• Ngaio Simmons

Focus, drive, and commitment to a vision

I remember my first MMTM program. I was 21, pursuing my bachelors in English at UHM, and my whole life revolved around poetry. I had no idea what went into filmmaking nor the countless number of steps and instructions one has to memorize in order to utilize equipment properly, acquire a good shot, capture clear audio, as well as conduct oneself appropriately while on set. I hope this doesn’t come off as my thinking that filmmaking is difficult since seeing it up close, or something I’m not interested in. I also hope it doesn’t sound as if 21 year old Ngaio previously viewed filmmaking as some easy medium to take on.

While I do think filmmaking has its difficulties, I know that all art mediums have the same issue; there is a learning process with all of the things we are passionate about. I also knew at 21 that, while I may not have known how intricate of a process filmmaking truly is, it was still something that involved a lot of focus, drive, and commitment to a vision. Putting the differences aside in what I do as a poet and writer and what the participants and staff do at HWF as filmmakers, I have always been able to relate to focus, drive, and commitment to vision. All artists eventually find themselves sharing space with each other under that triple vent umbrella.

This is the energy I felt walking into the space this past session. One team was out and shooting elsewhere while two other teams were alternating shooting time with each other on location at Ka Waiwai. It felt like those animations I’ve seen in commercials or science shows (you’ve probably seen them too) where they show the synapses in the brain bouncing the spark off of each other. Just a ricochet of *snap* *snap* *snap*, back and forth within the brain. It also literally looked like that, with each team on either side of the space. When one team would call “QUIET ON SET,” the other would pause until their turn came up, then they would call “QUIET ON SET,” and the former team would then pause, and so on and so forth. Back and forth, back and forth. Set the props back into place, adjust the cardigan, remember your blocking, nobody moves or says anything outside of the frame: they’re focused, they’re committed, and they literally have the vision right in front of them.

Besides our brief lunch break, the rest of the day was spent like this. Teams taking turns filming and wrapping up what footage they could before the scheduled film screening set to take place after the session began. No closing circle needed today; everyone is in work mode. It’s wonderful to share a space with other passionate people. Other people who are willing to take the time to ensure whatever they’re creating comes out as close to the vision they had as possible. I am privileged to be able to sit in this space and observe that creative flow in person. I’m so stoked to see what comes out of this space in the next few weeks.