FaCTOr June 2010
A Conversation with
Sir George Martin Howard Bloom Creating a (r)evolution
How the Digital World Affects Music
What makes it Art?
DA Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus
Dreaming a Perfect World by Michael Caporale
A Letter from the Art Director
When Steve Zuckerman and I began talking about the concept of a digital publication, I was convinced we could reach out to the sleeping public, tap them on the shoulder, and deliver a message of truth. But quickly my brain corrected me and said, “What is true for one person, may not be true for the next.” I personally would like to see this “magazine” evolve into a journal. A journal of artists, innovators, inventors, musicians, comedians, writers, educators, entreprenuers, and activists. We will leave it up to you, the reader, to decide what is truth. We only hope to bring you a valuable perspective from professionals who have experienced lives many can only imagine. A few words from the wise who are XFactors of their own time, and who have empowered change for the better. In this world of instant gratification, shorter attention spans, and abundant gossip, the XFactor is designed to eliminate the “noise” and bring you symphonies that serenade the pages. My father, Scott W. Tarr, once told me that, “The first key to being a good singer, is liking your own voice.” I find this to be a key in many aspects of art and music, or any personal dream, because passion and confidence is what gives a person the stamina to fail -- until they someday succeed. The only question left to ask is what would I do with that success? Or maybe the better question becomes, “What is success?” I suppose for me, success is simply a matter of pious perspective. Peace to you, Brian S. Tarr
Send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: What is Success?
in This issue Pete Townshend on Digital
Dreaming a Perfect World by Michael Caporale
A Conversation with Sir George Martin
Creating a (r)evolution by Howard Bloom
DA Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus What is Art?
Beyond every barrier of limited possibilities, lives the essence of unlimited dreams. The Xfactor, is the tippingpg 19 point at which all those dreams become possible. pg 34
XFACTOR IS A PUBLICATION OF THE NEXT-GEN-EXPO. NO PART OF THIS MAY BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT THE PUBLISHERS WRITTEN PERMISSION. (c) 2010 contact the publisher: email@example.com
Publisher/ Producer Steven Zuckerman Art Director/ Layout Brian S. Tarr w w w . n e x t - g e n - e x p o . c o m
“In the next couple of months... the whole thing’s going to turn upside down. This is a prediction from me. From now on, the whole thing is all going to be movies. Music is going to disappear. Everybody is going to become a filmmaker. You know, anybody that’s got an I-Mac, they’re away. They’re going to be making movies. A musician today has to be so visually oriented. So, you know, there’s going to be an explosion of that. My kid, Joseph, got an I-Mac for Christmas. He’s ten. He made his first proper skateboard movie.”
How the Digital World Affects Music Steve Zuckerman
A Conversation with
You’ve talked a lot also about music being a communal experience. Do you think that might detract from that part of the experience if people can sit home and watch it on their computer?
activities on. For new artists, it’s a direct line to the general mass of the population so they can get some early response to their finished work.
In the next couple of months ... the whole thing’s going to turn upside down. This is a prediction from me. From now on, the whole thing is all going to be movies. Music is going to disappear. Everybody is going to become a filmmaker.
We feared this with video. And what has it done? The video and the DVD revolutions reinvigorated cinema going. It will do exactly the same to music and the concert experience. How can it do anything else? There are people in South America and China and Chechnya and Australia and Japan and various other places who will never, ever see a Who concert because we ain’t going to go there. They will be able to experience the next best thing. And if they love it so much, then they can get on a plane and they can come and see the real thing. Why do we want to gather, anyway? We want to gather because when we’re together, something different happens than when we’re on our own. Somebody was saying to me the other day that now they actually much prefer to sit watching TV with a bunch of people in a room than on their own. “Here’s the video, put it in the machine, everybody ready? Go.” And then when somebody wants to go to the bathroom, you pause it until they come back. That’s very different from the idea that the TV program is passing in time and if you don’t get it, you miss it. So, we value our communal experience now even in our own living rooms. We have different choices. So, overall... do you think the Internet is a friend to the music industry?
The Internet is definitely a friend to the music industry in so many different ways. The growing new Internet companies need established artists like me to focus their
You know, anybody that’s got an I-Mac, they’re away. They’re going to be making movies. A musician today has to be so visually oriented. So, you know, there’s going to be an explosion of that. My kid, Joseph, got an I-Mac for Christmas. He’s ten. He made his first proper skateboard movie. Because one of the great things that’s focused the film industry and the music industry has been standards. If you want to write a great poem, you have to use words, you know? If you want to make a great Hollywood movie, as often as not, you have to start with 35-millimeter film. This is what we’re used to. And I know that’s changing as we speak. But, you know, there’s still a great way to make a good sounding record without computers. Tom Waits and Carlos Santana and people like this are still selling lots of albums and getting a lot of acclaim working on 16 track analog tape machines. You know? And I still pick up a guitar. That hasn’t changed in 1,000 years. These things have helped us create standards. So, something about the speed at which the Internet changes, it may create lots of crashing surf. Sometimes we feel like we’re going backwards, but in actual fact, really will be moving forwards.
“The audience got up and walked out. They all got up and walked out. And a couple that remained, remained only to heckle, to say why would anybody want to do that?” When you want knowledge you go to libraries. When you want specialized knowledge you become a student and you go to a professor. And a professor at university, as anybody who’s done a degree will tell you, is just somebody who knows where the books are. For a musician, the idea that somebody can get at my music, you know, can discover my music by accident. That’s a good feeling. Until ten years ago, very few people were actually even thinking that way. And I’ve read things where you’re referred to as a visionary and saying you predicted the Internet. Why do you think your mind was going in that direction so many years ago?
