Saturday, June 23, 2012

side effects of the gig

When you're a storyteller for a company that specializes in death and dying, it's inevitable that you're going to tell some hard stories. And if your medium is video, you're going to have quite a few tough interviews. I've interviewed women who have lost their husbands, husbands who have lost their wives, a man who was dying, a woman watching her husband die, a man who almost watched his wife die.... unfortunately, it comes with the territory.

My one saving grace is that I know the end product I'm creating will be something they can treasure forever. It always drives me to stay honest and humble in the way I retell their story. If I'm going to go into their house and make them cry as they remember, well, then dammit, I'm giving them something they can feel good about watching.

But a topic I rarely touch is kids and grief. And thank god. Because after an interview I did last Thursday, I never want to see another human being cry on camera again.

If you want to know what horrifying feels like - set up a interview with a family to talk about their son who has neuroblastoma cancer and then ask their ten year old daughter what it was like when her brother was going through treatments. And then sit there and watch as she suddenly freezes up on-camera remembering how awful the whole experience was and tears start streaming down her face.

I’ve never felt like a bigger monster in my life.

Did you know that only 3% of the govt money allocated to cancer research goes specifically to pediatric cancer? Did you know that the treatments they currently have to treat pediatric cancer are from the late 1970s and completely barbaric? Yea, I didn’t either…