The Destruction of a narrative, and its Reconstruction – Thu November 27, 2014

This past week I had a good meeting with my research supervisors, Dr. John Walsh and Dr. James Miller.  I got some good feedback from them on my Concept Proposal and we agreed on a completion date of April 23 for both the film and the reflexive essay.  They suggested some important historical and theoretical things, such as the need to consider the Canadian Black Civil Rights Movement in the 1970s, compared to the American Civil Rights Movement, which began earlier.  We also talked about the difference between archival material that is intentionally “lost” vs. that which is accidentally lost.

They also made some practical suggestions, such as the need for a map to help situate the story for the audience.

I also really liked their idea of considering the destruction of the historical narrative, along with the house, but the reconstruction of the narrative, when the letters were found and conserved.

With that feedback in hand, I’ve gotten into my film’s Treatment now.  I worked on the beginning of that yesterday, including the introduction of Mary Ann Shadd and her letters, up to the point where I can introduce my first interview with Maxine and Ed Robbins who talk about the demolition of the house.

With that start on the Treatment, I have also been able to start collecting and consolidating images and sound effects.  I have images of Henry Bibb, Mary Ann Shadd, and an original front cover of her book, “A Plea for Emigration”, as well as a collection of suitable images for the house that was demolished.

I made less progress on sound effects, but concluded that my sound effect for “publishing” should NOT include a typewriter, since the typewriter wasn’t yet commercially available in the early 1860s.  But now I have to think of a publishing sound that isn’t a typewriter…hmmm.  Scratching pen?

I also talked to Jenna, my pianist friend, about the music and she is going to have a look at the information I sent her last week.  Based on the voting so far, I think the majority are leaning towards “Steal Away (to Jesus).”

Finally, I followed up with Archives Ontario about an archivist who will be able to do an on-camera interview with me, and they are still tracking to find one for me.

So this coming week I will continue to work on the Treatment, and to look for sound effects and more archival images. (Part of the reason the search for images is slow is that I have to find the original source of the image, check its copyright, and add the institution or person to my list of film credits.)  If I have time, I may also see if I can find a map of the northeast U.S. and central Canada.

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