chaos within

Behind the Scenes of The Haven Video Portraits

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”  – Nietzsche.

Jennifer Hilton writes about the creation of The Haven’s Video Portraits: Stories of Transformation. Click the link to see this growing collection.

Last fall, as part of my Core Plus role at The Haven, I attended an on-line social media Summit. I learned a lot about the on-line marketing world and a key insight – that video marketing is the way of today and the future. Around the same time, I stumbled upon a website and video series called, “Soul Biographies” by Nik Askew.  His creative concept moved me, and I wondered if we could do something similar by capturing personal stories from people about their experiences at The Haven.

Now, I have never thought myself to be a video producer. The thought of diving into the unknown world of video was both exciting and terrifying. But then I heard about Kristina Campbell (an intern at The Haven) and her video art work. After we met, I could see she found great meaning in what she produced. I wanted to work with someone who would be open to working with a rookie like me. Spontaneously, I asked if she would be interested in exploring the project I had in mind. I was thrilled when she said yes!

Soon I felt my confidence growing as things fell into place. The proposal, the first video shoot, the scheduling, the creation of a sample video, receiving feedback – it was work, it was hard, but it was exciting! People readily volunteered to be filmed and share, in a particularly vulnerable way, who they are today as a result of being at The Haven. I was inspired. 

The behind-the-scenes camera interviews went well, but moving into editing, chaos erupted. All of a sudden I was a Director, a Producer and a co-editor, never having done any of these things before. I had a vision but not the skills or know how.  As we sifted through the many hours of video, my confidence was shaken, and thoughts of failure and my side-kick, self-sabotage moved in.  Who did I think I was anyway, coming up with this idea?  Maybe I should stop it all here and admit I am a fraud!  What I hadn’t recognized was that I was deep in creative chaos, trying to learn the steps of a new rhythm.  I was dancing with the unknown.

My newly forming relationship with Kristina made all the difference at this time. She was on a learning journey, too, but with the relational skills we learned at The Haven, we worked through what each of us experienced. We stayed as current with each other as possible. While editing, we would often break out into sympathetic laughter and sometimes frustration would completely cloud our work. The irony and synchronicity were unmistakable when often the person speaking on a video was expressing our very own challenges! 

During the peak of my self-doubt, I was teaching The Haven Relationship Cycle at a Toolkit Workshop, and I realized I was smack dab in the middle of dealing with the shift from “Romance” (the ideal vision) to “Power Struggle” (unmet expectations). I actually shared with the participants of the workshop that the project I was working on was a living example of being in the relationship cycle with a project.  Through their eyes, I saw that I was struggling with my own unmet expectations (of perfection!) and I had to accept that my ideal vision of the project would not come to pass as I had imagined it.  I was relieved to acknowledge this out loud and from that point on the creative process seemed to flow and be more fun vs. feeling like such hard work.   

This has been an embodied experience of living through chaos in a creative process, staying in relationship (with myself and another person), letting go and lightening up…and ultimately birthing a dancing star!  The people of The Haven who generously volunteered their stories and time are the true stars of this initiative.  I look forward to seeing them shine brightly and be shared widely for the world to see. 


Some Background

Starting in July we began to share and post these compelling video portraits/testimonials on The Haven Facebook page and on the Haven website. If you haven’t seen one yet, please check them out here and please share on your own social media forums.  The ultimate aim is for a broader marketing reach to non-Haven audiences and to entice them to come to The Haven. Thinking big, maybe we could “go viral”!

At this time, we have focussed on Haven faculty members. There will be new portraits being posted on the Haven Facebook page approximately every 2 weeks until December.  More video shooting is planned for the Fall and early 2018. We want to have a diverse showing of all the people of The Haven and will include willing participants. 

“The Haven Video Portraits: Stories of Transformation” is a Core Plus marketing initiative, championed by Jennifer Hilton. Video and editing: Kristina Campbell.  Copywriting: Toby Macklin.  Audio technical support: Graemme Brown.  Music: “Be Brave”, acoustic rendition generously donated by Scott Acomba

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