I think it was partly the way I was trained. I was taught at art college by a man called Roy Ascot. And the principle of his course was based in cybernetic theory. The word cybernetics was invented in ‘56 to talk about the relationship that man had with machines. One of the other lecturers was a guy called Harold Cohen, who to this day is still using quite simple computers to do line drawings. And Roy’s course now, for his students today, is equally out there. If you read his course materials for today, it’s about people thinking things and then they appear. He’s talking about gene splicing and DNA connections as part of the artistic process. What do you predict for the future?
It’s not quite as easy to make predictions now, you know, and I don’t think I did make predictions. I wrote a fictional story. The one thing I did predict, which really went down very, very badly, In 1985, just before the Internet became established, I did a lecture at the Royal College of Arts. It’s the only one I’ve ever done.
I did a couple of art schools in the late 60s and early 70s. Brian Eno attended one of those and was inspired by to become a musician. At this particular lecture in ‘85 -- it might have been later than that actually. It may have been in the late 80s, early 90s. I said that music would be sold down telephone lines. The audience got up and walked out. They all got up and walked out. And a couple that remained, remained only to heckle, to say why would anybody want to do that? You know, I certainly realize we’re dealing with all these people that saw a future for themselves living off album covers and CD covers, and they were terrified that they were never going to be required to do art again. And I tried to explain that there would be a really rich playground for people on the Internet who were artists and graphic artists, but that’s the last prediction I made, and that, of course, has happened. And I now see the Internet as being -- somebody was bemoaning the collapse of the library system for books. And that act of librianship is a great responsibility. And that’s the future is that academics that we trust can coagulate stuff into groups. But we also have to establish pathways to it. Just as you need to go to this library and get this book, you can go and look in that library and see what you can find. It’s great to have the resources and the support of a company like MCY. In these days, why should I go -- I’m not saying that I won’t ... never say never -- but why should I go and hock myself into a huge corporation like Warner Brothers, or DreamWorks, or somebody or other, that may get bought up by another huge corporation, who sack all the people that I first met in the first place? When I was doing “Iron Giant,” with Warner Brothers, the people in charge of the company and the line producers changed five times! Five times. So every time it was like a new group of people to deal with. The project remained, but the people changed.
But, the Internet part of it came just because I wanted to connect everybody together. I saw them all I this place where they were getting all these lifetimes of experience, which I think actually, to some extent, is happening to us today. You know, we can’t keep up with the barrage of information that technology is serving to us. It’s quite frightening sometimes to think, “Oh, I’m missing out on something.” We desperately want to keep up. You know, it’s hard for us to stay out of it. In some ways we’re told that if we specialize too much, we’re missing the big picture. In order to paint that picture, we have to work very, very hard. But it was the connecting up with these individuals for the simple reason I wanted them all to feel like they were at a rock concert. So I invented this network and then thought, “Well, why would they be on the network in the first place? They would be on the network place because they wanted to be part of this universal experience grid. Why are they there? Because they’re living lifetimes. Why are they living lifetimes? Because it’s possible. And that was it. I just happened on it. I think the Internet side of it was not something I foresaw. You know what’s interesting though? The guy who taught me at Ealing Art College, Dr. Roy Ascot did, and his predictions now about art and popular culture in the course that he’s now doing are just equally off the wall. ‘Cause when I was at art school, he was talking a lot about cybernetics, about computers. This is before the first computer had even been invented. So I was exposed to all that stuff when I was 16 or 17. So, I had a sense of what was going to happen. It wasn’t that important to me. What was important to me was the feeling that I’d get when you’d look at the audience and you’d look at their faces and you’d realize that they were experiencing something transcendental, listening to the fucking oracle Who. Could you comment a little bit about you songwriting method?
When I sit to write a song, I can come at it from a number of different ways. But I know that what I’m doing actually is what we call channeling. You know, I went to John Entwhistle’s the other day to do some checking on the live Who tracks that we recorded in Chicago. I realized I hadn’t been to John’s house for 18 years. : What’s different now is he’s got his own streetlights. Apart from that it’s all the same. Oh, yes, he’s got 42 rotweillers. But what was really interesting about that for me is that I had to go into his studio and I had to do a bit of singing. When you sing, you kind of test the room. That’s the first thing you do. Everybody who sings, records, whatever, you open up these little doors to see if it’s safe. If it’s not safe, you just perform, and what you do is a very big, mechanical performance. But if it’s safe, you open them up and you stand there slightly feeling naked, and what happens is the stuff starts to come through and that’s very weird to me. And I’m not saying that other people come and play my fingers, but you definitely feel that you’re channeling energy in a much more direct and pure way. At John’s studio, it’s much better. I haven’t been to his house for a long time. I felt immediately comfortable. Obviously because John Entwhistle is my oldest friend, I’m completely safe in his space. But I just noted, “Well, fuck, this is so interesting. I feel so completely, utterly safe. That first idea, that first moment, that first point at which you discover what it is that is going to be the engine, the purpose the reason for writing the song ... I mean I know this makes me sound like I’m trying to be some great composer, but I’m talking about writing something like “Love Ain’t for Keeping.” What is it that actually triggers it? What is it that makes the reason for writing it? What inspires it? What triggers it? It could be a chord. It could be a feeling. It could be a mood. Try to link that moment, get that from you at a particular point in time. What I need to look at is your metabolism and biology and electro energy, and feed that back to you so you could actually see yourself and then trust me enough that we can then go on to a slightly more satisfying thing. I don’t mean that I’m being like a medium. I mean, for example, you and I can chuck data into a computer program. There are about four or five available today that, if we get the algorhythm right, it will produce music. Brian Eno’s done it and a couple of American rock bands. Todd Rundgren has done it. There are people have done it.
