What I’m working on now.
PRAGUE, Czech Republic- I’m in a hole. I spoke a little about this in my live YouTube Q&A yesterday:
Basically, all projects have lifelines: ideation, preparation, content collection, organization, editing, publishing,promoting. Half of this process is fun — researching something new, traveling around, meeting people … but the other half looks a lot more like actual work, as it involves sitting in a room with your head down.
I’m in the head down phase of five projects right now. I’m not sure how this happened, as I usually like to stagger my projects so that they are all at different stages of the process — so on any given day I can be gestating new ideas, collecting content, and publishing. I don’t know how this happened but … oh well.
Here are the projects that I’m working on now:
Pragulic doc short
My last stretch in Prague I began shooting a documentary short about this interesting organization that employs homeless people to tell their stories to tourists. Although the organization doesn’t market themselves this way, it is really a good example of something that has been dubbed “anti-tourism,” where the object is to collect unique experiences / knowledge of real life rather than to see the same sites that everybody else goes to. While the whole “anti-tourism” concept seems a little silly to me and I can’t say that I would be especially prone to seek out “anti-tourism” tours as a consumer, digging into this story as a filmmaker has been fascinating.
Captain’s Cabin doc short
I shot a really, really cool documentary when I was in Beirut about this guy who runs a bar called Captain’s Cabin. The place is a landmark in town — it’s the dive bar that locals have been growing up in for generations. I’m having an issue now finding enough archival footage to properly tell the story. I may have to hire an animator. For now this one is kind of on hold.
Melaka Gateway film
I did a BIG film project in Melaka in Malaysia about the Melaka Gateway Belt and Road project. The thing has been a disaster from top to bottom — international development at its worst. The local government did not only ante up their maritime ecosystem to the Chinese but a 400 year old Portuguese community as well. Culturecide at its finest — the hallmark of China’s New Silk Road.
I tried to use every ounce of strength to not pursue this project. I was buried in other projects — how could I possible add another? But I did it anyway. Of course. I was on the radio recently talking about this project. Listen here:
On The New Silk Road book
The big one. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. “Is your book done yet?” is the question that old friends have been using to greet me throughout the past year. I learned a lot about how to structure big, complicated book projects from this endeavor the hard way. I will put it like that.
Status report: we’re getting there.
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