Monday, March 15, 2010

Okay, so maybe unsure about the length

I go back and forth about the length of this documentary. In my heart, all this work, I guess it's that I can't stand to think that the story of our people, this hard work they spend in the fields would be reduced to a "short" documentary. That's what they call the 30-minute documentaries, "short" documentaries. It's almost insulting to think of a history of our past as "short." Then there's the feeling of ego. that as a filmmaker, I want to move beyond the 30 minute length of the films we've done for PBS into the "hour-long" documentary length. It feels more serious, more substantial. But having said all this, what really trumps these worries is that what matters is the root of the story. I spoke with a filmmaker this last weekend at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. Valerie is her name. She has a 20-minute film that started out as a 40 minute film. But when she spoke with her script consultant, he kept hammering at her, "but what's the root story?" and telling her to remove the characters with redundant stories.

That's our challenge. What's the root of the story, when is it redundant. And I guess for me to remind myself that more than worry about the length, is just to tell the most engaging compelling story that we can.

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