So what's up with the name?
When I was a grad student in the UC Berkeley Journalism School's documentary program, my classmates and I — when not out filming or huddled in an edit room — gathered around a big table in the TV lab. That was where we workshopped our thesis films, led by our professor — cinematographer and director Jon Else.
We'd come to class with our anxieties — a sequence that wasn't working, or how to cram all our footage into a half-hour film — and, after listening patiently, Jon would reassure us: "You're having all the right problems." And while we preferred to not have any problems, thank you very much, we got what he meant. We were grappling with challenges that would ultimately improve our films.
It's a thought that I've returned to often in my career: how are the frustrations that I feel in this moment actually signs that I'm on the right track? Because let's be honest: documentary filmmaking always involves frustrations, y'all. From access negotiations to unpredictable filming conditions to don't-even-get-me-started-on-fundraising — it's a long and winding road to a finished film.
What I bring to my work is a level of experience and professionalism that means we're able to skip over the unnecessary, time-wasting problems and go straight to tackling the questions that will elevate a film, like What cinematic language best fits this story? How do we honor participants' trust when we film with them? How can we push beyond "That'll work" to "Oh, wow"?
Problems — just the right ones.