They say that being Mum or Dad is the world’s hardest and most rewarding job. Same seems to apply in the world of work, specially with the biggest and most challenging projects. I have been blessed with a few such tv productions that I can honestly say I have given “birth” to. Those projects have become like “children” to me, professionally.
Such projects for me have been, for example: TV2 Paluumuuttajat, TV1 Prisma Studio “From Scrawny to Muscular” documentary project, the feature interview for Marja Hintikka Live of Pediatric Pathologist Hannu Sariola of Helsinki University Hospital, my Docstop documentary about Saara Aalto (which was repeated on TV1 last weekend) and my latest documentary “Radioman”, released by The Finnish Heart Foundation today. You’ll find all these projects on my portfolio page.
Journalists and The Skill of Being Present
Over the past 17 years I have written and directed stories in the real “world’s heaviest” category, with topics ranging from suicide to female genital mutilation. Afterwards some of these stories might have gone round in my head for a while but soon I’ve been able to put them to “bed” and think of them as experiences that have enriched my life. After all, in which other job could you dive head first into subjects such as these and in a short space of time come back having learned something substantial about the surrounding world? I can’t think of one.
The real reason why a Journalist, Screen Writer or Director often feels like they have, once again, embarked on a larger than life project, is hidden in the skill of being present. If you as the film maker know how to be 100% present in the moment during your interviews, shoots and in the edit, you’ll be left with the feeling of not just having done your job but the feeling of having created something special. You’ll feel like you’ve gone deep into a subject or someone’s personal story in a way that will manifest itself in a product or production that is not just meaningful to the audience but meaningful to you as the creator, too.
I for one love working mindfully and I’ve also noticed my mindfulness skills developing the most during my most challenging projects. When I am interviewing someone, I am not thinking of the food I’m going to eat when I get home. When I write a story or a script, I turn my Messenger, WhatsApp or whatever may disturb me, off. By working mindfully I’m working more productively.
The latest “child” is out
The birth of my latest project, my documentary Radioman, did not go along the easiest route. Mainly because the main character was my own father and the locations where I shot most of the story were hospitals – places I hate going to. With this project I really had to dig deep in my toolkit in order to keep the story together and to find it its own voice. I feared I might be too present in this story.
Today at Kino Engel, at the premiere organised by the Finnish Heart Foundation, my latest “child” got a very emotional welcome. Big thanks go to my editor Kaarle J. M. Lahdenpää of KALA Productions and also to my sister, Niina Nevalainen, for acting as my co-writer. I really hope that everyone who reads this blog post would watch the documentary (even though it is in Finnish) and share it to anyone who might be suffering from high blood pressure. Because what I really want to do with this project is to prevent untimely deaths caused by high blood pressure.
My next project is something completely different. All to be revealed during the spring! But before that I shall head over to South Portugal in order to practice my mindfulness skills at a yoga, meditation and surf retreat. Stay tuned to my posts from Shamballah Yoga Retreats. As part of my trip, I’m also hoping to experience the power of the biggest waves ever surfed by man. Told you I love waves, didn’t i?