Monday, January 8, 2007

Where is that $#@% movie??

Yes, yes, we know. We've been working on this film for ... uh, let me see... three years? The first blog entry was July, 2004. So, I guess that makes two and a half years. What gives???!!

Here's the latest. We are a bit behind where we thought we'd be, but mainly this is because our story kept going and going. Our original plan was to film the year in the life of the Tevatron, which would have been the year 2005 (December 2004 through December 2005). But, if you remember, they extended the run past December 2005. Here's a quote from my blog entry, November 2005:

In fact, that's the same reasoning behind Fermilab's recent decision to extend the current run of the Tevatron. Normally, the accelerator gets shut down every November so they can get inside, do repairs, upgrade things, and generally brush out the cobwebs. They keep it offline for about 6 weeks, then fire it back up again. We were present when they achieved the startup (although I looked back and saw that I didn't write an entry about that... might have to write one after the fact) and run it for 10 months. Our film was designed to run for a complete start-up to shut-down cycle -- a year in the life, if you will. But not long ago they determined that the Tevatron was running so well and luminosity was so high that they'd be crazy to shut it down. They moved the maintenance shut down date to March 1 --- we plan to keep shooting until then, although it doesn't tie the bow so neatly to shoot for 15 months instead of one year. On the other hand, this builds a little momentum, especially where Ben is concerned...

So we kept shooting until March 06, but in February the budget got interesting again, and then we got the opportunity to interview Natalie Angier and Dennis Overbye on the east coast ... We finally called a halt to shooting in late summer 06. I was busy at that time also finishing up a fiction film I had shot with Andrew and Stef called Galileo's Grave, and during that time we assembled a team of interns who began working on the post-production preparations. In the fall, Monica and I began having edit meetings, and by late December 06 we had assembled a solid paper edit. And, in fact, Saturday, January 6, 2007, was our first day of official editing. Our schedule is tight: we hope to have a rough cut by March, and a final cut by May (or possibly June). Then we'll take it to the world.

It is difficult though: as evidenced by the two posts you've just read, the story just won't stop. The two crucial legs of our story, the search for the Higgs boson and the state of science funding, keep walking. Now it seems they've stepped it up to a brisk run. The collision here is exactly where our story lies: Fermilab is getting so close to the Higgs they can sniff it, just as the federal budget starts yanking the rug they're standing on. Monica and I are meeting Tuesday to discuss. Can we continue to edit our film while at the same time dashing out to Fermilab to hear about the latest? How much can we cover in title cards at the end of the film? What about an epilogue? Obviously we're not going to wait 2 years to find out whether Fermilab finds the Higgs. We've already drawn the line once --- do we extend it?

Ah, the wonderful challenges of being a documentary filmmaker on a "hot" topic! At least, we think it's hot. Hopefully you do too, or else you wouldn't be reading this...

1 comment:

Professor said...

This all feels like journalism again. "Where does the story stop?" I'm guessing, where ever your editing takes you. As we have discussed before, youo could probably edit three or four stories out of the footage you now have. Any one of them could extend your dealine or keep it right where it is. Knowing you, I'd imagine you've made a choice you feel comfortable with.

Godspeed my friend. I look forward to seeing the completed project... whenever you decide it's done.