Sunday, August 24, 2008
While I've been posting the Frugal Traveler episodes here, I've been posting the "On Par" series over on my other blog, Actualities. It's a series about golf.
I wouldn't call it documentary in style. On the other hand, I've been learning a lot that applies to documentary production while working on it: it's a two camera shoot in natural light, done fairly quickly (have to get out of the way to the other golfers, after all) and with just a few takes possible. You have to establish a setting, a situation and a problem to solve, solve that (and lead into a lesson) and do it all in (usually) 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
In any case, there are about 16 episodes now (I've been involved in about 3/4 of those, approximately), so check out the playlist. They're made in a fun style, so you might like them even if you aren't a golfer.....
Saturday, August 23, 2008
When I said the Frugal Traveler series was wrapping up on Wednesday, it was because I thought the "looking back" episode was running then. Which is why I was frantically editing it on Tuesday. About 10 p.m. I found out it wasn't running yet.
Which is fine, and sometimes that's how editing goes. There's a very strange relationship between deadlines, non-deadlines, and the decision-making process in any work. It's particularly a keenly felt thing in those pieces with a tight (or nearly-impossible) deadline.
Walter Murch, in talking about the editing process on "Apocalypse Now" calculated that all the work and hand-wringing and thinking resulted in an average of one edit per day. That won't fly in most types of work, and there's a fast collapse of the infinite possibilities that exist at the beginning of the process. Sometimes there's a keen awareness that decisions need to be made, they can't endlessly be reversed, and the piece has to move toward completion somehow.
I once had a professor who had been a classical music composer. He told the story of how he felt every piece he had composed had started as a masterpiece, and with one decision somewhere in the process it had changed and missed that mark. That's probably true.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
First, happy birthday to Photography. Today marks the 169th anniversary of the announcement of the invention of Photography. (Of course, I prefer to think of the creation of the first photograph in 1826 as the beginning, but the 1839 announcement really marks the date when the world noticed.)
Second, two years ago I started this blog with a post on Beginnings and Endings. I'm now thinking of ways to improve it, ending the old model and moving toward a new one.
Third, I'm increasingly aware that the term "blog" is actually 'blog -- as in short for Web Log -- and has in fact not really matured from that role. Initially the idea was to post a record of your "interesting" journey to Web sites -- what you read and what you thought of it -- and now the unfortunate state is that there's little unique content being posted. It's mostly links to large news sources -- the same ones people call "dinosaurs" in favor of blogs -- and at best a comment. That's kind of pointless. Blournals -- 'bjournals or Web Journals -- are increasingly pointless as well. I follow a few, mostly of authors or photographers I like. 9 out of 10 posts are trivia, so I wait for that 10th and hope the content is worth it.
So what model is worth following? Magazine? Channel? Daily Photo?
Monday, August 18, 2008
My latest edit -- an episode of the "On Par" series called Child's Play -- is currently on the front page of The New York Times.
You may have noticed I've been posting YouTube versions of some of the edits I've worked on for NYT. (I've been posting Frugal Traveler episodes here, and On Par episodes on my other blog, Actualities.) Well, why is that?
The NYT now has a YouTube Channel. Which I think is great, since there were bootleg versions of the pieces going there previously in any case -- even some recorded off the computer screen. It seems better to have authentic versions, with ways for the folks who watch them to find more.
There's also an article on how other media companies are addressing the YouTube User issue:
Some Media Companies Choose to Profit From Pirated YouTube Clips
"After years of regarding pirated video on YouTube as a threat, some major media companies are having a change of heart, treating it instead as an advertising opportunity.
In the last few months, CBS, Universal Music, Lionsgate, Electronic Arts and other companies have stopped prodding YouTube to remove unauthorized clips of their movies, music videos and other content and started selling advertising against them."
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I'll never be a television personality, of course, but I did learn one thing in this week's taping: I can hit most of my lines in one take.
Except, of course, my name, which apparently I cannot say correctly.
This week I spent two days helping with a video about photography. I dragged in a set of lenses -- a 20mm f/1.8, 24mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.4, and a 90mm f/2.8 -- and a couple of camera bodies, a meter, a monopod and a few other accessories. I was ready to talk about Photography, capital P.
Then they put peach-colored makeup on me, heavy like cake icing. Then they put product in my hair, and then decided how many buttons I should have unbuttoned. Then they told me where to sit, how to say my name, and which way I should look.
Because the important thing in video is sincerity.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
We're nearing the second anniversary of this blog, so it's time for a redesign, and maybe a bit of rethinking about content. I'm helping with a video about digital photography this week, so I've been thinking a bit about how people use photography, how it fits in, and how it might continue its evolution.
Above: a trapeze shot from Wednesday.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
If you happen to be in Prizren, Kosovo, please attend today's screening of the International Documentary Challenge films at Dokufest International Documentary and Short Film Festival.
Our short film is listed as:
Bend & Bow
Natalia Paruz reveals the moment that changed her life and how she became known as the "Saw Lady" to millions of New York subway riders.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008
Back in 2002 my short documentary film "Larry in Relation to the Ground" screened at Antimatter Underground Film Festival. The next year I showed another short there, also. I wasn't able to go, either year, but watching from afar my sense was that this was an excellent festival: a great audience, excellent and edgy programming, and a fantastic location. I even loved the posters they put out for the fest.
So yesterday I was very happy to receive this email:
"We are pleased to inform you that your entry Notebook on Santas & Elves has been selected for screening at the 11th annual Antimatter Underground Film Festival, September 19 to 27, 2008 in Victoria, BC, Canada.Since I have to make two other trips this fall, I doubt I'll be able to fly to Victoria. It's an expensive trip from New York. Still....
Thank you for your patience. We have viewed a record number of high quality works from around the globe and selected an impressive range of films from our open call to screen at the festival. The ratio of work selected to work submitted was approximately 1 in 8. We'd like to take this time to thank you for your vision and perseverance as makers of this extraordinary medium, and for allowing us the honour to view and screen it."
If only there was some show I could watch about ways to travel without spending too much....