Yes, I’m talking to you, that elusive folks in this realm where our digital thoughts and media and memories go float until someone stumbles into them. At first, the notion of calling the internet a Void is to deem it a dark and cold place, but I don’t think that, really. I go back and forth, but mostly, my overall opinion is that the internet is a place where the positive connections will outweigh the negative. This is why I’m here, taking the time to share a few links and things, in hopes that it will spark something to us back to our creative ways.
My wife gifted me a couple of books for our anniversary and I couldn’t be happier to get started on them. I just wrapped up Austin Kleon’s superb reference for artists Steal Like an Artist. If you need a kick up the rear to get going, this is as good as it’s going to get. What a playful, inspiring read!
I’ve shared this before, but it makes my heart soar. My brother-in-law introduced us to this Shakey Graves song when our son was a baby, and I recall playing it on those late nights when scant sleep and long days turned life upside down. My baby would dance and sway back and forth clumsily and gift us a smile. And nothing made me smile a deep smile of pride from my bones and belly and heart than that little memory.
I kind of like sharing three things. It’s short and sweet, and I’m all about saving time. Madd and I will get to podcasting this weekend, hangout with our dear friends who are here from out of town, and of course, the quest to write the latest project is underway. Using Austin Kleon’s calendar advice, I’m going to continue working on my short stories, as well as the children’s play due at the end of September for the Casper Children’s Theater. I’ll keep you posted.
It’s Friday, and burnout is our refrain as we welcome the weekend. Take care of yourself. I’ll try too.
Friday night and my remedy of choice is tequila and grapefruit juice. While it’s been a busy, intense week, I’m equal parts fulfilled and relieved. The next two days off will be chock-full of yard work, house work, creative work, and always family time (which is the ultimate remedy).
So here’s a fun writing exercise that will get the cobwebs out of your brain. I’m trying this one myself as soon as I can! Emoji Storytelling!
This NoFilmSchool article on Jon Favreau was a light treat in the middle of the week. I truly respect his work ethic and progression from humble beginnings as an improv guy to one of the best directors working today. The path of a complete, collaborative artist.
As I commit to poetry more and more this summer, I am humbled by the learning process, as well as the unforgiving, but ever rewarding journey of creative growth. I have a long way to go. For now, let’s marvel at someone who really knows what he’s doing, Mr. Billy Collins. His understated and inviting work really inspires me to do better. If you haven’t already, enjoy his reading of “The Lanyard.”
Thank you Thom for putting out the outstanding solo album, Anima. If you haven’t had a chance, please check out the sublime and kickass one reeler on Netflix by the excellent Paul Thomas Anderson and Thom. This is the type of work we need right now and the hope of the music film medium lives to another day!
The week has been scored by Sufjan Stevens’ masterpiece, Carrie & Lowell. The melancholy in my writing and journaling has found its soundtrack. This is such a jewel of a confessional album, that the grief and catharsis of such an honest work just spills into your own life and you can’t help but accept that communal heartbreak. Love every second of it and have had it on repeat nonstop.
Happy weekend, friends. Be well and make art, make haste.
The formula to something ritualistic and guttural? I don’t know for sure, but I’ve had these phrases stuck in my head for a while. I used to record and experiment plenty with sound, but I haven’t had the chance recently. I do want to lay some tracks down for a few song ideas which are going to become a narrative. I should add, most of the work I do recording demos revolves around creating a story-based songs. I love that feeling of telling a tale that unfolds like rain drops collecting as a puddle; constant, rhythmic and somewhat unfiltered. This concept I’m tinkering with may be an offshoot of a demo album I recorded long ago, called Headphone Music for Nowhere People. It feels similar, perhaps it’s because I hear electric guitar and noise which feels like it belongs in a post-apocalypse, like in that old album.
I’ve thought about recording it on my lunch hour, since I have to go home and see how the cats are doing. Recording demos is really the last thing I should be doing so it doesn’t help to try to cram it in right now. I should probably reserve my lunch time for self care and time to pause momentarily. I’m troubled by my inability to slow down. I can’t blame the coffee either. The mind just wants to race and commit every spare thought to developing a story. Perhaps I need to convince myself once again, that writing and recording is my therapy, and one that yields continuous joy.
