I am ready

So, enjoy the freeform brainstorm. Writing is part of my process now…which is not something that was involved in any of the other films that I have done. 

It’s weird okay? Coming “back” to making a movie on any topic, after a forced 3 year hiatus for any filmmaking, it’s super strange. I am super excited, but yeah, it’s super strange also.

I just finished watching “The Offer” on Paramount+ as inspiration. I want to try things in this movie that I have never tried before. But before I really start cutting things down on the timeline I need to have a mantra. I need to know what it is for. Why am I about to spend about 80 hours making this thing when I could otherwise be outside, doing yoga, paddleboarding, swimming, hiking, making new friends?  Why? What’s it all about anyway…you know?

Taking stock, by the numbers:

-I have about 6 hours of footage on the timeline in the sequence everything was shot. 

-The 6 hours is the combination of 5 separate days of filming in 5 different locations.

-All the footage involves myself and John solely, with different natural areas playing the other characters. 

-It’s a straight up documentary, no acting, nothing is staged, complete non-fiction. 

-I began filming in 2017.

-My last day of filming was May of 2022.

-I never thought that this film would take 5 years to make. I planned on having it done in 2018.

I can’t really start unless I write down why it has taken 5 years. Other projects of immediacy came into play…my favorite forest was about to get cut down…so I made a movie against that. Another favorite forest connected to my family was about to be turned into a 400 foot deep stone quarry forever, so I made a movie to raise awareness about that one as well. I discovered by accident what was going on with factory scale farming of salmon in the oceans around the globe and then began a big project on that topic. I wanted to have this film daylighted and seen…but the timing wasn’t right. Then came my mom’s dementia and cancer and my sudden move to where my parents lived to help them out. All film work ceased for 3 years. Oh…and there was a worldwide pandemic. While everyone else was finding their inner creator and launching podcasts…I was living in a very tough situation as a full time caretaker as my mom lost her mind and her life…not a good time to edit a movie. 

Everything happens at the right time. Even when we don’t want it to be the right time, when it happens, is when it is right. I am glad that this movie has taken so long to get to. Because now I have a fully different approach to what this footage means to me. The outdoors, it saved my life. While being a caregiver, being outside and furthermore, bouldering- (rock climbing without ropes or gear) was what helped me hang on to sanity. Wildness saved me. The feel of stone under my fingertips and the pinched toes in my La Sportivas helped me remember what is good in life. And that is what John was telling me back in 2017. He was always holding the museum quality pitons or other gear from the late 1960’s…sure. But what he was always talking about was how climbing was about friendship and sharing the adventure, and being in beautiful places and protecting the places you love to recreate in. His message makes so much more sense to me now than when we began. 

I will admit that I feel no small amount of pressure to get it right. I want this movie to communicate clearly to a climbing and non climbing audience, what is good in life. How does one make a film about climbing that doesn’t have any actual climbing footage in it…and keep the audience engaged? For me, to my way of thinking…that is my task. I have to choose which parts of John’s illuminations and ruminations rise to the top. It’s a bit daunting. I think also the pressure is on because this movie is the first one I am working on since my life had that major 3 year detour. But also it’s on a topic that is near and dear to me. If any label describes me thoroughly, it’s “climber”…more specifically “boulderer”. I have been climbing now since 1991. Check the calendar. 30 years ago I started bouldering and I haven’t stopped yet. It matters to me a lot. And so, this film is quite special to me. My hope is that those who watch it either discover or rediscover how bouldering or climbing is such a rarified and special undertaking.

The transcripts are done and marked up.
I have post it notes splayed out all around.
I am ready.

Follow the journey on https://oldschoolstone.wordpress.com

Me. June 2022. McKenzie Pond Boulders, ADK, NY. Doing research for the film lol.