I have been considering the question, "What is appropriate?" allot lately. I have faced this question as my family has been the subject of a lifestyle documentary for ThinkTV and in relating to things that I post on social media.
The question arises in the television arena when I realize that the very same picture can create multiple impressions in the viewer's mind. The evening the camera crew spent several hours filming the front of my home at sunset comes to mind. The camera never moved, only adjustments were changed, and through the camera my home was light a cheerful in a setting sun or quite and dark. The light and breezy image more closely resembled reality that evening. The darker more of the Walton's feeling came through. Would it be appropriate to use the darker image if it fit the producer's story telling needs?
Another shot is of my wife and daughter sitting in the yard studying school work. It is not outside of possible that they might do this but never late in the evening on a pleasant summer day. Is it appropriate to stage a shot like that of something that might happen. It will make good TV I have little doubt.
There are other examples similar to these from our time spent filming. I am completely comfortable with the spontaneous footage, but the staged footage leaves me wondering where the line is between communicating the truth about our life and creating a fantasy that will entertain the audience?
In the social media world the question is, "Is this image something that the general public should see?" or "Is this statement drawing attention to things in agriculture that the general public doesn't need to be reminded of?"
The birth of a pig, to me, is an enormous part of my life but as an image it shows slime and blood. In the purest form it shows that some pigs are born dead (stillborn) or even mummified (partially decomposed). Dealing with this is what I do. Is it appropriate to show that aspect of my life to the general public?
Is it appropriate to write about the death of animals on the farm? Do I want to remind people that animals sometimes die and have to be disposed of on a farm? Is it better not to point out this obvious fact to the unthinking and let them live in their ignorance? Ignorance is bliss you know.
With the TV questions I guess I sort of shrugged and let it go. I know so little of the editing process and the needs of that profession to do a good job that I probably am not in a position to judge well where the lines should be drawn. The crew is professional and I will defer to their judgement and experience. Perhaps, the end product will suggest I chose poorly.
With the social media questions I am starting to adopt the 4th grade rule. If it something that a 4th grader would learn if they spent a weekend with me then it probably should be shared. I admit somethings must be shared with tact and thought, but the consumer should have access to the information. If I would not be comfortable showing or explaining something to a visiting 4th grader maybe I shouldn't be posting the item at all.
What are your thoughts?
Thanks for thinking with me.