Despite radio silence for the past several weeks, I’ve been making excellent progress on putting the film together. And the plan is to have a final version ready by early 2020 to show at film festivals in the fall.
Of course, this is the stage of film production where there really isn’t anything exciting to show or tell – unless the image of me sitting in front of my computer, headphones on, the Clash, the Cars or wonky podcasts playing in the background, and bottles of kombucha scattered about my desk seems interesting to you.
But the other day I did catch an interview with one of the masters of storytelling: Ken Burns. And one particular thing he said about conducting interviews really resonated with me at this particular moment in the project. To paraphrase: The key to a great interview is not to get through your list of pre-planned questions, but instead to listen to the answers you’re given and find the entry point to the real story being told – and then go after it!
As I sit here, revisiting my interviews with Olivia and Joe (and some other select individuals), it’s exciting to see the entry points we found and the true stories we pursued.
I’m getting excited to share them with all of you in the not-too-distant future!
Back in July, ioby – the not-for-profit crowdfunding team and platform we used for our project – chose to showcase The Bees of Grand Staircase-Escalante as an “Awesome Project”. (Thank you!) They spent quite a bit of time talking with me, asking questions, and crafting a really solid piece explaining both the how and the why of the project. (Again, gratitude!) I was thrilled they included the following quotes, since they really get to the heart of what’s driving this project:
Bees are part of this intricate, beautiful, exquisite, absolutely necessary pollination network that is the underpinning of life all across the world. You can’t just talk about bees in isolation, you have to talk about them with the flowers that they’re directly connected to.
Talking about the bees of Grand Staircase means we have to talk about what the Trump administration has done. That’s just an inherent part of the story. But, the bigger story is how do we take bees into consideration as we make changes in this world, because bees are part of that network that is essential to all life.
We don’t have many other places like this in North America. We don’t have wild, primitive places that act as refuges… Grand Staircase is essential because it’s a living lab for understanding the bee-flower relationships that are the basis of nearly every terrestrial ecosystem on the planet. And it allows us to compare the world as we’re changing it to the world as it would be if left primitive and wild.
After a two-month break from this project (spent catching up on other projects, taking a little vacation time, and marrying the most amazing woman in the world), I’ve once again thrown open the treasure chest of footage, images and sound from our fieldwork in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and begun sorting through all the jewels we gathered. Because it’s time to start sharing this incredible adventure with all of you!
Last week, Olivia Carril was in Ohio leading a series of her fantastic one-day bee identification and biology workshops. Over the weekend, she was also the honored guest at a special event at Studio 35 in Columbus, screening a series of bee films and documentaries – including the trailer for our project! To back her up while she talked about the project, I put together a short teaser with footage from our ten days of fieldwork and filming in June.
After the event, Olivia shot me a text: “Just finished seeing the trailer and that little teaser on a giant screen. It looks INCREDIBLE. So excited for a documentary that highlights the little things in a big way.”
This teaser is the first time anyone outside of the project team has seen our work. So here it is for you to enjoy as well. More soon!
A week of fieldwork and filming the bees of Grand-Staircase Escalante is complete. There is truly nothing better than working with amazing people in one of the most beautiful and rugged places on Earth. Now, on to the next steps: analyzing our collection of bees and shaping the raw footage of our adventure into an outstanding film to share with all of you. More to come, my friends! #bees #GSENM #film