Category Archives: One Day in April

The film as it stands now.

One Day in April Editing Diary #1

For the past two weeks I have been editing the best of nearly 6 terabytes worth of footage into what will become One Day in April. We’ve sorted the footage, although no one person has watched all of it, and these past few weeks I’ve been diving in head first into actually turning all of those hours into a 90 minute story.

When we were back in Bloomington for this years race, we got asked a lot of times about the state of the film, when it was coming out, what was in the film, etc and we tried to answer honestly but up until now anything other than “It will definitely have some footage from the 2013 Little 500” was just speculation. Even on our end, what the final product will be is still a bit of a mystery.

2013 Little 500 Race.Still003

I hear you, “How can that even be possible?” We didn’t set out with an ending, we set out with an event. Capture the Little 500. Basic goal, but from that we’ve found ourselves having conversations about race, class, identity and more directly: how do you convey what the Little 500 is to someone who’s never heard of it? And not just get them excited about the race, but have them actually understand the race.

Without us really deciding, the film evolved from a simple story about 4 teams as they train for the 2013 Little 500 to a much broader and deeper one about why the race means so much to so many of us.

But, despite the expanded scope choices must be made. Moments left out. Making those choices and whittling down the film to an acceptable run time is easily the hardest thing I’ve done as a film maker.

2013 Little 500 Race.Still001

We’ve settled on including both the 2014 and 2013 races, although the exact amount or presentation of the 2014 race is still unclear. The 2013 race is the crux of the film. It’s the center of gravity and whereas we originally intended for it to be a climactic moment we realized that so much of the story is about what happens after the race is over. To an extent, there is some mystery around who wins. But it’s fleeting and largely irrelevant to the story – although I’m sure all of the riders would disagree with that! As the director of the film, what I think will make or break it is how well we invest the audience in how our subjects react to the outcome of the race, not the outcome itself.

Every year folks make quick pieces about how neat the race is or who won. That’s not what this is.

2013 Little 500 Race.Still002

A big challenge with the film has been breaking down our four teams seasons into digestible stories. There are 4 race day riders on a team, non-race day riders, rookies, coaches, friends and family. By choosing to show the race from the perspective of four teams we have to pick the absolute best moments to tell their stories.

You have your big decisive moments, but you have to balance that with the smaller more intimate moments that let you see who your characters really are. What drives them to race.

Right now thats the challenge: how do you sum up the whole experience of the Little 500 in 90 minutes?

kevin bday photo

An update on One Day in April

With race day just around the corner, I wanted to give everyone an update on the status of One Day in April. When I set out to make this film over a year ago, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. The idea for the film had started when I was crashing in Peter Stevenson’s basement in DC looking for new work. At night, Pete and I would hang out and reminisce about our time at IU and how great it was to live and photograph in Bloomington. But the best event of all, the one we remembered most, was the Little 500. After a while we got to asking ourselves: “Why isn’t there a killer documentary about the Little 500?”

I got a job serving as a cinematographer for President Obama’s second Inauguration, but then I returned home to Bloomington without a whole lot of direction. For the first time since I was a kid, I didn’t have anything hanging over me. No looming deadlines. No demanding clients. And I was bored out of my mind. So I called Pete up and together we decided that we were going to launch our film careers making a documentary that captured all the wonder and grit of the Little 500.

We were stills photographers, I had video experience, but neither of us were “experienced filmmakers” per se. We formed a core team of current and former IU students and just started shooting. Ryan, Kirsten, and I enjoyed working with each other so much that we decided to form this company.

We shot a lot, every day. In fact, to this day, no individual person has been able to watch the entirety of the footage. Before we knew it, it was Race Day and we were assembling a 22 person crew using the funds we had crowd funded to pay for 5 high speed cameras and a UPS truckload full of assorted gear.

About a month before Race Day, we had crowd funded $8,436 from an unbelievably supportive collection of friends, family, Little 500 community members, IU alums, and cycling enthusiast. Our film was made possible because of the kindness of these individuals and all of us carry that every single day we work on this film.

Which brings me to asnswering the question everyone is asking: When is the film coming out?

The short answer is early next year. The longer answer, the answer to why you haven’t received your DVD in the mail, is that I can’t release this film until I know with 100 percent certainty that I’ve done my best to tell the story of our subjects and fulfilled the promise we made to all of our donors. Not to get them a quick product, but to tell the story of the Little 500. It’s not about the parties, or the last lap, or even who wins. For a lot of Hoosiers, the Little 500 encapsulates what Indiana is all about. Community, teamwork, hard work, and a focus on the little day to day moments that bring us together. Somebody wins, but 32 teams don’t. I won’t say they lose, because all of them leave the track on race day with something that didn’t have before hand. Equally, the fans, journalists, IUSF folks, and everyone who makes the Little 500 what it is know what the spirit of the race is. It’s the feeling you get when you hear “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the start of the race, surrounded by the best friends you’ll ever make, waiting for the green flag to drop and kick off a moment that only happens once in a life time.

Our subjects, donors, and supporters have entrusted us to tell that story.

We’re lucky enough to watch the footage of last year and see the film progressing into a feature film. It’s not done yet. Finishing a feature film takes a very long time. Many documentaries take 2 to 3 years from the start of production to the first premiere. Music, sound design, color grading, and other parts of post-production require a great deal of finesse and detail. You cannot rush this part of the film and unfortunately that means a longer amount of time until the film comes out.

But that doesn’t mean you have to be in the dark. We’re active on Facebook, Twitter, and by email so if you have a question or want an update feel free to ask us.

We’ll be at this year’s race shooting some final scenes and then launching full bore into finishing the film. When it’s ready, we’ll let you know and I promise you that it will have been worth the wait.