In a project this long, the filmmaker has to do a lot of emails that essentially say, "Hello! Remember us? What are you doing?" I've been sending some of these emails out recently to our main characters. After nearly 12 months, we have to have a strong constitution when it becomes clear that we're not nearly as high on their priority list as they are on ours. In fact, it's safe to say we're no longer on anyone's priority list, and we have to find the balance between being annoying and persistent.
Luckily, over the last few months we've developed a good relationship with a few people who respond with enthusiasm. One is Ben, the experimental physicist and lead singer of the Fermilab band. He, more than anyone, seems to still have the fire burning in his belly to find the Higgs. He wrote back to say that recent developments have made him more confident than ever that they will find the Higgs --- not now, he cautioned, but within 2 or 3 years. He is preparing a report on his Higgs analysis that will be presented in January. My goal is to meet with him now to discuss his new-found optimism and then to be there in January when his analysis is presented and "blessed."
The fact that film will be finished before the "two or three years" has expired when Ben thinks they might find the Higgs doesn't pose a problem for me. While obviously it would be nice for a major discovery to be made during our filming, leaving the film with that question unanswered works ---- especially in light of America's current relationship with science. I'm convinced it will engage the viewer more, and perhaps pique enough curiosity that the average person, the person who before the film said "I don't really understand anything about science" might come away from the film and in a month or two think "hmmm... I wonder if they found the Higgs boson yet?" That to me would be an unqualified success.
I don't know ... maybe that makes me optimistic too.