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Friday, June 09, 2017

This was a day of filming, this time at home as the very private person that I am when not "rangering" ... 

One of the fine filmmakers appeared with his team to conduct an on-camera interview to feed into the 30-minute work that is now nearing completion after  more than three years of shooting.  I'm learning a lot about filmmaking in the process, and since the producer, Carl Bidleman, tells me that they now have produced about 50 hours of work which -- after editing -- will become that 30-minute film for the National Park Service. The end may be in sight.

The release date has not yet been set, but I suspect that it might be late fall or early winter.

I imagine that the editing may be the most satisfying  part of the process, but I'm projecting here, and have no real sense of what really goes into filmmaking.  It was fascinating to see them -- after the actual interview was over, and just before the complicated set-up of lights and cameras were being disassembled -- they called for a "hush" while the room's ambiance was recorded through the cameras.  When questioned, Carl explained that this was needed for the editing, for blending fragments of scenes together without blank silences.

After this extended period of being filmed, it doesn't take more than a few minutes to forget the process,  the cameras, and hear just the questions -- and to react without self-consciousness.  I'd never have guessed this would ever be possible, but it most assuredly happens with experience over time, once those behind the cameras have become simply trusted and good friends, eventually, of longstanding.

What the end result will be I cannot imagine.  But maybe this works for me since I rarely spend much time in yesterday or tomorrow  (except when called for in my work).  There has always simply been "Now!" I suspect that this attitude is a holdover from childhood, and just something that I've never outgrown.

I've lived my entire life in a constant state of surprise, rarely borrowing from the future or regretting the past,  which tends to keep the present always alive and guess-worthy. Anticipation could not have improved this ongoing new reality that sets me right in the middle of the Art of Others, something that has become increasingly exciting as I've grown older.  I feel like an ever-evolving collaborator in training.

The filmmaking has become organic, much as my work with the National Park Service has become over time.  There, I'm but one element in the visitor experience which includes orientation films, life-cast figures, documentation of the Home Front Story, all the works of other rangers,  historians, writers, artists, fabricators, lighting designers, etc., and me!

A Betty sandwich with Carl and Stefan
It is also true of the book which is being set for release in February, and that is being edited by Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor from a combination of my oral histories (archived at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley) and this blog.  It is in second draft stage at the moment, and is being published by Hay House out of New York, and will bring together their writers and editors with my collected words.  These often unrelated essays on cabbages and kings and (at times) pure rants, and sometimes, prayers, will become an amalgamation of all those talents and minds, and I will again be a part of something larger than myself.

A thought that has never occurred to me before this very moment:  What greater exit from this dimension than to simply disappear into the works of others?  That might be the perfect way to move gracefully into whatever immortality there is, just to blend seamlessly into the whole with little notice.  Maybe this insight has moved out from the subconscious to provide a rationale for whatever comes next  ... whenever...  .

Who on earth would ever have imagined that my little living room would become a movie set on occasion, and that I would become at 95 a "star" sitting at my dining room table comfortable in my socks and non-glamorous cotton trousers, and be as relaxed as a cat on a window sill basking in the noonday sun!

Yet that is precisely where we are in life on this day, June 9, 2017.

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