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The Frustration of Interviews


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#1 Thom

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:46 AM

I have been shooting interviews (mostly to get the back story) for a documentary. It is a good story about a man who has spent most of his life running scams, selling drugs, and doing time. At 60 yrs. old a judge decides to send him to a recovery program instead of jail. He goes in for some "easy" time and, instead, gets sober. He ditches his old friends and life of crime for a more "respectable" job and then finds out he has a major illness that is potentially terminal. He will allow interviews but is reluctant to let us go to his work, on a hospital visit, or to the old stomping grounds. Trying to craft a story with only head shots is impossible, especially for someone who would prefer to leave interview segments out.

Ideas?
Thoughts?
Similar frustrations?

#2 Persona

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 03:09 AM

I hate to say it, but I think it is time for you to move to another project. I wish I could think of something else to help out, but that sounds very stuck to me. I noted recently in a Non-Lollipop Docs the difference between Jessica Yu's In The Realms of the Unreal and the recent Marwencol is that in the former, they didn't have much to work with except for the artist's actual work and people who barely knew him. In Marwencol, the subject let the filmmaker follow him around everywhere. Both films had subjects which were equally interesting, the difference being fully in the availability of the actual subject.

#3 Thom

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 08:34 AM

Yes sir, there are definitely times to move on and, believe me, it has been considered. It isn't "my" project so I am trying my best to tease a visual story out of it. There is a story there and it gets told through the interview process, for the most part. What we are dealing with here is more of a trust issue with our subject. Most of the time it can take a good deal of time and personal investment to gain such such trust with a known temporal a relationship. I think there are ways to work through this obstacle but it may mean more time. Just looking for some communal out-of-the-box thinking and your thoughts are definitely in the running. Although, I do think there is something here. We'll see or not.

I haven't seen either of those docs and will head over to film sweep. My next endeavor is to look into what a Non-lollipop doc is.

#4 Thom

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 08:17 AM

Had an excellent interview this past week. Just had to say, "Hi," and we were off to the races.

#5 Thom

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Posted 18 July 2011 - 08:41 AM

I hate to say it, but I think it is time for you to move to another project. I wish I could think of something else to help out, but that sounds very stuck to me. I noted recently in a Non-Lollipop Docs the difference between Jessica Yu's In The Realms of the Unreal and the recent Marwencol is that in the former, they didn't have much to work with except for the artist's actual work and people who barely knew him. In Marwencol, the subject let the filmmaker follow him around everywhere. Both films had subjects which were equally interesting, the difference being fully in the availability of the actual subject.


I was thinking about this a bit more and I don't think the availability of the subject (as person) is paramount. It certainly isn't necessary. I think of the doc How to Draw a Bunny (one of my favorite docs of all time) and the subject of the film, Ray Johnson, was dead. It is about crafting a story (visually or audibly) with the elements that you have, that is the challenge. If it is worth it (or the money is right;) then you stick with it. Not sure if what I am working on will be worth the major effort. We'll see.