Now comes the fun part or torturous part depending on how you look at it. Many times, it can be a mixture of both. Post-production can make or break a picture just as easily as Pre-production or filming. Every step needs to be taken with great care and attention to detail.
With all the filming out of the way, I set out to log all my footage. I know many filmmakers/editors who do not do this. I am amazed by there abilities. I personally like to go through every shot that I know is of value and review it, label it, make notes, and organize it into folders, (I do puzzles much the same way bc it helps me see all the pieces). That also means going through thousands of shots, and hours of footage, to find those nuggets of gold. As I mentioned before, I try to take good notes while I am filming. When the time doesn’t allow for that, I go over all the day’s shots to see what I have. That was my method once the tour began. Every night I would spend a couple of hours going through everything, doing a quick log of it all.
Here I must pause to tell you a side story: Once we finished filming the Andes-crossing and returned home in San Rafael, my plan was to move directly into editing. God had other plans though. I mentioned before, Mariana and I were planning our DIY wedding at the same time. Well, that was still coming up and needed great attention. Also, my future father-in-law had a stroke and was hospitalized. From there we continued to plan the wedding while taking care of him and helping my mother-in-law. After moving the wedding three times for various reasons, we were finally married on March 18th. On top of it all, I was running out of time in Argentina. I had a production planned in the US for May. My father-in-law sadly, passed away while I was in the US on May 8th. So, I turned around and came back to Argentina to be with my wife and her family. That said, it was another 8 months before I got back to the documentary.
Once I was sitting in front of my computer again, I felt like a writer staring at a blank page. I had all these ideas, feelings, and experiences to portray… Where do I start? I asked myself the question, does this story tell itself on its own? Do the interviews get the job done? How much voiceover do we need to fill in the blanks? Nico and I put our heads together once again… In hindsight, I am glad I could step away from the project for those 8 months because when I came back, I was able to be much more objective.
Nico and I ended up writing about 6 pages of questions to be used as an outline. Then we went out into nature one day and I filmed his interview. After spending about 8 hours that day filming him relive his experience, we had a great structure on which the documentary could be built. This gave the whole piece a new life. As he told the stories of the trip, I could begin to imagine it. Nico’s special ability to see things that no one else does has a way of causing imagery to pop out at you.
With his interview logged, I got back to the computer. I began to organize the whole tour into segments. I would cut away anything that was not compelling and then see what I had. I would watch it again and cut more. Some segments would look good, then completely change once I found music that I liked… I continued this refinement process until I had every segment feeling and looking good. Then I put them all together and began the process of refining the whole piece. I had no deadline, so I could take my time. When I am getting paid to edit, I work a little differently. But this was exploration! I was frame by frame forming something that would hopefully move people.
All throughout this process, I had my co-producer and wife Mariana beside me, encouraging me, keeping me out of the clouds and out of the doldrums. There were many times that I thought it would never be finished. Then I would remember those athletes and their determination, and I would use their spirit to lift mine again.
With no end in sight though, I decided to give myself a firm deadline. I set up a screening in Argentina and began to sell tickets. In the town of San Rafael, where my life has developed with Mariana over the past 6 years, is where this all took place. I wanted the whole town to see the film and be proud of their athletes. At the same time, I wanted to give back to those who had shared so much with me. So, I decided to make the whole screening a fundraising event for the cyclist club.
I really am very thankful for everyone’s support during that time. With the help of Mariana, Nico, and the San Rafael Rotary Club, (whom I met filming Don Padrillo), we set out to sell tickets. It was a real grassroots event. We pounded the pavement selling tickets and handing out posters to promote the upcoming screening/fundraiser. The radio stations, TV stations, and web-radio all got wind of it through Nico’s connections, so we were able to do a great job at promoting the event as well. By the time the big night came, we had a line of people wrapped around the block waiting to get into San Rafael’s largest theater. We were sold out! Mariana remembers, “I had people pulling at me from every angle trying to get a ticket, and there weren’t anymore!” The evening was a huge success. Not only did we sell out tickets allowing us to buy supplies for all of the cyclists in the club, but we were also presented at the screening with a declaration from the city of San Rafael, the Ride the Andes was a work of cultural and social significance. We were all thrilled and very honored to be recognized in this way.
If it had not been for the support of so many people, this documentary would never have happened. I am so thankful it did! As I look back at the time before filming, I am so glad I pushed through all the doubts and went for it. So many times, we focus on what we lack and not what we have to our advantage. That is what I had to do as well. Focus on my abilities and not on the lack of crew, time, and money. I cannot explain it any better than it has already been said in the documentary, “The only disability is the lack of will power.”
Thank you for joining me for Inside Ride the Andes. I truly hoped that you enjoyed it. The documentary will be made available for streaming June 20th at www.noirproductionsllc.com also, look for links on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.