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Film production is as much about organization as it is passion and creativity. Documentaries like Becoming Fools are unique in that the story is not scripted in detail at the beginning. We can set a scope for the story, but we must capture details as they happen and develop the story along the way. There is a constant battle between systematic preparation and the chaos that happens when capturing an uncontrolled story.
Ultimately, we desire to immerse an audience in a journey with these street youth learning to clown. Their story is inspiring. We’ve seen it first hand. But inspiring lives do not in themselves jump into motion pictures in a way that captivates an audience. Events that are spread over time in real life must be edited together into a seamless plot that communicates a coherent message and connects to the heart. It sounds simple in theory, but even simplicity takes time. How do we take hundreds of hours of footage, honorably edit it down to less than two, and inspire viewers to want to know even more? Answer – organization and evaluation. It doesn’t sound very glamorous, but this effort will provide the rails on which this story will travel.
We’ve spent a month and a half reviewing the almost Terabyte of footage captured on our first production trip to Guatemala. That is a lot of information. At first glance it is overwhelming. Thankfully, we have the benefit of technology to help us chip away at the task – review, catalog and evaluate. We’re employing a database system that we developed while working on ‘Reparando’, which helps us keep track of visuals, actions and “who said what”. This method enables us to identify themes that resonate within the footage so we can further outline the story, develop ideas for visuals and prepare an itinerary for our follow-up trips. We can port the whole system including storyboards to our iPhones to reference everything in the field and check it off as we go. It might sound geeky, but trust me … it is a huge advantage in story telling with a small crew … but I’m getting ahead of myself …
To quantify things, We’ve distilled the 25 interviews down to roughly three hours of themed information content. Our Guatemalan team is almost finished transcribing the footage so we can begin the official editing process.
We’re planning two more production trips to Guatemala to capture footage for the story. Stay tuned for more details …

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