I spent the frigid cold AM tucked up snugly in the RI Historical Society's Library watching TV. I'd made an appointment to see some tapes from WJAR's archives- 50'rolls of on-the-spot news dating back to the 1950's. Of course I'd only chosen 4 out of the 50K plus reels in the collection, but they all (the index assured me) dealt with elephants and the circus.
It was a dislocating experience, since each film had to be hand-threaded and rolled through a viewing machine like an ancient editor, and the sound and pix were played separately. Made me (once again) appreciate digital technology!
Some of the footage would be a great addition to the doc- especially "Glocester Elephant- B roll" which followed the celebrations in Chepachet in 1976. But I have to tread cautiously here. The stuff will cost a fortune to obtain and license for my project. $15 a second for licensing is only a start. There are transfer fees. And shipping fees. Etc. fees- adding up to around $1500 a minute for an individual. Of course if I get a non-profit fiscal agent, that price could be adjusted at the non-profit rate, but they keep the rights... What, I must think, are my alternatives? I'm a real sucker for archival footage in films. But it has to be good, pertinent and otherwise ungettable stuff for me to shell out that kind of dough.
The morning wasn't a total bust, though. I ended up with three pages of titles of newspapers from the 1820s, which will require another trip to the vaults and a whole day to search them on microfilm. No guarantees that any of them will have covered the Chepachet goings on, but it's a start. And, of course, there are the state archives which I haven't begun to mine yet.
All of which leads to some cogitation. Should I be refocusing my project's lens? Should I really be working on all three stories, or limit the film to just one event (Chepachet) and wind all of the questions around it? In other words, have I once again bitten off more than I should chew?
Doc making requires much staring into space and running reels from my head to a blank wall. More as things unspool...