October 10, 2012

There’s nothing like knowing you have to show your work in public to inspire intense editing focus. Our September 12th benefit screening of “Pelican Dreams” (work-in-progress) was well attended, raised funds for the San Francisco Green Film Festival, and helped kick the editing process into high gear. Although the film doesn’t yet have its complete ending because Morro’s story is still evolving, the overall structure is beginning to emerge. About 45 people attended the screening at the 9th Street Media Arts Center, and many provided helpful feedback, both during the Q&A and in writing via a questionnaire. This critique helps me see my blind spots as an editor, including items that are confusing, too long, or too short. During the screening I sat in the back of the room, could feel the audience’s “vibe,” and had lots of my own thoughts as to how the film could be improved. The process of editing and re-editing is ongoing, and we’ll schedule another rough-cut screening when the movie’s ending is complete.

Footage obtained from the BBC (slow-motion underwater dive shots), Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology (horribly oiled pelican from the Gulf Spill), and from still photographers like Rob Bishop (see the pelican in the mouth of a whale! – this bird later escaped by floating out the side) and Stephen McLaren (white pelican “walking to work” in a British park, pictured earlier in this production blog) help tell the story. In some cases this footage was extremely pricey; in other cases it was donated. In all cases it was needed to fill gaps and to expand the visual palate of the movie.

Rob Bishop photo

pelican in the mouth of a humpback whale, photographed near Morro Bay by Rob Bishop

Morro, meanwhile, got a job! Dani Nicholson found out that as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, she was eligible to apply to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for an “education permit” for Morro. The process took six months, but she got her permit, and Morro has started making trips to campgrounds and other locales to wow attendees with up-close pelican experiences, probably closer than they’ve ever been to one. Here’s a shot of Morro near Morro Rock, with Morro Bay in the background.

Morro gets a job

Morro gets a job as an avian ambassador. He’s the first and only pelican working in “education” in California. Photo by Rob Bishop.

“Education” isn’t his favorite thing in the world to do – he’d rather be sitting on his lounge chair in the yard – but it’s required that a non-releasable migratory bird either be euthanized or licensed for education. An obvious choice! So now Morro has a good job and a wonderful place to live. All he needs is…..(you fill in the blank).

 

 

 

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