A Note from Director Blake Babbitt
Spike Jonze said, “I like the idea of the documentary as a portrait. There’s not a chronological beginning, middle, and end structure. You build something in the editing room that’s shaped by getting to know the person and digging deeper, unpeeling the layers of them as you get to know them.”
Right now, my editing team and I are carefully 'unpeeling' the layers of Jenny, her life, and her contribution to this world. When Jenny died my crew and I had been following and filming her for about a year and a half. Over that period of time we accumulated over 4 Terabytes or 4,000 gigabytes of extraordinary footage. In comparison, your phone probably has 16, 32, or 64 gigabytes of storage.
Basically, we have a colossal amount of footage to sift through, organize, and carve a story from. We don’t have a script to guide us… this isn’t a narrative film, so we watch, and re-watch, and carve, and watch some more, and carve some more, and then watch again. Can it be painful, difficult, and exhausting at times to continuously watch and whittle this footage? Absolutely. Do we have to take time away from the project to decompress? Absolutely. Are there days I wish I could call Jenny up and ask her questions, opinions on the direction we’re taking, or just to say hi? Absolutely!! The bottom line is that it simply takes time to sculpt this story-it’s a journey. This is a marathon not a sprint.
In this instant gratification, 24-hour news cycle, reality TV world we live in I constantly feel the pressure to rush this process. It weighs me down at times. However, my team and I must be meticulous and precise in our “unpeeling” of the layers. We cannot rush this. Are there days I wish I had a magic button I could press that would get us to the finish line? Absolutely!
I started this film when I was 27 years old- it was a simple idea to me at the time. When all is said and done, my hairs will have substantially greyed and I will be heading towards 32, but I owe getting this thing right to Jenny, her family, myself, and to all of you. Thank you for your patience and support. One day, in the not-to-far away future, there will be an incredible and life changing film for all of you to watch. It will celebrate the life of an incredible woman, our Jenny.