A Documentary in its Infancy


Hello fellow rats. While I tend to lurk much more than contribute, I've got something that I'm looking for feedback on. It's a documentary on my father-in-law. This is to be a character driven piece that I envision being about 1-1 1/2 hrs long. He lives on a century farm, is 72 and has given me the verbal ok to tackle this. Time's a-wastin.

I'll post the general concept here and then break the video into its parts in separate posts. Any creative feedback, wordsmithing or general comments are requested. I hope to use this document in obtaining some funds, but also plan to go out-of-pocket for most. Anyone interested in helping (graphics/credits, videogrpahy, editing, distribution, etc.) just give a holler. My first goal is to create a top-notch piece that can go in the family library. My second goal is to enter this into a few film festivals. My third goal is to potentially sell/distribute. Not sure how far I'll get - but away I go....


Title: TBD

Timeline: Late 2007 – Summer 2009

Costs to Incur: Labor (3 person crew/3 days each week for 8 hrs for both shooting and post production), Equipment (Camera, hard drives, computer, editing system, lights and microphones) , Duplication and Contest Fees

Concept: A video documentary that follows a century farmer through the four seasons. As the audience will become privy to the cycle of the seasons and the harvest, our farmer will also relay stories that fit with the seasons of his life and will be appropriately matched with activities on the farm. When winter comes he is faced with the realization that as the cold descends on another year, in the winter of his life, he may be the last generation to work this plot of land as a farm. Will one of his children or grandchildren step up and take the wheel of the old green Oliver, or is this place of family and nature destine to be carved up into farmettes like so many of his neighbors have been forced to do?

The video will be broken into 4 parts; spring, summer, fall and winter. The activities of each season will be video taped and chronicled, as well supplemented by the stories of our farmer. It is intended to give the audience a better understanding and appreciation for the agrarian way of life, as well as shine a light on a culture falling by the wayside (in the family farm).

Several interview sessions with our farmer will be scheduled (in late 2007) to help build the chronological storyline, and the producers will log 2-3 days each week in the fields and at home with him over the course of 2008. All footage is intended to be captured in HD (720p or 1080i has yet to be determined). Access to 8mm home movies and family photos is also possible. A short synopsis of each segment follows.


At 11/9/07 3:49 PM, Blogger hebchop said...

These are outstanding. Please pursue this. It's something that needs to be documented, for yourself, the family, and the world. If interested in sponsorship I have one question for you, Is grandpa a Case, Deere or Ford man?

I only wish that it would be easier for rituallabers to assist geographically......Wait, is Minnesota near Hawaii?

At 11/11/07 10:25 AM, Blogger tokyocrunch said...

I second Chop's sentiments and would happily travel to assist (spring, summer, autumn vignettes ONLY).

I imagine documentation will have an undeniable effect on your green thumb's personal sense of urgency and mortality. Capturing its subtleties would be tricky and wholly engrossing.

"Dang, this guy wouldn't be filming me if he didn't really think time was running out ..."

At 11/13/07 9:52 AM, Blogger tokyocrunch said...

It might be interesting to use an iconic farm element (tractor?) as a static element as the seasons change (from the same angle, it's first covered with spring dew, then summer sun, falling leaves, snow ...) to speak to the resilience as well as the susceptibility of the farming lifestyle ... it could make for liquid visual transitions as well.

At 11/13/07 9:59 AM, Blogger hebchop said...

Just wanted to clarify that my suggestion of corporate sponsorship was only for post-production duplication, marketing & festival costs.

A logo at the beginning and end. NOT approval over direction or final cut. I started to cringe at the thought of the bastardization of this concept. Good Luck!

At 11/16/07 5:17 PM, Blogger TBGE said...

hebchop - i took your comment as intended.

crunch - are you talking about showing these images concurrently, or using them as bookends to the seasons. interesting idea, unfortunately Wayne is a neat freak and would never leave a tractor out in inclement weather. i’d have to find one that’s been left out to pasture by one of his neighbors – which shouldn’t be an issue.

i had a suggestion from a co-worker to tweak the winter vig to put a more positive spin on it. while i don't know if the ending will be a happy one or not yet it might be easier to persuade financial backers to contribute if there's a sweet taste in their mouth. make sense.

thanks for the ideas so far. should hear back from Charter soon. if they won't lend me a cam i'm considering buying my own.


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