Going deep….

Timmy Underwater2 copy

Tim O’Hare, (Go Pro waterproof camera  in hand, but out of view),  films himself playing young Leo Hetzler in the golden childhood summer of his youth…


As Father Soldier nears completion, the excitement, (positive), and the anxiety, (not as positive as the excitement), grow.

I’m in the “combing” through phase of the editing, lot’s of technical tweaking, but also adjusting edits, timing, pacing. My combing, (revision), process starts with rendering a high quality video file of the program and then sitting in a dark, quiet room with a notepad. I view the program and take notes. Then I go back into the actual program and make my changes. Then render, view, take notes again, make changes. I’m at iteration number ten as we speak and I’m down to about a half a page of changes per revision. Sometimes I’m changing things to make them different, sometimes to revert to what I had previously done.  The technical issues are all taken care of at this point. What I’m really going and hoping for  now is coming to each viewing with fresh eyes. I’m doing this because I’m still hoping that I’ll see something that strikes a spark that I can act on before saying good bye, good luck to the film…

One of the things about living and breathing with a personal film project, or anything that you’re intensely involved with I imagine,  is not just maintaining objectivity with each viewing, which sounds obvious enough, but approaching the thing you’re trying to do  in a state of even mood. For me at least, I’ve noticed that one day I’ll look at my film and be moved, caught up in it and surprised at what I’ve accomplished, and the next I time I view it I think it’s horrible, hopeless, and futile. And of course whatever your reaction is, it carries through into the rest of your day.

I think at a certain point almost anyone trying to create or express something loses objectivity about their work. With this film, I’ve seen it so many times, I know it so thoroughly, that I worry that I won’t be able to tell what’s working and what’s not. So my fallback is to ask myself whether I’ve been true to my subject. And I’m not just talking about the person I’m filming. I mean did my own projections onto the subject play out in a way that seem truthful and honorable. Is the relationship between the subject, the film maker,and the film a good one.

I cleared a major hurdle this Saturday day morning when I showed my co-producer and wife Ann, the film for the first time.  My work on the project  had just past the one year point – and I haven’t shown it to  anyone.  But the time had arrived and I had the “screening room” all set up just so, nice and dark and  quiet.

She was crying very early on, which is typical for her as she will cry at weddings, graduations, grace before a meal at a family gathering…She was crying at the end of the film as well. Of course the crying could mean anything, like this was a total waste of my husband’s life for the past year – what a loser, why did I marry him in the first place…you know, doomsday scenarios like that were running through my head. Not really though. I knew that something good was happening, but I was hoping that the somber, serious nature of the film wasn’t driving her into a state of clinical depression.  As it turns out, she looked at me at the end of the film, shook her head, and said this is really, really good. Or maybe she said great. Good,  I thought, would be good enough…

This week, Father Leo will see it.

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