Sunday, December 31, 2006

Interviewing Problems and Solutions

In this month's GQ, correspondent Chris Heath gives us a delightful insight on what to do when an interview goes bad. He didn't intend for this to happen, but in his interview with De Niro he had to show us behind the scenes to explain the dearth of material.

The article really goes to show how important the relationship is between the interviewee and the interviewer. Sometimes even the best can be foiled by reluctant interviewees. Heath has guts though and presses on!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sarnoff Quote from 1950

“When Television has fulfilled its destiny, humanity’s sense of physical limitation will be swept away, and boundaries of sight and hearing will be the limits of the earth itself. With this may come a new horizon, a new philosophy, a new sense of freedom and greatest of all, perhaps a finer and broader understanding between all the people in the world.”

David Sarnoff
Chairman of the Board

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A.O. Scott in the NYTimes 11/22/06

"In narrative art, nothing is more artificial than an ending — life, after all, does go on — and Mr. Altman’s endings often serve two purposes. They bring the artifice to a dazzling pitch of virtuosity while exposing it as a glorious sham. They revel in plenitude, in throngs and spectacles, but there is a throb of emptiness, of incompletion, in the midst of the frenzy."

Monday, November 20, 2006

Aging Thoughts

From AOL Headline about lack of programming for the 40 plus age set:

"One statistic he's sure to cite: The survey found 51 percent of the postwar generation describe themselves as "open to new ideas." Meanwhile, only 12 percent of young adults think the older folks feel that way.

Why does that matter? Jones said the average media buyer or planner is under 30. Many are undoubtedly hired for their know-how in appealing to a specific generation, and it isn't the baby boomers.

"There is this huge perception versus reality situation in the marketplace," he said.

Jones is pushing the idea of a "middlescence," about 40-to-59-year-olds who don't feel young anymore but don't feel old, and have plenty of discretionary income."

I still wonder why the under 40 set is bought at $300 a minute while the older set is bought at $100. Age is so "long tail" there is more money to spend and more money to spend for a longer time.

In the world of television I would be concentrating much more on the 40 plus demographic especially as the under 40 flocks to the internet. That is not to say that the over 40 is not capable, perhaps the over 40 just doesn't spend its time investing in mindless entertainment.

This study shows what it the ongoing paradigm in TV advertising: statistics and perception really don't add up.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


"Movies can't work with the frontal lobe," says Mr. Kidd. "We can't tell the audience what to feel. We can only figure out what we want them to take away from a scene, and then use the camera to suggest where the undercurrent is going."

--NYTimes 10/25/02, Dylan Kidd

Monday, November 06, 2006

Kiki Smith in NYTimes

“Also, the hardest thing is to get past your taste — past your own formulaic way of doing things. Otherwise you’re stopped by what you know, which is limited. Chance is what a lot of artists use. In my case, I’ll arrange ways for things to be unpredictable. That’s what’s nice about working on prints. You’re working with other people so you have to let go of some of your own ideas. Almost everything I do involves collaboration.”

Kiki Smith

Critical Thinking Matters

"I am inclined to believe that the logic of images is the prime mover of constructive imagination."

Théodule-Armand Ribot
French Psychologist

Monday, October 30, 2006

Quote from Suzan-Lori Parks in the NYer

"When you wake up and look at your lover or husband, or whatever, that's a way of honoring your commitment. But then you get out of bed and say another kind of prayer when you sit down at your desk. 'Yes! I'm a writer.' When you make that commitment all sorts of things move toward you."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

From the Blog of Brown Trout

Same thing with writing. Storytelling, behind sex and food, is the third most direct way of communicating with fellow hominids. Music, dance, visual arts all follow after. When you read something that's written well, or when you hear a story told, you are living inside the author's brain. You are swimming with their soul. You are experiencing what it is to be human and alive. And let me say that I'm not talking about Tom Clancy here, or anything that is written with any consideration for a market.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Ken Burns in NYTimes

“The essential DNA of all my films issues from still photography,” Mr. Burns said. But Mr. Liebling’s influence on his work, he said, reached much deeper, to a personal and ultimately philosophical level that has guided many of his choices of subject and approach.
“It was this broadly humanistic mantra that he instilled in us,” he said, adding: “Jerry turned me and made me look inward, and it was not always a comfortable thing. I changed as a result of it. It was like molting.” He also taught, Mr. Burns said, that “all meaning accrues in duration — sometimes you have to just slow down and look.”

Kundera wrote a book about slowing down: "Slowness."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What Art Video is not

I have come to realize that so many people title video that fits nowhere else as "art video." OK, maybe so, but it usually fits in the sub category of "BAD art video."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Fair use and Copyright

The thing is about copyright is that I follow the laws as best I can but watch so many break the laws. I feel like I am missing out. I can't help but to think that all of the videos posted that use copyrighted music and materials will one day pay for their misuse. I also feel that the users who break the laws and post copyrighted material are potentially ruining the free web for the rest of us.

Don't get me wrong. The laws are ridiculous. The Constitution wanted to give protection to original work and thinkers, but it is written in such a way that eventually these products will return to the public to build upon (really, are there original ideas or just mash ups of other ideas). Congress continues to extend what constitutes public domain every few years. I don't know the truth of this, but I have heard that copyright control has been extended everything Disney's Mickey Mouse comes up to be entered into the public domain. Whatever, copyright seems to protect greed more often then fair use. BUT, I do believe in the concept. Our execution of the law has much to be desired.

Courts have begun to sue copyright breakers by fining per dub of copyright infringement. I suppose this could extend to per download. With fines, set in law at a minimum of $750 per infraction, this soon amounts to a lot of money.

