There comes a point in every documentary where the story deviates from the one the filmmaker originally set out to make. Life is full of twists and turns, and sticking with a subject long enough guarantees that you will be there to see some of it happen. It is the thrill of working with reality. I got in touch with Blake to show him a rough cut, and he let me know that he wasn't totally pleased with the story and that he had more to say. This summer has been a really intense one for him. In May, he ended up in the hospital on suicide watch, and has since packed up his life in Portland and moved to San Diego for a fresh start. He's found great support there and is thriving. But in light of this crisis and recovery, he had a lot more to share.
I made it down there for one last interview, and I remain in awe of Blake's ability to rebound from struggle. He is only 22, but he displays the kind of deep emotional awareness that is difficult for people twice his age. He blew apart my story, but in the best way. The chaos of life brought us to a place of greater honesty in discussing his experiences with sexual assault. The conversation was not easy, but it was from the heart.
We also were able to talk about the new Yes Means Yes legislation that will likely be enacted in California. This is a really important bill that specifies a clear "yes" as the standard for consent on college campuses. One of Blake's experiences was borderline assault, and it is the most complicated one to process. Is he justified in being so upset? Does he get to call it an assault if he never said actually said "no"? It's a huge grey area that this legislation hopes to address.
Blake's recovery from depression and suicidal ideation is inspirational. If you or anyone you know starts thinking that ending their life might be a good idea, please know there are people here to help.
It is with love and gratitude, both to Blake and to all of you who have made this possible, that I am diving headlong into finishing this project. Blake's new revelations have thrown me a little off schedule, but I am more excited than ever to share this story. This excitement will carry it forward. Thank you again. <3