The past two months seems so short with the intense Documentary class. Every weekdays and weekends, we were busy shooting and editing the Chinese Gun story. I just feel incredibly lucky to find such an amazing individual as our main character. Honestly I was not very positive about the potential of this story when we first met and talked to Jun Wang, mainly because he kept giving us long and repetitive speech about guns and why he started to teach others how to use guns. Also, neither I nor Yunfei covered gun-related topics in Chicago before so we were not really sure about where the story would go, or how we should execute the idea. Thankfully with the encouragement of you that we went along with this idea. On the first day we went to his home and saw he teaching his kids how to use guns, I started to believe that we made the exact right choice and never regretted for once ever since. Jun Wang and his wife have been absolutely open and nice to us throughout the time we followed him. They never hesitate to any request we asked them and always tried the best to help us out. Even Jun Wang's whole family is amazing, I liked his two smart and naughty boys who are not shy of showing their personalities in front of the camera. In a word, there is something special in all of them for sure.
Making a documentary in a set time frame is hard, but I learned so much throughout this process. Whether it was shooting, doing interviews, editing videos or brainstorming ideas and keeping things organized, I feel I made much progress in doing all of these. It was also amazing to see how our story morphed over time into something beyond our imagination. I would never think that a story about a Chinese gun advocate would eventually become a family story that tries to explain a loving father's motive to own guns, which is to protect his kids and his family. There has been so many misunderstandings or stereotypes in this society about guns and gun owners. I wish this film will help people who are against guns to understand why people from a minority group in this country will want to own guns and advocate for gun ownership, and also let pro gun people think about the real reasons to own guns in this country. Although the storyline is kind of weak in terms of conflict and drama, but if its drama could only derive from some kind of tragedy, I would rather see the whole family live peacefully and happily every day instead of having to point a camera to them if that moment ever come.
I hope our effort would eventually pay off in some kind. I hope it would make to the public, at least being shown to a large group of audience. It would be fantastic if we can put it on AJE, but even if not, I still believe we can pitch it to some other media outlets or submit it to a film festival. But after all, this whole journey has already been a great gift to me. In the days to come, I won't hesitate to tell people that the first documentary I made as my first professional attempt is about Chinese Americans and guns, with awesome pals and a great professor at Medill.