Ellen and Robert Eliason

Longer than fifty five years together - Ellen and Bob (Ellen Easter, chemist, and Robert E. Eliason, a prominent brass instruments expert and musician) have been married for over a half a century. This 8-minute documentary, based on interviews with them individually, and full of humorous anecdotes, explores their reflections on how they have lived long, happy life together. 


Pre-Production Plan

Research

Aim:

The goal of the project is to create a short, about 10 minutes, movie about two people who has built a wonderful relationship over more than 55 years together, to show the audience an example of long-term happy togetherness and provide some hints on how they accomplish it. 

People:

Ellen, Bob (interviewees), Jim (the interviewer), Lena (camera operator).

Time:

Proposed filming days: Friday July 25, Sunday July 27. 

Lifestyle B-Roll: 3-7 daylight hours.

Duration of the interview sessions: 30 minutes each.

Location:

San Diego Downtown

Indoors: The couple’s current stay. 

Outdoors: Streets and park in the area, including the bridge. 

Materials:  Favorite things at home, printed documents, photographs. 

Outline

Bob and Ellen will answer the same questions separately, and the answers will be combined following each other for comparison in the final video, illustrated by the lifestyle images. 

Interview Questions 

  1. Please introduce yourself. 
  2. What is your most valuable accomplishments and main interests? 
  3. What do you think are the distinguishing traits of your character? 
  4. What do you cherish the most in your partner? 
  5. How did you first meet? 
  6. Was the decision to stay together well thought through? 
  7. How long have you being together and why? 
  8. What connects you both so strongly? 
  9. Is it luck that you match together so well? 
  10. Do you agree on main worldview positions?
  11. How did you deal with the worst conflicts? 
  12. Do you share your most intimate thoughts with your partner?
  13. How do you influence each other emotionally? 
  14. How is your friendship developing? 
  15. What are your happiest times together? 
  16. What are your main three pieces of advice on living happily together? 
  17. What else would you like to tell us?

Location

Concerns and resulting restrictions:

  1. A tiny place, hard to place the camera under the right angle and to place the subjects far enough from the walls.
  2. No space to position subjects, sitting opposite to each other, to appear on the screen, seemingly having a virtual dialog, without knowing it.  
  3. The background is not neutral in some places, for the B-Roll. 
  4. White painted brick walls require additional means to separate the persons with light colored hair from it. 
  5. Paintings on the background of the interview location leave only one choice of positioning the subjects. 
  6. Insufficient amount of daylight, need of additional lightning or a reflector. Diffused light from the balcony needs to be matched with LED. No place for the fill light. The large reflector disturbed the eyes of one subject.
  7. Positioning the key-light leaves very little space for the interviewer. 
  8. Loud noise from the outside air conditioning system in the next building. 
  9. Neighbours may arrive unexpectedly (warning sign). 
  10. Bob is wearing a shirt with a small pattern, which might cause distortion in image. 

Shot List

Primary:

Two interviews of each person, preferably seated on the opposite sides to create an effect of dialog when the answers are followed each other for each question. 

Secondary (B-roll):

Bob and Ellen together

  • walk on the streets, 
  • sit in park, 
  • talk to each other, 
  • do usual things (play cards, read, or watch films).

Engaging in favorite activities on their own: 

Bob:
  • playing various musical instruments, 
  • showing his publications, 
  • constructing furniture, etc. 
Ellen: 
  • researching by computer, 
  • reading a book on chemistry, 
  • showing family history documents, etc. 
Objects: 
  • Documents (filmed with various camera moves and scanned)
  • Family history albums, publications, education documents, 
  • Photographs (filmed and scanned)
    - Of Ellen and Bob: 
    before they met each other, together, demonstrating social life and main activities.
    - Of most significant people in their lives (children).
    - Of the most significant places (e.g. houses where they lived).
    - Of Things they made and love.
Things (filmed): 

Video of present real object in their lives that they like the most. 

 


A short documentary about long life together and marriage.
love, relationship, marriage, togetherness, couple, family, professionals, musician, chemist, film, short