Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Editing "Mister Rogers & Me" (Again)

It's just before eleven o'clock on a Tuesday night.

Chris and I have been editing for a little over two hours, and we're just barely seventeen minutes into the film. Which I suppose isn't so bad, but we have about fifty-eight to go.

This is dry, confusing, thankless work. It's like a three dimensional puzzle; every time we move a section or a soundbite to solve one problem, we create another. Luckily, Christofer is good at this, and knows the footage as well (and in some cases better; he shot it) as me.

Challenging as it is (especially under deadline), it's kind of exciting when it connects. Example.

I jumped out of my chair when I realized that Paul (Rachman, who basically thinned our 2:15:00 version to 75:00) had -- by omission and juxtaposition -- helped us connect Columbine to Mister Rogers. See, Bo Lozoff was with Mister Rogers on the very afternoon that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher and injured 21 others before turning their guns on themselves. Bo asks (basically), Would they have done such a thing if they'd been able to find just an iota of beauty -- a song, a bird, a sunset -- in their everyday lives. And then we meet Amy Hollingsworth who talks about how Mister Rogers was bullied as a kid, and told by parents to act like it didn't bother him. But it did! So he spoke up... in over 900 episodes of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

We're watching NPR's Susan Stamberg right now. She says, "We arm ourselves through life to get through the difficulties, but in [Mister Rogers'] presence, you'd put all that aside. If he heard where your biggest toe stub in life had been, he'd zero in on that."

That soundbite had been cut, but it gets at the essence of Mister Rogers, and the reason we're here tonight, eight years later, trying to make sense of our brief but meaningful relationship. He knew exactly what was hurt in me the most (my parent's divorce) and within just a few minutes of meeting, made me feel comfortable enough to speak of it. So that's back in.

"We need him with each passing day more and more," she says.


I could sure use his help now.

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