If you have ever watched any interviews with documentarians, you’ve probably heard a story that goes along the lines of “I intended to shoot one thing but then everything changed and that’s how we ended up with this film.”
This is a very common story.
Somehow, though, we were still somewhat unprepared for that to happen to us.
That “us” would be me and Debbie, the director (and much much more) of “Seeking Asian Female.” Last night we watched her new footage, all shot in the past 6 weeks. Now, this is a project that she’s been working on for many years, a project which I’ve been on for the past three. She brought me on as producer to help her finish. We went through everything, looked at the 200+ hours of footage captured over the course of 4 years, laid out a structure, started editing and re-editing, and figured we were nearly done with filming.
All that changed 2 months ago. One of the main characters in our film sent Debbie an email which essentially meant: “You know that story that you’ve been hoping to find all this time and gave up on? It’s about to start. Want to film it?”
And so, even though we desperately want to be done with it, we saw that the film had other plans for us. We are back in production, with another month of shooting to go. The story has taken a radical turn and there is a brand-new character – and she’s amazing. We spent many hours last night figuring out where we are and how to restructure the entire project. We are living out one of the most excellent and most frustrating things about the kind of documentaries that we’ve decided to do: They’re about life and sometimes life does not stick to your original schedule.
Then again, this is the film we’ve been seeking all along and it’s fantastic to watch it unfold.