One Thing Leads To Another. And Another

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.


Happy New Year and Thank You

Hi everyone! 2013 has arrived, and what a year it should turn out to be. As far as the movie is concerned, this will be by far the busiest year. Now that 85% of the footage is shot, editing, soundmixing, promoting, and finishing awaits.

I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive (and patient) over the past two-plus years. Progress has been slow at times, but your interest in the project has kept us moving forward. We're so close now, I want to make sure we take the time to make the movie the best it can be.

So here's to 2013, and I wish all of you a healthy and happy new year, and thank you once more for your continued support.


Out of the Shadow of the Fair: A September Walk in Flushing Meadows Corona Park

This past Monday, I had a chance to head to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Of course I had my eyes open for anything that might be part of the movie, but my main reason for being there, was just to take in the site for what it is today: A large, sprawling, vibrant park.

From handball to never-ending soccer, to kite flying and barbecues (only in permitted areas, of course!) the park was vibrant and alive. Drum kits were being setup near the Unisphere. A few college-aged kids enjoyed the Maloof skate park behind the New York State Pavilion, and a van of tourists had pulled up next to the theatre to take pictures of the unisphere, many pantomiming holding the weighty globe on their backs, or balancing the sculpture on a fingertip via forced perspective.

The Queens Zoo was also alive with parents bringing their small children to zoo, many for the first time. The zoo offers an amazing oasis, with just the back side of the zoo's proximity to the highway to give away its urban locale.


Great green spaces like Flushing Meadows Corona Park allow people to play, yes. But they also allow the city itself to breathe. this land is not merely a piece of undeveloped real estate. It is a lung for the borough of Queens.

As Robert Moses is quoted in saying in Robert Caro's The Power Broker regarding the future of the park after the fair was over:

"Visitors to such an exposition carry away indelible impressions, lively lessons, enduring satisfactions, and pleasant memories, but what finally remains in the ground when the pageant has faded!  When the brickbats have been removed by the wreckers and scavengers, and the park planners have to work is of more concern to the next generation than any spectacle, however gorgeous."

Nearly fifty years later, a large portion of the park remains reserved for both the citizens of New York, and the city itself to collect its breath, and reflect.

Here's hoping that doesn't change in the next fifty years either.


The Park Then and Now: Shot Matching Tests

We've been doing some experiments with trying to match photos from the fair with what you can see in the exact same spot today. Some are easy, but some are a real challenge to try to match. These are some of the easier ones, but I wanted to show you what we're up to. Not sure if we will use this effect in the movie yet or not. Enjoy!

Here's a look at the Pool of Industry, with the Bell Pavilion across the water, then and now:

And of course, the Unisphere:

Let us know what you think. Don't forget you can follow us on twitter @AfterTheFair


Image of the week: July 9th, 2012

This week's image of the week takes us to Wisconsin. What you see below are the restored translucent panels at the tippy top of the former Wisconsin Pavilion. Today the structure serves as the lobby of a radio station, and cheese shop in Neillsville Wisconsin. (And they are some tasty cheeses!)