Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Music Courtesy of...

By now you know about Vimeo - not to mention YouTube - as ways to have a Renzi festival right on your desktop.

But two of my dance films are currently visible on websites NOT dedicated to lil' ol' me.

My 2007 TEXAS PLATES to Patti Scialfa's "City Boys" is still up on her website, which pleases me no end. She can keep it up there as long as she likes, courtesy of me!

And the president of Rhode Island College was so delighted with the preliminary edit of YEAR, MAKE & MODEL (above) shown at RIC's spring concert that she asked permission to share a clip of it on the college website. I edited a 2-minute excerpt to Elson & Wolff's daffy "Cartoon Love". Click here, then on the VIDEO tab on the RIC site to check it out, again courtesy of Renzi - and Elson!

Of course I count myself very lucky to be in touch with talented composers like Steve Elson whose music can grace my dance films without a lot of red tape or expense. But as I complete the final edit of the 7-minute YEAR, I am focused on the labyrinthine process of acquiring rights for the music originally intended for it. Dion DiMucci generously gave me permission to use his wonderful "Shu Bop, The Lost Track". I just got a no from Bonnie Raitt et al for the multiple rights to the Grammy-winning "Let's Give Them Something to Talk About," so I'm on the hunt for a suitable alternative.

Why do I gravitate toward music that's so well-known, well-loved, and potentially difficult to acquire?

Many dance films sidestep the rights issue by creating new music for new work. I could do that too, and have at times. On the other hand, if my intention is to make pieces that are accessible and that draw on an audience's shared experience, known music can create a bridge. It really depends on the project.

For example, to accompany my 3 recent submissions to an online, one-minute dance/film festival, I found 3 different solutions.

For COLD SPELL I used diegetic sound - the actual sounds of mittened hands scrabbling on ice, children's voices in the distance, the scrape of stick on snow.

For THOSE DAYS, I discovered via MySpace a composer new to me named Jane Wang, whose music I acquired, "commissioning" a second piece for the longer version.

And for SCAFFOLD, I sorted through various pre-recorded options from hip-hop to R&B, but nothing seemed to work. I ended up creating my own mini-score, combining the buzz of cicadas from the original shoot, industrial sounds collected from my earlier BRICKTOWN score, and drum tracks assembled from SoundSnap.

Did any of these solutions work? I think so - and if the judges of 60secondsdance agree with me, I'll crow about it here later this month. [N.B. They didn't!]

Meanwhile, I'm learning as I go...
But what else is new?

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