Strangers With a Purpose

I’m writing this post because for the January-February half term at college we’ve been learning about vox pops. A vox pop is where a couple of people, an interviewer and a cameraman usually, interview random people on the street. I, having autism, absolutely hated this project at first. Whilst it’s all well and good that I have practically mastered the art of acting “normal”, I can only really talk to strangers if they have a purpose. This means I can do something like order in a restaurant because the person I am ordering from has a purpose and I know why they are there – to get my food. I cannot talk to people in the street.

My class has been working for a month now to getting up to going out on location and trying to get random members of the public to be our interviewees, and my anxiety every time when thinking about this project has not been good. Last Thursday my group done a practice in the school with students, which I suppose wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was with people that I was familiar with in my group and let them do all the talking whilst I stood there and said barely anything to our interviewees. But because the people we interviewed were students from other classes (and my own) this wasn’t so bad because they still had a purpose – they’re students of my school, they’re going to and from their classes. Their behaviour was still quite unpredictable because they’re teenagers and I hate teenagers, but I knew that my classroom was only upstairs if I needed to leave or get out for a few minutes.

Today we filmed the vox pop. I, of course, said nothing to any of the members of public. They still had some sort of purpose if they agreed to be interviewed by us – they were our interviewee. But in reality they were still just a member of public who could be very unpredictable as the environment was only controlled by social norms and our camera. I did enjoy filming though, and as I walked to our location I felt a bubble of excitement and anticipation to finally be doing a bit more professional filming. Even though it was a vox pop, something that I’m not particularly comfortable with, it gave me more insight to the professional world. I said to my mum that it will take a few more times at doing a vox pop for me to be able to approach people by myself – the first time I will have to observe how my peers approach people (which I did today), the second I will have to go to the person with a peer and let the peer do all the talking, the third time I will again have to go to the person with a peer but I will do the talking and the peer will prompt me if I need it, and the fourth time I should be able to do it by myself. I think would like to do a vox pop again. Although maybe the fact that I’m consciously saying that I would like to talk to the public again is because I’ve been ill since Monday and have for once not got worn out from socialising. Or maybe I felt a bit more at ease because my teacher spoke to me beforehand and told me that if I feel uncomfortable during the shoot that I could come inside at any time. Either way, it was fun (surprisingly).

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8 Responses to Strangers With a Purpose

  1. Talking to strangers is the worst! Those charity people that stand in the street trying to get you to donate etc. Now I just say “I already donate to your charity” and keep walking! And if someone in a queue starts talking to me I always say something stupid because it’s unexpected conversation and I’m unprepared for it!


    • I usually just walk past the charity people and keep my head down, although today I tried to ask I was walking to my vox pop location with a friend and someone from an Internet service walked with us and talked! In the end we were like we’re busy with a project sorry and he left. I hate people talking to me in queues though etc too. I used to get this a few times at the bus station with people complaining to me about the bus as if there is something that me, a 17 year old, can do about it! I spelled a coke on someone at the bus stop once lol, that was eventful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That sounds scary – good for you for taking on the challenge!!

    Liked by 1 person

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