VIK Project: The making of Jessie's Story
There are some experiences that stay with you a lifetime, some memories that can’t help but make you smile and some achievements that you are proud to own. The process of creating Jessie’s Story was all of those for me
In February 2011, on one incredibly cold and wet weekend, ten young people from the VIK project embarked on the filming of Jessie’s Story, the first of three films produced to tackle the topic of mental health and wellbeing in young people. It was a weekend of highs and lows but a weekend that I know will always stand out in my mind.
Spread over three days, from the mad panic on the Friday afternoon of finalising - well, actually writing the script - to a freezing Saturday spent in an empty old people’s home (the set for Jessie’s house,) followed by the jubilant relief of the Sunday as finally the shots were complete and “cut” was called for the final time, it was a constant challenge, but we all worked amazingly hard as a team to get the result that, I think, we all feel incredibly proud to own.
Sometimes words don’t seem sufficient to describe the experience we all went through. I know at times a knife could have cut the atmosphere. Directors were running round madly as they co-ordinated us all, organising sets and scenes while making those decisions that were then met by the rest of us with blank expressions or opinionated viewpoints.
Actors and actresses were rehearsing frantically while trying to memorise the script or adapt it to more natural phraseology; and then the staff trying to maintain control, order and a sense of calm. It certainly showed a less than glamorous side to the film-making business.
But it’s not the stress I remember or treasure most; it’s the united front we all put on: how we all came together to work as a team, placing our trust in one another’s skills and listening and respecting each other’s viewpoints. It’s the laughs we had and the experience of creating a film we now all share.
The past two years, since beginning the process of writing, directing, acting and editing the film, we have all been on a steep learning curve. For me finding the confidence to act, or attempt to, to trust myself as well as the others involved, was something that was both incredibly hard but also rewarding and something that couldn’t have been done without the patience and understanding that everyone in the group showed.
Now, 17 months after that memorable filming weekend, we have put the film live on YouTube, and along with a great sense of pride I have at seeing our work actually accessible to the public, I also feel a great sense of ownership. This is our film - written, acted, directed and edited by young people - and that in itself is something I’m incredibly honoured to have been a part of.