AUCTION FILM - Bob Aibel
Core set of ideas - As we all know the greatest danger in making this type of film is in losing track of the central core of the film and losing ourselves. From my point of view it is critical that we decide on this core, and pursue it at every juncture. That is, every idea, interview, interview question, shot, edit, etc. must be justified and thought through in terms of its relationship to our specific conceptual goals. We can't possibly do everything we want to do, or communicated everything we know, so we must be careful to set the limits from the very beginning in terms of a clear statement of what the film is about. Each of us is bound to want to get one more idea in, but I'm committed to saying what is important quite clearly, and avoiding the inevitable confusion of to much diversity of ideas. We must decide on the CORE, and then each of us must be able to see how anything we are to do is generated from that CORE. The CORE gives us a way to stay on track and to decide our approach in interviewing, shooting, etc. in terms of that core. Without it we have no way to decide what goes and stays, and how to handle very specific shoots.
As I see it, the basic goal of the film is to establish the role of the auction in the life cycle, and to show the multiple context bound meanings which objects/property take on in this cycle, for family and community. It is through the transfer, exchange and transformation of objects that we are able to see the aspects of the life cycle. The notion of the auction in the ongoing family system provides the framework and structure for the film, while the material aspects of the estate make it observable. Hence, when we observe the renegotiation of family roles, we will be looking at the way in which material goods are a vehicle for this activity.
We observe the object as it functions in renegotiation, evaluation, as symbolic commodity and as economical commodity. Hence, the contexts in which it appears in the film should be chosen with these functions in mind. We see it in the original home, as part of family negotiation. At the preview, at the auction, as discussed and dealt with by dealers, As discussed and dealt with by auctioneers, in the homes of new owners.
Reflexivity - For me the most important aspect of reflexivity which should be incorporated in the film is the clear presentation of our theoretical framework so that viewers can see all events as constructed abound and exemplifying a particular theory and set of findings derived from that approach. I very much agree with Jay that this should be done in a forceful and distancing way, whatever we do. I'm less interested in discussing how we got into making the film and who we are unless it fits in the film without distracting from our explication of theory and findings. it would he nice to be able to make it clear that the film itself is conceived in terms of goals, process and participants as social science filmmaking. It is not meant to work as film and to work as social science, but to work as social science film. We might need to address this somewhere if the film ends up being so unusual that we need to give people a framework to understand why and where it is coming from, but unless we need that I'm afraid it would only confuse viewers and would he better said in print. In Jay's #1 the only ones I would feel definitely belong in the film are c and e, and we may not really aced to say c directly, depending on how we say e, our main thesis. However, as you can see above, my main thesis is different from Jays.
Shootlnq and Interviewing Schedule
Generally speaking I find Chris' set up quite agreeable and very much in tune with what we wrote up and discussed for the proposal.
I still see the film opening with the surface level of the auction, possible establishing the location of the sale here. However, I'm not sure that we need to do that, or have the time to do that, in more than a very general way.
Before going on from here I think it is important to lay out our perspective through narration, tables, etc. Narrator must point out that there is much complexity and significance to the events which cannot be seen. It is only apparent upon careful observation of the events and the community in which they take place(a good spot to discuss who the filmmakers are, but maybe too much here). Then go on to lay out that our interest is in the auction in the life cycle, and Expansion, Dispersion, Replacement framework. Then discuss the auction as mechanism for renegotiation, evaluation and redistribution of symbolic and material wealth.
Here and everywhere it is very important that the audience is not allowed to see us as simply documenting the events they see, but see them as constructed to say something about the process they are watching.
After the theoretical stage is set the narrator can lead us into the Prior to Death area. These two points (Chris') seem very important to make if we are to indicate the auction as part of the cycle from the very beginning.
I still feel that it would be nice to show a/the funeral. At this point it seems almost impossible, or too potentially offensive, but there must be a way to indicate that there is some emotional component to all of this, as discussed in the initial treatment or the proposal. Maybe there is another way to use the empty house? Maybe its not necessary?
After the auction or maybe at the auction we do need to get evaluations if we haven't been able to get enough stuff earlier at the preview or at the auction. We can work with Marion, etc. at the preview, but I think their role is more as evaluator rather than as collector.
After the auction I think we need to follow objects to then new context, maybe only indicating the OUT OF COUNTY context in a general way. That is, we need to indicate the decontextualization that occurs in this way, but I don't know how far we need to go with this.