Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'd rather be...

Hot summer, the air seems to buzz. There's a big pile of laundry but we are low energy. It's the slow motion time of the day. There's more work to do. But I'd rather be...anything. Let's shoot that Instant Video. Now? Where? How?

What's this song about anyway? Something to think about. Is it about neighbors? Let's shoot it between the houses. "Good fences make good neighbors," that line comes to mind.

But really... The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, the saying goes. Which seems to say that once I finally manage to hop the fence and land my feet on the other side, the patch of grass I just abandoned will only seem greener from my new vantage point.

Stay with me here while I talk this out. Therefore...our perception is unreliable. It's easy for us to envy and want what we don't have. But who is to say that we don't have the better situation right now? We are in fact already the envy of the neighborhood. We might just be where we want to be. Right? It's about appreciating the moment. Now is the time.

The song plays with that proverb but evokes a different idiom: the promise of "greener pastures." In this case, "greener pastures" can be a place or condition that is more favorable than the current situation. Our imaginations keep us going in our quest to reach the land of milk and honey. And we have to hold that illusory vision intact in order to "get there." It's like trying to protect a soap bubble while walking down a path of thorns. We must shield ourselves from the naysayers. And keep the faith. Ferociously.

Greener Grass
by Tammy Lin Foreman

There's nothing that I'd rather do
Than be true than be brave, yeah.
There's nothing that I'd rather do
Than walk tall to my grave.

And when I open up my mouth
The truth will set me free, yeah.
East, west, north and south
Lay waiting for me.

When there's a hurt in my heart
When there's a break in my stride, oh.
I never give up
There's greener grass on the other side.

And I have heard them say
Oh you'll never get there
Coz greener grass is tricky and
You can see it everywhere.

But I don't mind the look of it
As far as I can see
As long as there's green grass
I know that I can roam free.

When there's hope in my heart
When there's faith in my stride
Oh I never give up
There's greener grass on the other side.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Down and Dirty

Instant Video #30 wouldn't be the first video for this song of Tammy's.

This is flashing back a few years ago when we lived in Toronto; another late night. I was experimenting with my new editing system. I decided to make Tammy a video for a song she had just finished mixing. I was working on a National Geographic special at the time and this public domain footage literally just fell onto my lap. It was a spontaneous marriage of sound and image - so crazy it seemed to work.

I Had Hid went on to be screened in a film festival and was broadcast on national television in 2002.

I'm a bit surprised that Tammy wants to do this song again. Old feelings are brought up. But it also feels right.

It's nighttime so we have no light to work with. I thought I could stretch the "using only available light" parameters and shoot it all by candlelight. Then, I thought, what would happen if I played with the candles a bit... It kinda reminds me of the magnifying glass video.

Sepia plus the candles equals an old fashioned look. Maybe Tammy can wear an old lace dress. I want to put her on a wheeled platform and pull her through the spooky hallways of a haunted mansion led by flying candles.

Then, as quickly as it came, the inspiration turns to disgust. Take two? Really? No. I've lost faith in this idea. Flying candles? Wha?

But now I have a demo...for something. Maybe put together an Instant Video compilation reel of failed attempts. That could be funny. See! There's a reason for everything.

Try again tomorrow. The gear stays put; same location. Nothing changes, except... "All I know," Tammy says the next day, "Is that Tom Feenstra painting has to be in this one."

Pause. "Okay," I say. "I can work with that." So. Tammy puts up the painting and I focus my lens on its details... Another sudden flashback.

I have to summon a wild abandon now. I have to call up my inner giddy cameraman. He'll make some mirthful sense out of my everyday. His eye will wander off and find distraction.

It's finally uploaded now. After eight tries, I think this one will finally work. If I had to do it again. I'd make Tammy do some gardening first and then shoot the video with some mud on her hands. Close up: muddy hands on the keyboard. Get down and dirty.

I Had Hid
by Tammy Lin Foreman

You know I never meant to hurt you
And I can't believe I did
I'm sorry that all the things I just said
I had hid, I had hid, I had hid, I had hid
I did

I really should have told you sooner
Why did I wait so long?
Coz you thot that we were getting closer
But I didn't feel that strong

It was so little to me
And so big to you
I thot that you'd begin to see
But you never did see thru
I had to tell it to your face
I don't feel the same as you
And now you're gone but there's a trace
Of everything I've held on to
I had hid, I had hid, I had hid, I had hid

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Available Light

"Okay," says Tammy. "I'm ready."

She's ready, I think to myself. But I'm not. "Where are we going?" I ask. She says "I don't know. You're the director." Okay. I pause for a second while I take this in.

Let's go upstairs... The light is going fast. I get the whim to cover the camera's lens with wrapping paper lying around from Georgia's birthday party. I start taping it up and tearing holes in the paper. Tammy would have to be naked. It's a peephole idea, that's right! And for the heart, I might even be able to cut out a tiny heart-shaped hole.

But no. Nothing seems to be working out. The light is fading. We have to quit. Try again tomorrow.

The gear has been packed in the car for days now. We can shoot this guerrilla style with the battery-operated Looper. We lug the gear to Guelph and back without unpacking it. And I'm just waiting to go. Let's do it. We're late! But if it's not one thing, it's another.

It just doesn't seem to be working. It's too painful to release something to the world that I'm not so happy with. This lesson comes from having a time constraint. There is a must-upload-it-now impulse I'm starting to resist. I want to be happy. I'd rather propagate a seed with an imprint of positivity instead of stress. If I can't be happy...why do it all?

I pick out a random Angel card from the bowl on the dresser and it says "Perfectionism." Neat. I've never drawn this one before. Wait a minute! It doesn't say "Perfectionism," it says "Purification." Wow. How could I have misread that?

"Okay," says Tammy. "I'm ready."

She's ready, I think to myself. "Where are we going?" I ask. She says "You're the director, right?" Okay. I pause for a second while I take this in.

Let's go to the park. Somewhere outside. It's a beautiful spring day. And this is an outdoor set-up, we can't waste this song with an indoor concept. "What about the heart?" asks Tammy.

I click on the left-turn signal and park the van at the hardware store. I get back to the van a few minutes later with a can of red spray paint. Tammy says "I found an old temporary tattoo!" Nice! "Maybe we won't have to do the graffiti one today," I say. Put it on your right arm so we can see it when you play your guitar.

I follow my intuition and manage to get to a nice spot near the Zoo. And - what? Wow. Is that a heart on that tree? OMG. And yes, the light is changing quickly and the heart on that tree is being obscured by shadows... Available light dictates its own time-constraint.

"Okay." I'm ready. We're back again the next day. A different shot, a different attitude. Turns out, the previous videos have been dress rehearsals for the real thing. The wind picks up and adds the random element that's been missing. And finally, this sense of inner peace. This is right. I want to allow myself to get it right. Even if it takes three tries to get there.

Every Part
by Tammy Lin Foreman

I'll praise your grace
Erase your wrong
I'll wait forever
Or however long
It takes to make you feel my heart
Beating a path to your
Every part
My heart
Beating a path to your every part