Behind-the-scenes of Black Cloud.

Holding Pattern

It's a weird feeling.

Being out on an ambulance, there is this undeniable desire to want to get a trauma call or a cardiac arrest or a stroke. I hate it. Please understand, I don't want anyone to get hurt or to die. Realistically, I don't want to see it. I have no idea how I'd handle it. I desperately don't want that. I know all too well how your entire life can change in an instant. Someone doesn't look before they turn, and bam, your life becomes filled with grief. I wouldn't wish that on anybody.

If my superpower is that whenever I'm out filming with medics nobody gets hurt then I would be very happy.

Right now, I could make a strong case that that is indeed my superpower. I've gotten a lot of the same types of calls - people who are sick or slightly hurt but don't have a ride to the hospital, or homeless people who have no other avenue for healthcare other than to call 911, things like that. A lot of these are systemic problems. I don't blame the people who call 911 for these non-emergencies. 

It's exhausting. But it's also the job. If I were to edit this film now and release it, you'd be under the impression that that's mostly what happens on this job. That would be a mostly correct conclusion. It's not the entirety of the job, though. Not by a long shot. This film needs to have some of those intense calls. It does. Otherwise I'm not honoring the truth. 

In an odd way, it makes me understand the medics more. The EMTs and paramedics I've spoken with all seem to share similar sentiments. A lot of times, they do want those genuine emergencies. They want to do their job, they want to save lives, they want to make a real impact. It's frustrating getting non-emergency after non-emergency. Of course, they're all professionals and treat every call as an emergency and do their very best to provide the best medical care they can. 

It's not that they want people to get hurt. It's that they want to help the people that do.

And I want to help them by showing the rest of the world what it's like to get one of those calls. 

So for now, I'm stuck in this weird limbo where every time I'm out at a station and I hear the tones drop, a part of me desperately wants it to be something "good." The rest of me desperately wants it to be some dude with a stomachache who needs a ride to the hospital.

This is the biggest piece I'm missing. Black Cloud, as it exists in my head, is largely made up of portraits of trauma. With Alex and some other subjects, we see it from the survivor's point-of-view. I want to see it from the point-of-view of the people who do the saving. I want to see it in real time, I want to capture it unfolding in front of the camera. 

Will I get that? I don't know. But until I do, I feel like this film will be incomplete.