Project Completeness / by Daniel Stephens

It's a sublime delight when a good project finds itself in a state of completedness. Here in the world of goodfocus, we've been working almost non-stop on a project in conjunction with Cross River Productions of New York (the big city, to you and me) and the Council on Foreign Relations, also based in New York.

To say that this project has completely consumed us for the past 8 months is, quite frankly, putting it lightly. Our days and nights and all the bits in-betwixt (and there are bits in-betwixt if you look closely for them; like finding a plethora of change beneath the cushions of a well-loved couch) have been filled to overflowing with filming interviews, paper edits, online edits, music composition, graphics creation and phone conversations about such diverse topics as whether the Isle of Man is a NATO member and what is the precise boundary of the Golan Heights. We have selected scores upon scores (that's several hundred) photos from the Reuters archive to overlay into the final set of films, debated whether a specific image is too graphic, not graphic enough, too biased, not biased enough, accurately depicting the region being discussed by the interview subject, and on and on.

It has been a project of precision and accuracy (thank you Mr. Malone for teaching me the difference). It has been a project of honing and pairing down. It has been a project of completeness. And now, it is complete. And now the world feels just a little strange. Gone are the mornings of rushing into the office to continue choosing images for a film about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, or Interrogation Techniques, or Drones in Pakistan. Gone are late evenings of color-grading or map-making. Gone are the afternoons of listening again and again to the same segment of a film to make sure it truly says what is intended. Again and again. This became normal.

And now it's time to find a new normal. Now it's time to enjoy the feeling of a project completed, a job well done and the gift of new friendships garnered through the process.

And perhaps it's also time to be grateful for time.

The Council on Foreign Relations is an amazing, independent think tank founded in 1921. To learn more about the organization and the work they do, please visit