"All television is educational television.The question is: what is it teaching?" -Nicholas Johnson
Sometimes I think about becoming a documentary filmaker. (I realize that this is not a very practical thing, but hey, it's my fantasy). I got the chance to work on one last April and, despite the depressing subject matter, I really enjoyed the experience. I was lucky and had a wonderfully talented producer. She guided our team to deliver something of quality and vision (a vision that matched what I had in mind during my weeks of research). We had the support of the station brass. I was able to use my illustrious (according to former co-workers) research skills , among other talents, to help create something that I was more proud of having worked on that than on anything else in my life.
I can't deny that the subject matter- the Holocaust- is/was important to me because of what members of my own family went through during WWII. We were able to illuminate the experiences of the liberators of the Nazi concentrations camps for the audience in our DMA (and anyone who wants to order it on VHS or DVD). Knowing that I was able to use skills from one area of my life to help deliver a message that is important to me*- that the Holocaust did happen, there are witnesses to the horrors who are still alive to share their stories, as well as their own photographic evidence, of what they found when they arrived at Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwitz, and every other camp- it was like something in my life came full circle. Maybe I wouldn't make the best social worker or teacher or doctor. Television is a powerful medium.
*while this is very important to me, it had always felt like it belonged to the part of myself that I checked at the door when I went to work.....