Slow and steady

It’s always entertaining to go back and read all the posts I’ve made up ’til now.  Actually, it’s kind of frustrating.  Well… frustrating and entertaining.  And inspiring.  This whole idea went from nothing to something pretty quickly, and though it’s been about 3 years I’ve been working on it, I’ve accomplished quite a bit.

Just today I got permission from Sub Pop records to use a song by TAD for the fundraising trailer (which I think can realistically be finished within 6 months– really!  I know I said that same thing more than a year ago, but… really!), and I had a nice back-and-forth email exchange with Mark Burgess of The Chameleons, who I think is not only brilliant, but a genuinely nice guy.

About a year ago (seems like yesterday), Cheryl and I took our honeymoon through the Southwest, and I was able to get an interview with an amazing Lakota man who runs sweatlodges, and is working towards a degree in social work, with a special emphasis juxtaposing Western and Native healing methods.  Honestly just an astounding time.

Beyond that, I reconnected with my friend Tim, and we got some good footage down at Western State Hospital… well… we got some shots across the street, since you can’t film on campus.  I also had an amazing interview with my friend Erin, who has Borderline Personality Disorder.  I didn’t know much about it, but she filled me in on a lot, and shared some touching personal stories.  I’m pretty sure she is a genius, like literally, and she’s really funny.  Pretty much I just have to get interviews with my mom and dad, Cheryl, my daughter, and some person-on-the-street type stuff, and then a few location shots, and I should have what I need for a kickass trailer.

Anyhow, onward and upward.

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Editing the trailer

This doesn’t mean I finished the thing- far from it.  This is just the 7-10 minute piece I cut together as best as I can to show to people, essentially saying ‘look at this… it’s pretty good, right?  You like it?  Howzabout you jump on board with me, or pitch a few pennies my way?’

Essentially, I’ve been doing this thing all by my lonesome, with a little help here and there from friends who have spare time.  It’s a huge amount of work, and there is absolutely no way I’ll ever finish it unless I get some dedicated help in the form of someone who can focus better than I can, and who is equally passionate about the subject matter.

I actually have a lot of faith (given what I think about what I’ve been able to put together so far) that the help I need will appear right at the perfect time.

If this is your first visit here, welcome, and keep your eyes open for the trailer to be done in about 3 months.  Between now and then, I’m hoping to get a few more interviews and random footage in the can.  I have some super awesome interviewees who have let me know they’re willing, and I’m pretty honored they even returned my emails.

Many many thanks to everyone who’s helped me get to where I am.

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Jim Woodring

Gaahhh!  (That is the sound of flabbergasted amazement… a very good thing… tired now… more soon.)

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Norm Stamper

I know I keep posting about these great interviews and how great the footage was, and promising to post some, but honestly, I’m switching to new editing software, and the learning curve is pretty steep, not to mention all the tech stuff that goes into the seems-like-it-should-be-simple act of uploading it.  Really, I don’t want to put up crappy video, ‘cuz that’s not fun to watch, and it’s not good advertising.

Okay, so Norm… man… he was cool.  He had a huge freakin’ beard, and almost shoulder length hair… all of it white.  You’d never guess he used to be chief of police here in Seattle.  He was warm, friendly, clever and quick.  I don’t think he stumbled once with anything he said, but it didn’t seem rehearsed, either– like it wasn’t stuff he’d said a million times, and was just parroting himself.  He was really relaxed, go-with-the-flow.

We talked mostly about how folks who are in altered states have historically been treated by law enforcement, and how that has been changed– by programs within many police departments, focusing on understanding and compassion.  A lot of progress has been made– nothing’s ever perfect, of course (my own experiences bore this out), but they could be a lot worse.  If more folks in law enforcement strive towards the humility and introspection I witnessed from Norm, I think more great breakthroughs will be made.

I’ll put some footage up soon.  Promise.

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Drs. Wilson and Wagner

The last two days have been pretty eye-opening.  We finally had a chance to sit down with Dr. Lawrence Wilson, a cross-cultural psychiatrist who has spent a large part of his life practicing and teaching in places like India, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Nepal.  Over the course of an hour, we got some serious insight into the workings of the mental health care systems in far-off lands, and boy… can’t wait to share some clips.

Then today, total happenstance in the form of Dr. Peter Wagner, who was taking a little road trip with my friend John (who by the way snapped the first behind-the-scenes pictures with his iPhone).  Dr. Wagner completely blew me away- right off the bat he started talking hard science (or at least as hard as it gets in the psychiatric world) in the form of glutamates, dopamine, serotonin, and a bunch of other stuff that I probably mis-remembered and misspelled.  From what I remember, he is fully engrossed in neuropsychiatry. Anyways, I really dig science, and it was cool to be able to talk to such a smart guy about a subject I’m totally fascinated by (at a picnic bench in Ravenna park no less!).

Both of them really brought a bunch of stuff to the table that I had never considered, and am inspired to research more about.  I’ll try and get some clips up as soon as possible.

Next up- Norm Stamper on the 23rd, and Jim Woodring… soon.  And then a bunch of other stuff.  For three years at least.

Doc Wagner, me, and Greg

Doc Wagner and I

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Old footage

I’ve been digging around for months for little clips appropriate to the subject matter.  Here’s a good one.  Maybe I’ll have time to show it to Norm Stamper when we get together later this month, see what he thinks…

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New equipment

So I ran into a few roadblocks that necessitated the buying of some new equipment.  Specifically, a 2nd Panasonic GH1 DSLR, some Tota lights, some ND filters for the GH1, and a follow focus rig and a few other bits and pieces so we can put together our own custom shoulder-mounted rigs that will make up for the weight lost by not using a full-size CCD camera.

Also, I got a lower-middle-of-the-road new shotgun mic, a Tascam DR-100 portable recorder, and… ummm… I guess that’s about it.  So I’ve got a slightly more than bare-bones setup for a documentary production crew.  I’m pretty stoked!

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