Thursday, April 26, 2012

Visiting Dr. Patterson's Class

Last night I visited with Dr. Bob Patterson's class at NCSU, shared the film, and chatted with them afterwards. Once again his students impressed me with great questions and feedback.

Last night was especially awesome because Vien Siu, who is featured in the film, visited the class and talked with us. Also a man named Den, his wife, and his son also visited and provided another perspective: that of a South Vietnamese family who lived during the war and is now in the States.

I can't tell you how great it was to have so many different perspectives, and everyone willing to have a grounded, genuine conversation.

We talked about what happened so long ago and how it's related it to what's happening today. We talked about how this subject has been brushed under the carpet, and few people know anything about it. We talked about how books on the subject are hard to find, and I confessed that I hope to write one in order to change that.

We talked. And it was great.

You see, I don't get to talk about this stuff very often in daily life. When you're tailgating or having dinner or doing whatever you do socially, most people don't want to talk about the Vietnam War because it happened so long ago. A lot of people know very little about it, just like I did when I started this film. Talking about foreign policy, global trade relationships, and human rights atrocities also doesn't win you a lot of friends in the social scene either. So I don't get to talk about it a whole lot.

But I feel like this stuff is really, really important.

I feel like our country did something wrong, and I'm not here to point fingers or place blame. I do, however, want to have healthy conversations like we did last night. Conversations that might open the mind of another person, and shed a bit of light on something important. And if these conversations and knowing some facts (especially stories that aren't making daily headlines) moves people enough, perhaps they will take action.

Little actions make a big difference, I believe. And I never underestimate the power of a motivated group of individuals. The folks in that room last night won my heart, and I am so grateful they came to watch my film.

It's taken a long time to get to this point, and finally somewhat understand such complex subject. There are so many facets to it, and I am left with more questions than answers. I don't pretend to know what'll happen next, but I desperately hope that it's a beautiful and positive change for everyone. And I think that's possible.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cutting the Trailer

Abandoned Allies trailer coming soon!
Last weekend I cut a trailer for Abandoned Allies. It's amazing how many hours it takes just to put together two minutes of edited footage--how quickly I had forgotten.

Cutting a trailer is incredibly difficult. Especially after spending four years cutting 50+ hours of footage down to 60 minutes. To cutting that 60 minutes down to one or two minutes? Whoa.

Not only that, you have to make that minute intriguing and exciting--without giving away the entire film. Raise questions and hint at answers, making people want a chance to see the full length film.

No doubt. It's tough.

Yet something I realized this weekend? I actually enjoy editing video.

The people closest to me might find that shocking. I've gripped so much over the past few years. I've finally gotten to the point where I understand what I want and need to do. Perhaps I've developed a critical eye for video editing. Who knows, except that I really enjoyed cutting the trailer this weekend.

To wake up early and edit video while the world keeps sleeping is really satisfying. To watch the same thing over and over and over again might drive others mad, but I've been doing that for years. Just ask my college roommates.

There's something about editing video that I find really pleasing.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Branding Updates

I love branding. So when a friend developed the logo and graphics for the film, I was ecstatic! During the past few weeks, I've been reveling in making updates to our online presence, which correspond to the look of the graphics in the film developed by Patrick Jones.

Our Facebook and Twitter profiles have new avatars. Our Facebook page has a new header graphic, featuring George Shepard. Our Twitter page has a new textured background, which is also used in the film. I hope to add the logo to that background, but couldn't quite get it right.

Design of the DVD labels has been made, tweaked, and printed. It may go through some revisions, but that'll come later. One thing at a time, eh?

I have also started redoing the website, and made a bit of progress on that this week thanks to help from James Burns. I hope to find a web designer / programmer who can take the design I have in mind and run with it, but make sure the site's easy to update down the road. At the moment, I feel like WordPress might be the best way to go, so we have a placeholder on the site ... which is totally painful to me every single day that it doesn't get updated.

This weekend I've been working on the trailer for the film. New business cards are needed. And we will, hopefully, get some videos uploaded to YouTube some time soon.

Be sure to tell me what you think of the little things I've recently updated. If there are areas for improvement, please let me know. I love social media, design, and branding, but realize that I've been more focused on making this film so your feedback is welcomed.

The wheels are always turning, and there's a lot more to do! Stay tuned.