Ask the Filmmaker: Magic Number Four

Last weekend I was at a dinner party and one of the guests posed a frequently asked question: Why are there four subjects in A Life’s Work? Why not three? Why not five? (To be clear, there ARE five people, but here I’m actually using the word subject to mean project. Soleri-Arcosanti, Darden-BGMRP, Tarter-SETI;  [David + Jared] Milarch-Champion Tree Project [now known as Archangel Ancient Tree Archive]).

Originally, I thought five might be best, but after the first interview I realized that if did that I would be giving each short shrift. I also think the film would be unwieldy and more difficult to follow.

And why not three? I think the film could have worked with three subjects, and honestly, an hour film could be made on each subject just with the footage I now have, but I wanted a bigger pool than three. I wanted more diversity in experience and geography. Three seemed not enough.

So, five was too many, three was too few. Four: Just right.

Photo: Robert Darden looks for rare gospel vinyl at Hyde Park Records, Chicago, IL.