Posted on March 23, 2011 · Posted in production log

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Blog Published March 23, 2011 on

During pre-production for this winter’s Haiti trip, I jokingly prodded Grace by asking her “wouldn’t it be great if we made a video about the ‘carrying stuff on you heard phenomenon’ we see in Haiti all the time?” Hence, the idea behind the video was born.

In Haiti, things don’t always go according to plan. The day we were scheduled to visit Port-au-Prince’s downtown markets to film for the video, just so happened to be a day where political tension filled the air.  The people were awaiting the final results of the two presidential candidates (which didn’t go over too well last time). We decided against placing ourselves in danger and instead opted to film at a Haitian market in the neighborhood of Pétionville, a safer neighborhood near where we were staying. With a little bit of research and some help from AFH design fellow, Schendy Kernizan, we found the perfect market to produce our piece.

The Route Frére market is a small yet lively market in the heart of Pétionville. Here, you can find many of the same products that we find in our local supermarkets (like fruits, veggies, and meats), in addition to other goods unique to Haitian culture. Our small crew of five: Brandon (videographer), Grace (talent), Baselais (translator), Marseille (driver), and myself (video producer); decided it would be of best practice to introduce ourselves to the vendors at the market prior to busting out our arsenal of cameras and microphones (in general, when you are taking pictures or videos, it is appropriate to ask people if you can take their photo prior to pointing a camera at them. This is especially important in foreign countries). For the most part, most of the people we approached agreed to be a part of our video.

Once we began filming, all things went smoothly. So-much-so, that by lunch time we almost had all the material necessary for an edit (this was almost unheard of!), yet one sequence still eluded us – we wanted to film Grace attempting to carry a basket full chickens on her head (to her dismay). After lunch we re-grouped and returned to the market to capture our final scene. It was a bit odd interrupting market vendors and asking them if we could take their place for a few minutes (understandably so). We were turned down a couple of times, so to break the ice, I put my camera down and asked a young man if I could try carrying his merchandise on my head. He allowed me to do so and once I placed that basket on my head the market exploded with laughter. (Making a fool of myself always seems to be the perfect ice-breaker in tense situations). Soon thereafter we met a woman selling large wooden spoons from a large basket on her head. We decided to purchase a spoon and capture it on film.  We moved on to another section of the market and met a young man named Jamie whose job was to transport coconuts for market vendors. He allowed Grace to carry his basket for him and again, as the locals watched her struggle the basket on top of her head, laughter ensued throughout the market.

At the Rout Frére market, we didn’t score any of the two-tiered chicken head-baskets we were hoping to capture, but we did create a fun little educational video to give the world a small perspective into life in Haiti. More importantly, I got to take home one cool and oversized wooden spoon!
Below is the video. Enjoy!

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