GStar Motion Picture Studio Be a Part of it.
ocT16 t 17 wesT Palm beach, FL 8
Dreaming a Perfect World A Wishlist for 24P Digital Cinema “Nothing can be more important a calling than to share in the collective consciousness through the passing of stories.” By Michael
Anyone who has experienced the writings of Joseph Campbell will understand what I mean when I say that stories shape culture. Who we are and what we will become, how we relate to each other and our environment, our morals and values, sympathies and allegiances… all are shaped by the stories that we tell and pass on to future generations. Nothing can be more important a calling than to share in the collective consciousness through the passing of stories. Native cultures and the many indigenous peoples of this planet, mostly in what we refer to as 3rd world countries, still partake in that tradition through oral storytelling, poetry and song. The folk traditions of our own great nation are based on the same patterns of influence and have shaped our culture through the same oral practices. Today, as an extension of those oral traditions, and in light of the diminished contact our youth have with grandparents, parents, civic and religious leaders, authors and philosophers, we have replaced our formative stories, originally told to educate and mold character, with other stories formed and told by large media corporations for profit. These new stories communicate only fantasy and do little more than create unrealistic expectations concerning relationships, molding egocentric values, rooted in winning largely through violence and the exercise of power, the control and suppression of others and taking little account of cooperative lifestyles based on community and sharing, values of love and compassion. The stories I speak of are not limited to the banal sexual banter of the many sitcoms that proliferate primetime television, or the action adventure formulas prescribed by the market research arms of the mega-studios for multimillion dollar profits, but include also the spin controlled doctrines handed t o and repeated by the media from our government and corporate leaders. These stories are designed to impede participation in the democratic process through obfuscation, confusion, and falsehood. They create a false sense of participation by aligning our values and goals with those who seek control over us for nothing more than profit. When an egocentric culture is trained to think little of the consequence of actions on others, when profits are the central motivating force, when the exercise of power is defined as the domination of others, can war, environmental devastation and financial ruin be far behind? In the ultimate irony, those same corporations that promote egocentrism have methodically pillaged Joseph Campbell’s comprehensive analysis of story structure to their own ends, utilizing the universal principles of storytelling he has discovered in the most Machiavellian way, furthering a cause diametrically opposed to the values represented in those orginal stories.
Witness: “IRVINE (CONT’D) --and after much careful and calm meditation, The class has refused to advise alteration, In the usual law that is called gravitation, Though we had thought at one time of having it stopped, In order that some of us might not be dropped; But the mind of man, perhaps, will be gratified, To learn that at last the law has been ratified, And the common result may be counted on still—(pauses for breath) All rivers, as usual, flowing downhill; The seasons, in turn, will continue to roll, We shall ask for no change in the North and South poles; The sun will continue to set in the west, The majority of us decided it best; We disclaim all intention of making a change, In what we esteem, on the whole, well arranged!” Now, if this doesn’t quite do it for you, then you really need to see what it can do in the hands of a superb actor such as John Hurt. It becomes a truly remarkable statement of intent as we laugh our way into the body of the film. “Heaven’s Gate”, a fictionalized story based on the Johnson County Wars is a story of class struggle and westward expansion. This excerpted bit of dialogue of Frank Canton played by Sam Waterston, delivered to the Wyoming Stock Growers Association sets the tone. --These immigrants only call themselves settlers, but we know them personally to be thieves and anarchists openly preying on our ranges. There isn’t a single jury of their peers that will indict them—even in the face of evidence as conclusive as any ever submitted in a court of justice! …out of 180 indictments we have had one conviction in four years! That man was caught with the hide and bones of the stolen animal. He was found guilty of stealing the hide and bones only, which was valued at eighteen dollars—making his crime petty larceny! Consequently, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association will now publicly wipe out these thieves and anarchists. We are employing fifty men on the basis of five dollars a day and fifty dollars for every man shot or hung. We will first go to Johnson County and depose the incompetent civil authorities and keep possession of the town there until we can take charge of the courts! We have placed one hundred and twenty five names on a Death List.
I had a very satisfactory talk with the governor yesterday. He asserted in the most positive way his whole-hearted support, as well as that of the Senate and The House of Representatives of these United States! If we fail, the flag of the United States fails. That’s all I’m going to say before we ask every member to endorse the general plan of the campaign. We will call the roll and take a voice vote.” Canton and his vigilantes head for the small settlement of “Sweetwater” where they will attempt to assassinate the cattle rustlers and the others who trade with them. But, surprise!!! These cattle rustlers are like no others that we have ever seen before. They are not the well-groomed, pistol-packing, horse-riding, money-grubbing bad guys of the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry tradition, but are of the pitiful-starving-feed-the-family, Jewish, Slavic, Irish, Germanic immigrants variety who resort to stealing an occasional cow for survival and trading cattle to the local prostitutes for services rendered. Isabelle Huppert, who plays the local madame is one of those marked for death on the list of 125 people. Her performance as the kindhearted hooker, in love with the local Marshall (Kristofferson), is truly sublime. Together, with Kristofferson, she renders what must be one of the most truly complex and utterly romantic scenes ever captured on film. Vilmos Zigmond, director of photography, is masterful as ever. The cast is perfection. The attention to detail—costuming, sets, props—is impeccable. Cimino is nothing short of brilliant, both as a writer and director. The music is both enchanting and haunting.
And in a little known fact, even the Key Grip, Dickie Deats, rose to new heights, being the only grip in the history of motion pictures to receive an academy award (for technical achievement) for his invention of the “Little-Big Crane”, the first portable crane to be used in film production.
