The Prodigal Altar Boy

Monday, December 5, 2011

Prodigal Altar Boy Countdown - 5 December 2011

2011 – Last 100 Days
Prodigal Altar Boy Countdown
T-26 Days to Go
5 December 2011

Goal:  1 hour per day working on the film
Listened to Karen Everett’s filmmaker affirmations
Watched Story Doctor Kit video #4  
This Film is preaching to the choir
            Include at least one serious voice that stands in opposition
The film was choppy
            Use location shots between scenes
            Use music “stings” to signal transitions
            Write narration ins and outs
            Cut on gestures (“Indiana Aria” example)
The film meandered.  There were too many tangents
            Find links between ideas so arguments build on one another
            Cut repetitive characters (keep characters that say it best)
            Cut subplots that do not reinforce (mirror) or act as a foil
            Identify if your film is a portrait/impressionistic (Crumb)
            If it is a portrait, add a narrative thread (Yosemite)
            Shoot pick up interview if needed
            Construct scenes with beats (emotional hits move from one pole to an opposite pole)
            Add a midpoint to guide character transformation
            Make sure the climax answers the central question
            Don’t let the denouement drag on
There was too much information:  cuts are too fast.
            Keep quiet for written text; no narration or dialogue
            Don’t use music with lyrics when someone is talking
            Craft a montage or musical interlude
            Construct soundscape
            Decelerate the pace visually
Read “Story Focusing Exercises” from the Story Doctor Kit
Read DOVES – Director’s Outcome Vision and Editorial Statement worksheet
Total time:  1 hour

Goal:  30 minutes per day music practice
Warm up on the Doyle “Anihilator”
“It’s Your Thing” – The Isley Brothers
“Talking Loud and Sayin’ Nothing” – Living Colour version
Pat Metheny Edtude #1 20X
Total time:  1 hour

Goal:  15 minutes exercise per day
Active rest

Goal:  15 minutes per day working on the score for the movie
“Dies Irae” – 25X on the Doyle “Anihilator”
“Dies Irae” – octaves, dyads and opening/closing chords
“Granby Street” – on the Doyle “Anihilator”
R&B riff work from Gospel Skillz DVD
E – B/D# - C#min – A  R&B chordal riff work.  Focus on smooth transitions and tone.
Total Time:  1 hour

Notes:  Twenty-seven days and counting. 

More Lessons Learned:

Work in “chunks.”  Cars used to have the side-view mirror warning, “Objects May Appear Closer Than They Are” and tasks should come with a similar warning because many tasks appear be larger than they are.  Facing a task that looms large, I break the task down into smaller “chunks” and work on each “chunk” until the task is done.  I am rehearsing a piece of music by Verdi from “Requiem.”  The piece, “Dies Irae” (Day of Wrath), is very short, but complicated.  When I first looked at the tablature and listened to the recording, I was intimidated.  “Dies Irae” connects with on of TQ’s interviews in the movie, so it needs to be in the film (well, it needs to be in the film if the interview survives the cut).  I decided to break it down into manageable “chunks.”  The  opening and closing chords are big “stretch” chords, so I started there.  I set aside at least fifteen minutes per day to work on the piece.  For the first few weeks, I did nothing but finger the chords.  After I was familiar with the chords, I dedicated daily practice time to the solo run in the middle.  After the solo, I worked on dyad and octave runs, which were the most difficult.  After working out all those parts, the next step was to spend each day stringing all those parts together.  Currently,  daily practice consists of playing the piece as a whole at least twenty times.  Rather than playing it twenty times in one stretch, I play the piece five times in a row, then evaluate how I played it, what I need to improve, then go at it five more times.  After playing it twenty times, I isolate sticking points and work on them until I am satisfied.  By the time I am ready to start laying down the score, the piece will sound great.  The moral of the story is breaking tasks down reduces the intimidation and give you smaller tasks to focus and build on.