"I had to go all over the country to shoot -- Florida, North Carolina, but the bulk of it was in New York -- for about six months, and it took another six months to edit.
As director, Novak literally called the shots.
"If it's wrong, it's my fault," she said. "I interviewed every person. I'm really a writer, as well. I did the narrative. I have an outline. You never know where an interview is going to go -- and sometimes that's great -- but I would have certain areas in mind where I would try to guide an interview.
"I try to make it a conversation instead of a question-and-answer session. The dancers would really open up to me."
Novak thinks her dancing background gave her insight other dance filmmakers might lack.
"I knew what to ask because I'd performed ballet before -- not at that level -- but I've waited in the wings, waiting for my music. I suspect a lot of producers don't know ballet. You don't get the details -- are your ribbons sewn in properly? It was a lot easier, because I know the life."
Eric Himes, the editor and technical director, trimmed the raw footage to 56 minutes and 46 seconds -- "a public TV hour," she said.
Phoenix-based Arizona PBS agreed to do an initial broadcast, and it's available for satellite download across the country. Public TV stations in West Palm Beach (Caras' home) and Los Angeles have aired the film, but nothing in the Mountain State yet, despite Novak's best efforts.
"They've been notified about it. Every time I call, they have it; they're still making up their minds. It doesn't cost them anything. It's free. I'm not sure why they're digging in their heels.
"In Philadelphia, they're going to partner with the Pennsylvania Ballet," she said. "[Dancers] are going to answer the phones. They're going to run it during their pledge drive in September. I'd like to do the same thing here in West Virginia with the Charleston Ballet."
Novak's next project is another ballet film, but she said it's too early to talk about it.
"I think this will lead to more projects," she said. "I don't know ballroom dancing, I don't know hiphop. But I do know ballet."
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.