So why did this movie go darkly into the vault of obscurity? Was Cimino too “God-like” and not enough “Jesus-like”. After all, he spent $40million of OPM (other people’s money) and took dictatorial control, shepherding a pristine political indictment to the premultiplex screens of “It-can’t-happen-here” AmeriKa. I mean, it wasn’t exactly Liz Taylor and Richard Burton in “Cleopatra” now was it?
The chief of police insists only rebels and rebel sympathizers are being killed in Colombia’s ongoing civil war. But when traveling with the police while they’re on patrol, Shah discovers that they are doing little or nothing to crack down on the paramilitaries.”
But, hey it’s all fiction anyway. It’s not the truth…or is it?
Who’s Who in the Pipeline War in Colombia How guerrillas, paramilitiaries, the national police and the army all wage battle over Colombia’s top export product ...
Last night, I was struck by a PBS Frontline story, titled “Pipeline” by reporter Saira Shah and it’s similarities to “Heaven’s Gate” Much like the rail that created westward expansion, the hump of the pipeline that transgresses Columbia is attacked by rebels (indigenous people-translate Indians) and severed in many places. A paramilitary has been formed (translate vigilantes) by the local wealthy to assassinate local civic leaders and they have published a death list that, coincidentally includes, among others, local prostitutes.
http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/colombia/ The only certain impediment to knowledge is belief. To have a belief system is to abandon the search. If knowledge and truth lead to wisdom, then where does a belief system lead? Here in the United States, we, through our media, define truth legalistically as an absolute that can be proven. This is our belief system. That which can be proven is truth and can be acted upon. That which cannot be proven is not truth (perhaps it is fiction) and cannot be acted upon.
The following excerpt is taken from the PBS website, the bold areas are highlighted by me. “This area was peaceful until the pipeline was built. The oil attracts rebels, who intimidate villagers and extort money from the construction companies who make the constant repairs. In the town of Aruaca, the drinking water is contaminated by the oil spills, and the mayor must travel in a bulletproof car surrounded by armed bodyguards.
In a nation that lacks knowledge, a belief system is an even larger impediment to an understanding of truth.
Shah tries to make contact with the leftist rebels, but they only reply in a written communiqué, saying they oppose exploitation of Colombia’s oil resources by foreign multinationals. The rebels refuse to answer Shah’s questions about how they use oil money to finance their war against the government. To the south, in a town called Barranca, is the country’s largest oil refinery. Rebels controlled the town for years. But a shadowy force of right–wing paramilitaries has driven them out. “Oil should have brought riches to the people of Barranca,” says Shah. “Instead it’s brought fear and death.” Originally organized by wealthy landowners to protect their business interests, the paramilitaries are now a force of their own. They are conducting what they call “social cleaning” –– eliminating from the area anyone they don’t like –– human rights activists, prostitutes, union organizers, homosexuals. In the local paper, Shah finds a death list of some 30 people wanted dead, including Francisco José Campo, a member of CREDHOS (Corporacíon Regional para la Defensa los Derechos Humanos), a human rights organization. Campo tells Shah “about 400 people have been assassinated in the last six months” in Barranca.
The many assassinations --JFK, RFK, MLK, Chappaquiddick, Reagan attempted, Ford attempted, Watergate, George Wallace, John Lennon, Larry Flynt, Iran-Contra, the admitted assassinations of elected foreign leaders by the CIA, the attempts on Castro, the CIA association with the Mafia, questions about what did we know about Pearl Harbor or the Lusitania, or The Gulf of Tonkin incident that never happened all echo out to 911. Westward expansion, Global expansion, railroads, pipelines, Cattlemen’s Associations, Transnational Corporations, indigineous peoples, Native Americans, black youth, Viet Cong, Sandinistas, all the same. Is it any wonder that we will always question the death of princess Diana, JFK Junior, Senator Wellstone? We know that we will never Know. Is it conspiratorial for our government to place 300 CIA operatives as journalists in the United States. (recently CNN expelled 5 agents of the US Army Psy-ops division). I know many things. I know my parents love me, but I cannot prove it. How I know this is the process of life itself. We do not have to prove anything to know it. If “Heaven’s Gate” is a work of fiction, it proves nothing and yet speaks the truth. Perhaps the last refuge of truth is fiction.
Michael Caporale 24P digital cinema
A Conversation with
Sir George Martin George Martin has produced the Beatles, America, Jeff Beck, The Mahavishnu Orchestra and even Peter Sellers’ comedy records. He’s considered a “producer’s producer.” Not only does he get the best out of the artists he works with, he’s humble too. Maybe it comes from confidence, having the knowledge of the instruments of the orchestra, how they work both individually as well as together. But with confidence comes conviction. The sheer and utter faith in one’s ability to shape sound. In this brief yet informative conversation, we spoke with George from his home in England, where he assured us that a great recording should always start with a great song, and that despite the unfortunate situations of our creative industries being taken over by marketing companies and non-creative corporate conglomerates, a great song will last forever.
