… Margaret has a new daughter named Ocean, Rachel has a chicken named Butter, Tessa has moved to Albuquerque to finish up her college requirements, Rachel graduated last week with a BA in Anthropology/Archeology and is gearing up for grad school and, for good measure, Tina is back in school to get another degree. It’s amazing what your friends accomplish while you’re not looking.
Scott and I spent this past weekend in Gainesville visiting with some of our friends and screening my documentary-in-progress All’s Well and Fair for some of the people featured in it.
The realization of how much changes in the lives of your long-distance friends and how fast their kids grow up when you only get to see them about once a year is intense enough. It’s even more extreme if you’re working on a film about people’s changes over the course of 10 years and the most up-to-date footage in the film is from three years ago.
While I’m in post-production on their documentary, to me Rachel, Margaret, Tina and their families are stuck in the year 2006 (only compared with their footage from 1996). So when I suddenly see Tempra, who on my screener DVD is still 14 and wearing a Sesame Street T-Shirt, suddenly towers over me with dyed hair and a hipster headband, I for once don’t feel totally ridiculous for saying “wow, you got tall” – I just feel sad that while all these people have grown and accomplished so much, I still don’t have the film finished and ready for people to see.
But I try to accept this as the nature of documentary filmmaking. Post-production is a process that often takes years – especially if you’re working on several feature-length films in different stages and have limited funding. And while you’re “stuck in the past” trying to shape the story just right, the people in that captured story keep on living and changing and continuing their own story.
Needless to say, I am impatient to put the finishing touches on the film – just as much as I am eager to see what Rachel, Margaret, Tina and their families are up to next. I am very thankful that they allowed me to capture their lives on tape and forever grateful that I can be a part of their lives.