Read Hank and Jilann’s Sundance Film Festival blog,

written as they went through the rollercoaster experience of premiering a film at this world-renown documentary film competition for the first time.





Adventures in Documentary Shooting: Day #3


Day three started with a get together of Demo, Paul and Harold, a journeyman actor and a lover of all things theater. They gathered in the main room of the Home to work on Shakespeare's 'All the World's a Stage' speech (from As You Like It). The speech deals with the seven ages of a person's life, the last of which is a second childhood, without teeth, eyes, taste or anything—'mere oblivion'. A number of residents at the home are in this final stage, but these three guys are not. They spoke with clarity about this final stage, and as they went about the room taking turns reading it, we heard three remarkably different interpretations on the text.


Harold read it as an upbeat look on life—if one knows the 7 ages, then life can be so much easier to deal with. Paul's take was far more contemplative—he was piecing it together as he went along as to what are these seven stages, and how do they relate to him. Demo was last to read, and his take on it was tragic—that in life we are all 'merely players', and what starts out as so promising ends in 'mere oblivion'. They 3 of them also spoke about whether or not a play could be pulled off at the home, and Paul raised serious reservations about being able to learn the lines. This would be a major hurdle for many of those involved in the production. Perhaps a work-around will have to be constructed—they do scenes instead of a whole play; they can have a text in their hands; they do something more modern—George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Miller were suggested. We'll see what they decide.

In the afternoon, there was another rehearsal gathering between Harold and Barbara, who got together to read a scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream, where Titania, Queen of the fairies falls in love with Bottom, who has been transformed in to an Ass—he has the head of a donkey. Both of Titania and Bottom are under spells cast by Oberon, King of the fairies. They picked a really good scene for the two of them—Barbara is a lovely polish jazz singer, and Harold a kind man, with a glimmer in his eye for all the pretty girls. They played the scene a few times, and got more and more playful as they went.

A bit later, we filmed Demo and a gentleman named Victor talking about the challenges and possibilities of putting on a play in the Home. Victor works at the Home as a jack-of-all-trades type, filling in at reception, coordinating activities and so forth. If anyone knows anything about anyone at the Home, its him. And he would know who is able and willing to try to put on a play. I would call it a 'maybe' scene—a 'wait and see the footage' type of scene.

It's great to write this blog, since it serves as my journal of sorts on what scenes and interviews work, and which ones do not. That's real important to keep track of as you film, since your immediate and visceral reaction to a scene or soundbite are telling (both positive and negative), and your emotional journey through the making of the film will be in many ways the eventual viewers experience. So as far as today went, I felt that the 'All the World's a Stage' scene has great potential and should be cut into a scene; the Midsummer scene was cute; and with the last broll scene, I should just look at the raw footage and determine from that if its worth cutting. My initial reaction is that it is not, but that could change once I look at the footage. Onward...Day 4 coming soon.



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