July 22, 2022

Notes on the Trinity Edit

I have one big step left before beginning the edit of Trinity, my latest documentary project.

It’s a buddy road trip story about coping in a crisis era. Call it the Crisis of 2020 as predicted by Strauss and Howe in their 1992 book Generations: The History of America’s Future. A long time ago on this blog I published a list of ten books all Americans should read. This was among them. If you want to check that list, you’ll have to go hunting for it at Archive.org. Just click the link in the sidebar.

Anyway, we’re living through a crisis era just as Strauss and Howe predicted. Now they didn’t say anything about the various problems that might comprise the Crisis of 2020. Instead, they used their model of cyclical generational personalities to make a general prediction. Basically, the generational alignment now corresponds to the generational alignment of the World War 2 era (including the late Depression and post-war angst over communism).

So my buddies and I made a road trip to arguably the site of the culminating event of the last crisis era — the Trinity site in New Mexico where the first atomic bomb was tested.

I made this decision before filming began: I’d conduct my interviews with my buddies after the trip and in audio only so that the entire film is narrated b-roll.

I still need to make my final decisions about what audio gets in and what gets left out. I’d like to finish that work in a few days.

And I suppose it’s about damned time to get this finished. I first mentioned the project in a post back in April 🙂

June 15, 2022

Watch Lists for Documentary Films

I just posted my second tweet of the day regarding yet another list of documentary films. I sort of play this for a chuckle because there are so many of these lists published. But, really, I find these “listicles” very useful because I try (and succeed imperfectly) to watch a documentary film every day. I maybe actually watch only three or four per week 🙂

June 14, 2022

Work Continues on Back-to-the-Land Documentary

Now that I’m back from my trip to Portugal (see my personal project on becoming an expat), I’m back to work on the back-to-the-land documentary being directed by Denise Vaughn. I’m the cinematographer and doing some project consulting. Many of the interviews with members of the original 1970s movement into the Missouri Ozarks will be housed in the Special Collections at Meyer Library at Missouri State University.

June 12, 2022

Playing Around With Bumpers

A bumper in the film business is a form of studio branding. You’ll generally see two or three at the start of almost every film. Here’s a list of famous ones you’ve seen dozens of times (sadly, an old list with a few gaps).

Sometimes bumpers are simply visually striking with little attempt to create meaning. The best ones, I think, try to say something about the studio. Here’s the bumper for Carbon Trace Productions, the non-profit documentary studio I co-founded in Springfield, Missouri.

Carbon Trace Bumper with Audio.mp4 from Carbon Trace Productions on Vimeo.

We thought we might be making films about broadly environmental issues of all sorts. Our first film — Downtown: A New American Dream — was a new urbanist film examining the movement back to cities by boomers and millennials. We ended up focusing more on humanitarian service. But the bumper was designed to indicate a cleansing of the earth through our documentary efforts. Hence the smoke cleared away as the moon sweeps by and the name is revealed.

Here’s a draft bumper I’ve developed for The Rhetorica Network.

Rhetorica is a character that represents the concerns of the discipline of rhetoric — the persuasive use of language. I’ve mixed the Old English font with Greco-Roman imagery to connect the past to my application of my academic field (rhetoric, not media) to the persuasive concerns of documentary filmmaking.

Anyway, bumpers are cool and fun to make. So here you go.

June 11, 2022

A Vietnam Peace Story on YouTube

My latest film as director — A Vietnam Peace Story — is now available free to view on YouTube.

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