Thursday, June 30, 2011

Re-Focusing

A few days ago I met up again with Alan, my editor. He was fresh off a pretty harsh gig an I was fresh off my mourning period for my movie, and we talked about what now.

Overall, we both agreed to go forth as organically as possible, following the story chronologically and tying it all together with, gulp, VO narration. I realize that this whole process has been very similar to the making of A Return On Their Sacrifice, the first doc about Maximon I made my sophomore year of college. That, too, was elaborate and difficult to piece together until finally, after failed efforts 1-1,000 I finally gave in to voice over, which I had been avoiding, and that helped me finally give all of the information I needed to give and tied all of my footage together. I am hoping the same thing happens now.

In order to get the material I need for my narration, I am starting a second blog. A secret blog, muhuhuhahaha, that none of you avid readers can access. It's just a blog to write about the whole event from my point of view, without regard to formalities or anything. My editor Alan and I will be the only ones privy to what is there and we can use it to get to the core of the story as seen by me.

I think it is only because I have so accepted this need for revising that it did not bother me that I got two more grant or program rejections. Sundance Doc Fund was even kind enough to send a letter and not just an email, signed with a pen and everything. It's ok- they probably saw the problems with the earlier direction we were taking and those are the problems we are working on now.

:)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Excuses to choose from... (this time I spelled it right)

It starts off that you make excuses. That's the easy part. But then you get to the point that you no longer believe your own excuses and so of course no one else does. So then what? Now you know that anything you do that brings attention to yourself will make all the more evident to anyone that you've done fuck-all for quite some time now. And then, out of shame and fear of what to write to excuse your inexcusable absence, you post-pone longer. It's like finally getting off your ass to jog- the longer you wait the more you know it's gonna hurt.



So why did I stop to begin with? Mostly because when things continue to be tough and spread thin, sputtering in this start-and-stop rhythm. I'd write fervently about the grants and programs I'd apply to and then would just shy away from writing at all when I got turned down. Id write about the new trailer we are working on, and that would get delayed. So I was discouraged, okay? That is why I was not writing.

I also did get a lesson recently in the realities of constructive criticism. My plan was, and to an extent still is, to make a little packet to send to people in Guatemala who could be interested. Part of that packet was a trailer, a less than five minute summary of what I was going for. Making this was a great exercise for Alan and I because it brought out in a small scale the problems that we were facing in the film's structure on a larger scale. After about 15 different versions, we thought we had it and showed it to someone in the industry.

Ouch. First off, was the observation that we should forget about 5 minute trailers and focus on the bigger picture. Fair enough, though it is so often hard to balance how much energy and money to spend on the producing of this film and how much to spend on directing it. It is the indie catch22.

However, we did show this person what we had of the film so far and the constructive critique rained down. It was all full of useful observations and notes, but more and more it rendered useless months of work until we once more faced the structural drawing board.

It is true you don't have to listen to every comment someone says, and I didn't. But most of what this person said made too much sense to ignore. So, still reeling from this harsh feedback, I focused on getting through finals and graduating, then finding a job, before I really thought about sitting back down with my editor and once again finding a new approach.

About a month ago I ran into another respected industry member in the subway who I had not spoken with for about 6 months so we arranged for coffee. It was not until we met that I truly felt I was ready to tackle this film again. She listened to my concerns, which I made sure to tell her in a manner that did not reveal just how much the scared me, and she offered such simple, doable solutions. Solutions that honestly I would have been able to see myself, were I not so close to my own project. So now, with my wits back about me and my confidence re-inflated, I am trying once more to brush the dust off and get this film going. I'm starting with this blog.

Sociable