DO YOU THINK THAT IT IS ESSENTIAL TO HAVE A FULL MUSICAL BACKGROUND AS YOU DO IN ORDER TO BECOME AN EFFECTIVE RECORD PRODUCER OR IS THE TALENT OF PRODUCING GOOD RECORDS SOMETHING WHICH IS A LITTLE MORE INSTINCTIVE OR ACQUIRED? MARTIN: First of all, I’ve never really experienced dealing with people who don’t have a musical education. But having said that, there are some very successful record producers who just are not great musicians. But I think that it is an enormous help to be a musician and to know what the guys in the studio have to do, to have some experience in knowing what they go through. It is definitely an asset to know the terrors and the difficulties that a musician goes through so you can understand how to handle them. I think there are so many facets to being a record producer that are important. It is like teaching in a way. I started out as a musician and I got involved in the recording business by chance. I really wanted to write music for films. Orchestrating music was very important to me. In regards to the studio business, I did realize that I had the ability to get the best out of people and making them better if I hadn’t known them. I think that a producer has to look inside the person and say “what is there that I need to get out of them and how to get them to release it?” You got to get inside the person. Each artist is very different. There is a lot of psychology in it. I learned that diplomacy and tact were important when I really didn’t have those attributes and made a few mistakes. Then the ability to shape music and know what will appeal so you can take a bit of raw material and shape it knowing that it is good the way it already is, however it could be better if we did something with it. YOU USED THE WORDS ‘WHAT IF’ WHICH I FIND ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO THE CREATIVE PROCESS. THESE ARE WONDERFUL EXPERIMENTAL AND CREATIVE WORDS. MARTIN: Yes. You see, that is one of the problems today. Technology has been getting more sophisticated and clever and more
complicated with each day that goes by instead of years, and it is quite mind-boggling what you can do with it.. It’s a far cry from where I started when you had to do everything by the seat of your pants and some rubber bands, mast tape and ceiling wax. Now everything is right in front of you and available for a price and because of that, it is really easy, given the tools, to produce first class sounds, and you can create a song that doesn’t sound wonderful, in a back room. This stifles creativity because you don’t have to work for it, it’s already there! When you’re hungry and you have to work hard for something, you can be more creative than when something is handed to you on a plate. Technology has helped music and creation, but we shouldn’t abuse technology. YOU HAVE ALWAYS HAD A KNACK OF DEVELOPING TALENT THAT WILL LAST FOREVER. MARTIN: The record industry is very different today. The people who actually run the record companies today don’t make records. They are marketers. They take the product off the street while the producers are finding the talent. It’s rather like comparing it to Hollywood when you had great studios and talent and now you have nothing more than finance companies organizing and buying independent films and projects. I guess I was lucky in a way because timing is everything and I came into the business at a very important time when the recording changes were coming out of mechanical into the electrical into electronic and Stereo was coming in and people were getting sophisticated in their thinking, but it wasn’t too sophisticated. When people say to me “I can’t believe that you made that record on a four track” I say that it was an advantage because having the constraints that you had, you had to work through it, you had to work harder, you had to think more to get the effects you wanted. I feel that having the constraints really helped me in many ways.
“Equally important, he gets Mother Nature’s ultimate prize; sex. He gets the girls.” album, Love; was
The Beatles produced by George Martin and his son Giles Martin, who said, “What people will be hearing on the album is a new experience, a way of re-living the whole Beatles musical lifespan.”
SO GETTING TO THE BEATLES, LOOKING AT YOUR MUSICAL TRAINING, DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MAKE “ELEANOR RIGBY” THE WAY YOU DID? MARTIN: Well, two aspects of that. The production and the scoring are two separate things. But my role model for that was Bernard Hermann who did the scores for Alfred Hitchcock. He was a great film score. I got the idea for the jagged strings from, I think, Fahrenheit 451. And it was very, very effective. Also the harmonies that Paul gave me gave me a bit of Benjamin Britten. WELL THE ARTISTS THAT YOU HAVE WORKED WITH SHARE A COMMON DENOMINATOR OF HAVING A GREAT PASSION FOR GREAT MELODY. A LOT OF THE MUSIC COMING OUT NOW DOESN’T SEEM TO HAVE THAT SAME PASSION. IS THERE SOMETHING THAT YOU COULD SAY TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY TODAY TO WAKE THEM UP? MARTIN: I think that learning how to make change in anything is important, whether you make cars or records. You will find that a person will be doing a better job when they learn their craft before they attempt to work at it, and don’t bullshit people. Don’t pretend you know something prior to doing it. Have confidence. You have to have confidence or people will walk all over you. I am delighted with the success of the Gershwin records set. HERE IN AMERICA THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT FORMATS OF RADIO AND OF MUSIC AND I FEEL THAT BY HAVING THESE PIDGEON-HOLED FORMATS, IT TAKES AWAY FROM THE CREATIVITY FROM THE ARTIST. MARTIN: It is pretty horrific that with the format of radio today, that if you have a band with a certain style, it just doesn’t get played. If you don’t fit in, you don’t get played. For the creative point of view, it does get you to channel what you want to do. I’ve never done that. I’ve always made different records from rock to spoken word and it’s all music and it makes life interesting doing more than one thing. I would be bored stiff if I made records in only one format. The old mix and match is gone. You have to listen to a specific category. And that’s not very good. But you have to do what you do and maybe the people will like it. I think that the key things are the artist and the song. The producer is important in getting it right when the raw material is right. The most important person is the songwriter. And the second most important person is the artist who performs it and way down the line is the producer.
Dear Dad: Whereâ€™s the family
in our family, today? Available at Amazon.com
Creating a (r)evolution away from bureaucracy
“America needs a productivity revolution to lead the world into the next half century. But the factory floor is not the only place where you can massively goose the productive powers of a single human being. Every major arm of western and eastern society is currently based on the bureaucratic model.”
by howard bloom
Government, the medical system, the justice system, and corporations, all are run using the bureaucratic system. A system that is riddled with waste, incompetence, amorality, and collective stupidity. A system that is ripe for radical reinvention. Bureaucracy is based on tools that were new and revolutionary in the 18th and 19th century. Those are the tools referred to in the French word “bureau”--which means an office or a desk. Until 1800, most offices were in the home. Moving desk workers to a central location, a central office, utterly changed the scope of what bureaucrats-paper pushers, information gatherers, and decision makers--could do. But today what was new has become old and painfully slow. Painfully unresponsive to human needs. What hints are there that a revolution is right around the corner if we grab for it? The new technologies of information consolidation and decision making. Paper and the desk have been replaced by the laptop. Central file cabinets have been replaced by Google and private databases. And the conversation of bureaucrats across a desk, in a corridor, or in a conference room have been replaced by IMs, text messages, and cell phone calls. The cruelty of bureaucracy comes from the isolation of the bureaucrats among their peers, their isolation from the people they serve. Today a bureaucrat can carry his office out among the people who are his or her customers, his or her constituents, or his or her patients. And in medicine, handwritten notes kept in a drawer in an office can be replaced by computerized files accessible to any specialist the patient comes in contact with. The office, the office building, and its product-the bureaucracy are obsolete. What is the next step in turning workers who love their laptops and their cellphones, workers who no longer push paper robotically but dive into information exploring and synthesis with all their hearts and souls, into the makers of the next big step in productivity, the productivity not just of manufacturing workers but of the folks who make the daily decisions that rule our lives?
