get more honesty without the camera. A pen an paper to take notes, and letting them remain anonymous or a first name only would likely get you more honesty as well as more people willing to answer your questions.

    That's why my dog is my avatar pic and not a picture of me.
     
  5. Rade

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    You might need to gain their trust perhaps meeting them more than once. So they feel comfortable opening up......
    God I could write a book about my life....lol...
    I think this could be really interesting. I hope you will talk with people of all ages.....
     
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  6. Gutterpunk

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    maybe you could like set up a booth
     
    #6 Gutterpunk, Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2018
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  7. tystnad

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    i know someone who has done a similar thing except with photography instead of film, and i was genuinely surprised how much people were willing to open up. we tend to be a little more open around complete strangers than we are around people we know a little and meet again - but accessing that openness requires real skill, i think, and not nearly everyone can get people to answer these questions. so i wouldn’t be as pessimistic as the other people here, but definitely don’t expect this to be an easy project, and really think about how you’re going to go about this and how to approach them in a way that makes them comfortable enough to trust you with something personal. and don’t be disappointed by people who can’t/won’t do this. you’ll find way more people who won’t be willing to do this than people who are, and if you let that disappoint you, you’ll become less approachable and it’ll stop your project from working.

    also, a valuable lesson i learned while making a documentary last year: openness is a two way street. you can’t get people to open up if you remain closed off yourself. a truly honest, open conversation will get you much further than not sharing anything at all, or faking openness (ie deciding in advance what secret to tell them to make it look like you open you; that’s not true openness). you really have to be willing to go all the way if you want people to do the same for you.
     
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  8. smurf

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    Yes, there are so many channels doing what you are talking about right now. Its something that works really well if you have the skills to do it. Like someone said before, interviewing people takes yourself being vulnerable, it takes being present, and for people being able to trust you. All things you can work on.

    Examples of this type of work:

    Humans of New York is pretty much the most popular of all of these type of social interactions. They have also raised thousands of dollars for people, charities and projects. The guy also has people donating money to this fund that he uses whenever he encounters a story where he could make a very real difference.

    Cut is a youtube channel that does this a lot while being more silly than super serious, but they are really good at getting people to be vulnerable on camera. I really enjoy their projects. Truth or Drink is my favorite project that they do, but they have a ton

    Soulpancake is good. I personally don't enjoy their content, but many people do

    Conversations with people who hate me is also really good. He is trying to figure out how to have the very hard conversations online while keeping each others humanity intact. Sometimes I get eh vibes on things he says, but really great example of people trying something new

    So while there is a lot of valid critique of social media platforms, I would venture to say that your view on it is, for the lack of a better word, a tad outdated? Social media has expanded so much more to those who know how to curate it and use it now. The young leaders of our times are creating amazing online spaces. People are fundraising millions of dollars for charity now.

    Social media is an amazing tool and MANY people are creating great things with it. It is here to stay and if you can learn how to use it to improve your life then it can be amazing.

    The one thing I would invite you to learn is to curate your feed. If you find your social media feed "shallow" (there is an argument that selfies, pics of food etc isn't as shallow as we might think) then unfollow people and follow the people who are helping create the type of internet space you want for yourself. Its truly all under your control.
     
    #8 smurf, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  9. smurf

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    Hate that you can't edit. Forgot one that I recently found called The Gran Varones which focuses on "amplifying Queer & Trans history and the stories of Latinx & Afro-Latinx"
     
  10. lovetoomuch

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    While I appreciate the advice and I know your advice comes from a good place, I do think it is a little unfair to call my view outdated. Yes, this project would be inspired by HONY and I have seen other channels that you mentioned, but go talk to middle schoolers, high schoolers, and even college students. These adolescents are exposed to models on Instagram or the gorgeous female YouTuber constantly. I was formerly a middle school teacher and mind you, I’m a male. A female student came up to me after class one day extremely upset about her confidence issues and told me she didn’t feel comfortable wearing shorts to school because of her body type.

    Let’s face it. You can add all these accounts to your feed, but you’re likely to have a lot of your friends on social media. Most people are not like me and willing to share their struggles openly. Most are only posting pictures of their lavish vacations and “fun” times with friends, causing others to believe their life is not as “great,” when we know social media is painting only one part of someone’s whole life.

    Research Madison Holleran as another example - absolutely beautiful girl, solid student, accomplished athlete. She created a social media persona that made it seem like she had it all, but then committed suicide her freshman year of college.

    I’m not saying my type of project is new or there is nothing out there like it. Someone has to be really comfortable in his or her skin to not let social media influence how we view ourselves.

    So I believe another project that would show people are struggling and not going through everyday blissfully can only help.
     
    #10 lovetoomuch, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  11. Mia Mize

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    I think honesty might be really hard. Being on camera would be difficult for people with hard lives. One could be series of one persons stories. Maybe start by blurring their face in the beginning and if they feel comfortable at the end you can reveal their faces.
     
  12. smurf

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    Sorry, your post kinda implied that you hadn't seen it done before and that you were curious to see if it would work, so I just gave you examples to show that it does work. So now go forth and conquer with your project! :slight_smile:

    Yep, very true. I just didn't know how else to say it and outdated seemed the best fit for some reason. Its not an insult though. I'm not trying to tell you that you don't have a point. I am sorry for making you feel attacked

    Let me try again see if it helps.

    This is all true. We have years of data to back this up.

    We have billion dollar industries that have gotten really fucking good at making people feel bad about their bodies. Social media is simply a new tool, but the problem has always been there.

    This is to say that blaming social media and people "glorifying" their lives barely hits at the problem.

    This is the phrase that I was mainly replying to.

    In order to understand why social media is what it is, you have to understand why people do things. Why are people only posting the ultra positive things about their lives? Why not show the pain and the ugly?

    The main reason is because in our society we don't make space for the ugly. We punish people who are "too negative" for "too long" in our society. So posting the ugly is just horrible networking. People won't want to work with you, people will unfollow you, etc.

    People say "Well, people love authenticity. I know I do!" But how that translates to into social media is that we love a story of triumph. We will accept a sad story as long as its summarized in a happy note. A lesson, a happy ending, or an answer to the pain.

    So, yes create your project. We need more spaces to show pain and people express it. That is great and I think you should go for it, but I would be careful in how you anchor your project to your mission.

    Creating a space for people to be able to be vulnerable and share their pain is very different than creating a place where people aren't being shallow and "glorifying their lives"

    The distinction will dictate if the problem you are trying to solve will actually be helped by your project.

    But again, I definitely think we need more people to create the type of content they want to see online. So hell yes you know this works, you know you could make it happen, so go make it happen!
     
    #12 smurf, Dec 6, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018