When I first stumbled across this rendition of The Eagle’s classic I immediately fell in love and countlessly listened to it day and night for leisure. As I added to the listen count, visions started forming in my head and soon enough a story developed. This short is very lyric driven and is actually told through the lyrics if you pay close attention. During this time I was leading my campus ministry’s small group at God’s Extended Hand, a local homeless shelter in downtown San Diego, serving dinner and helping out with other tasks at the facility on a biweekly basis during the spring semester of 2013. Through my numerous interactions with the homeless people I broke bread with, I gained a perspective that would ultimately break my heart. Conversations about their past, how they got to where they are now, and their struggles that keep them where they are left me speechless. Homelessness is so common in our society that it has become accepted in a way. Yet we tend to overlook that they have feelings just like us, a history just like us, and are human beings just like us. To be honest, I was really scared to put out and do something like this. Social injustice and homelessness are such BIG topics and fears of not portraying it justice made me hesitant (I knew this was not something to take lightly). So you could imagine all the pre-production that went into this (a years worth which included serving and interacting both in the shelter and out, research/study through credited sites and scripture, as well as prayer and just having myself in a state that was compassionate for them). I didn’t want to create something based off my own assumptions as it would come off very disrespectful and not authentic. As expected, God kept pressing it into my heart time after time and I knew I was called to be a vessel for Him and spread his word.
*Majority of the film was de-saturated to represent darkness, loneliness, neglect, and no life. It was also filmed “guerilla/handheld” style to give it a more raw, real, and authentic feel.
In the beginning/set up we see a businessman in a rush as he is late for work, as the camera pans we are introduced to the homeless man. It was extremely important for me to have the heavy contrast between the “lowest of low” and “highest of high.” As seen, the homeless man is basically invisible to the businessman.
The typical image of a homeless man holding a sign amongst a busy area came to mind when I heard the lyrics “I was standing all alone against the world outside.”
“You were searching for a place to hide” gave me the idea of that uncomfortable interaction when homeless people attempt to communicate and they are ignored.
I knew after being neglected I wanted to focus on the homeless man’s pain that was being experienced for “lost and lonely…” Eventually the homeless man would accept it and just carry forward.
When I heard the 2nd verse (“don’t you worry, sometimes you just got to let it ride”) I knew I wanted a scene that showed the homeless man tired and defeated sitting on the ground as flocks of people pass by (emphasizing being ignored and invisible again). And then the turning point! Amongst him being at a place where all hope is lost, there is hope. I knew within the crowd walking past him I wanted “that compassionate person” homeless people experience every now and then to drop off a bag of food (“the world is changing right before your eyes”). Keep in mind, although there is a change for the better at this point there is still yet to be personal interaction. For the remainder of the 2nd verse I wanted the viewer to really just soak in what happened and take the time to see the effect of the stranger’s generosity. We see the homeless man start to daydream as he continues eating.
Continuing off the daydream I pictured seeing the homeless man’s eye and in it was his past and what he ultimately longs for (a sense of community and being accepted). This was a big thing for me to get across as this is commonly overlooked and was a major thing I received during my interactions at the shelter. The hint of color within the eye indicates light in darkness and hope in despair.
Being a dancer I wanted to use dance as an artistic way to express the homeless man picking himself back up (sorry if it comes off random). I would consider this part the climax as the music and change of pace for the better continues to build. The choreography was meant to have him grounded initially representing the neglect he took, it would eventually be followed by him rising up and regaining strength/hope.
This is where everything comes in full circle. The 1st verse reprises but this time we see the businessman beat after a long day of work. He can’t find his key as he tries to get into his car (the key dropped during the time he was rushing to work) and now he is experiencing his own personal time of despair. As he pulls out his phone to call for help, the homeless man presents his misplaced key to him. This moment is what leads to the resolution as we see the homeless man go out of his way and do a good deed regardless of what he’s endured and is looked as by society. Initially the businessman is speechless and has no reaction, but soon enough chases down the homeless man on his own will and personally thanks him (this is the first time we see someone physically touch the homeless man). This is a big moment as we see the businessman go out of his way for the homeless man (he could’ve just said thank you or even drove off). Importantly, this is where the homeless man is acknowledged and doesn’t feel invisible anymore (the businessman even goes down to his dog/best friend and interacts with him which emphasizes him being acknowledged). As the two separate and continue their days, I wanted the last shot to be of the homeless man walking away and smiling at last (the use of color stemming from his smile is the same representation used during the “eye scene,” light is being brought into darkness and hope is being brought into despair). If I wanted the viewer to get anything out of this short I knew it needed to be the last thing they saw, an ending still image of the homeless man with his dog and sign that instead reads, “Love Will Keep Us Alive.”
SO this was another project I’ve been working on. It was written Sy Bartolome. I had the honor of filming it and putting it together.
Please take the time to read this excerpt, especially after watching this Short Film. I feel the words of Sy was eloquently said, so I’ll leave the interpretation up to Sy (please read the blog above)
On top of what the story is about, I feel very spirit led making this film. I am at a point in life where I wanted to express more with film making, to be quite frank, I wanted to take a break from dance videos. Not saying I’m gonna stop, I just wanted to venture in other mediums of film. Although, I was hesitant to do this film at first, the Holy Spirit pushed me to take on this project. After reading the script, I just knew I had to be apart of this project. Deep down in my heart, I wanted to be apart of projects that can impact people, as well as, sharing the Love of God to others in the world…and that is why I am excited for everyone to see this. Hope you all enjoy God Bless.
