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.
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.
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.
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?