D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus
Visionary Documentary Filmmakers
hey have captured some of the most exciting moments in rock and roll and real life. From Dylan’s Don’t Look Back to the debut of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in “Monterey Pop” to the behind-the-scenes Political documentary, “The War Room,” D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus have created some of the most exciting and ground-breaking cinema ever photographed. But it’s not the type of footage you’ll see in mass market—instead, their work gets you involved, by bringing you into the personal lives of their subjects, it gets you to enjoy every moment you’re watching, captivated by every new moment…because as documentary filmmakers, there is no script—ever, and they’re living through the moment as they’re looking thru the lens. We’ve decided to offer the interview uncut and verbatim….to see what goes on in their creative minds, what makes them tick, and why they do what they do, their way.
Music and Film: What Makes it Art Anyway? Interview - Steve Zuckerman
WHEN DID IT HIT YOU THAT YOU WANTED TO BE IN THE ARTS?
Chris Hegedus I always knew as a child
I wanted to be in the arts, and I went to the Hartford Art School and then the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design, which had all sorts of interesting people there. People such as Philip Glass, and painters and filmmakers, and it was a very creative environment. Because the art world was burgeoning towards conceptual art and performance art, I didn’t really see how to make a living doing it, and after a while I lost interest in it because I really didn’t want to be a conceptual artist. I didn’t see a place for me in the art world, and most of my work at the time had been photography and minimal art film making, and when I graduated from college, I got a job in Ann Arbor working for the Univercity of Michigan Hospital working for a surgeon there, he gave me a job making films of surgery, and I got dropped into a career where most people have to go to medical school first. And is was fascinating to me, and it seemed like this was a way of making films, getting dropped into peoples lives and getting into this inate voyeuristic scenario watching this entire drama unfold infront of you. In this case, it was the drama of what went on in the operating room. I used to make the analogy of this was like Doctor Marcus Welby or Mash— but much more like MASH. That really turned me around. That there was a job I could do in filmmaking, and that I could do films about the real world. I had seen some of Pennebaker’s films, and as I graduated from film school, I knew I didn’t know how to be a Hollywood Director. I saw how to make these stories happen in real life. But the equipment became developed so where we could rent a rig in the late 60’s or early 70’s and we could get our hands on great equipment, and my interest escalated with the advent of more technology become easily available.
SO YOU ARE SHOOTING REAL LIFE AS IT IS HAPPENING. DO YOU DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM WHAT IS HAPPENING TO GET THAT ‘COMFORT ZONE’ SO THE AUDIENCE FEELS LIKE THEY ARE THERE WITH THE SUBJECT MATTER?
I Don’t think it’s our problem so much, but I think that you’re not thinking about it this way. It’s like you are writing a play based on characters, whether you are Shaw or Aristophones, but you are writing a film about characters that you know, but in this case, the characters are right in front of you. And the instant is right now. And if they are going on the plane going somewhere, you make a judgement call to see if you want to film that. And why do you want to film it? Well—it’s a connective to where we are going. And where we are going is really what it’s all about. We’re not interested in airport conceptual filmmaking, but at the airport, they might make a phone call, they might look out of the window, they might say something, and those are the longshots…you say that you want to get someplace with them, so when you get to the place where you do want to film what we want to film, we’re part of that entourage. And that in a sense, is what guarantees you the continuous entrée.
“The digital side is a definite reality By maintaining that entree as continuously as possible during the process of filming, but you are really writing a play, but the pencil is really uncertain and undetermined, and you can’t be sure if this line is what you want until you sit down to edit it, but you know you need to have something up on the screen to look at. It’s not a problem if the characters are going to act for you. If that were the problem, you wouldn’t even start it. Because if you thought that there is a chance that they would be acting, you would say, fuck it, I can’t do it, it’s too hard. OBVIOUSLY THERE HAS TO BE A CERTAIN DEGREE OF TRUST THAT THE SUBJECTS HAVE.
Pennebaker Maybe it’s not even trust. It’s
trust in a way, like if you go out drinking with some friends you don’t want them to pull at you in some way, to get the fifty bucks you have in a pocket. But it happens is because they want to do it. Now why they want to do it is not our problem. When James Carville says “Why should I let you into my secret chamber?” which is the size of a basketball court, the only thing you can tell him is ‘because you want to’ Now he has to figure out what that means. And when he does, you do it, and you’re not promising him any spiritual solution, but he has figured out what you are doing, and he figures out that out based on what I’ve done in the past, and he knew I had done Kennedy, and it was a politician, and he felt that the two of us didn’t have any other agenda. We weren’t going back on the air that night and put any footage on television and make him look like an asshole. That is something that he figures out, and when you come to a hard place, you don’t ever get to a place where you push a piece of paper in front of his face and say “James, you signed a contract, we have to do this.” They decided to initiate in a way, and the way you do it, gives them the sense that
of staying alive as filmmakers.”
it’s their film. Whether or not they act is not the issue or important. Whether Dylan is acting. Now Chris, when you wanted to be in the arts, and you saw yourself as an artist. When I grew up, an artist was a guy who painted a picture. Never in my life did I see myself as an artist. And my entire life, I was figuring it out, what was driving me. Because I was unemployable, I didn’t want to do what others were doing. I was trained as an electronic engineer. I was hired by a big company to build big projects. I was projected on a road, but I never saw myself wanting to be an artist. I didn’t know what an artist was. It took me years to figure out what the problem was. BROADBAND IS RELATIVELY NEW. THERE ARE PLENTY OF COMPANIES WHO ARE MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR DIGITAL FILM MAKERS TO GET THEIR WORK OUT THERE. DO YOU FEEL THIS IS GOING TO BE THE FOREFRONT FOR FILMMAKERS?
