17 May 2015
by Gary Rose

A rather tired Web Manager pauses between shoots

My remit on this tour is to capture the extremes of wealth in this vast country and show how The Salvation Army is helping the people at the bottom of that scale.

I guess that sounds easy enough, but on this particular trip there are obstacles that have been placed in our way. First of all, we came on this tour as just three people: one guy with some filming and editing experience (that's me), the Web Manager (whose usual job is to maintain the editorial on our websites and social media) and the Communications Secretary, who's job it is to oversee all of what we do. Any film maker will tell you, that is somewhat of a strange mix of people to make a movie, and make it well.

So, we're having to pull together in a way that we wouldn't normally have to do, to make this film and then get around the obstacles which stand before us. So, David Giles takes off his editorial hat during the day and becomes a camera man (and a very good one at that!), Major John Murray does all things in front of camera, unscripted, on the fly, as we find story after story to tell. Finally, our newest recruit to this tour team - who only joined us at the airport as we left Mumbai - IHQ Schools Coordinator Howard Dalziel becomes the guy who holds the boom mic. And together we make our little film crew, all willing, all able and ready to make this the best we can make it, out of our comfort zone but knowing we have a terrific story to tell.

Getting enough equipment in on a business visa is also somewhat difficult. We can't take big cameras, a) because of the visa and b) because IHQ don't actually have any. I'm currently using my own personal DSLR camera and the other camera is a department DSLR. We've managed to get an audio field recorder in, and a shotgun microphone and boom pole. The mic is critical to this film as sound is one of the keys to making or breaking a film. Up until yesterday, we didn't really have enough people to use it properly!

The extreme heat has been a bit of an issue too. My camera has simply shut down a couple of times during filming as it overheated. We have to wait a while and then shoot some more when it's sprung back to life again.

Finally, one of the biggest hurdles to jump is trying to film here with all the emotions that hit you when you see the children and adults and hear their amazing stories of day to day life. Only the other day, we walked into a children's school and I saw a little boy - not much younger than my son - crying his eyes out, holding his arms out to me. He wanted a hug. What could I do? Of course I put down my camera, stopped my work and held this little boy in my arms, trying to reassure him that everything would be OK and simply show him that I loved him. Wow, it is really tough.

Of course, we don't want the film to be all doom and gloom because it's not. What we're trying to tell is a story of hope. These people, whom The Salvation Army are displaying love to, have hopes and ambitions. They all believe that they can turn their lives into something beautiful, and they one of the ingredients needed to do that. They have hope.

When I see these beautiful people, these amazing resilient kids, these old wise men and women who have had a hard life, their situation and their poverty becomes background noise because the thing that radiates from them is hope and ambition. It's great to think that the Salvation Army has had something to do with helping them make small steps towards their ambitions, despite the lack of funds, or the poor conditions in which they work. And I guess the central theme of this film will be LOVE, because where there's LOVE there's HOPE.

So, however hard it is, despite the lack of equipment and personnel, we want to tell a positive story of love and hope and although sometimes I doubt my own abilities to 'pull this off', I feel it's my calling to try and help these people tell their story.

My prayer is that we will be able to ignore the hardships of making the film as the story is way too important for them to get in the way, and the people here deserve the absolute best we can give.

Tags: India, Preparations
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