As a counterpoint to Miriam’s post on folks in a hurry, I had lunch today with an old friend whose years-in the-making project—a documentary, and not a book—is both instructive and inspiring. More than ten years ago, Theresa Loong decided that she wanted to put together a film about her father’s experience as a POW in a Japanese prison camp in World War II. Despite a full time job, a subject disinclined to talk about his war years, and no formal background in film, she set out to teach herself the fundamentals of documentary making, slowly gathering material, borrowing equipment, applying for grants, shooting footage, hiring editors, and most recently, launching a successful campaign on the fundraising site Kickstarter (a resource that did not exist when she began her project). Along the way, there were stops and starts, numerous frustrations and felicitous discoveries: two years ago her father suddenly produced a secret diary he’d kept in prison and saved for fifty years. Her documentary, Every Day a Holiday is now slated to run on PBS at some point in the not too distant future.
I wonder if any of you are working on projects that are, as an editor friend of mine likes to say, “best slow-cooked?”