FILM STRUCTURE By Bob Aibel
It seems to me that the most rational structure is, in fact, based on the real chronology of the events, at least in an overall sense. That is we probably won't follow much of a chronology in the various section, e.g. preparation, but we will go from our l)Introduction to 2) clean up to 3) preview to 4) Sat, prep....
Within this structure we can follow our 4 main theoretical ideas(and any we might decide to add following their development as we go. That is, for example, we will see evaluation in the clean up in various ways from both family who prepares for it and others who evaluate it prior to sale, and hearing about it from Longs or McClaughlin then in the Preview to the final set up on Sat., into the sale and after the sale. Obviously, it seems that something like evaluation will be somewhat smaller a piece in each area than the making of the event into an economic one and its significance.
It seems to he the case that our audience will even be able to follow an item that they see(and is well identified) early in the film, and 3 or 4 times later in the film. If it isn't working in every case or we really want to make a point more strongly we can repeat the earlier footage related to the item with or without sound or simply repeat the sound if that's what we need. Also, a character like Ernest can be established in the clean up section of the film and is strong enough to be picked up any number of times without much loss of his significance to our audience. Obviously the same is true with Joe(who could forget what he's about).
As I see it the introduction is where we lay out the setting and the basic idea of estate sales, etc. the stuff Jay refers to. It seems to me that this is where we lay out the significance of the store so that we've clearly set up the symbolic buying later on that is, role of the store in town in terms of Paul Leitzel and memories, e.g Miriam's story about giving credit for bread, stories about loaning guns, Kerstetter story about getting free penny candy, Donna Schaeffer story about it being her store to stop off at when selling papers, the store as a loafing place and community bulletin board, etc.
The clean up or Preparation is what I see as the biggest chunk of the film as that is where we set up most of the rest. Here we introduce the family and the notion of inheritance and negotiation over the appropriate clean up footage, set up the significance of items by going to the walk through, set the stage for the later use of Ernest, Schaeffer, Herman, set up the initial economic aspects of the event with the family and Ralph and Joe, symbolic aspects with Ernest, evaluation with family preparation, hear about and see various members taking and not taking things(Lura, Lois, Celo, hear Doris about this, etc.).s negotiation, all leading up to the Preview with the final clean up(laying paper, decorating windows, washing windows, etc.
Preview we see as a family and community event, paying respects, viewing. Will know more about this when we see the footage.
The Sat, preparation will have the final economic organization, and the beginning of the symbolic community involvement(setting up chairs early). Footage of Ralph, family taking stuff out, getting numbers, bringing food into food stand, etc
At the Sale we can follow up on the people and things established in the clean up, establish the event in terms of its social use of space, and in many ways resolve many of the conflicts and questions set up earlier. We can really show the way in which all of this exploded into the event it did with Herman and Schaeffer, junk buying, family (Dick Snyder can be set up earlier) buying, etc.
The aftermath is quite straightforward in terms of what we have and it now seems to me that it should remain at the end as a kind of second ending. That is the sale, especially if we go to the second night will seem like the natural ending, which it would be in a conventional film. The aftermath can build an the built in unresolved tensions of Joe talking about selling the stuff, the Kersteters plans for the property and the voiced concern about what will happen to it by some of the interviewees.
As I think about it, however, in some ways in makes sense to follow up on the object right after it is sold, especially as in some cases the buyer is unknown to the audience(we cant set everybody up), and in some cases we did have immediate follow up. Another alternative is to take the one shot items(apple butter kettle, fainting couch, muskets, victrola, etc) and deal with them right away and in the aftermath section combine the family with the big and important follow ups, Joe and his buyers, Schaeffers, Kerstebbers. In this way we are really using the one shot follow ups as if they were immediate, on the-spot interviews. That way we can also use the family reflections about Joe, Schaeffer and Kerstetter in a place where they belong as those 3 buyers played a major role in the family's evaluation and feeling about the sale those 3 buyers represent the economic, symbolic, evaluative dimensions in many ways. Also, at this point we get some nice stuff about family renegotiation to go with it in order to wrap up the four major threads of the film