The Readiness Is All

Friday, August 7th, I’m heading to Chicago to do the next interview. You’ll forgive me if I don’t reveal the subject by name yet. I will in time, perhaps after I’ve had time to digest the interviews. There is a chance, after all, that he won’t work in the film, but I’m confident he will. For now it’s enough to say that he is a passionate collector and archivist of a certain genre of music and he’s written books and articles about that music. His work, like the work of the other subjects in the film, will probably not be completed in his lifetime. I’ve heard him say as much.

So, am I prepared to interview him and follow him around? Well, I have prepared, but I never feel prepared enough. This probably isn’t a bad thing. I think it’s good to feel a little on edge inside, a little uncertainty. Keeps one sharp.

What have I done to prepare? I’ve read his books and articles. Twice. I’ve read books by other authors on his specialty. I’ve listened to a lot of music. I’ve watched a few documentaries on his field of expertise. I try not to do too much of that last one because I want to keep the influence of others’ work (especially documentary films) to a minimum.

And the logistics of course, always the logistics: booking the flight and hotel and rental car. Exchanging e-mails and phone calls with the subject to coordinate schedules. And the big one, securing the cinematographer.

The slate from Tango Octogenario.
The slate from Tango Octogenario.

I’m very pleased to be working with Wolfgang Held again. It’s been more than two years since we’ve worked together. Too long. Wolfgang and I have become good friends since he shot Tango Octogenario and we’ve developed a solid collaborative relationship. I feel like he pushes me to be my best. He senses when I have a concern or an idea and he calls me on it. “What are you thinking?” “What are you seeing?” These are questions he often asks me when we’re shooting and I love that. And he tells me when I have a stinker of an idea. (More about that in a future post.)

There’s still work to be done. I need to organize the questions so they have a certain flow to them. I have an idea for an interview space and I need to secure it. And a few scheduling details still need to be ironed out. And if I’m lucky we’ll be able to shoot …. No. I must not get ahead of myself.

Hopefully I’ll write ecstatically about it all when I return home.

Wish me luck!