Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Step By Step

I waited by my phone all day Saturday. Heck, I even took it with me on my thirteen mile marathon training run. Bill Isler never called. When I came into the office yesterday morning, there was a message from him. He didn't have my cell number with him. So I've called twice since yesterday morning. No dice.

So, we move forward...

Looks like we'll be interviewing Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, on/around Monday, November 13. You'll recall that the Good Senator won the first Fred Rogers Integrity Award for his introduction of the HeLP America bill. The bill addressed numerous national health and wellness issues, but specifically tackled wanton marketing to children. My friend (and fellow Hawkeye) Tricia Martin suggested the senator, and put me in touch with the his press secretary, Maureen Knightly.

I don't think we're going to make it to Boston to interview Raffi (recipient of the second Fred Rogers Integrity Award) on October 26th, as I get in from Los Angeles that morning, and we leave for Fort Myers on the 27th. We'll be missing a really excellent conference on "Commerical Free Childhood" that weekend as well.

I did email Marc Brown and asked to interview him in his Hingham, Massachusetts, studio, on a weekend in in late November or early December. It's a bit of a pipe dream that we'll work out a weekend shoot, but with day jobs and kids to consider, it's worth asking. Either way, I'm really looking forward to meeting him. Hingham is nestled in the bays and inlets just south of Boston. He lives by a park called World's End. I love that.

Also, we have asks in to Tim Russert, and Katie Couric.

It is beginning to feel less and less likely that we'll be able to shoot everything while there are still leaves on the trees. I'd really like some continuity. In a perfect world, the film would begin in spring, and end in the fall. Not sure that's gonna work out. And it begins to feel less and less likely that we'll hit our August 2007 Sundance Film Festival deadline.

My mother recently complimented me on my ability to manage the ambiguity of this undertaking. I appreciated the compliment, though it never occurred to me that I had any choice. Mister Rogers told me to spread the message. It was an assignment. It was an inheritance.

It has been difficult -- perhaps one of my most challenging creative endeavors -- primarily because so much of it is out of my control. Making records is easy: write, record, mix, master, package, sell. Especially in this age of home recording, very little of the process relies on others. This film, though, is completely reliant on other's participation and support. And time. And time is the main comodity, isn't it?

Worse, though, I don't know what will become of the whole thing. I don't know, for example, if Bill Moyers will participate -- or Joanne Rogers for that matter. I don't know if we'll tell the story we want to tell, or if we'll do Mister Rogers' legacy any justice. I don't know if it will get into Sundance, or Tribeca, or even Nantucket. And even if everything else does work out, I don't know that people will go to see it. Everything is ambiguous. Everything is uncertain.

All I really know to do, then, is to keep moving forward, step, by step, by step. Which I believe is what they call a "leap of faith." I'm sure it's precisely the path Mister Rogers intended me to walk.

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