Monday, February 12, 2007

Setting up a structure

A few days ago I began watching my tapes all over again. This time through is a lot different than the first time, though, for a lot of reasons. First of all, I made some pretty detailed logs when I reviewed the tapes before. That was very mentally draining and time-consuming because I'd have to rewind the tape every time I passed something that appeared remotely interesting, to take note of the running time and what was happening in the footage. Then I'd have to do the same thing at the end of each moment of interesting footage. It was really not fun; it's so much more fun to just be out there making the tapes.

This time I don't have to give everything my full attention. I can just watch the tapes casually (or sometimes just listen) and wait for the compelling moments to jump out at me. Then I take very detailed notes of what's going on during these moments. I can watch it from more of a distance, so the storyline is becoming more clear.

No, I'm not just trying to make a trailer anymore. I'm approaching everything with the intention of making a complete documentary, which might just happen. I mean, it'll take almost as much work just to make a five-minute trailer as it might take to make a 60-minute documentary, at least in terms of logging everything and figuring out which footage belongs in the final product. And there's just too much good stuff to set my sights so low as to only make a trailer.

The structure seems to be taking shape pretty clearly. I've already written an entry about the prospective opening segment, but now I have several other segments outlined pretty well. After the introduction, there's a segment (or scene) I've labeled "Richfield & Dennis Cox," which covers my first attempt at hitchhiking, as well as my ride with the first person who ever picked me up while hitchhiking.

Segment 2: "Cedar City to Vegas." Something interesting happened at a gas station in Cedar City. The next day I caught a ride to Vegas. (This will be mostly a short video collage.) My ride dropped me off on I-15, under the Tropicana overpass, then I started making my way toward UNLV, where I expected to find people I know.

Segment 3: "The Dude by the MGM." There was an older guy drinking a beer by the bus stop on Tropicana, east of the Strip. I talked to him for a while. He had a few interesting things to say. He didn't want to give his name.

Segment 4: "Hamilton's Drunk Ass." I met Hamilton at a bar on Maryland Parkway my first night in Vegas. He was rather wasted. Some of it is pretty funny. Hamilton let me crash at his place that night (or morning).

Segment 5: "Joe Sacco." I think this is the best footage I have. I'm not going to talk about what's on it right now.

Segment 6: "Transition to Leaving Vegas." Nothing real great here. I'm going to try to find a way to use this as a bridge.

Segment 7: "Boulder City and California." Most of the good footage from Boulder City will be used as audio in the opening. This scene is kind of a continuation of the bridge from Segment 6 because my two weeks in California wasn't really Aimless; it was a vacation with my good friend Jeff, who treats me 50 times better than he should treat me. Plus not much interesting stuff happened while I stayed with Jeff.

Segment 8: "Leaving California." This begins with Jeff dropping me off in Cabazon, where I met a couple interesting people by the highway. John Martin was holding up print advertisements next to the westbound off-ramp, as a favor for "Sinners Forgiven," and Walter Dexter was selling mistletoe to exiting eastbound travelers. After getting a ride to Palm Springs and subsequently trying to find another ride to Arizona, I had something interesting to say to the camera.

Segment 9: "Quartzsite." This is as far as I've gotten in my second round of watching the tapes, so I can only speculate what will be in this scene and the following scenes. I dislocated my ankle in Quartzsite on December 16. It still hurts.

Segment 10: "Phoenix." Haven't watched this yet. It may merge with the previous scene.

Segment 11: "Phoenix to Memphis." A lot of miles here, but there probably won't be a lot of good footage because I was with the same person the whole time, mostly driving.

Segment 12: "Christmas Eve." This was an emotional day. You won't believe the shit that happened to me on December 24, 2006. I'm not really sure if I have good footage of what happened on that day, but I do know how to write about it.

Segment 13: "Christmas." I'm not going to reveal anything about Christmas Day until I've finished the video.

That's pretty much the structure. Keep in mind, a lot of things are going to change as I progress. It may end up being nothing like what I've outlined here; I really don't know.

As soon as I finish my second round of logging, I'm going to start working on the trailer so I can get something up on this web site. After that I'm going to work on making something a little longer that will not be called Aimless. When I finish that, I'm going to give copies to libraries and people who want copies. When I give copies to people, I'm going to ask them to make a copy or two themselves to give to someone else.

This practice video will be much better than most of the crap we have to choose from on TV.