Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
PROVO — A student has set out to answer questions he believes everyone has about dating and love with a documentary.
To find answers, Brigham Young University senior Stephen Nelson designed an experiment: he would make a documentary of his attempts to find a love to last a lifetime and get engaged in six months. The documentary will be titled "6 Til Engaged" and is scheduled to be finished in April.
"The big questions at hand are does (love) work, how often does it happen and is it easy?" Nelson said. "We just kind of stick those questions inside a canister, that canister being myself, in Provo, Utah, a Mormon, dating a lot and specifically looking for that type of relationship."
Nelson began working on the documentary during the summer as his senior capstone project. While he hopes in the end to have found someone to be in a serious relationship with, he doesn't know what will happen yet because they are still filming.
“I just date a lot in the very beginning and then at some point just one of those will turn out to be a more serious relationship, but that’s all theory," he said. "That’s the plan, but with documentaries you’re forced to go wherever it takes you.”
Nelson said because he essentially nominated himself as a representative of the Provo dating scene, some people have been understandably apprehensive about how he will cover the topic.
"I think everyone locally has got their own opinions already on Provo dating," he said. "Some people have a great experience, some people have a terrible experience. Without voting on who gets to talk about it or make a film on it I am. With that, there are some mixed reactions."
All singles have a crisis where they wonder if the reason they aren't succeeding in love is because of something they are or are not doing, Nelson said. During the six month period he is taking advice from dating coaches as he asks as many people out as possible.
“It’s kind of just an attempt to try and figure things out, to see if as far as love goes you can go out and make your dreams or your desires come true, how much control we have in that,” he said.
Nelson said he continues dating girls even if they didn't want to be filmed for the documentary, but that because he is from a "YouTube generation" most were used to being filmed and comfortable with being on the Internet. He films the dates himself and said he considers how he represents the girls a sacred responsibility.
It's kind of just an attempt to try and figure things out, to see if as far as love goes you can go out and make your dreams or your desires come true.
No matter what happens, he said he hopes the audience will put themselves in his place as they watch and evaluate whether he is making the right decisions. He said the documentary wasn't made just for members of the church he belongs to, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“My hope is a lot of non-Mormon audiences at film festivals will be watching it as kind of an outsider watching the culture of a different group of people and that by the end of it they will be like, ‘I kind of get Mormons little bit better and I feel a connection. These are the exact same concerns I have about finding somebody,' " Nelson said.
The documentary will be 75 minutes long and aired for free online for a week upon completion before they try to have it distributed through more traditional means, Nelson said. Starting in January, clips of the film and comments from Nelson will be published on a blog for the documentary.
Nelson is currently using a Kickstarter campaign to help fund his project.