Here is the status update on the project:
1) I spent a couple of full days last week working out the basic story for the piece. Good dramatic story is driven by conflicts, and the contrast and revelations that those conflicts lend. I started with a bottom up approach, breaking down each main character's story by the conflicts within each. They could be minor conflicts, like the conflict of "trying to get a photo vs. trying to be friendly" or more philosophical conflicts, like "independence vs. dependance". After breaking down each character individually, based on actual footage and independent of whatever preconceived ideas I had during production, I was able to match the common themes that characters had with each other. Also, this provided a very concrete rule to re-evaluate the main theme explored by the film and measure the importance of each character's story to furthering the theme. I'm really excited to have this done, because it will act as the guide throughout the rest of the project to evaluate each choice moving forward. If it serves the theme SAVE IT, if it is interesting but doesn't amplify or further the story, CUT IT! Also, these will character/story thread "cheat sheets." So after another month of editing, when everything seems dull, I can glance back at them for fresh ideas of how to bring interest to the story.
2) In addition I finished all the footage review and footage conversion. And also downloaded some software called PluralEyes which auto-syncs dual system audio with scratch audio from the camera (sorry that was really technical!) But, basically it's a big time saver that prevents the grueling task of trying to manually sync audio from a recording device with the picture from the camera. So, I'm stoked about that!
3) Next step is to set up the master Final Cut file and sync all the audio and video. Then, with the technical issues out of the way and a really solid road map for the story, I'm finally ready to cut celluloid!