Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Has Officially Begun...

...for me, anyway. I can never get fully into the season until the last of my work responsibilities are complete. Commencement was this past Saturday (I serve as a faculty marshall for the ceremony), and that is the official end of my "daily" duties for school. Of course, I still have stuff to do, and I will still do some work over the holidays, I am sure, but for now, I don't have anything really weighing on me.

So I've (a) gotten sick (always happens to me as soon as classes are done, as if my body holds out until it knows I can collapse; (b) done a bunch of Christmas shopping (are crowds getting worse? Yikes -- I hate going out to the stores and dealing with crashing shopping carts and all those people!); (c) slept in (well, almost. I still get up to take the kids to school -- which is tough when you're not a morning person. I have to get them to school by 7:30-ish!); and (d) started thinking about my new film.

Clean Freak is a short documentary about, um, me. Okay, so I'm trying to make this film without a full cadre of people working on it with me, so I decided to exploit my own neuroses. And I'm a bit of a clean freak. I come by it naturally -- my mother is an inveterate clean freak, and I've inherited her tendencies. So I'm using this documentary to explore the ways this obsession gets in the way of life. But I also want to use it to explore the state of the documentary form, and the ways in which documentarians "lie" with real footage, or recreate events on camera to "tell the truth" (as they see it). So I'm really going to try to do some interesting reflexive stuff with this film, and I have no idea where it's going to end up at this point, which is both exhilirating and frightening.


Blogger badMike said...

(I'm actually responding to your questions in the last thread)

This is the first I've heard a plot description of your new film. The title is great and I really like the concept. So, now I'm even more anxious to see it. What I meant before is that I'm curious to see whatever you do as a follow up to Messiah, but on top of that, this sounds really interesting to me.

Plus, I'm totally with you on the "lying in film" concept. I became obsessed with that in film school myself and my senior thesis was all about just shooting everything "as is," which also meant leaving in the bad framing, crappy lighting, etc. Some people seemed to get it, but some others actually got angry with me.

(And if you're ever in L.A. please stop by for a visit. I'm kind of disorganized. Maybe you could tidy up. Har har.)

12/18/2006 5:18 PM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

Mike --

Yeah, initially I only wanted to make a doc about my obsessive nature, but as I was writing an article/preparing a presentation on mockumentaries and my use of the form in "American Messiah," I started getting interested in the concept of "lying to tell the truth," a la Moore's sly editing of Chsrlton Heston speeches in Bowling for Columbine, to imply he was saying things at different times then when he said them.

So, I want to intentionally "lie" to tell the story and explore the function of truth vs reality.

I'm also prepping a documentary about fans of the British sci-fi series DOCTOR WHO, in part because of my own childhood obsession with the show.

But my FICTION FEATURE follow-up to Messiah will (hopefully) be a drama I wrote called ENDINGS. More about that soon, and I'm trying to raise money for it (whereas these short docs can be made for much less, and don't require a full crew).

12/18/2006 9:09 PM  
Blogger badMike said...

That's funny. I was a HUGE Doctor Who fan in high school. And the new series have been great. There was a good episode lately describing how Doctor groupies (within the Who universe) feel about the sound the Tardis makes, which they totally snatched from real life. It's SUCH a comforting sound for the geek in me.

12/18/2006 10:18 PM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

Ah yes, LOVE & MONSTERS. I loved it. I was already thinking of doing the doc when I saw that episode, and I think they totally captured how much passion people have for the show.

And yes, the new eps have really explored the doctor at a new level, with real emotions and real attachment to the companions.

It was also great seeing Sarah Jane again in the new series.

12/18/2006 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...


It just so happens that I have a friend who has a friend (I don't know him all that well; I've only met him on a few occasions through our mutual friend) who is a HUGE "Dr. Who" fan. I think he has some officer position in the "Dr. Who" Fan Club; not sure exactly, but I know he traveled from the US (Florida) to England for a big "Dr. Who" convention a few years back. If you are interested, I can put you in touch with him. Send me an e-mail:

12/19/2006 10:38 AM  
Blogger badMike said...

Duh, don't know why I didn't think of this, but I also know some folks. I once worked with a woman whom I'm still friendly with whose father actually composed music for "Doctor Who" way back when. She and her brothers are all big fans. She's in the States, but her bros are back in England.

12/19/2006 3:02 PM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

Thanks to both Mike and Jonathan! You know, when I posted that little snippet about the Doctor Who film, I wasn't even trying to use the blog to network, but I'm constantly amazed at the number of "closet" Doctor Who fans out there.

Mike, I'd definitely love to make use of that contact, if you have the info. I'm still in the thinking stages on the film, but the more people I connect with, the sooner I'm going to start shooting it. Thanks!

12/19/2006 7:13 PM  
Blogger pooks said...

Okay, so here is my question.

If a documentary maker is going to shoot an interview with somebody and says, "I'd like to come to your house and shoot the interview with you at your desk the way you usually are when you do the stuff that is the reason for this interview --"

Is it fair play once the documentary maker gets there for him to say, "I don't like the color of the walls. They don't look like my image of how a serious "subject of documentary" should be portrayed. I think maybe we should shoot this at my house in my office?"

12/21/2006 6:12 AM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

pooks -- a fair question that's hard for me to answer. since i've never made a doc before, i'm ill-informed on the subject, BUT, my impression is that, unless the "truth" of the setting is important and needs to be established, it's just as likely that an interview can be set anywhere the director wants.

In AMERICAN MOVIE (a great documentary, btw; if you haven't seen it, rent it), the sense you get is that you are in Mark Borchardt's world, so I think if the director had thrown Mark into false settings to help create a sense of poverty or "near-poverty," that would be lying.

For an interview where the subject's location wasn't crucial to the story, I could see setting that interview elsewhere. But it would be rather impractical...

12/21/2006 10:27 AM  

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