Documentary update: William Pajaud

Behold: a draft teaser! This is my first time producing and editing a feature-length documentary and after a terrible start I’ve finally feel like I’m getting the upper hand on this beast. With a doc, you have to be highly organized on the front end and this was not that. In dramatic stuff, you can pull all kinds of narrative yin yang choices out of your keister and claim creative license with a dab of grey poupon.

After collating 8 hours of footage I was blocked from communication with the subject for 6-7 years. Even with redundant back ups, this is my fourth time cutting this and by far the farthest I’ve gotten. I believe what allowed me a bit a breakthrough in taming the messiness came from locking myself in daily reps of viewing the footage and just going through the blues of life. That finally got me to ask the questions that I thought weren’t asked within the initial footage and pushed me towards building the story.

All lives are a collection of moments with several themes that intertwine, disconnect, clash and combine again. My technical taming method was:

  1. Logging everything by hand with descriptions of the main points of the clips
  2. Adding markers and annotating every major break and sub-break within the editing app and on paper
  3. Two dedicated note books. (Lost the 1st so then I added two more with some redundancy)
  4. Listed every name mentioned and ordered every available book from the County of Los Angeles public library system. For those that didn’t have books within the system, web searches prevailed.
  5. Spoke to people outside of the field of the subject who were old enough to see some of the things that Mr. Pajaud did from a different vantage.
  6. Created a grouping theme and placed every sub-clip in its grouping.
  7. Wove the story.

I got some inspiration on storytelling by watching “Man on Wire” and “Anti-christ”, strangely enough. They both presented a unique fluidity to commitment of theme. I’m going to have to leave that a bit obtuse at the moment. I’m not certain if I’ll finish a proper teaser or jump straight into a real trailer once I get to post. However, unsweetened as it is I’m cool with this draft as is and I’m looking forward to putting this baby to bed.