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It’s a Wrap, And So Much More | Marfa, Day 7

I officially feel like a documentarian…from having new characters enter your documentary unexpectedly, having the arc and depth of your story literally change before your eyes, to facing moral and ethical questions of whether to stop filming and intervene with what you are documenting, day 7 was an emotional and dramatic day for the team. The twists and turns Laura, Merri, and I experienced today are the kind of things that you just couldn’t have scripted.

 

Chapo, Jacob’s brother, practicing for his air hockey playoffs. 

An unhappy Jacob observing a shuffleboard match.

 

What happened today? Well, one, I don’t want to give away what happens in the film until the film is done, so I’m going to avoid specifics for now, and two, part of being a documentarian is preserving the trust you build with all your subjects, so I don’t want to risk exploiting or sensationalizing the personal moments any of them went through. Suffice to say, our subjects experienced some raw and honest moments today, that not only impacted their lives, but also our team’s by way of teaching us a little about our responsibility as filmmakers, while learning what our boundaries are before we are compelled to put the camera down and react to something.

 

 Helping Laura compose an extreme close up Working with Laura to get critical focus on a shot 

 

What I will offer is our day started at 11am at Jacob’s home, where we documented some of his morning routine before following him to Padres. There we covered the second day of the shuffle board competition, which went long. It turned out to be a 13 hour day, with up to 3 cameras going at one point – we hadn’t expected the competition to go so late, so we didn’t have lights and the Canon XF305s were struggling in the dimly lit game room, so we pulled out the Canon 5D for safety to ensure we didn’t end up with footage that would be too muddy.

Along the way, as the locals started drinking, there were a few incidents behind the scenes…A drunk out-of-towner challenged me at the bar about why we were filming, suggesting Barefoot Workshops was here to exploit the town and people. I encouraged him to come see the films when they’re screened, but he wasn’t listening. The bar tender was trying hard to get him to back off and eventually, a drunk woman sat next to him, he said something to her, they started cursing at each other, and I took that cue to exit.

Towards the end of the night, John D, the winner of last year’s long board shuffleboard competition, was pretty tipsy and offering me a shot of Mezcal. Knowing better than to decline a drunk man’s offer, I reciprocated and treated him to one as well, only to discover he eventually passed out in the bushes, barefoot behind Padres. He was in the finals, and needless to say, had to forfeit. What made it humorous was we have an interview with him talking trash and gloating he was going to win again.

Despite the amount of drama we went through tonight, the team is feeling more at ease. We’ve filmed nearly everything we wanted to cover for our doc, so tonight is officially a wrap for us! The next step is figuring out how to incorporate everything that happened and what story we ultimately want to convey in our doc, so on to the editing process now.

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