Life changes the production schedule (27/365)

If you have ever watched any interviews with documentarians, you’ve probably heard a story that goes along the lines of “I intended to shoot one thing but then everything changed and that’s how we ended up with this film.”

This is a very common story.

Somehow, though, we were still somewhat unprepared for that to happen to us.

That “us” would be me and Debbie, the director (and much much more) of “Seeking Asian Female.” Last night we watched her new footage, all shot in the past 6 weeks. Now, this is a project that she’s been working on for many years, a project which I’ve been on for the past three. She brought me on as producer to help her finish. We went through everything, looked at the 200+ hours of footage captured over the course of 4 years, laid out a structure, started editing and re-editing, and figured we were nearly done with filming.

All that changed 2 months ago. One of the main characters in our film sent Debbie an email which essentially meant: “You know that story that you’ve been hoping to find all this time and gave up on? It’s about to start. Want to film it?”

And so, even though we desperately want to be done with it, we saw that the film had other plans for us. We are back in production, with another month of shooting to go. The story has taken a radical turn and there is a brand-new character – and she’s amazing. We spent many hours last night figuring out where we are and how to restructure the entire project.¬†We are living out one of the most excellent and most frustrating things about the kind of documentaries that we’ve decided to do: They’re about life and sometimes life does not stick to your original schedule.

Then again, this is the film we’ve been seeking all along and it’s fantastic to watch it unfold.

Countdown to 48 Hours

Tonight the 48 Hour Film Project starts again. Several people are curious about this process so I’m going to try to post periodically as the film comes together. For those who don’t know what the 48hfp is: it’s a competition in which we get an assignment Friday night (tonight) at 7 pm and must turn in a completed 4-6 minute film on Sunday night at 7. I’m directing.

Last night I intended to sleep quite a bit and even went to bed early (11 pm). I managed to fall asleep fairly quickly but then woke up at 4 a.m.! I guess I’m pretty excited. I spent a long time trying to fall back asleep, but it was hopeless.

It’s odd to be up so early. I did a bunch of things and then felt behind on my day but it was not even 8 yet. I guess I am getting ready for the 48. I’m already out of sync.

becoming a documentary maker

I was not feeling so great about the stuff that I shot in the Philippines for this documentary about the dance instructors (DIs), but on Monday night I showed some of the clips to Audrey & Nan (the only two who showed up for the documentary salon) and now I feel better. There’s definitely something there. In the gadget accumulation category, I have to get better microphones with greater flexibility. But at least some of what I’ve shot so far is usable. Now I’m thinking I need to focus on this one and finish it up when I go back at Christmas. Another major gadget to get: the laptop to edit this on. Yes, a Mac. (my first one since 1997). The transfer of this stuff needs to happen somewhat soon. I don’t like having it sitting around on tapes.

In fun, ego-gratifying, news: Adam (who hopes to be a producer someday) discovered that I’m on imdb! I suddenly feel legit. Oddly, my most recent teacher, Aron Ranen, is not there. You all should check out his doc, though: “Did We Go?” He explores whether or not we really landed on the moon in 1968.

This weekend, you all in SF area should head over to Sausalito Art Festival to check out Audrey’s photos at booth #253.