ASCII by Jason Scott

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BBS Documentary: June 17, 2004 —

Like a lot of filmmakers, I have fallen into that “no new news” hole that leaves the waiting public in the dark while no progress or information comes leaking out. Unlike a lot of them, I will try to explain why that is.

For the last 3 months, I have basically been doing the clip culling that I mentioned in my previous news entry, wherein I take an hour of footage and turn it into a small pile of smaller clips, somewhat sorted for their possible final resting place in various episodes. This work is tedious, uneventful, and hard to keep updating folks on (“yes, I am STILL culling!”) and so I simply let the previous entries speak for themselves, because they were still quite applicable. I have gone through about 100 hours of footage, knocking it down to something like 10 to 15 hours. Obviously these hours will be knocked down even further in the final editing, but I need some flexibility depending on which sequences I think fit the different episodes. There are, roughly, 60-70 hours of footage left to cull, which are going very fast because I am an old hand at this by now.

If you are completely addicted to knowing every little thing being done, I started a little worklog that has no-frills day-by-day blows of what is going on. I will not explain what I write there, but stuff gets added nearly every day to it, so you can see motion if you want.

This is the required groundwork of any production; many places have interns or other folks working on it 8 to 12 hours a day, going through footage, getting out good examples of takes or shots, and then presenting them to the director or the editor to make choices. Since I’m the director, editor, AND the intern, I get to do everything at once, so it’s me with the 8 to 12 hours a day.

I should hasten to add that this work is not ALWAYS tedious, since I am in fact watching the full play-out of interviews I conducted months or years ago. In many cases, people are absolutely brilliant with their responses, considering I gave them little hint on what I would be asking, and for the fact that I often would switch questioning quite dramatically to make sure all relevant subjects were covered. While listening to the answers, I was often thinking about the next question I was going to ask, so even though I heard the answers, I didn’t HEAR them, if that makes sense. In many cases, this is the first time I’ve really, honestly heard the interview I’m editing.

The website has undergone a redesign to reflect its move into promotion and information. There is now a library which will hopefully reflect the more involved information that won’t make it on the screen, but which I ended up doing a lot of research on. The photos page will hopefully flower out now that the interviews are done, and folks can browse them.

Not a day passes by that I don’t get one or two letters with the same general question: “When is it coming out?”. I am not in a good position at this point to indicate when that time will come, although I am working quite hard to ensure it is 2004. Quality trumps deadlines; this is an all-in-one shot, and I want to be sure what goes on the DVD set is as good as I can make it. I’ve made sure to set up a notification page so that folks can be told when it’s ready for their order, so hopefully no-one feels left out.

I have forced some hard dates on myself to a small extent; I am giving a talk about the documentary at this year’s DEFCON convention in Las Vegas at the end of July/beginning of August. I will accompany it with some sequences from the documentary, and so now there HAVE to be sequences. I don’t expect this to be a problem, since it’ll be a number of weeks with all the footage in place to pull from.

All in all, the whole thing is coming along nicely. A lot of work, but well worth it.

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