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Old October 30th, 2007, 07:26 PM   #1
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Video Volunteers(.org) - Anybody done this?

http://www.videovolunteers.org/index.php

A while back my wife came across this program. It seems interesting, and at some point in the future I think I would like to have a go at it.

Basically, the program is about going overseas (primarily India, it seems) and teaching people about shooting and editing video. During the course of your visit, you work with an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization?) to produce a documentary to promote social awareness of an issue. And while doing that you set them up so that they can produce their own documentaries later.

I'm wondering if anyone here has done it, knows someone who has, or is associated in any way? What was your/their experience like? Would you recommend doing it?

Any input appreciated...

Thanks,
Kevin
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Old October 30th, 2007, 09:21 PM   #2
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I've come across this kind of thing before, don't know if its some kind of new trend. I'd be really careful with this kind of proposal. It says that not only will you be working for free, you'll be paying for your own travel expenses, and bringing ALL of the required equipment. I know its a good cause and all, but wow... put your gear through the rigors of international travel, then allow a people who presumably know little or nothing about video production use it. There is a lot of theft on airlines for one thing. There's a website out there with posting of missing gear from air travel, and its huge.

For all you've got to put into it, you could just go shoot a doc in an exotic location. I'm not trying to be mean, but I'm sure there's lots of people here in the US that could use a leg up too... how about asking some of the Bollywood guys to come to some of the impoverished neighborhoods here in the US and show less fortunate kids how to make movies?

If you do decide to go for something like this, make sure you get all your shots, seriously. I bet you'll be roughing it, and sanitary conditions are not the greatest in many parts of India.
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Old October 30th, 2007, 10:31 PM   #3
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A while back, my daughter started an organization dedicated to empowering people who are less fortunate than her. Residing in California, she travels the country and the world giving speeches, motivating and empowering women and minorities. She has traveled as far as Japan and as close as Mexico. She raises funds in New York and around the country. Although currently physically ill, my daughter continues her calling.
I help her out with my video services whenever possible. This past weekend she had to be taken to her plane in a wheel chair but to her, her work was too important for her to stop.

There are those who will think of every negative thing possible to discourage you. Some totally miss the point of helping others or they want to define who you should help or are just plain selfish.

To empower those who are less fortunate and promote social awareness is a noble calling, especially when you make self sacrifice to do so. On a large scale, we see it in the Peace Corp, Red Cross, helping people in war torn countries in Africa, etc. On a more intimate scale, we saw it after 9/11, hurricane Katrina.

Volunteerism is in the best of American tradition and values. Follow your heart and be the best at what you do.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 11:08 AM   #4
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Having briefly reviewed their site, it seems obviously well-intentioned but perhaps somewhat ambitious. In my opinion your willingness to volunteer is better applied at home (think globally - act locally); no doubt there are a variety of needs that could be served right in your own town. From my point of view that's the best way to get involved. Hope this helps,
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Old October 31st, 2007, 11:39 AM   #5
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Chris, I agree about the globally-locally thing. Video production for non-profits, social service organizations and faith-based organizations is the crux of my business here in Columbus, and the whole reason I got into video production in the first place.

I was just thinking this might be a very eye-opening and possibly rewarding experience, but at the same time there is the possibility of a VERY large downside (as mentioned previously - theft, expense, disease, etc). So I thought I would see if anyone had any experience with this organization. It's a large commitment, I didn't want to take it on lightly if I decided to do it.

Thanks,
Kevin
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Old November 3rd, 2007, 12:48 PM   #6
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I volunteer with our local public access television station, as both an instructor and content producer.
There are many ways to share goodwill with what you do. There are those who will call you "selfish" or "negative" because you choose to question what kind of situation you're willing to put yourself in. The fact is that there are just so many ways one can volunteer, so many avenues of opportunity to donate your time, and in this case, the use of your equipment, that at some point you have to be realistic about how far you want to take it. I put in a lot hours helping people as a volunteer. But at some point I have to make a living too. Its not being "selfish", its just reality. Volunteering is a very rewarding experience, but if you don't put some limits on it, it can absorb your whole life, wear you out, and even cause family problems. I've seen this first hand. If someone starts on about being "selfish", take a look at what they do, are they donating 100% of their time to the cause? No. We just help in the ways we can without trying to guilt trip others to our cause, because after all, there's always need of a helping hand, that's just the way the world is. Try volunteering locally Kevin. I did a presentation at a school a while back about video production, it was a wonderful experience.
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