Try listening to the story instead of reading it!
by Dave Warner
Each Thursday during the month of June 2020, we are publishing a video of the Danielle Nicole experience in Little Falls, which was last August 2019. It’s a way to get out of the ‘pandemic blues’ and remember what life used to be like in Little Falls so that we can get back to letting the good times roll once again.
Ander Kazmerski from Little Falls was one of two filmmakers who documented her time in Little Falls. Here are his answers to some questions that were posed to him via email:
How did you get involved in the project?
Martin Babinec’s nephew, Steven Senisi, called me about the concert several months ahead of time. Martin was putting together the project and had reached out to Steven to discuss adding a video component. Steven, having worked with my production company in the past, called me up to see if I was interested. I love the idea of collaborating with people and projects originating from (or taking place in) my hometown – so of course, I said yes!
What was the experience like being able to produce something like this in your home town?
Productions of this scale are always exciting, hectic, stressful, and energizing – all at the same time. This was, of course, no exception. What made this experience so unique, however, was being able to work together with people from my past, hire local talent to help out, and see the energy and excitement coming from the community. A production of this scale was not an experience I had in Little Falls as a kid. So being able to be a part of it now, even in a small way, was amazing. The local talent, creative minds, and community Martin was able to bring together to make all of this happen was really nice to see, and the professionalism from everyone was several steps above what I see in many cities and towns across the country. It made me proud to be from Little Falls.
How were Danielle Nicole and her group to work with?
Fantastic! From a production standpoint, I couldn’t really have asked for more. Danielle and the band were VERY generous with their time. On-camera interviews aren’t easy – and if I remember correctly, I think I interviewed her for almost two hours. She didn’t miss a beat and was game for everything we threw at her. We spent most of the day following her around, which usually takes a lot out of a subject. At the end of the day though, she got up on stage and delivered a high-energy performance that didn’t disappoint!
Was there anything surprising or unexpected when you ended up putting it all together?
Yes and no. In some ways, it was all unexpected. Documentary productions like this where I don’t get to meet or pre-interview the subject ahead of time are always a bit unnerving. Will we get along? How open and cooperative will they be on camera? How long will it take me to figure out what the story is – and will we even get there on time!? Those worries always lead to a concern about what’s possible in the edit. It’s a lot of guesswork going into the production day, and no matter how well you prepare, things always bound to change when the camera starts rolling. For example, we had some last-minute schedule changes throughout the shoot day which resulted in us getting fewer visuals of Danielle exploring Little Falls than we hoped for. So, that changed our expectations that we could craft a story about what it’s like for her to be on the road all the time. Instead, we shifted more towards telling stories about her music, all while using the concert as the backdrop. That was surprising and unexpected. But we’re happy with how it turned out.
How did you feel about the finished products?
This is a tough question that I always try and avoid. The reason being, as a creative (and specifically a documentary filmmaker), you’re always taught to be self-critical of your work. You always see the seams in everything you make, no matter how hard you try and hide them. I see the collection of my work as a tool to understand how to continually make myself better at my craft. I could talk to you all day about the little things I would do differently if we were to film it all over again. Any filmmaker would tell you the same thing (they are lying to you if they say otherwise!). It’s very hard to be objective about a piece of work you have put this much time into planning, filming, and editing. And time alone into something doesn’t always make it good. I will say this though: I am very happy with what we produced. The whole team worked hard and were passionate about this project from start to finish. We had a great location and an even better subject! The more important question in my mind is, How does the audience feel about the finished products? In the end, that’s what matters most.
Previous articles in the series: