Article about my doc in this Sunday's NY Times... at DVinfo.net

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Old January 8th, 2006, 01:46 PM   #1
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Article about my doc in this Sunday's NY Times...

This is the second artcile from the NY Times, the other was the end of October and in the business section. There was also a metion in RollingStone in Decemeber and a half page story in Entertainment Weekly (King Kong issue). Most the rest of the press has been college press or local papers. Just lucky that I happen to hit on a timely topic.


ash =o)



January 8, 2006
They've Lost That MMMBop Feeling
By PETER GERSTENZANG

The pop-rock trio Hanson is finally breaking through to a grown-up audience. All it had to do was split up with a record company and go to college.

On the group's recently concluded concert tour, the band of brothers best known for the 90's hit "MMMBop" played several universities and screened its raw documentary, "Strong Enough to Break," which depicts its tribulations with its former record label, Island/Def Jam. Think of it as Hanson's version of "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," the documentary that brought the band Wilco's tribulations to a whole new audience. Except the Hanson boys come across as well-adjusted young men, not moody artistes.

When filming began, in 2001, the plan was to document the recording of the group's third CD and a tour, said the film's director, Ashley Greyson. "I thought it would be a few months of shooting," Mr. Greyson said by phone from Broken Arrow, Okla., his hometown. Instead the film took four years.

Though "Strong Enough to Break," named after a Hanson song, shows the band writing and playing adult music (and collaborating with more established musicians, like Matthew Sweet), Mr. Greyson said, it also shows the musicians coping with suggestions from Jeff Fenster, an A&R representative for Island/Def Jam. In many scenes the brothers, including the youngest, Zac, are huddled around phones as Mr. Fenster hems and haws about the group's songs and says things like, "You don't have an album."

"He's not a bad guy," Mr. Greyson said, "but he does seem to play the role of the Devil in the film."

Mr. Fenster could not be reached for comment, while Island/Def Jam had no comment.

Taylor Hanson, 22, the family's middle son and the group's keyboardist and lead singer, said he was not angry about the company or the system, just bewildered. "The business used to be about labels grooming artists they believed in, over a long period," he said by phone from Tulsa, Okla., his hometown. "Like they once did with, say, Bob Dylan. Now, you have people at record companies who don't know how to do the jobs they're supposed to do. They really don't know much about music; they're just trying to not get fired."

Since filming, the group has had reason to be more optimistic. The movie hasn't had a theatrical release, but it has been well received. New York University and the University of Southern California, Mr. Greyson's alma mater, have made the documentary part of their music-business curricula. Then there's the CD, "Underneath," which has sold 250,000 units on the band's own label, 3CG, since it came out in 2004. Finally, there's Mr. Sweet himself, who said he liked the young Hanson and who now gives the maturing band his imprimatur.

"They're eager to learn, whether it's about songwriting, or great bands like Big Star or the Velvet Underground," Mr. Sweet said, adding later, "The best compliment I can give them is this: In 30 years' time, they're still going to be around."
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Old January 8th, 2006, 02:31 PM   #2
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It's good to hear more evidence that this community is formed of people with wide experiences and increasing skills. I encourage others to post like this as inspiration. Congratulations.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 04:09 PM   #3
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good stuff ash... congrats.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 04:41 PM   #4
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Ash, I really didn't give you nearly the credit you deserved. My most humble apologies go out to you. I'm awed and inspired by your hard work and recognition. I guess since I was dealing with you the entire time you never seemed snooty, overbearing, or condescending. I usually expect that of people so far ontop of the industry. Although I haven't met that many up there, It's a generalization the bad guys seem to impose upon the good guys. Kudos to you Ash!
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Old January 17th, 2006, 08:53 PM   #5
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Ash,

Congrats on all the press coverage. That really helps to promote a video.
I think that promoting a doc can be the hardest part of production.

I was lucky to get a few newspapers and some local TV coverage for On Our Way Up.

Since I am always looking to learn more, what approach did you use to approach the media who covered your doc? I have just been sending out press releases and a finished commercial grade dvd of the show. Did you contact individual reporters or editors?

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Old February 8th, 2006, 04:47 PM   #6
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I am going to post a new thread about different avenues for getting your DOC out in the world...




ash =o)
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Old February 8th, 2006, 07:17 PM   #7
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Ash, congratulations, great clipping. I hope the doc gets widely seen and does great stuff for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Nelson
I guess since I was dealing with you the entire time you never seemed snooty, overbearing, or condescending. I usually expect that of people so far ontop of the industry. Although I haven't met that many up there, It's a generalization the bad guys seem to impose upon the good guys.
That's an interesting observation David--I felt the same way about the industry when I was starting out and I was almost shocked at how approachable and cool most people were, if approached the right way. My observation is that most of the folks who project the negative attributes you describe are doing so out of insecurity, as they are usually wannabe's trying to act like be's and thinking that's how it's done.
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Old February 8th, 2006, 09:59 PM   #8
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Right on CP.. you hit it right on with the description of 'insecurity'. in terms of on air/screen talent your theory holds true. I have alway found that the insecure actors are the hardest to work with. The true pros come in hit the mark are relaxed and easy to get along with. My personality always worked well with true professionals and conflicted with the wannabes.
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Old February 8th, 2006, 10:03 PM   #9
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I would say 75% of the people I work with now do so because of my personality and professionalism. The jerks get the press but they dont last long. There are LOTS of people who can do what I do but you can set yourself apart with the way you act, not the gear you have...



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Old February 8th, 2006, 11:18 PM   #10
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You shot that with an XL2, correct? Did you use the stock mic? Are you going to sell the DVD anytime soon?
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Old February 9th, 2006, 12:51 AM   #11
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It was shot on a hodge podge, sometimes I could not get access with a big camera. It was pre XL2, shot mainly on an XL1s, all natural light, no additional crew but me and on-camera mic.


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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:04 AM   #12
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that's just cool, getting a mention in the times. how fun to see something you did a while ago, with what is now rapidly being considered "old" technology gaining some traction. just goes to show that staying with the projects that feel meaningful in the moment can pay off...very nice.
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