In our office is a forty foot long, eight foot high, white sheetrock wall on which the film is being storyboarded.
A month ago or so, we began bringing visitors in to see the wall, currently filled with the Battle of Gettysburg section. While we expected a reaction to the accumulated images, we did not expect the response from the array of grainy photocopies to be so emotional. Some have been moved to tears standing before the wall. This speaks to the fundamental power of the story of the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Regiment and why we are making this film.
To build the storyboard, the film was divided into ten sections. Then, Bill Semans, the director, wrote a scratch narration for each section. Next, with the help of David Swirnoff, our Director of Research, Bill identified the images fitting the narration and pinned them in order, usually in columns of 10 or so, on the wall. These images were chosen from the thousands uncovered during the research phase.
Once a section was completed the images were taken down, photographed in order, and transferred to the editor’s computer in preparation for the next phase. Tom Wilbur, who edited several of the documentaries produced by Bill Semans and myself, will edit the film.
Our production office is located in the Casket Arts Building in NE Minneapolis which was built in 1888 and, up until fifteen years ago, was still in operation as a casket manufacturer. The building is now filled with artists of all types and pulses with energy.
To get to our quarters in the basement you walk down a flight of worn wooden plank steps they are troughed in the middle, through a stone arch doorway, and then down stone and brick lined hallways to LL4, home of First Minnesota Films. Our area is lovingly referred to as “the dungeon.”