A few weeks ago, an anonymous person very thoughtfully sent me a track called NYC by Brolin. This person must know me quite well, cause the song is to my taste exactly. Not only that, but I’d been meaning to make a short film about my trip to New York (as well as the extended stay due to Hurricane Sandy), and Brolin’s minimalistic sound space and ghostly vocals gave me an atmosphere of warmth and wonder that matched my footage perfectly.
Personally, I don’t think I could ever create anything and name it NYC. It’s a city with too much depth and complexity to try encapsulating in a verse or song or moving image, then tie it up with three simple letters. I can’t wait to go back again some day to capture as much as I can.
I’m ready for the winter. To be reborn with the first snowfall that covers the grass, awash in muffled serenity.
Time is measured in weeks, not by the cycle of day and night, and this makes everything pass at a blistering pace. The good weeks involve bacon breakfasts and people bringing me food and new projects and Magic nights. The bad ones involve battles with my old arch nemesis, acne, and his side-kick, scarring-on-my-fucking-nose.
I’ve been dealing with this overwhelming sense that anything can change. So much has left me feeling like there’s no certainty anymore. Maybe that’s why I’ve stopped dreaming. I have no idea what to expect from the future, and I don’t know if that scares me or gives me hope.
To stop myself from thinking about it too much, I distract with all the right things and few of the wrong ones. It’s a fragile form of stability. Some days, the strings, they don’t do enough.
Singhouse Studios is a voice and performance school for people of all ages, and one night every year the students perform in a big show. This year, the show — titled Sparkle — was celebrity-themed, complete with a melange of hits from the last five decades, a red carpet runway for all the stars, and even Ottawa’s local pop heartthrob, Alex Lacasse.
Music by Five Stripe Studios. Adrian and I worked closely to make sure the music had the right kind of playful energy to focus on the school’s main demographic.
I was asked to create a promotional video for the studio, so I followed the performers to tell the story of their day, from the backstage to the main stage. I felt it was as important to see all the preparation as much as the performances themselves, which is why I included footage of warm-up routines, practice rituals, and dress rehearsals. I love to see the focus so many of the young performers have, and much of that comes out before they even step into the spotlight.
Two hours later, I woke up without any sense of direction.
Now I’m trying to figure out how to stay awake so I can be tired enough to fall asleep again. The fatigue isn’t enough to keep me down. I had a big breakfast, something I haven’t done in as long as I can remember, owing to the fact that they used to be the ritual of a person with weekends and a need for rituals.
At some point along the way, I realized it’s easier to take care of my friends and help them fix their problems. I can’t figure out why I’ve avoided dealing with my own, but I decided that as long as my distractions are fulfilling and healthy in themselves, there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, there’s nothing else one can do.
In turn, they’re helping me through this odd passage of time, where I find myself unsure of what to do or feel. I’ve had to open myself up to give them a chance to help me. It always leaves me vulnerable at first, but when they listen and understand and support me, all my insecurities go away. It’s a tangible love that goes far beyond words and intentions.
I’m very pleased to say that I’m now working with Five Stripe Studios, a talented boutique music composition studio, to score my films. Music is one of the most important parts of any film, and the right music can make great footage look even better.
Choosing the right music also happens to be one of the most difficult parts of the storytelling process. For one wedding, I spent a week looking for the perfect song. When I discovered it had an inappropriate line (nothing vulgar, just very unfitting for a wedding), I spent another week trying to find a replacement, but eventually went with my original choice, using audio software to take the line out.
Kyden’s First was a small project we worked on to make sure we were able to communicate effectively at different stages of the scoring process.
It made sense to find a more capable person to handle this responsibility, and I just happened to come in contact with the right person at the right time. Adrian is the creative director of Five Stripe Studios, and not only does he write the music, he sings, plays, and records it as well. I met him in Australia when we were much younger, and he contacted me after coming across my work many years later.
This not only gives me total control over the music, allowing me to choose the right instruments, tone, pace, and mood, but I have more options with the footage as well, as I sometimes found myself leaving out a great scene out to match another scene with a certain part of a song. Adrian is also a very dynamic composer, and can give me widely varying styles and genres; exactly what I need when working with all the different things I film.