"De Verwachting" - The expectation documentary

Bo Bazen

Art Director
Video Producer
Adobe InDesign
Adobe Premiere Pro

Overview 🔎

Recently I have been working on a true 'passion project' as they call it. Something that is very close to me, rather avoided because of the sensitivity and weight of the subject and yet so relevant. Especially in times like these where being healthy is not self-evident. 

In my eyes it was necessary, a burden and a blessing to make a documentary about living with a chronic illness. 
What being sick brings about, what permanent changes result and what it all really means.

Problem & Solution 🤝

Living with a chronic illness is often an invisible struggle. On top of that comes the fact that after diagnosis, you often no longer fit into society's "healthy" box.

'The Expectation' candidly tells the stories of four young women, those who still have a whole life ahead of them.

It is the promise to yourself, the care of your life and "the meaning of life.

At the highest level, the problem is still "here" but with everyone who worked on this documentary our goal was to shine light on something so vulnerable that we can all benefit from. Help each other understand and be more present and appreciative about life itself.

Goals: • To help people with an illness overcome shame towards society and their illness. • To create a bridge and close the gap between healthy and sick. • To give people a voice, worth and recognition that everyone deserves.

Process 🛣

It all started with the idea of breaking the taboo. Healthy vs sick is quite a thing. This is how I experience it myself and noticed in my surroundings that I am not the only one. All parties I understand, for the sick person himself it is difficult, the people around him and the pressure from society. All the more reason to do something about it. I strongly believe in being one together and if you find people who want to fight for a cause together with you, you are so much stronger than if the burden has to be carried by yourself.

After some storyboards, the purpose of the documentary and writing an essay, doing research and finding the right people for this, the work could really begin.

The look and feel had to be created, do promotion to recruit and bring people to attention. Talking to people, businesses and properties where we could film. Finding allies I could turn to with questions.

Creating schedules to create a realistic time frame, the docu had to be shot and edited in 10 weeks. Meeting the girls, connecting and building trust, making appointments, scheduling filming days, hiring photographer for the cover. Hiring material for the next ten weeks and after rewriting the questions and script, the "on" button could finally be pushed.

Since we were obviously working with chronically ill people, flexibility was a must. We had to be pretty honest with each other, there were times when turning days were cancelled due to complaints, pain and mental blocks. People who thought this would be easy peasy were quite wrong. For the docu, I put everything aside for ten weeks to be optimally ready for the girls as writer, director, cinematographer and camerawoman. Both on and off-screen. For every thing they could turn to me and I took the task as "maker" extremely seriously. Working with other people's feelings was a huge deal for me because it takes a lot of courage to open up about a subject you would rather hide or keep quiet about. That's why I was there for the girls in word and deed and also gave them some creative freedom to express themselves optimally.

After weeks of running came editing and I think that's when I really started running into things like; what goes in and what do I cut out. Everything the girls told me was important in my mind but what is so important that it almost can't be put in. Making trade-offs was really difficult for me. Not to mention the time pressure to edit everything to the best quality.

The idea of characterizing the girls as themselves, you get to know them for who they are but you also get to know them how they are as patients. That interview form really appealed to me to instead of taking two different static pieces, meld all the versions together and answer questions both as patients and as people. This kept it dynamic and gave the right balance I was looking for within the docu to achieve the goal.

I am proud to say that I have achieved that goal, there is awareness, involvement, understanding and difference going on and thanks to the docu the threshold is a little lower to come out for who you are and what you have. The girls have created a platform for themselves to be heard and I have given them that voice with all my love because it is so important to know that you are not alone and being sick may be extremely painful but there is still so much to live for.

I wished throughout the process that they figured out for themselves what their expectation of life is and it gives me peace of mind to know that see have been able to express it and live by it.

Results 🎁

Living with a chronic illness is often an invisible struggle. On top of that comes the fact that after diagnosis, you often no longer fit into society's "healthy" box.

'The Expectation' candidly tells the stories of four young women, those who still have a whole life ahead of them.

It is the promise to yourself, the care of your life and "the meaning of life.

I am ill, but I am not my illness it doesn't define me yet others do.

Titles Writer, Director, Producer, Editor, Videographer

Takeaways 📣

The biggest lesson I learned during the creation process was my own expectation of life. How other sick people deal with their struggles and what strength one has and how they optimistically work on themselves every time. In addition, I have seen how important it is for people to be genuinely seen for the persons they are not the disease that tries to define them. My own perception of being sick and how I can find better approaches to being there better for myself and others.

Not to mention, everything you give attention to grows. By that I mean that since the documentary has been online there has been unbridled support not only toward the girls in the docu but also around everyone's own circles where people are sick or struggling with health problems. Also from all quarters there has been a certain awareness of what it really means. That everyone around them can empathize with what really goes on in someone. That this is why we treat each other better and that the Internet has so many possibilities that when you don't expect it my documentary has been in the hands of the community.

What I would do differently is really go with them to their daily things. Where you see and experience the "real" life of the participants. That way we can get more in depth and it might be an accomplishment for the girls when they look back and see how well they are actually doing. Also, in terms of the aesthetic area, I would have created different atmospheres that might have made them react differently or given off a certain feeling. So that the participants themselves could get more out of it.


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