Sorry it's been so long since the last blog post.
A disruption of my health has laid me out for the past week.
I've been diagnosed with Meniere's Disease since 2004 and struggled to cope with its effects ever since.
Some years, the vertigo and balance issues were quite manageable. In fact, 2006 through 2009 were fairly calm years that way. Meniere's is a dysfunction of the inner ear and comes with hearing-loss, ringing in the ears, vertigo and balance issues. For some patients, the symptoms are mild, and in others, quite severe.
I consider myself mid-range. Although, as of late, it's been very severe.
During these bad bouts, watching television or reading things via a computer screen is likely to trigger vertigo. So, as much as it impacts my creative projects, I have to shutdown and lay low for a bit.
That never means that the project stagnates.
Shari has been busy coordinating interviews and scouting locations. Peyton has been receiving feedback and asking direction on the next composition (which is to score a 60-second trailer) and I've still been doing research and planning throughout these difficult days. We even held a crew meeting a couple of days ago to plan out the next few weeks.
our focus right now has shifted to the "supporting stars" of our film: King salmon.
To present this story and have strong visual components to match up to the subject matter discussed during interviews, we'll need to get footage of wild salmon and their lifecycles.
Wild Chinook (king) salmon are a challenge to film in the open sea, less challenging in the mouths of rivers and like "shooting ducks in a barrel," while spawning. The only variable is getting us and our gear to each of those points and gaining usable footage.
That's our current tasking: find salmon, put camera underwater, film.
We already know from research and pre-interviews that many of our sources will speak about the critical nature of wild salmon stocks. They will talk about "sustainability" and recovery, though the exact "how" of those issues will vary.
Better practices, more fishing controls, farmed salmon, restoration of spawning habitat are all fluid parts of this story.
One thing is readily agreed upon: without healthy king salmon, there will no longer be Southern Resident killer whales.
"No fish, no blackfish."
Cheers and strength,
- Rick Wood
A big part of this film will be showing the interconnectedness (whew, what a word!) of all species in the Salish Sea.
That includes us. Humans are a vital link in the chain of health for the eco-system. Sometimes that’s easy to forget.
We try to insulate ourselves. We build walls, wear layers of clothes, put up fences and make sidewalks all in an effort to distance ourselves from the insects and animals already sharing our world. But it's really only a psychological barrier at best.
Imagine the day we are born; our newness and the sterility of the hospital or birthing room. That's artificial, too. The second we emerge, millions of living organisms claim purchase on our bodies. They never leave - only multiply. We are never alone in the world.
Civilization is a tradeoff. We enjoy more health, less fear of predators and better abundance of food in exchange for no longer being connected to the living world around us. It's a losing proposition, I'm afraid.
Eventually, the natural world we encapsulate ourselves away from will take us. That was - after all - our primary function the larger scheme of things; we were always destined to succumb to the Earth and provide nourishment for billions upon billions of other life-forms... or did you think it was about you? ...Your accomplishments? ...Your "things?" Being the life source for billions of living beings is far more important. Even if we choose not to see the beauty in that, the deep, deep meaning in that, it still happens.
We’re also dependent on other species for our own survival. If we didn’t have colonies of microbes and parasites living on us, we’d be quickly done-in by disease. We wouldn’t even be able to digest our food.
On a larger scale, the health of the plankton will have direct correlation on the health of the fish we eat. That chain – from single-celled organisms to orca or sunlight to sea grass – can only be pulled so hard before it snaps. When it breaks, we soon follow.
The “fragility” of Fragile Waters is about the “chain” being pulled taut. It’s also about the links that are ready to break and the people who desperately trying to mend them.
- Rick Wood, director
The short clip above may be the first principle photography footage from "Fragile Waters," released for public view. What I like about it is that it clearly illustrates a big theme in the film: the relationship between all living beings, big....or small.
What a day to be insulated from the machinations of the government and turmoil of its citizenry. I can only hope that calm and productivity will commence very soon.
What keeps me from even thinking about the political struggles of Capitol Hill is my focus on the life and death struggles in the Salish Sea. Working on a project like this means being immersed in its moving parts day-in, day-out, 24/7.
Right now, I'm filled with stories of fish and dolphin. From what I hear, it's a blessing, really, not to have the news of the day put me in a funk.
Life goes on... death and extinct don't slow down, even for Congress.
I've just finished the rough edit for a teaser trailer intended for fundraising.
It plays like a mystery, which is, after all, what the film is at heart. I am pleased with its look and now have given it into the hands of our composer, Peyton Winterowd-Laughman, who will score it.
This marks the first time as a filmmaker that I have not scored my own video. That's a frightening handing-off of creative control.
But Peyton is super-talented and I know whatever she'll do would be worlds better than my half-deaf, tin-eared attempt.
At some point soon I intend to update this site with a few short bio's of the crew. For now, just take my word for it, this film is benefiting from some of the most creative folks I've ever known.
- Rick Wood
Principle photography is finally starting! I guess that's exciting...I have another word for it: Daunting.
"Fragile Waters" is attempting to tell a story no one has told before. There's no "model" for how this should look. There are no clear-cut "good guys" or "bad guys." We aren't trying to perfect a precedent or even compete with contemporary films dealing with orca whales. We are braving uncharted territory - one with pitfalls and landmines strewn throughout.
Wait... I take it back... "daunting" doesn't even begin to cover it!
In a very real sense the focus of our film is like a crime drama. It's like a murder mystery, only if the "murder" were slow and on-going...and stoppable. Variables in this film often push up against one another. People striving for similar goals but using very different means cross paths with other "heroes" and "villains."
The good thing about how we are navigating this delicate ice flow is that we are doing it from a standpoint of learning. Every new fact, interview or observation helps form what is currently a fluid blob of a central story. That's not to say we lack focus. Our focus is 100% unflappable. This film always comes back to the Southern Resident killer whales and the waters that comprise their home.
If we do this - and do it well - the film becomes a chronicle of hope and struggle. In a best-case scenario, our doc becomes inspiration and catalyst for change.
The next 14-18 months will see if we
Film director Rick Wood and co-director Shari Macy have worked on several multimedia, television and film projects.