Sep 16

caleClose to 20,000 bike riders participate in Ragbrai. So how did we find our subjects? Before I was brought on board, Susie & Talia two of the producers on the project had already launched into the search for subjects . They were given access to the list of 10,000 “official” riders who had signed up with the Iowa Register for the ride. (Because of carla5certain legal restrictions due to safety, etc. only 10,000 riders are officially allowed to participate Ragbrai. The remainder of the riders participate “off the record”).

The producer’s sent an e-mail out to all the official riders asking them if chris3they would be willing to participate in the documentary. Those riders who expressed interest in being in the documentary were then sent a basic questionnaire and asked to complete it. From the questionnaire, Talia and Susie narrowed the thousand plus submissions down to 150. They sent me the list of their top 150 choices. I looked themeric-in-green-shirt-23 over and put in my two cents.

I had learnt that there were “types” of riders, so I wanted to make sure that we were “representing” the breadth of unique Ragbrai riders. The types we pinpointed were: people who ride in teams and participate for james-3_3the team dynamic, party goers who are into the party aspect of the ride, people riding for a cause and people riding for the athletic challenge.

Crazy as it sounds, for me, each of my productions is a search for knowledge and understanding. I enter into a shoot as much from a place ray7of “not knowing” as “knowing”. I’ve discovered there is always something to learn from the subjects of my films, whether they be a fictional character born of my or someone else’s imagination or whether they be real people like the subjects of this documentary. So in my selection, I made an effort to choose people who I thought would be engaging and angela_2compelling knowing that whoever we chose, we were to find that if we could capture “who they really are” their stories would be compelling and engaging.

If any of you are familiar with my work, you know that I am very curious lanceabout how people engage with their lives. I want to discover as the cliche goes, “what makes them tick”. So I knew I was going to have lots of fun getting to know these people. (The risk of course, was that they wouldn’t want to be revealed. And as it turns out, this was a challenge since they were in a sense trying to escape their lives during the ride.)

chau-and-charlieI made my recommendations, but the final decision on who would be in the documentary was in the producers’ hands.

Ultimately, we arrived at an interesting and diverse cast of riders and as it turns out they were full of surprises and I learned a lot from them!

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