Sneak Peak: (must view on youtube if you don’t have an account)
Concept/Dance Video Journal Entry 1
Date: June 3 2010
The idea was to make a video that will benefit people. I wanted a video to allow people to feel inspired and motivated to do whatever they want in life. I’ve gone through an amazing year in dance and I just want to share that journey with everybody. After doing some solo performances in the neighborhood, I performed to a song that received some attention and it turned out that people like the dancing as well, so that spurred me to pitch this idea to bring a random performance into a DANCE VIDEO. Again, this video is intended to help people. I have no need in making a video for myself; Thats not what’s driving me to make this. I’m driven’ by the people, driven by my peers, driven by my family, BUT MOST OF ALL DRIVEN BY GOD. Spiritually, this video is what got me here to make a dance video.
I went to the studio to put together choreography. At the end of the night I was very pleased on how some things came together. The first journal entry shows only some of the choreography of the final product. Its not all waving/animation. I just want to show just enough that doesn’t give away the whole final concept video. Some of the stuff is just “whatever” cause some of those clips are just me thinking of what moves to create. I guess that means not all of the stuff you see are for sure going to be in the final movie. MORE TO COME. next entry will be coming soon.
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Have we forgotten about Our First LOVE….?
Have we forgotten about GOD…?
Is it because we are so caught up with this world?
this is a talk given by one of my best friends/roommates/motivator… he inspires me and gets me through alot of my struggles. He can also help you. I’d struggled with my dancing. I struggled with getting a job, but after living with him for a year and knowing him most of my life, he has helped me conquer the most challenging things that I had to go through as a young adult. Why? cause in the past I was too caught up living the WORLD’s perspective on how to live. With God I have purpose (that’s another blog i should get into) Now, I’m living for God, and he has blessed me with opportunities to help people through my dance
but here is a talk about the great Love of God
It was AWESOME, finally been consistent with dance, been freestylin’, sessioning, teaching, TAKING CLASS, but most importantly sharing knowledge with my peers.
yesterday, awesome another 2 class day. Mari’s at 6:30. Went to the studio right after work. I THANK GOD THAT I’M NEVER TIRED AFTER LEAVING WORK SO I COULD WORK ON MY TALENT. She did a piece to Temper Trap - sweet disposition, she was like ‘its from 500 days of summer’ then i got excited. epic. Then Vihn class at 7:30. execution and performance was his main thing that day, and it was fun cause i like footwork.
I teach, and my little 9 year old is starting to make her own tuts and waves. Shes freestylin on her own. That just validates that I should keep teaching and i love teaching, and my other class is preparing to do a show in may.
Got back to sessionin with Dnoi, ellis, and everyone at pac arts. Totally got more foundation to my arsenal of movement when it came to poppin’. there is always something new to learn
as for my peers, i’ve been running into my fellow dancers, and tell them what GOD does in my life (CAREER AND DANCE ESPECIALLY) so i can motivate them to follow their dreams. THATS THE BEST PART OF MY DAY IS TALKING TO MY PEERS ABOUT GOD. People are surprised about how my walk is so strong with the lord these days compared to a few years ago. THEN I GIVE THEM THE 101 on my life and they are touched cause the past year was my the hardest of my life, and I conquered it with GODs help. This story of my life is a long long talk. so thank you everyone who had a open ear for my words of wisdom the past few weeks
Be consistent with your life, the improvement may be fast, it may even be slow, but always never give up…everything will get easier the more you love it. There will be struggle and pain, but the love with get you through it. never give up the fight!
This book can change your life. Not only will it make a difference in your life in a positive way, but also you can be a miracle for people in this world by giving a helping hand.
its our purpose to do something
So I took 2 dance classes today, Mari’s and Vingh’s. Apparently I need more conditioning, or their dance classes are extra tiring. I almost couldn’t breath after Vingh’s class. Actually talked to Mari for a bit, we talked about dancing to tegan and sara. Hopefully, she will be inspired by their music, and make a piece to them. After class, I was drenched in sweat, and quickly gone through my whole bottle of water halfway through my first class!!! WHHHHHHHHHHAT, I’m thirsty. This will be a chronic habit. This will be on a weekly basis. Hopefully i’ll work up to 3 classes in a row, or three classes a week, maybe even four.
After today, i’ve notice pain is inevitable. Reaching your full potential isn’t suppose to be a walk in the park. I’m not going to let my condition to get tired easily stop me to get me to where I’m suppose to be. I’m still going to persevere cause I know my body can still handle this pain, cause the “love” of this talent will help me overcome the evils of this world, and also help others overcome their inner demons. That’s why I’m still fighting!!!! This is what I LOVE
That is why we need to use our gifts that God has given us, we are no mistake in our creation, we are made for a reason, TO OVERCOME THE DEVIL! our gifts will guide people out of trouble. One of my gifts is dance, and one day I want to lead our youth to a better future through dance. Some people’s gifts are to talk, or listen, whatever your gifts are, use it for the greater good, and you will see yourself fight for your goals through another level, you will accelerate your work ethic in what you want to do…
cause your not getting better for yourself, BUT FOR OTHERS, you offer your gifts as gifts to others. That’s whats going to make you persevere