15 February 2008

Production Diary - Day Ten

The scope of the production may be to big for the director. Thomas Bender has only made one feature about a small Midwestern American town, Hoopeston, Illinois. He self financed the documentary. Made it on a shoestring. He still hasn't finished it. A distributor wants to release the movie and is eager to release the Kubrick Napoleon documentary as well. He resisted comments from me and the distributor to make "Hoopeston" longer (not shorter) and tweaks to make the story stronger for a long time. But to his credit he has agreed to give the picture another pass through the edit machine. He has a day job making digital shorts but now is facing the daunting task of making a documentary on an unrealized passion project of one of the most revered visionary filmmaker. And facing a budget exponentially bigger than his first film. I think his brain may begin to fry given the locations contemplated for the story: Paris, London, Los Angeles, Kansas City, New York. The logistical complexity of this shoot may be overwhelming him. Yet it shouldn't. I keep telling him that La Boca Productions will handle all the mundane business details like booking travel and ensuring the production, but he wants to be involved in those details as well. The tipping point came when he insisted that he could not sign a contract to make the Kubrick Napoleon documentary until he completed a production breakdown. Now typically, the production breakdown is completed once the script is finished. He is in the middle of research and wants to start a production board before he has finished writing the script. I don't want him to burn out but I don't want to derail him or dampen his enthusiasm for the picture. I am thinking about scaling back the production to make it less ambitious in terms of locations and shooting days. Or else I might adopt a "scared straight" approach and throw him into the deep end of this production without the life jacket of La Boca Productions to cling to. Stay tuned.

Picture of the day. Yesterday was St. Valentine's Day and another Illinois city was cleaning up a bloody massacre. It was a shooting rampage that rivaled the gangland shooting in Chicago on that very day early in the century just past. When the mysteries of the human heart call out for explanation folks turn to art. Here is a snip from the website of Canada's Virtual Museum: "The first years of love between Josephine Beauharnais and France's most powerful general can scarcely be eclipsed in their passion, yet the political reality of Napoleon's position assured a love equally tumultuous. His desire for an heir led to their divorce, yet at the ceremony each read to the other a statement of lasting devotion, as a testament to their enduring love."

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