Documentary maker Clark Luvvie is facing a far tougher challenge than he ever faced in the ring, on the field or in a TV production development meeting. At the age of just 35, he’s been told he has to make a mini feature film about someone. But not just the usual someone. He’s been told he has to make a documentary about someone who isn’t him.
‘When I was first told to get behind the camera, it hit me like a bolt from the blue,’ said Luvvie. ‘I felt as if the world’s rugs had been pulled from beneath my oyster. I felt as if I was completely clothed and looking at a different person. A person who – quite literally – was not me.’
But it was about to get worse for Luvvie. Because he discovered that any soul searching he was about to do would have to be done away from the glare of the TV lighting crew. There would be no second takes for his scenes of quiet contemplation. There would be no-one there to direct his emoting. It would still be an emotional journey, but the days of stage managing were sadly over.
Then, one day, Luvvie found himself walking along the beach in the Galapagos Islands, where he’d gone to ask ‘an expert’ a simple question. But suddenly, it dawned on him that nobody was paying his plane fare, nor picking up the hotel bills. Luvvie would have been better off simply staying at home, phoning his contact and asking his simple question while sitting at his desk. Or perhaps leaving a message and asking them to get back to him. But it was too late. ‘I felt like I’d been on a long journey and now I was going to have to pay for it,’ said Luvvie.
Time was running out for Luvvie. If he couldn’t make a documentary that wasn’t focused on him as the centre piece, he was staring into the abyss. But, at the last minute, Luvvie was thrown a lifeline. ‘Someone at the BBC phoned me and suggested I might make a documentary about how difficult it was to make your first documentary that’s not about yourself,’ said Luvvie.
But can he make a documentary about his brave first attempt to make a documentary that’s not about himself?
‘This is make or break time for me’ said Luvvie, nervously, wiping away a tear as he looked into the camera on the fourth take.