Thursday, January 7, 2010

Miracle Valley, there and then

Lately I’ve been moving away from a strictly cinematic approach toward a reportorial approach. As in, TV news report. Maybe uncomfortably close. Because cinema is artistic and lasting and TV reporting is boring and damn fleeting. A lot of this move is practical, and reflects less a stylistic choice than it does my failure as a filmmaker to make something interesting and good. It reflects failures of vision, craft, of work ethic, of organization, of mental toughness. In short, it reflects my failures as an artist and also as a person.

With that out of the way, I can also say this: Some shift in my perspective of the documentary, of movies in general, and of my perspective on life called for a different approach. At this point in the project, and in my life, I don’t want to spin tales. I want to be here, in the present, talking, telling, and reflecting in as honest a way as I can.

At it’s most basic, I think this means that the film is both closer to writing and closer to radio. And blogging. It’s writing accompanied by pictures accompanied by sound. An audio-visual presentation. It’s basically a movie. Maybe this is just a convoluted way of getting back to where I always was. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just in a Ta-nehisi kind of mood. I do sense a difference, though. It’s more reflection than action. Maybe I’m making the film-essay that I never made in Eisenberg’s class.

Stylistically, I want to stay away from fancy graphics. From visualizing for the sake of visualizing. I wanted the presentation to be more immediate. Not “immediate” in terms of shaky camera, which is where I think I went wrong initially. Immediate in terms of being engaged with my audience as they watch the piece in the present. I’m not sure I am explaining myself clearly, but this is a hell of a lot more, a hell of a lot deeper, than I ever got with my thesis committee.

What you will see here on out on this blog will pretty much be the script to the film. I’m going to try to organize the film along a series of blog posts, for lack of a better term. Short, concise statements and stories reflecting on the events in Miracle Valley and my experiences researching those events. I think I was long searching for a method of sharing all of that stuff that was outside of the story, on the edges, and the best way turned out to be just to say it.

1 comment:

Gifford said...

I would very much like to see this documentary should it come out; My uncle was one of the deputies involved, and I personally knew several of them as I grew up.