The Center for Social Media has published a short document on what is their idea of fair use and appropriate use. This is not legal advice in as much as it is a guideline to help keep one from furthering the scrap in greedy pockets.

It is upon us to police ourselves and push our creativity to avoid breaking copyright laws. In the best case it helps other artists like ourselves. In the worst case it prevents the greedy from getting richer.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What are first videos

It is interesting to note (in my experience at least) that what eventually appears in most new video student work is:
1. Shots of driving
2. Shots of an eye
3. Shots of the videographers feet walking.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Deeper Meaning Usefulness

Knowledge is the recitation of fact.
If you know something you do not necessarily understand it.

Understanding is the application of these facts.
If you understand something it is not necessarily meaningful.

Meaning is the value to you or others.
If you know meaning you know something.

If videos are not meaningful I am usually quite bored.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

From 8 1/2

Is this what the web has helped to perpetuate?...
Guido's quote from Fellini's 8 1/2:

"I really have nothing to say...
...but I want to say it just the same."

But to counter this is another quote made by the critic in the movie, I believe it is quoted from Stendhal (Beyle)...

"The self-centered [person] who cherishes themself alone will end up strangling in their own emotions."

Saturday, February 25, 2006

My DV Manifesto

Digital video is democratic.
DV is not controlled by expensive equipment or programming schedules. It is free for anyone with access to a computer and a camera.

DV is beautiful.
DV is DV, not film, not Beta, let DV be bold and beautiful DV.

Access is everywhere.
DV has no barriers for distribution.

Digital video is individual.
You don’t need a large crew for your art. DV allows for the practice of solitary pursuits in a community of support.

Creation is definition.
DV aesthetic is being defined and altered as the technology changes and the medium percolates to culture. The making of DV defines DV.

Digital video is new.
The TV/film aesthetic, control, distribution, creation, and use should not apply. There are new frames, and new rules.

Friday, January 20, 2006

What will happen?

I just wrote a post in my web site: where I pine that I do not particularly like the production aspect of video. I like the edit where it is dark and lonely and it is just you and the story a cuddled up next to the glow of the computer screen.

However, I do like the production when I come home and feel that it went really well. However however, many of these times when I get to edit that particular footage it is not as good as I thought. Sometimes the opposite is true--when I get home and think the day was a disaster and then I see some really nice stuff.

I must say that both scenarios happen usually when I am shooting with a team without a monitor which I now refuse to do.

Anyway, the most detailed producer, armed with an armful of storyboards and shot lists can screw things up if they do not make themselves aware of the organics of the moment. Great things happen before or after "roll tape!" and off screen.

In documentaries it is even more so. Each of us will concentrate on the one or two needed things we need and then many cases lose really nice presents of happenstance. We return home happy that we "nailed our shot" only to find that later, in the edit, the "shot" really wasn't all that important to nail, and we missed the good parts. You change story slightly, add VOs, add emotional music and problem fixed. But the problem is not fixed for us. We watch and remember and we know what was covered up. It should make us more aware.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Thinking with Eyes

My father-in-law, who is a contractor, has been helping to renovate our bathroom, told me this in regards to the design:

...think with your eyes, not your brain.

This is so perfectly suited for so many things. Rules, theory, plans help to lay a foundation but can obscure our way. When something "looks" wrong, despite being proven by theory or rule, it probably is wrong. If it looks wrong it needs to be fixed even if it only makes our eyes feel better.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Who here really really really is annoyed with waiting for the home menu of DVDs to appear? Hello! We all are!

Even when the opening are really well done, like the open for Momento. Wow! What an opening but there are times when we want to get to the #@!! movie.

Though, it is nice to see creativity inserted in routine tasks. The movie maker (well, the DVD maker at least) forcing us to enter their mind space.

Are we to expand our minds with direct trajectories? Would we take the side paths if given an option? Usually no, and I am speaking for me.

As much as we want to bend the medium into something new, we walk in the same ways. When our paths are obstructed our usual reaction is anger or frustration.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Just read that people don't like watching talking heads...or rather when watching talking heads people soon get bored...most will start to ignore after 22 seconds. Actually I have read that people get "fatigued" with an image on screen after 7 seconds.

Warhol did a series of short films that were just shots of people's faces. I think they lasted around 3 minutes each (which is the time contained in a 100 foot 16mm film roll). These are facinating and lovely "portraits."

I don't really adhere to the quick change image rule and I think we are making people less likely to really look based on constant image change. HOWEVER the 22 seconds should be a rule to those who think that just by virtue of the camera turned on them, they are facinating. It is a subtle line between what is interesting and what is cause for wandering eyes. Sometimes this is purely based on the viewer. Sometimes it is just us.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

elusive narrative

In the NYer.."great storytelling is an alchemy of voice, tone, and point of view"...Laura Miller writing about Philip Pullman.

This is indeed for story. In video it is also place, time, and character, though these could be broken up into the former.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Expression as need

This was in the NYTimes last week:

Dr. Dan Siegel, a child psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles, was one of several speakers to emphasize how psychotherapy changes the wiring of the brain. For example, he said, brain imaging findings suggest that secure social interactions foster the integration of disparate parts of the brain.

"When I'm telling you my feelings, discussing memories, in this close relationship, I'm achieving better neurological integration," Dr. Siegel said. "I'm repairing the connections in the brain."

The thing as relevant

Connecting to or from a thing is what makes the thing something. Each connection can be random. The relevancy of this connection is what matters to the receiver. Sometimes something won’t be relevant until later. It is up to us to determine how it will be used. The subconscious may or may no take over the rest.

An idea can be shared only if the idea is “gotten.”