I have been working with three ballerinas, all at completely different stages in their careers, to create a documentary that will hopefully help to humanize the ballerina and break down some of these stereotypes that have arisen. No, I was not inspired by Black Swan, though most of the ballerina formula is used to build the character of Nina in said film. I began working on this film before Black Swan came out. Back in some other part of my life I wished I could be a ballerina and while it clearly did not work out I have always felt ballet contributes to who I am. Thus, many of my films involve dance and ballerinas in some fashion. So working with professional ballerinas is a dream of mine. I hope that I can do them justice.
During part of March and most of April I had two interns helping me with the shoots. While it was nice to have a crew, mostly due to the ease of set-up and break down, it has been exhilarating working without one. Having to rely solely on myself is allowing me to trust my instincts as a filmmaker and reminds me that I can do all those little things that I so long ago cast off to assistants. Plus, I am very picky about shot composition and now I don’t have to put my trust in anyone and my shots are exactly as I want them (and/or I am fully aware of the limitations that a space creates and, thus, know the shot is the best it can be). When you are working with interns you always have to remember that they are learning as well and give them a little freedom to do just that, which inevitably means accepting the mistakes they will make along the way. I was lucky to have them when I did, though, because I was able to build relationships with each of my subjects during the interview process without headphones on and one eye on a monitor. Just me sitting in front of them talking with them about their lives.