Looking forward to one of my favorite video projects coming fast at the end of July: The Oyster Ridge Music Festival!
Truly Wyoming’s Premier Music Festival event, the great folks in Kemmerer, WY host some of the best talent from the folk and bluegrass scene nationwide, and bring them to us FREE! This will be my third year providing videography for the festival and I am just overjoyed to know such a tremendous group of people. This festival, top to bottom, is a complete labor of love. Many of the musicians I have interviewed attest it’s one of the most well-run festivals they’ve played, and time and again, I have heard them say everyone is just so nice around here. I can’t imagine a better message to send out to the rest of the country about what we’re all about in Wyoming.
This will be the 25th anniversary of the festival and I, for one, can’t wait to see this lineup live! Here’s our recap from last year which included the Grammy Award-winning Steeldrivers! Bluegrass is not my default setting, but coming to this festival and surrounding myself in the genre has really made me fall in love with it. There is an earnest quality about the music and undoubtedly an insane amount of talent.
The prep begins!
To me, Oyster Ridge is a one man band videographer’s dream. There is so much happening that without a game plan, it is bound to overwhelm. Lucky for me, I was able to pick up a few tricks from my first trip that now I can simply enjoy the process, the friendly atmosphere, as well as the incredible talent onstage.
When in doubt, I always refer to two of my great inspirations for concert films: The Santana performance in the Woodstock documentary, and Queen’s 1985 performance in Live Aid. I liken that electricity they captured to something perennial and ritualistic and ultimately so gratifying. I’m fortunate this was my introduction to their music and my cassette tape sensibility, which still guides me when it comes to video work. It’s incredibly appealing to hold the camera in my hands as I record the details around me. The imperfections of an un-cinematic zoom, or a panning shot that slightly jitters, are there to remind you there is actually someone behind the camera. I was so hesitant to give up that organic, imperfect feeling that I didn’t feel the need to own a stabilizer until recently. Maybe it’s refusing to adapt, or being honest about what works and doesn’t work for me, but no matter the project, I choose to go handheld most of the time. It’s more immediate to me. More human. That’s what I love about those live broadcasts and now hallowed concert recordings: It really felt like the folks framing the shots really were immersed and invested in what was transpiring right in front of them. I know it’s a tall order to aspire to produce a work like those epic concert films, but it’s fun to revere them and emulate them. In my own way, I want to continue to create videos that highlight the pure joy and freedom of an expertly executed performance. I don’t mean to say great artists who craft technically superb projects using stabilizers can’t connect with their subjects. As artists, we all have an approach that rings uniquely true to each of us. The tools are there for us to create an aesthetic that makes sense to us, and hopefully, will make sense to a viewer. As long as we’re pursuing to deliver something honest.
I’ve been so eager to get back to Kemmerer, I’ve gone back to last year’s footage to remind myself what I’m in for. I like to do a multi-cam setup and work the cuts to amplify the intensity of the performances. I’m moving away from Premiere as well, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to play around with DaVinci Resolve and the other alternatives. The biggest difficulty so far is getting comfortable with the color correction “nodes” in DaVinci, but in due time, I think it will get the job done for me.
Of the many performances we got last year, this closing number from Mike Mangione & the Kin was amazing. Hope you enjoy! More to come,
Please check out the Oyster Ridge site for more information! Did I mention it’s free?!
Hope America’s birthday weekend is going well for you all! Just wanted to share a few links I found illuminating and/or interesting. Also, having them here will be useful to check out later. Thanks for stopping by!
3. And this New Yorker article just turns me into a pendulum of love and hate for Instagram. I’m conflicted and I’m afraid I don’t know if IG is doing poetry good or if it even matters. Social media makes me fairly existential, if you haven’t noticed…
4. Late into Wednesday night, I had the 90s classic “Barely Breathing” on repeat and still going strong. I wondered what had been of Duncan Sheik outside of Spring Awakening. He always struck me as an incredible talent, but on a whim, I went down the youtube rabbit hole and found this performance, which really highlights his work as a songwriter of the highest caliber. Hope you enjoy as much as I did.
5. Lastly, I found this story illuminating on what’s happening to our neighbors in Gillette. About six hundred employees went in to work Monday morning and were sent home. I’ve been pondering this the entire week and I hope we can come together as a state-wide community and help any way we can.