An Interview with Frances Reid
How do you approach the beginning of a project?
[Deborah Hoffmann and I] have very different approaches to the beginning of a project. Debbie immediately panics, becomes insomniac (even more than usual) and finds a specific task, however tangential, to compulsively complete and check off the list. I remain calm, have great faith that it will all work out, and procrastinate doing anything.
Long Night's Journey into Day began with a bang. We were researching, fundraising, traveling, shooting, and editing all within a month of deciding to make the film, and continued all until two weeks before locking picture. This is not an approach we recommend.
What would you be if you couldn't be a filmmaker/ artist/ writer/ multimedia/ installationist?
I would be an architect. This year I lived out that fantasy and spend six weeks studying architecture and realized it's harder than filmmaking. I also discovered there are lots of filmmakers who secretly wish they were architects.
What was the most discouraging feedback you ever got and what was its aftermath?
A week before locking picture on Long Night's Journey into Day a "friend" told us we still had a tremendous amount of work to do. The list of criticisms was long and harsh. We made virtually none of the suggested changes and locked picture. When our friendly critic saw the finished film she marveled at how transformed it was.
Is having a community of artists a beneficial component to your work?
Absolutely. We chauvinistically believe the Bay Area is the documentary capitol of the world. And we can't say strongly enough how much we rely on the support and camaraderie of this astonishing community.