Thursday, October 8, 2015


It's been haunting me. Taunting me, really

It sits there, taking up space on my exterior Hard Drive. I try to ignore it, I tell myself that I've moved on, but it's difficult to ignore. There is just so damn much of it. 383 Gigs, over 900 clips, over 3 and half hours of raw footage. It's the fucking elephant in my hard drive

My original plans for a documentary on Fan Expo Toronto and fandom in general of course did not quite work out. I wanted to "shadow" a fan in costume at the expo but that person did not quite, well, she was a fetish queen in a totally awesome costume who was done with the experience as soon as it was over

So no follow up interviews, no further participation, no context

So that original concept is thrown on my scrap heap of unfulfilled creative ideas. Damn thing rivals Everest at this point

And yet, there it is; hours of footage from four days at Fan Expo last summer. And much of it is good footage. Mostly cutaways but a few interviews too. My shoot with Nadia was on the last day of the show and I filled up those first three days pretty well. Of course I did, I'm full of it we all know that


The problem is, this is all B roll, the footage that goes around and under the principle clips. But as we all know, I ain't gots no principles


But I began to wonder if I could put all this footage together to define something else, something new. What that would be, I was not sure. I did know that I did not want to do a Fan Expo promo "Fan Expo is a convention of all things fantastical that happens over four days in late summer in Toronto Ontario"

Yeh, been there down that. Like, a hundred times. My promotional videos rucksack is full. I took on this project to do something new, something I've never before done. A documentary. I've never created a documentary, never even worked on a crew And I wanted an opportunity to expand my knowledge of visual tricks and techniques Take advantage of the fact that for once I have no client and have no need to design the project to their needs and taste

Well, I have a client you could say but he works for beer. A lot of beer

So here I am with all this footage in search of a premise. And I think I have one. Or enough of one to begin the creative process.

That process always begins with a script. In most cases I'd write the script, go take the shots, edit it all together, throw some pixie dust in the air, make a sacrifice to August Lumber and hope that it all works out

With docs, of course, the process is a bit different. A doc starts with a concept, instead of writing a script per se, you assemble interviews, B roll, research etc to help you build your story. You shoot, you shoot a lot and let the shooting write the story

My problem is, all the shooting I've done was towards a perspective, that of a fan expiring the expo for the first time, that is no longer relevant. So what do I do with all this B roll. First thing is to start going through all the clips and seeing if there is some kind of new story in there

That required some organization. When I shot the footage I organized them into folders, what Final Cut calls Bins, in my project by the day of the shoot; Thurs, Fri, Sat Sun and Interviews.

Normally what I would do is generate a shot list, listing every shot, it's duration and some comment about it, Good Take, Bad Take etc. Well, I wasn't about to do that with over 900 shots. Hey, I have a life, there are reruns of Archer to watch for the 5th time.

Instead I decided to make Bins that would help me identify shots in categories as I began to work on the script. So, a Comics bin that would contain all clips related to comic books, guys on the convention floor drawing, shots of the comic dealing booths etc. Of course I have a Cosplay bin, shots of people in costumes. Star Wars got its own bin because the 501 Legion, a massive Star Wars cosplay group did their annual photo shoot, featuring literally hundreds of storm troopers, Princess Leia's, Darth Vaders and Emperors ... yeh, more than one, scary. All the interviews I did got their own bin

That will make it a little easier for me to find shots as I do the script. Normally I would create a couple of kinds of script. A master script that would have the Narration (VO) matched with the corresponding shots. With any project I like to match the VO to the clips and especially with this one, I ain't doing any retakes, the price of the Expo has elevated to Donal Trump status.

On projects where I was using a Narrator I would make him/her their own VO script. I use an old style that was taught to me years ago. All caps and spelling phonetically when necessary. At this point I'm not sure if I will do the VO or con, I mean coerce (no I mean con) someone into doing for me

At this point I will do a "scratch track". I will record the VO myself and use it to assemble a rough cut, I really won't know how everything will work until I start plugging in shots. The script may need to be adjusted for the shots, as in, gosh Vic that was a beautiful bit of narrated poetry but you totally do not have shots of Unicorns in Kevlar armour making out with a Valkyrie on the subway. Rewrite that scene

Once I get the narration hammered out then I will decide if I need someone who can actually enunciate to do the VO

So that's where I am at this moment.  This project is dead but I'm gunna hammer on its chest to see if there is any life in there


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