Hegedus Sure! We wouldn’t have been able
to make the last three films had it not been for digital. We’re doing a new film on digital. Startup.com was shot on a tiny DV camera. It makes it all possible. To do it on film would have been so costly and we wouldn’t have been able to raise the money to do it on film. The digital side is a definite reality of staying alive as filmmakers. Nobody was going to fund (Startup.com) so we did it ourselves and we were able to do it. (Moon Over Broadway) was so expensive on film and so was (The War Room). Because you had to pay the actors because of the unions, and we were filming in a Broadway theater. And it puts filmmaking in the hands of the multitudes now, you can edit on computers and it’s a whole different age.
I think that what is going to determine if we’ve come to a branch in the road and there is no turning back, well, I think we’ve already crossed that path. The most interesting films we’re going to get as opposition to Hollywood films, which are predicated on a celebrity driven performance, that has been promoted and is so well known that people are going to see it—so you have something that is so conditioned by broad advertising appeal…but the young people coming in, the imaginations that are coming in, these people cannot afford to do it in film, they cannot afford the film stock, the labs, the prints. When a Hollywood Film comes out they are making 12-15,000 prints, and sending them out to theaters all at the same time, and running ads, and their ads and promotion is probably the same cost as making the film. And then you have independents turning out ‘crackers’ that some people are interested in seeing. So that aspect of the thing, driven by the fact that the theaters are going to show some of the films in video soon. Video projection is going to save the lives of a lot of smaller theaters who cannot afford to compete with the bigger theaters. And TV—well, TV isn’t interested because TV wants to sell cheese. They are not interested in the independent film making market. It contradicts everything they want to do. I’VE ALWAYS ADMIRED YOUR COMMITMENT TO QUALITY
When you speak of quality, people know about intuititively, but in the end people only hear what they are prepared to listen to. I remember listening to my 78’s, the quality of them is so much better than the LP’s….. I know that my brain is easily seduced, I can’t say that is no good because I don’t hear it now. But I can hear and see what I want to hear and see, and the imagination is so powerful, that the new independent films are going to have so much imagination…people are going to make them, and theaters are going to run them. And they are going to be a little adjunct, but will never get 200 million heads……So he really can’t worry about that major market. That’s only for the people selling cheese.
YOU HAD MENTIONED PHILLIP GLASS EARLIER IN THE CONVERSATION. HE APPEARS TO BE AN ARTIST THAT IS ABLE TO MAINTAIN ARTISTIC CREDABILITY AND BE COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL... MAINTAINING AUTONOMY.
Pennebaker Well he can make an opera and
get it out. That’s a hard thing to do. We can make a film and get it into the theaters. That’s a hard thing to do. Most independents have a hard thing doing that, surviving from film to film. The question is, “is that journalism or is that art?” A lot of people are interested in knowing if these films are perceived as journalism. It doesn’t matter what our intentions are. But how are they perceived by a larger market… Journalism doesn’t interest me so much. A FILM SUCH AS ‘DON’T LOOK BACK’ COULD BE SEEN AS JOURNALISM, BECAUSE YOU WERE CAPTURING DYLAN LiVE IN MOTION…..AND WHILE YOU WERE TELLING A STORY, YOU WERE ALSO REPORTING ON WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN THE MOMENT?
Pennebaker But is that Journalism? I DON’T KNOW
Pennebaker I don’t know either! THERE WERE TIMES WHEN I FELT, AS A VIEWER OF THE FILM, LIKE I WAS A REPORTER TAKING NOTES, WHICH LEADS ME TO A DIFFERENT QUESTION. THINKING ABOUT LUMET AND HIS STYLE---THE FILM IN ITSELF IS A LOT OF DIFFERENT SCENES, BUT WHEN IT’S EDITED TOGETHER, IT BECOMES A MOSAIC. SINCE YOU ARE MAKING THE FILM WITHOUT A SCRIPT, DOES THAT MEAN THE EDITING PROCESS IS MUCH MORE GRUELING OF A PROCESS?
Pennebaker It’s like you are shooting again.
And the difference in the process, I believe the difference, in a movie, the camera is part of
“...and who is passionate about what they are doing, and the stakes are high, and we were lucky to follow James Carville and George Stephanapolous.” the set, it is part of the actors, it moves like the actors, it is behind the glass. It moves like the actors. It doesn’t look around. For us, the way I see the camera, is the camera is the audience in the theater, and everything that happens on the stage is organized by someone else, someone else is planning their life day by day, moment by moment, and we’re not part of it. We have to make decisions what to shoot, when not to shoot, and we’re like the audience that is surprised because the camera is surprised in a theatrical kind of way. The editing takes that position and puts it is a more theatrical way. There is no certain way we always do it, but in the end, we come to an agreement about the way we want to be a pair of eyes, a pair of heads watching it.
