Today was my first full day off dedicated (mostly) to editing in about 2 months. I don't want to speak too soon, but I think I nailed down the first 8.5 minutes. I can't see any better way do what we want to do with the footage we have all the way through to the end of the parade. From there, who knows what direction we'll end up taking.
The first act sets a good tone. The two stories work well together, first the clown and his retirement and then the Toberers and their possible forced retirement. On one hand I'd like the whole movie to feel like this -- a series of portraits all emotionally tied to one another with a evenness of tone -- but the fact is we don't have that. Tucker, for example, has no real conflict. There's a lot of mining to be done to his footage, and a lot of different paths we can take. Right now it looks like the most viable is the "cowboy-turned-english-jumper" angle, which is more inspiring in tone than the first act. Then there's the more informational, but also funnier segment where the announcer discusses the various Mule Days activities. Along with this we have a lot of little moments with people that may build bridges to bigger scenes, just like the parade will eventually do. The tone will shift, but I hope I can balance the emotions.
We've decided to return to Mule Days this year. I made the reservations for Brown's Town Campground today. Some time in the last month I figured out that we don't have an ending. We have two acts, maybe two and a half, but everything falls away from itself in a big way. Since we didn't know who or what we'd be shooting, we didn't know what their stories looked like, and now that we do we're going to go back and wrap up some loose ends. The movie we're making needs some coherence and catharsis, and I just don't think we have it with the current footage. We have a lot of really nice loose ends, but they need a little more work.
Unfortunately, the Toberers will not be attending Mule Days this year. At first this seemed a set-back, but actually I think it'll be better for us. They probably aren't coming because they can't afford to, and I'd like to talk to them about the state of their business and family two years down the line. We'll go to their farm to end their story, and then probably go on a weekend or week-long packing trip with them, and possibly have another mini-documentary on our hands. If it ends up as two projects, we can use footage from our visit in both movies.
We will have a new clown to talk to. Very exciting.
I'll be doing more work on it tomorrow and the next day, and will hopefully have a new upload by next week. My goal is to catch up with ourselves by the time we return to Mule Days this year, so we know where we are at and have a little more direction going into our second year.