The Right Image

I’ve been revamping the A Life’s Work web site recently and that has me thinking about still images that represent the moving image that is my film. If I had to choose one image for a poster,* what would it be?

The right image?
This image was pulled from the sample.

Thankfully, I don’t have to do that yet. But I had to choose eight images for the homepage, images that not only represented the film, but also had some relationship to the navbar.

Take a look at what I came up with and let me know what you think.


* This link will take you to a slide show that contains 19 Polish film posters (not Polish films, necessarily). They are graphic, as opposed to photographic, and I think more eye catching than posters you’d see in the U.S. I find it interesting that the posters don’t rely on the star’s image, but strive to capture the film’s essence to “sell” it.

The Shot That Got Away

In the last post, I revealed two of my favorite shots. I wish there was a third clip there.

The Golden Record
The Golden Record

When we were filming Jill Tarter at the SETI Institute’s offices in Mountain View, CA, we also had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Frank Drake, he of the Drake Equation. Drake also designed the Pioneer plaque with Carl Sagan and  was one of the astronomers responsible for selecting the sounds of earth that are contained on the golden record on the Voyager space probes. That record includes Blind Willie Johnson’s harrowing gospel classic “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground.” The Voyager probes have left our solar system, and so has Blind Willie Johnson.

But I digress, sort of.  Dr. Drake and Andy Bowley, the cinematographer on this shoot, spent several minutes off camera talking about orchids. It’s a wonderful memory, but I wish I had thought to press the record button. I must accept that not everything can be documented, that some things will exist as memory only.

I’m working on this.

Another Adventure

Wolfgang Held and I are on our way to Chicago. We return late Monday evening. I’m nervous and excited and I don’t expect I’ll get much sleep this weekend.

I received an e-mail last night from Wolfgang. The last sentence: “Looking forward to this adventure.”

When I was shooting David Milarch in the redwoods I became friends with the journalist Jim Robbins. (He wrote The New York Times article about that event.) Jim gave me a book he wrote and he inscribed it. I had forgotten about that inscription until almost a year later, when I was nervous and anxious about the upcoming SETI shoot at Hat Creek and Mount Lassen. For some reason, I picked up Jim’s book and read the inscription: “For David, Enjoy your adventure, Jim.” It calmed me.

And that is what I will try to remember this weekend. This film is an adventure! It has taken me to the frozen Michigan tundra and the baking Arizona desert, to the lush redwood forest in Northern California, and now to bustling Chicago, Illinois. It has introduced me to  architects, astronomers, scholars, tree farmers, and this weekend, a musicologist.

Thank you Wolfgang and Jim for the always welcome reminder. Adventure. I like that.

Where to begin?

In the middle.

That’s where I am in this documentary. Three out of four subjects interviewed: architect and Arcosanti’s guiding force Paolo Soleri; astrophysicist and Director of SETI Research at the SETI Institute, Jill Tarter; father and son tree farmers and co-founders of the Champion Tree Project, David and Jared Milarch. 70+ hours of footage shot. A 27-minute sample edited. I’m very pleased with that sample and I’m sending it to people who may want to be involved with the film in some way.

The fourth interview is on the horizon. And then I’ll be returning to the other three for follow ups. And then returning to the fourth for a follow up, no doubt.

And then post-production.

All the while fundraising and networking.

That’s where I am with A Life’s Work.

Where are you with your life’s work?