Friday, January 15, 2010

Mule Days January 14 Draft!

Note: You might want to click on the link and play the videos from the Vimeo site -- I had some troubles viewing it in blog window.

Instead of watching The Sopranos series finale, I am typing this and putting my roommates through hell by making them wait about 20 hours to watch the final episode, while they in turn break my balls. But I'll try to stay on topic.

Mule Days January 14th Draft from Joseph Peeler on Vimeo.

Here's the latest draft of the Mule Days documentary. Actually, 2 latest drafts. I suggest you watch the version above, then if you feel like you want to watch the same thing for some intellectual enjoyment / challenge, watch the version at the bottom of this post. Both have the same footage, but the segments are rearranged in an attempt to hit on new emotions, different story flow, and generally fiddle with pacing. The second version was an experiment, and while I like the first version more, ultimately I'll combine the strengths of both.

I've laid down the song "1000 Miles" by Dirty Three off the album "Horse Stories" strictly as a placeholder. Once we lock picture, Aaron, Dave and Nick will (hopefully) compose and perform some music with steel guitar, violin and trumpet. Since day one we knew we would use music with a kind of modern americana / folky feeling. I'm sure we'll be able to expand and play with those emotions later in the editing process.

The editing remains a great pleasure. We have so much footage that I can swim through it for a few hours, then choose a direction and find things that I didn't even know were there. I remember very clearly shooting the Prom Princess photographs on the wall of the Mule Days office, but I never actually looked at the photos or thought twice about them. It was so windy outside that we had to stay inside to shoot for a while, and I thought it was junk footage. When I sat down to edit, though, the photographs set off the entire introductory montage. The montage will surely change. The amount of footage guarantees it. But, here, I hope you get an idea.

Two themes have arisen that I really enjoy: the first is a deep nostalgia, and the second is humor that emerges from seriousness. I hope that the clown's very first line sets the tone for the entire documentary: what could almost be serious ends as a joke; but then, what was a joke ends seriously with him. And I hope that the beginning feels like the end of a story. We weren't thinking about it when we were filming, but it seems like everyone talks about the past, their lives changing, eras long gone, what used to be, what they've missed.

Frankly, I finish every day and think that I'll be lucky to find 2 more minutes of story in all of this footage. I can clip montages all day long, but finding actual conflict is a bit hairy. For all of our attempts to find a story while filming, rather than while editing, I feel like I'm completely blind. Who knows what how the story will end up. On one hand, this is very exciting, on the other, I don't really know what I'm doing. Very literally -- every day is something new.

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