Upfront Considerations

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Understand the goal and aesthetic of Global Lives videos

From the Global Lives Project artist statement:

The Global Lives Project’s mission is to create a video library of life experience. There is no narrative other than that which is found in the composition of everyday life, no overt interpretations other than that which you may bring to it.

So, as you conceive of a 24-hour shoot, remember that the goal is not to try to create a story or to entertain the audience. We want to show all of the details of real life—not just the highs and the lows—so that people can see the similarities and differences in daily life across various cultures.


Choose your on-screen participant carefully

Choosing your on-screen participant is probably the most important decision you can make before you begin producing your video. You should consider the following as you pick the person who will be at the center of your Global Lives shoot:

  • Is the on-screen participant from a new country or demographic group that is not currently found in the Global Lives video library?
  • Will your participant be comfortable being in front of a camera for 24 hours straight? Are there any cultural considerations that might make this difficult? (For example: Is this person comfortable being the center of attention, or do the politics of the country pose a problem with notoriety?)
  • Do you have a strong rapport with the participant? Does the participant trust you? If not, do you have a project partner or liaison who can build this trusting relationship?
  • Will your participant have the ability to relax and be “natural” in front of the camera? Does your participant have any other motive—such as promoting something—other than simply representing their “normal” life?
  • Is your participant living in a place where you can realistically assemble a crew? Or are the logistics and conditions simply too challenging?
  • Does your participant speak a language for which you can easily find volunteer translators with access to the internet? Note that getting the video subtitled into English is core part of the project.


Are you ready to do a Global Lives shoot?

Shooting a 24-hour video is certainly one of the most rewarding things you can possibly do as a filmmaker. But we do find that there are some things you should think about before you engage on this adventure:

  • First, watch How to Videotape Someone for 24 Hours, produced by São Paulo’s Museum of the Person, a short video teaser that gives a good sense of the look-and-feel of a Global Lives shoot. Make sure you review all the Producer Guidelines before submitting an inquiry, so that you know what is is expected if you are to be selected to produce a shoot.
  • Do you have experience with video production and post-production? You will need to be able to assemble a crew, organize the shoot, and manage the editing and translation of the video.
  • Do you have access to HD video and audio equipment? Crews will be expected to use their own equipment or borrow what they need to produce a shoot.
  • Are you ready to commit to the time required? According to some of our volunteer producers, they spent hundreds of hours over the span of more than a year between production and post-production.
  • Do you have great online community organization skills? Much of the communication throughout the process, including organizing travel and recruiting new volunteers for production and translation, will happen online.
  • Are you ready for a life-changing experience? According to our previous volunteer producers, producing a Global Lives shoot helped them forge close relationships with people from different cultures and distant lands. Countless crewmembers have gone on to collaborate on other projects with each other, including producing additional Global Lives shoots (evidence shows that it may be addictive).

Once you’ve decided that you’re personally prepared and that your on-screen participant (or the community in which you plan to work) meets these criteria, you are ready to submit the initial inquiry.