Sunday, November 13, 2011

Episode Four: "Occupy"

I had wanted to visit an Occupy Movement tent city and incorporate some footage into the series. We're in a moment in time here, and the series has the ability to write, shoot, edit and release an episode in one day. So that is what we did.

I'm doing an experiment here, mixing documentary footage, interview footage, and our fictional characters. It's a thing I saw Soderbergh do on "K Street" and I loved it. That series has the illusion of shooting in real time, in real life. The thing I'm nervous about is mixing the real with the imaginary. I was inspired to do this episode just the other day as I was driving by the campsite with Eowyn in the back seat. I showed her the Occupy signs and the tents, and she asked me Why don't they go out to the country? It was a cute question. Why would people want to camp in the city?

So I tried to explain the Occupy Movement to her, and she told me to shut up. I thought I'd use that.

This is one of the first times we have used anything so expressionistic. We have our characters standing in front of the demonstration, looking straight into the camera. The shots are filtered and cropped, and sped up to give them a 16mm home-movie feel. Then we pepper them in with the real interview footage with David, whom we met today. He is a movie star. This guy blew my mind, and I could have stayed in that tent and hung out for hours. We cut from about 15 total minutes of interview footage. And when I emerged, I gave Jamie some dialogue ideas. She and Analea were tasked with explaining it to a four-year-old. And the four-year-old was tasked with shushing them. I don't really know what it all means. Maybe it means that on the inside of the movement, we have a lot of issues to address, and we're covering a lot of ground: the economy, the environment, equality, workers' rights. And on the outside, we struggle to try and distill it down, so we can decide which side we're on.

Initially, I had no idea why anyone would occupy Ann Arbor. But now I see what's happening in each Occupied city. There are national issues being addressed, and much of it on the local level. Ann Arbor has its issues, and David hits upon it beautifully. There is a misuse of funds within the city. Later on in the season, we will release the full interview, as a supplemental bonus feature, or what have you. People need to hear this guy. We still had to put it in context of the series, and I'm pretty convinced that it was the right move. These quick, spontaneous scenes are fun, and part of the joy is in not knowing what will happen. You have to throw it all away. You can tell people what you want to have happen. You know that they have a lot to draw from. And so you let them do their thing. It's a fantastic experiment, and it's going to add up to a film.

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