One Thing Leads To Another. And Another
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 06:00PM
Ryan Ritchey

One of the hardest parts of making this documentary has been a problem I didn't even consider before I started: When to stop.

You see, over the last five months or so, any time someone has asked me where we were in the production process, the answer has been the same: We've shot about 80-85% of the film, and we'll soon be going into post-production. It was true five months ago, and it is true today, but that's definitely not because we haven't been busy. 

There's been a fascinating phonomenon that's been happening, and I'm thrilled: Each time we shoot an interview, it seems that person has one, two, or three other people they suggest we interview. Nine times out of ten, those people have had really valuable  contributions to make to the project. And so the question becomes, when do we say when?

The answer is complicated by the endless possibilities of digital distribution. The initial goal of this project was the creation of one, feature-length movie that would be suitable for DVD/theater distribution. But as the material piles up, it is apparent that there are many more options.

For example, we could make 20-30 minute mini-documentaries on specific fair attractions and their legacies. Or, we could expand the over-arching project into a mini-series-length endeavor. Much of this "bonus" material we're getting from the unexpected twists of fate is great, but it doesn't necessarily fit into the two-hour primary project. I believe the people of the fair, and their stories are too important to not document if given the chance, even if they don't work within the project.

Of course, this also means at some point that economics come into play. As a self-funded venture, there is a significant amount of beancounting here, as we want to get the most out of every dollar. There are some people in far-flung regions of the country who have interesting tidbits to add about the fair, but they aren't necessarilly feasible to shoot, given the travel and production expense.

I'll be perfectly honest in saying I don't know what the "right" answer is. For now, we'll keep aiming primarily for content that fits with our original movie idea, but at the same time, try to capture as much fair-related content as possible. These stories and recollections deserve to be preserved for future generations.

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