This edit may not seem like a huge change from previous uploads, but I assure you it took a long time and is loads better than anything before it, primarily because I'm finally finding a structure to the story. The most difficult part of the editing has been eliminating the episodic element as much as possible. The documentary is shaping up to be a collection of portraits set against the backbone of this weird festival, and I'm doing everything I can to make it feel like one big story rather than ten tiny ones. I've edited much further ahead than this cut (I probably have 11-13 or so minutes of footage cut together when it is all said and done), but I'm really working toward erasing the seams between each little segment. And this 5 minute opening, I feel, is getting pretty close to that seamlessness. Or as close as we can come with what we have.
I've decided to use the clown as a prologue. I'll tell his whole story from beginning to end to set the tone of the rest of the movie. From there I wanted to give a context to the celebration as early as possible. Steve, our announcer, has a very long, functional interview that talks about the history of Mule Days and its events. We're aiming for no narration, so his interview is a good crutch to lean on throughout, and lets us give voice to what's going on in the arena, around town, etc. It's a perfect fit to introduce Mike and Zack, two packers, after talking about the history of Mule Days. I hope to keep slowly dissolving the seams between segments.
As research / preparation for editing, I've been listening to a lot of episodes of This American Life. They know how to drop you into the middle of a story and not let you go. I hope the prologue has this same effect. We do have one marked difference between our movie and TAL's way of storytelling: we're going to tell all of our stories in tandem. TAL structures their show in acts, and tells each miniature story from beginning to end. In contrast, I'd like to move onto another story at the end of the clip I just uploaded, then come back to Mike and Zack later on and check in on them. I'd like it to feel like it is all happening at once.
Strangely, the guy we thought was our 'main character,' Tucker, has been the hardest guy to edit. At this point his story is really just a collection of funny clips and nothing more, while guys like the clown and Mike are really tight and progress pretty well, despite (or maybe because of) the smaller amount of footage we have on each of them.
There have been two subtle cuts to the clown's story, but I think they help it immensely. See if you can spot them. I also shortened the montage -- it was just a mix-and-match of what it might feel like before, but I think I'll hold off on it until it feels emotionally appropriate. And I think that Mike's competition is actually shaping up into something interesting and watchable. Let me know what you think.