Untitled from Erin Hendry on Vimeo.
When working on this project, there were many things that I found difficult as well as some other things that made me happy with what I produced.
Over the course of the 30 days I spent three weekends and two different weekdays in St. Louis working on this story. It made things more difficult because I couldn't just drop by whenever I wanted. I am used to having a lot more material because in the past I have been able to visit my subjects more often. It was also hard to visit with Brendan and his family while I was there because his mom, Sally, had just put their house on the market and had to be out for a lot of different showings.
It was also hard working with a 14 year old boy on this story. I could tell Brendan was getting a little impatient with me when I kept coming back to work on the story, which isn't surprising because he is at that age where kids don't have much patience. Also, it was hard to get great audio clips from Brendan. As any teenage boy, Brendan had somewhat short answers that didn't work well with a multimedia piece. Because of this, I had to use a lot of his parents' audio clips because they said what he wanted to say, but in a way that flowed a little better. I was worried that because I used so much of his parents' audio that it would turn into more of a story about them than Brendan, but I am really hoping that I stayed true to Brendan's story and his experience.
Although there were a lot of things that I wasn't too happy with, there are also things I feel I accomplished well. Even though Brendan did get tired of me, I was able to gain access almost anywhere (except school, unfortunately). I hung out with him and his friends for hours, followed him in a mall with no complications and was present for some great moments, including Brendan wrestling his 22-year-old sister.
I think it helped to have known the family a little bit before entering the project. Even though I hadn't spoken with them in 4 years, they still seemed pretty comfortable around me, which gave me some great access. I also was aware that their family was quite open about addressing Brendan's dwarfism, so I had a good idea of what kind of questions to ask and how far to take my questions. Knowing that Brendan was a positive kid who never seemed to let his differences affect him negatively also helped me tell his story as accurately as possible. I felt that because the family already knew me, they trusted me with the project faster than if I hadn’t known them to begin with. Their trust led to a lot of great quotes and photos that I may have not gotten if I had been a complete stranger.
All in all, I wish I had more time on this piece. This project was hard because I felt that I needed more material even though I did so much traveling to work on this piece. I also ran into a lot of difficulties that I didn't expect to, which made it more challenging. Although I feel the piece could be even stronger with more time, I am glad I stuck through it and hopefully told Brendan's story well.