There are two parts of our filmmaking. The first part is our detective work, it’s shooting the film and anticipating what we want to do, like in “The War Room” before we shot the film, we visualized the film as about a man becoming President. But when we got in there, we made decisions like “What is the story we are going to find here?” and who is passionate about what they are doing, and the stakes are high, and we were lucky to follow James Carville and George Stephanapolous. The second part is when you get the film back, is trying to make the story with the material you received, and that is an entire different kind of detective work. When you are making the film, the characters create drama. So before you are editing, you realize that the story line needs to create drama, so it’s all created in the editing room. The structure and the style, and how it evolves. And that is something you really think about when you are shooting, because when you are making the film, you are obsessed with capturing the moment and trying to figure out what the story is and how to get access to the people, and get what is there.
BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF YOUR WORK BEING ARTISTICALLY CREDIBLE, AND YOU ARE NOT DICTATED BY THE STUDIO SYSTEM WHO WANTS BIG, BIG RETURNS. THERE MUST HAVE BEEN SOMETHING ABOUT GROWING UP AS A CHILD THAT MADE AN IMPACT IN YOUR COMMITMENT TO YOUR AUTONOMY.
Hegedus My mother was a teacher who loved
the arts, and she fostered the love of learning. Somehow, and maybe it was inherit in growing up, there had to be some sort of passion that you have within you. And I don’t really where it comes from…..but it happens. So, who knows why you become passionate about what you are doing. My father was a corporate sales executive, not an artist so much. He was very much in the business world. A funny thing that happened recently at a family dinner, is my mother asked a question to everyone, “Tell me, if you weren’t doing what you were doing, what would you want to do?” And my father, who really surprised me, told everyone that he would have really loved to have been an artist!!! For me, I felt as if I was doing what I wanted to be doing.
I think that the language acquisition moment---it can happen at any time in your life. It was when my friend Francis Thompson brought in a film and showed it on my wall. I had a projector in my apartment and a turntable underneath it. We used to show films like this with music going with a film, and I was about 25 or 26 at the time….and I had thought a lot about music, art and poetry, I was writing at the time, and doing a lot of stuff that was peripheral around the arts, and he had this film called “NYNY” and it was all abstract pictures of New York City. It wasn’t that the pictures told me anything amazing, it was that he had done it by himself and I knew that I was probably not going to write a big novel, and while I had friends who were painters,
WERE YOU A DYLAN FAN? Pennebaker I knew that he was going to be a very important person. SO YOU WEREN’T A REAL FAN INITIALLY? Pennebaker Well, I became a fan because he was such an amazing musician. I was looking into the fiery furnace there, and I was about 40 watching a younger person trying out things, experiment. I had no doubts that the film I was going to make would be around for 25 years after I made it. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO EDIT IT? About three weeks. DID YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANTED IT TO LOOK LIKE WHEN YOU WERE DONE FILMING? Pennebaker No, I didn’t. I put off editing for about two months. I didn’t know what the film was about really, and it wasn’t until Michael Quinn said “If you’re not going to do it, I will do it. So I put my mind to it, and edited it on a viewer, not really an editing machine…”
Bob Dylan and Pennebaker, 1967 I knew that I wasn’t a great painter, I knew that there were people who knew more than I did, and I couldn’t catch up with them, and I knew they would lead, and I became very depressed. But I had a company downtown that made computers and I abandonded it. And when I saw this film, and I realized “That’s it! That’s what I am going to do the rest of my life.” I wanted to make films! And I had all of these other things I have started, and I had a wife, and a child, and a life going, and now it became so clear to me…..and I knew how to make distorted pictures like Francis used, but I wanted to make a film by myself, the idea of controlling the work was so amazing….. and I loved working on films, and I learned how to make a scene, and how to make dialogue by doing it, but I couldn’t stand not being responsible for the final thing…. The final thing should be a jewel….and in most cases it was flawed and a badly cut film (by others) because they didn’t have the control of its final destination. It was a bad imitation of a jewel. And the first time I made a film the way I wanted to make it was (Don’t Look Back).
SO LET’S TALK ABOUT MINDSET…WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST TO THE UP AND COMING FILM MAKERS, STUDENTS OF THE ARTS, WHETHER IT BE MUSIC, FILM, PERFORMANCE ART, TO MAINTAIN THAT LEVEL OF AUTONOMY, REALIZING THAT IN TODAYS INDUSTRIES, THAT MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE DECISIONS, REALLY DON’T CARE ABOUT THEIR VISIONS, AND JUST WANT THE FINANCIAL RETURN. BUT PROJECTS ACTUALLY AFFECT PEOPLE. Pennebaker They really need feedback. They want somebody to tell them they love them, or that they have something good, it comes out of that need initially. Hegedus For people in our career, you have to be incredibly passionate and have incredibly strong convictions of what you want to do. There are not a lot of financial rewards. Pennebaker You also have to be brave. Because with every chance, there is a chance of total disaster. And you have to be able to deal with that.But to deal with the idea that it might be a disaster. That is an aspect of independents that people don’t think about---is they are very brave. Bands such as Depeche Mode—are very brave….. But you didn’t answer my question. Art versus journalism. I REALLY DON’T KNOW. ISN’T LIFE PART OF JOURNALISM? Pennebaker
And now my final question; What defines art?
A hard-hitting investigative film by Danny Schechter. The â€œNews Dissectorâ€? explores how the financial crisis was built on a foundation of criminal activity uncovering the connection between the collapse of the housing market and the economic catastrophe that followed. To tell this story Schechter speaks with bankers involved in these activities, respected economists, insider experts, top journalists including Paul Krugman, and even a convicted white-collar criminal, Sam Antar, who blows the whistle on intentionally dishonest practices.
FaCTOr Coming Next Month
Dr. Cornel West