It's 11:59pm on Sunday, January 10. The Tribeca Film Festival deadline is tomorrow. Chris and I are wrapping up dozens of small tweaks.
We just re-cut the Bev Hall segment, for example, to include the amazing footage of the day "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" visited Bev's Nantucket Neighborhood.
Then we pruned the textual quotes that act as chapter markers before each segment. They're all terrific, and super-salient. And Mister Rogers never wasted words. Still, nothing's more daunting in a movie theater (or on television, or an iPod) than a paragraph of text. So they're shorter now (but, hopefully, no less impactful).
Then we dropped in a tiny piece of new voice over ("When Ellerbee finally met Mister Rogers in person...") that I recorded down the hall. Her segment's almost done, save for a few pieces of new b-roll.
Now we're adding a great Linda Ellerbee soundbite that (like so many hours of great footage) somehow hit the cutting room floor prematurely. "We often say on our show," She says, "That sometimes the best thing you can do with your television is turn it off."
We'll make thousands more changes in the coming weeks and months, each one a tiny fraction closer to the story Mister Rogers challenged us to tell.
For now, though, our Tribeca Film Festival, rough-cut submission is laying off. The application (below) is printed. The messenger is booked. As they say in Hollywood, it's a wrap... for now.
Title Original: Mister Rogers & Me
Changes: Still in progress: Dr. Susan Linn segment, soundtrack, plus assorted (Russert, Ellerbee, Jewett) b-roll and photo adds and v.o. tweaks.
Running time: 80 min.
Film type: Feature Documentary
Category: Family Friendly, New York
Logline: American's Favorite Neighbor, PBS icon, Fred Rogers, sends a young MTV producer on a quest for depth and simplicity amidst a shallow and complex media landscape.
Synopsis: An MTV producer's life is transformed when he meets the recently-retired host of 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,' Fred Rogers. Friendship with the PBS icon sets the young producer on a hero's quest to find depth and simplicity amidst a shallow and complex media landscape through conversations with Susan Stamberg (NPR), Tim Russert ('Meet The Press'), Marc Brown ('Arthur') and more.
Estimated Budget: 100,000