Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Watching a deceased subject as you edit

Not an easy thing to do. I absolutely had no time to grieve after Trip passed away last Thursday before I was forced to pick up the edit where I left off. I'm under a deadline to get the new/shorter/tighter version on my documentary about him: Trip to Hell and Back out to festivals that have been asking for it since it won a grand prize award at the Rhode Island Intl. Film Festival earlier this month.
Hearing and seeing the subject of my documentary in that repetitious, mind numbing fashion that only editors can understand is not easy. His face and picture play over and over again as I adjust each edit. It's not so much haunting for me. More like...I'm in prison. I am never, ever going to be finished with this thing and now more than ever I need to be.

TRIP HARTING's BLOG: Screenings and DVD to continue with help

TRIP HARTING's BLOG: Screenings and DVD to continue with help

Monday, August 18, 2008

Getting close to your subject

I had to get out of the house. There’s enough drama there for a year wrapped into one day. Trip, the subject of my documentary, seems to be fading faster than all of us expected. My partner has a elder abuse situation going on with his mother. I had an hour and a half Skype session with a client in my un airconditioned office. So I come to the Coffee Table in Silverlake and find myself surrounded with tables full of people talking theories about editing and documentary- actually one person at each table is doing all the talking. The rest are listening. This is a very common phenomenon in Los Angeles. Sometimes people talk extra loud about their project so everyone else can here. I don’t know if it’s conscious on their part or not and I have at least one dear friend who does this when we “do lunch’ together.

Do any of them ever stop talking long enough to get close to their subjects? I’m sitting here alone, drained, sipping a Diet Coke kind of the example in the room of what happens when you do.

I always tell my subjects that creating a documentary will be a life-changing experience. Yes.

Today, yes.

Maddux works to improve pace on latest film

I’m still cutting down this film drastically (45min- 28 min). No story elements are lost so far and the pace is dramatically improved. I see now that I was reacting to all those past projects for networks that wanted incredibly fast cutting. For once I had wanted to create something with a slower pace as seen on PBS. Right now I have a happy medium.

Once all the patches are made in the timeline (the audio has been the most difficult) I’ll be anxious to screen it before an audience rather than individuals. It was a completely different set of feedback seeing it with a crowd of people. Our opportunity may come with a special screening here in LA that Trip has requested before he is too ill to enjoy it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Harting in good spirits after diagnosis

I am amazed at the level of acceptance that Trip has about the news that he has six months to live.

I knew that I was getting honest answers from him about faith and acceptance when I interviewed him earlier this year and that he has undergone a lot of faith tests in his life. I can tell that each one of them, from a past bout with cancer to facing life in prison has given him valuable experience now that he faces this latest challenge.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Maddux's latest documentary wins grand prize

Trip to Hell and Back won the Grand Prize for best short documentary at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. I’m very encouraged at a time when everyone on this project needs it most. Trip was elated when I called him at the hospital. It was the one bit of good news on one of the worst days of his life. And the festival had no clue that Trip was sick so we don’t feel it was a… “pity prize”! My surprise makes more sense when you read my earlier entry about how brutal the premiere was for me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Subject of my documentary given six months to live as film premieres

Trip Harting, the subject of my latest film, Trip to Hell and Back, has been diagnosed with a form of inoperable liver cancer that will likely prove fatal in the next six months. The diagnosis was the culmination of a week’s worth of hushed updates among myself and Trip’s closest friends leading up to the documentary’s premiere in Providence, Rhode Island, where Trip was scheduled to attend. He had apologized to me several days earlier for not being able to make blog entries as we had planned because of flu like symptoms.

By the day preceding the premiere, Trip was forced to cancel his appearance to undergo a biopsy. Roughly a dozen of his friends arrived at the premiere from around the country not knowing the news. It was Trip’s request to say nothing until after the screening in order to keep the mood of the evening positive. I made a vague apology to the audience, but by early evening his friends had found out something was seriously wrong.