The Insider: An Experiment In Tribal Filmmaking
You open your mailbox and begin rifling through your daily mail; bills, bank statements, credit card companies, but stuck in between the crap you find a postcard. It’s from a friend, one of the wild ones. You haven’t heard from him since he made off with his Burning Man crew and decided to actually “live the dream”, off the grid, unplugged. Ripples in your friend group broadcast that he’s “lost it”. That he’s joined a cult. You never believed it…until now.
2 months pass…
Now, you’re walking into camp. Red flags crowned by elk skulls, their crooked antlers point you towards spaceship-like living structures and a few unfriendly glances. This is not what you had expected. This is The Triangle.
The Process: Method Directing on The Wild Montana Plains
We are walking with our cameras into the complete unknown. Over a month ago, we cut off communication with two fellow directors who are not only part of the cult that we are walking into, they are in charge of it too. We will now dance for five days straight. Only breaking character after we mouth the word “Tokyo” to one another for a hug and a smile, but never talking about plot or giving clues about “what’s going on”. Over the course of these five days the three of us (documentary filmmakers) who walked in, will navigate through a world that was built for us by the other two directors, who in essence “lead the cult”. We will conduct interviews exploring the camp’s background and current way of life, while we witness suspicious behavior and odd health issues. We will film awkward arguments and wonder about whether or not certain characters want to hurt us. Characters reveal themselves at breakfast, lunch and into the nighttime where narratives start running through our footage and through our minds during secret meetings in our yurt, the spaceship-like living structure they’ve provided us, before bed. We wonder what is in that cave they tell us not to go near.
By day 5, we are bursting at the seams. What are these people hiding? What is wrong with them? What is in that cave?! This is when we finally break down and pow wow. The two sets of directors, “the cult leaders” and “the documentary filmmakers” come together in the safety of our yurt and take stock. We tell them what we’ve been seeing. They tell us what’s in the cave. And now….we jam.
Much becomes clear. We’ve already shot Act I and have laid a strong groundwork for Act II. Let the build begin. Actors are notified to play certain things up. Specific scenes are loosely choreographed, with nothing being done or shot twice. No acting, only reacting. A living outline is created and production flies into a full tilt.
Continue the journey on page 2!