some of the things i did this past week:
tuesday: flew to chicago to do some research related to the doc.
waited 30 minutes for a cab so i could sit through a rushed 15 minute introduction to using the archive nefore they closed for the day, when i really wanted to get there right away and start digging.
had enjoyable dinner with a friend from high school (“Are You There God? It’s Me Again Curious About Menopause” is one of the books we invented in our freewheeling conversation). although it had been 90 degrees F on monday in chi-town, it promptly turned cold and rained my first and second days there. of course, lost my crummy old columbia all-weather jacket in the hotel’s restaurant having enjoyable dinner with said friend and bitched for the next 4 days about how much i disliked chicago. when no one returns my coat to the hotel’s lost and found, i assume that someone on hotel staff has stolen it.
wednesday: entered the archive 8:15 am. left at 4:15 pm. stopped for 20 minutes to gobble down pretzels, water, trans-fat laden peanut butter crackers, and a power bar for lunch.
by 5 pm was in the main chicago public library doing more digging for still photos and other nuggets.
dinner with friends. enjoyable and i find their flat midwestern accents contagious. everyone still totally knows i’m not from around these parts by the way i dress though. was it the long-sleeved skull-with-roses t-shirt?
thursday: archive, meeting with a lovely woman who has unbelievable footage dating from 1933 (!!!!) on 16 mm. back to archive. chicago public library from 5 pm – 8:30 pm. i try not to dwell too much on how setting my alarm for 6:45 am CST is actually waking up at 4:45 am PST. at least i’m not on the east coast…?
friday: better part of a morning cramming in last minute work at the archive before i go to the airport. call and thank chicago friends, acquaintances for their time. report in to my grantor program officer.
saturday: run a whole day of event-related errands accompanied by endlessly patient and loving HB and son. the Unreliable Narrator wants to be carried a lot. poor boy, both HB and i had to be away this week at overlapping times. (later i ask him if he was scared while mama and daddy were both gone. he gives an almost imperceptible nod and whispers yes. i tell him we don’t like to leave him alone with the grandparents but he was safe the whole time with them. and he was very brave when we were gone. who says there’s no price to pay in making this documentary? most of the time i try to make sure it’s me, but on occasion it does fall to my son or spouse, and i never feel good about it nor do i take it for granted.)
saturday 4-6 pm: arrive perilously close to when the actual event starts even though i’m carrying in beverages and music. hoist the UN around with me and do other things one-handed throughout the afternoon. the UN is captivated by the yo-yo players. as are all the other people in attendance.
my team, all fellow filmmakers themselves, totally rock. i am shocked and surprised at how they take care of me, letting me chat folks up and answer questions while they do all sorts of thankless, necessary, menial things willingly and wordlessly. it’s humbling, this labor they offer up so graciously. i feel so grateful to work with them all. the screening of bits-in-progress goes well–the raffle is a big hit–and people ate the donated food we put out.
at various points during the screening i lean over and my editor and i trade big smiles in the dark. if any of us had any worries or harbored secret concerns that the project could be a giant time-suck with nothing to show for it, after today i think we all feel the doc’s gonna be fine, just fine.
lots more hard work (and expense) ahead, but we have a little bit of a community pulling for us and that makes all the difference.