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Kickoff | Marfa, Day 0

We had our Barefoot Workshops dinner and kickoff meeting tonight. Alison and Chandler have set up a home base in one of the conference rooms at Hotel Paisano. It’s a tiny space cramped with a couple of couches and chairs, cases of equipment, a projection screen, and a stack of photography books courtesy of the Marfa bookstore.

We went around introducing ourselves, sharing our background, and what we’re looking to get from the workshop. As far as technical skills go with video cameras and editing, I seemed to be the most experienced, while everyone else had significant production and/or photography experience.

Most of the meeting was a breakdown of what to expect in the next 12 days. From what we discussed tonight, it’s promising to be as intense and stressful as they described. Here’s a rough outline of what it’s going to look like:

Week 1

  • Monday and Tuesday
    • We’ll be meeting with the host of the local public radio station (he knows everyone in the area), and possibly a cattle rancher, to help us research possible story lines we might want to pursue and contacts we can follow up with.
    • Taking what we learn here, we’ll hold a group spitball (brainstorm) session to flush out and identify the central core of each story idea.
    • As far as class time, we’ll be going through photography books, discussing framing, lighting, meaning, etc.
  • Wednesday we will finalize the 3 groups of two, the stories teams will be focusing on, getting commitment from your subject to participate and be filmed.
  • Thursday is spent on sound and lighting
  • Friday through Sunday is spent shooting your doc, transcribing all of your interview footage, logging footage, and organizing your media into bins.

Week 2

  • Monday and Tuesday are spent writing the story by creating a “war room” for each group’s doc. This is a technique that involves writing specific sound bites on index cards, and then arranging and rearranging them up on a board in order to flush out the story you wish to tell. If you expect to need music or archive footage, time here will also need to go towards securing music, or scanning photos, clippings, etc.
  • Wednesday through Friday are then spent editing the film, doing pick-up shots, adding music, working on sound, color, and titles. It’s likely some of these days will end up being all-nighters in order to complete the film in time for a 6pm public screening on Friday.

Days will start at 9am, and go until 10pm most nights. We’ll have breakfast at 8am, lunch at 1pm, and dinner at 7pm. Each group will be using a Canon XF305 as their main camera, but we’ll also have a Canon 5D and GoPro on hand if we wish to use them.

I had been hoping to find some time to shoot some footage for fun and for my own use, but after hearing the details of the next 12 days, there isn’t going to be any free time for that. That’s it for now. Here’s a bio of one of the other participants…
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Ashley McCue holds a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production from Southern Methodist University, and began her professional career in Los Angeles, CA working for in development for Adam Fields, producer of the hit films “Donnie Darko” and “Brokedown Palace”. Over the next set of years, Ashley has developed a great career as a freelance photographer, and now has found her way back to her first love, film, as a producing partner with The Butcher Brothers. In her free time Ashley spends her time thinking about food and travel and partaking in both as often as possible!

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