Friday, June 13, 2014

On moving into post-production

Transitioning into post-production has been an exciting but challenging process. I have the story of the previous owners, almost a dozen interviews, the story of Free Gut, issues with the town and it's current state of abandonment and the renovation of my building forge into one coherent and engaging story. "Mr Bill" aka William Stelzer came over from St. John to work on the project with me again for a week and it was so helpful. We did some filming but a lot of what we did was talking, thinking and sorting. 

I really wanted to have a strong outline for the film developed by the time he left. I had been working on a script on and off using a spreadsheet format. It was so difficult using a computer screen. You had to scroll up or down to be able to see what came previously or after and its was hard to see the whole picture, both literally and figuratively.  Bill suggested that I used index cards, which at first I was skeptical because it reminded me of taking note cards to write papers in the eighth grade. However, he was right, by jotting down my ideas on the cards and tacking them to the wall in a large timeline I was able to overlay the various components of the film and literally and figuratively see the whole picture. It was so interesting to me thinking about how amazing and essential of a tool a computer is, but the confines of a screen posed such a limitation on visualizing the project that it was useless in creating an outline. At least for me and the way my brain works, but I suspect it has less to do with me and more to do with film as a medium.  

So here was the process:
1. Put on a separate notecard each owners of the house from the 1777 to present day.
2. Put on a separte notecard key dates in VI history, including certain relevant dates from US and Danish history.
3. Make notes on what the key items that I want people to know in the documentary. For example. Where is Free Gut, who lived there, or that Freed Colored owned slaves, etc...and insert these into the timeline.
4. At this point I could then go into the interviews and pick out quotes that would correspond to these key ideas.
5. I then inserted different aspects of the renovation.

And...voila, you have a rough outline of a film.

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