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Old September 10th, 2008, 02:44 PM   #1
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story told in words and music

I can't believe it. Am I the first person to post on the forum?
Red face .... I feel like I'm opening a new bridge or something.
Anyway I was quite proud of the technique I developed to make this short film and will reveal it _if_ anyone is interested.
For the less musical viewer perhaps I should point out that the story is being told in words and music:
Take it away: Tony Kofi on Vimeo
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Old September 10th, 2008, 03:04 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
I can't believe it. Am I the first person to post on the forum?
Red face .... I feel like I'm opening a new bridge or something.
Anyway I was quite proud of the technique I developed to make this short film and will reveal it _if_ anyone is interested.
For the less musical viewer perhaps I should point out that the story is being told in words and music:
Take it away: Tony Kofi on Vimeo
Excellent stuff, Richard. Really enjoyed it. Well done! I like his message about the practice regime (a mere 8 hours a day - that must be where I went wrong:)
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Old September 10th, 2008, 03:52 PM   #3
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Really nice, very easy to watch and a truly engaging guy. I'll have to try falling from the rafters one of these days.

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Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
Anyway I was quite proud of the technique I developed to make this short film and will reveal it _if_ anyone is interested.
Take it away: Tony Kofi on Vimeo
Ok, so about your technique - are you referring to the way he looks right at the camera? It looks like a version of Errol Morris' Interrotron contraption. I've always liked that look...
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Old September 10th, 2008, 04:27 PM   #4
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Nice piece Richard. Lovely lighting, good pacing, great subject. Bravo.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 06:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
... the technique I developed to make this short film and will reveal it _if_ anyone is interested ...
Nicely done! Enjoyed that. So let us in on the technique, I'm curious.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 11:00 PM   #6
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Very relaxed and comfortable interview. Love the lighting on the saxophone. Nice work.

I'm also interested in the "secret" technique.

What's up?
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Old September 11th, 2008, 04:38 AM   #7
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Thank guys! I'm glad you all like it.

So, for the secret technique ;-)
He is telling the story in words and music. So which comes first?
The thing about Jazz is that it is improvised, so Tony can literally play the story in the same way that he tells it.
Initially I had expected to keep the interview and music separate but then I thought that perhaps I could interweave the two and tell the story in words and music simultaneously. I had noticed that a lot of his music is autobiographical. But how to do that?

I don't know if it's apparent but it is scripted.
The way I developed the script was as follows.
I did my research and identified Tony as a possible subject.
We met in a cafe and Tony told me his story. He's a great raconteur.
If I could have captured that spontaneity I would really have had something better because it's never quite the same the second time around.
In fact I did try not to go into too much detail in order to keep it as fresh as possible.

We then met in a studio and I filmed Tony telling the story.
My idea was to cut this up, assemble the edit, show that to him, let him compose the music in his head and then meet and record the music.
But the story didn't really work as well as it did the first time round in the cafe. Too many deviations and embellishments, perhaps because it was a performance to camera.

I decided to be completely ruthless with that edit, cut what I felt was the strongest trajectory for the story regardless of what it looked or sounded like and assembled it onto the timeline.
I left what I hoped was enough space at the appropriate points for Tony to interweave the music.
I sent this to Tony for him to look at. It was a series of jump cuts. Sometimes short sequences. With space in between. That was a risk. Many people would have gone pale looking at such a mess but he was OK with it.

This skeleton therefore became the script.
I met with Tony to re-record the interview and to record the music.
I ran the skeleton off a laptop and we recorded all the sequences where Tony is talking to camera.
There was a certain amount of acting involved on Tony's part and a certain amount of directing involved on my part so we were both in new territory. It took the best part of four hours to get this done.
When we had got these sequences in the can, so to speak, we recorded the music in one take.
He's a fantastic musician. It was a bit like being with an Olympic sprinter getting ready to race. He got himself into his focus zone and just went for it.
I had incorporated visual timers into the skeleton giving 5 second lead ins for each sequence so that he could watch this and see in advance which part of the story was coming up next and play his music accordingly. If you know this beforehand you can tell once or twice that he is looking at the laptop for his cue.
Amazingly this all pretty much fitted together as planned!
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Last edited by Richard Gooderick; September 11th, 2008 at 10:50 AM. Reason: typo
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Old September 11th, 2008, 07:29 AM   #8
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Fascinating process! Inspires me to try something similar...
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Old September 13th, 2008, 03:25 AM   #9
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Fascinating process! Inspires me to try something similar...
Hey Brian. That's great. I hope it's useful for you. If it works out OK I'd love to see the result.
Lots of luck with it!
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