I've taken a break from the Minding the Gap these past couple months to recoup some funds by working on the second season of a USA Network TV series called Sirens. Now that production on the show is coming to an end, Minding the Gap will be gearing back up.
I've just finished writing an application for the Tribeca Film Institute Documentary Fund, which included a 2,500 word treatment. Working in the somewhat insular worlds of narrative storytelling and skate videos for most of my filmmaking career, I never realized how much a treatment allows a project to be envisioned, to begin to take shape, to become palpable.
I think for a long time I was swimming in the dozens upon dozens of stories, sweat, and blood that so many skateboarders over the past couple of years from all over the country had shared with me. It's too easy to get lost in all of it--because their footage all speak toward this general idea of growing up with a fractured and broken home life. It was and still is tempting to include if not everyone then a piece of everyone in Minding the Gap.
I looked toward films like Beautiful Losers. Films by Harmony Korine. Richard Linklater's Slacker and Waking Life, where characters all come and go with smooth, casual connections to segue their appearance and disappearance. I wanted to justify including all of their stories.
And maybe because the Tribeca grant was looking for character-driven films or maybe because I became exhausted with drowning in the pools of so many people's lives, but my treatment has made the film much more about a single boy, who I used to see at the skatepark ripping it up, who was physically abused by his dad, who's father died when he was 14, who feels like he can't relate to his family, who is honest enough to work through his inner coming-of-age angst aloud to me for this project.
I spent a Saturday with him last weekend, catching him during a gorgeous Midwestern Autumn day. We filmed a skateboarding clip, did an interview, and documented a little bit of his home life, where his nephews and sister are staying temporarily right now.
In a few weeks I'll be meeting with folks over at Kartemquin to see about partnering up with them. More to come. Thanks for the support. Stay youthful.