About three weeks into the shutdown, my little baby turned two. Contrary to a lot of people who found themselves over-burdened with an abundance of free time, I found myself with less free time than ever, owing to the fact that I no longer had anyone to watch my kid even for an hour or two. At first, I just leaned into it. I took naps with him. I baked cookies from scratch. I read Jane Austen while he watched Toy Story. But then I started feeling like I should be doing something more productive, something more creative, like writing a screenplay or organizing my junk drawer or overhauling my website. I knew there was nothing particularly special or unique about my experience, that everyone everywhere was shutting down and re-starting in strange ways, to varying degrees.
The morning of my kid’s birthday, with nothing special planned, I decided that he would not be traumatized if I were to spend the day documenting. I started just with my phone camera, but soon had the old C100 out and was completely immersed in the project. I cut it together over a few days, purposely not spending too much time on it. First, I didn’t want to make it a big project that I would potentially not finish; and second, I didn’t want it to be over-produced. There is no music, no color correction, and a very basic sound mix.
I don’t usually film myself, not for social media or any other medium. I will refrain from passing judgment here on those who do. We all know the ills and dangers of the increasingly narcissistic world we live in. However, in this case, I thought I could see myself objectively as a single mother with limited resources dealing with the same thing everyone was dealing with, and that making a short doc about it–although mundane–would hopefully not be too self-indulgent. I suppose we have all made allowances during this time. At any rate, it completely revitalized me. I truly love making documentaries, and I think I equally love shooting and editing. In this time when my job prospects are more uncertain than ever, I am reminded why I torture myself with all the sacrifice and hardship. Whether it “pays off” in the end, who knows? The work is fulfilling, even when my subject is me and a two-year-old eating soup in an apartment.