Having just (barely) picked up this film again, like a half-read book, it's apparent what my biggest problems are.
- An opening scene which was equal parts cloying, humorous and poetic, which I've decided to cut. The scene was shot on day (or rather evening) one, so I was attached to it as a beginning for linear purposes. It's clear that, while there are some lovely elements of this single shot, it's long and unfortunately inconsistent with the rest of the film.
- I have an abundance of found footage, shot by David, his family, friends, and news media. It's difficult, for me, to find the proper places to use all of this material. I am, admittedly, blessed and cursed with all of this footage, so I'm refocusing (at least) the first part of this film to incorporate more, and the latter parts focusing more on the 'present.'
- A mid point revelation, shocking as it was, leaves too many questions unanswered. Without revealing this, I will say that it essentially contradicts everything before and after, calling into question my role as filmmaker and his role as subject. The film seems to pick up where it left off after this, instead of changing directions as much as it could. I may have to shoot a bit more material to flesh this out.
- I'm stuck in a bind, editing wise. As someone who rejects the present day aesthetics of documentary filmmaking (talking heads, coverage, L-cut of talking head over B-roll), I'm trying to find a way to use as much footage as possible without falling into the trap (as I see it) of so many other films. I prefer the traditions of differing filmmakers as Robert Flaherty, Chris Marker, Basil Wright, Jean Rouch, and Frederick Wiseman to the ways of Maysles, Pennebaker, Kopple, and Moore. As much as I want this film to be expressive, occasionally fly on the wall, and work of portraiture, I'm wondering if I'm imagining a film that I don't have.
- Focus, focus, focus. This film shifts so much, with events, changes in David's life, and to be frank, changes in my filmmaking, that I find it a daunting task to tie everything together. Should I take a completely linear route, which would explain all of this, even if it's at the expense of a 'better' film? There are endless starting points, some may work better than others, but it's becoming increasingly difficult for me to find the right one.
- Too close to home. As I've stated before, in many ways this film is one long home movie (a description which, not including my own, encompasses some of my favorite films), so every edit, voice over, L-cut, and extended sequence feels like a violation of some sort, which I suppose is true. But, as much as I hate to admit it, the film may be a bit myopic because of this. The question, though, is whether anyone will want to see it. I suppose that's the eternal question for filmmakers anyway.
So, I'm picking through the mounds of debris left from shooting this film. I guess progress takes time, but I hope this is just the very beginning.