I think documentarians are galaxy explorers. We spot a distant galaxy of ideas and its forces lure us to explore it further. Once immersed, the wonders of our subjects keep us in orbit through the process of filming and beyond.
My current documentary is an expedition into Blair’s Galaxy. A small town Patch Adams style doctor, Blair has spent 12 years tweaking his invention, a version of the jolly jumper that we all played with during our childhood. I got to try it out while filming and I still feel dizzy when I recall it.
Determined not to be caught in the last minute whirlwind I found myself in last semester, I started to shape my ideas for my half-hour doc over the Christmas break. Peaking down back to earth though, all we have left for this semester is 6 weeks of intense transcribing and editing. Unless I come back to earth quickly, I will no longer be ahead of the game!
The return to reality is sure to be turbulent unless I pick up the pace. But how does one rush out of such wonders?
There has been a key personal transformation for me with this project, it has given me a sense of identity as an artist that I never had before. Being a doctor in a small town comes with a strong identity whether you want it or not. Most people see me as "Doc" rather than as Blair. This is easy to slip into for myself. Part of what has kept me motivated is that this creative project was outside of all that. I got to be a different person in playing with this. I had an "Ah Ha" moment when i recognized this aspect of the appeal and that stepped up my interest. The interesting twist is that now, after being a rural doctor for 20 years, this artistic identity has come full circle and is feeding my doctoring. The jolly jumper project has coincided with a community health project that i started about the same time. And that community health project is soon going into it's second phase. The amazing thing about this is that the health project is now getting support from the health care system because it is creative and innovative, and I was able to develop those aspect because of all the play I had put into developing the jolly jumper. So the full arc of the story is that this play has become the basis for a community health project that is trying to address the major problems in rural health.
- Dr. Blair Voyvodic