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Help Jason Scott, creator of the computer history documentaries "BBS" and "GET LAMP",  produce three more documentaries at once.
Help Jason Scott, creator of the computer history documentaries "BBS" and "GET LAMP", produce three more documentaries at once.
573 backers pledged $118,801 to help bring this project to life.

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Editing is Boring - Also, Apple II Reunion

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Sometimes people come to me seeking advice on making documentaries, and I give a lot of advice where it's needed, but probably the most important one is Editing is Boring.

To do it right, you have to go through all the footage, mark off or render out what you think MIGHT have meaning down the line, and then keep going. All day. All night. Whenever you have time. Stuff you filmed, that you LIVED through, but have to live through again. I run it at 125% speed, but that only gets back a little time. It's just running the footage as I can and listening. I can't have other music playing (although if I put something on very low, I can sometimes get away with it) and I DEFINITELY can't be watching anything else while I do it. It's just.... so long and tedious.

The highlights, though, are when someone says something that makes me sit up, set it aside as a "VITAL KEEPER" and I know that down the line, audiences will laugh or gasp when they hear it. But I just wanted you to know... it's not you, if you do these projects. It's really that boring. 

For 6502 people:

A couple weeks back, I was lucky enough to get an invitation to an Apple II Reunion hosted by John and Brenda Romero. I flew into California, set up a camera, and recorded a few interviews with some Apple II greats. The sound was not pristine (although I can work with that), and I definitely made some nice contacts and got some good footage. Here's a collection of photos and screenshots from that:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/textfiles/sets/72157652770376164

These quick interviews and raw footage will be going to Archive.org very shortly, as agreed upon with the Romeros. It was a great time and I'm happy to share it.

ARCADE begins editing

9 likes

ARCADE is the first of the documentaries to enter the editing phase. I'm currently building the clip-library of the footage shot so far. 

If you look carefully at that timeline, you'll see this initial drop/pass is currently at 28 hours long. Some of that is because I'm still synchronizing/sorting audio tracks, and the rest is likely because there are blocks of up to 15 minutes in between sets of interviews or shots. I only started this a day ago, so I bet it'll look radically different very soon.

Turns out, having it go over 24 hours kind of annoys the editing program, but since I'm getting it down to something manageable soon, that annoyance will hopefully go away.

Why now?

Well, two main reasons.

First, ARCADE has come in as the front runner in terms of material. 6502 has a bunch of interviews done but has some vital ones left to do. TAPE is lagging mostly because I'm still working out the breadth and approach. So it's time to get cracking on ARCADE as a functioning show.

Second, I finally had a breakthrough in the direction and approach.

It came, as good ideas often do, over lunch. I was having a lunch and walk with my close friend Chris Orcutt, (who writes great novels, look him up) and we were discussion variant approaches to writing, from journeyman to the back-half slog of the over-successful author forced to go back to the well too many times.

I mentioned how I was working, internally, through where the ARCADE documentary, and then, right in a flash, I had the whole movie laid out and constructed in my mind. Poof.

So, I immediately cleared out the internal editing drive of my machine and I've begun editing ARCADE. I suspect a smattering of interviews and pick-up shots to complete it, but I think I know where it's going.

And that's how it happens. It's going to be quite a movie.

Silly (but required) Note about the Websites

Earlier this week, the TEXTFILES.COM machine took a supreme nosedive. The drive controller and the two drives died out a big death.

I've gotten MOST of the services and websites up, but some are still to be re-added and others are running out of date versions. I'm still tracking down and cleaning up backups, while also doing doc prep and my archiving work.

I just didn't want anyone to hit the sites (arcade is up, 6502 and tape is down) and have them think anything bad or sinister. Hard drive failure, that's all.

Onward!

The Documentary Year Begins, and An Example of a Threat

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Hi there, Jason Scott. I make Documentaries.

This is the year when things go full-bore for filming - preparation or production, every day. Thought you should know that. The /cast/ pages are going to become spreadsheets, so don't flip if those are gone - it'll just make it easier for me. Also, if you're following this as a backer and I suddenly mail you, that's me following up on leads. 

Anyway, I wanted to talk about something else.

Part of this job is keeping track of outside forces that influence your work, good or bad. Events, people, news, you name it.

In another six months or so, a movie will come out, called Pixels.

This movie is going to be fucking awful.

It's basically about the idea of a bunch of man-child has-been video game champions, who suddenly find their worldview validated when Aliens not unlike arcade games attack. It's led by Adam Sandler, Josh Gad, and Peter Dinklage in what is an obvious Billy Mitchell reference. The movie is produced by, among others, Seth Gordon, which tells me that this abortion is likely using the King of Kong Life Rights to be made.

How is this an issue?

Well, my documentary is still filming, and I am reasonably worried/concerned about arcade people clamming up, either because this movie is terrible, or because they're being booked away on some sort of embarrassing promotional stuff related to it. 

The result is, I'll be moving very fast this month to arrange interviews ASAP. 

Just wanted to share the kind of stuff that gets my attention, and how I treat it.

God, this movie looks terrible.

The Real Deal.

7 likes

You've been kind.

You've been understanding.

You've been patient.

That has to end.

No, it's time to get real on these documentaries. Yes, I've been filming. Yes, I've been gathering interviews and shots and generally putting things into piles. But as you've seen from my previous postings and maybe by watching me online, I've been pretty busy with a lot of other things. My life, really, became filled with all sorts of things that were in the same spirit and importance as the documentaries, but which were not the documentaries.

This past week, I hit Inbox Zero (my e-mail was well past 100 intense, waiting-for-me tasks). This past week, I had something I worked on for three years get millions of visitors, and ensured that all that work really, honestly meant something and changed the world (a little bit). And I began setting up my room and home, properly, and correctly, to be a base of operations for filming and editing.

Nitty Gritty

Here is where I think things stand.

Arcade is, if not done, very close to completion in the filming phase. I might come back and do a few additional interviews and shots, but I could probably have a good movie as is (and obviously I want a great movie). So I'm really well along.

6502 needs significant filming of specific historical figures, and could use another round of intensely knowledgeable programmer types, just to have, and B-Roll is definitely welcome. But it is definitely a great, passionate pile of footage.

Tape is and continues to be the runt - the other two are dominating, and Tape needs a LOT more material. I have lots of interviews lined up, but they need to be done. B-Roll as well. I know who I want and who to talk to - it's just the first two have been taking precedence.

Goals

My GOAL is to have Arcade and 6502 in basically final cut form by the end of 2015. That's very, very ambitious and I may have to choose one to go forward into refinement with, before returning to the other after it is shipped. But 2015 is the Documentary Year. I want something of mine in a preview or final showing before Christmas 2015. I want it to be good. I want it to be fun. I want it, in other words, to be something that people are glad they supported me on.

I am now focused at this goal, and I will be doing some very intense planning and setup in the next month. I will be doing some specific travel in support of filming, and I intend to be talking people's faces off about my big documentary projects. 

What's Needed

At the moment, I'm fine. I've got everything I need. Your kickstarter money enabled me to be REALLY well prepped for shooting, and the footage looks and sounds amazing. The people are emotional, the places evocative, and the whole thing will be something I'm very proud to have done. At this point, I'm pretty sure I'll be done with filmmaking (although who knows) after these are done, but what a way to go out. Six documentaries! What a set!

Let's Not Do This Again

And by "This", I mean not have me talk to you for half a year. I have a lot of cleanup to do to get myself more reachable, and I have a lot of prep to do for all the content and material I have. But don't let me do this to you again. Harass me, Check up on me. Ask questions. You bought the right to demand answers.

It's showtime.