Friday, January 13, 2017

What's Next ?

You mean, what's on the horizon in terms of upcoming screenings? 

That's an easy one:

January 28 + 29  -
Incident at Chekhov Creek - Dance on Screen  Graz, Austria

March 3 + 4
890 Broadway - Philadelphia Screendance Festival Phil, PA

March 21-26 
Plow Plant Reap  Short Waves Festival  Poznan, Poland

Good for you. But what's the next project?

That's a little harder to answer. The long-awaited completion of my feature-length Her Magnum Opus is still a-waiting. It's taken me forever to learn a lesson about using music requiring a license: sometimes they say no - and sometimes it takes them many months to do so. In December, after 3 months of waiting, I got a very blithe no which sent me back to the drawing board for 3 scenes.

Luckily, I immediately contacted  Ljova (Lev Zhurbin) who'd already given me permission to use his evocative music in the same-sex fireside tango from Opus. (Think Zorba the Greek meets Fiddler on the Roof.) Ljova has already begun creating replacement music for the 3 short scenes, so the sound mix will truly be wrapped by mid-February. Not only that, I expect the Opus soundtrack will be much more cohesive thereby. Lesson learned.

Fine, but what are you actually working on?

I'm thinking. I'm thinking! Give me a minute, ok?

This period between projects can be frustratingly fallow and yet mysteriously productive. Anything is possible but nothing is cooking. I'm making lists - possible locations, possible cast members, possible shots, possible movement ideas.

What I do know:

it will be under 10 minutes
shooting this summer
a cast of 2 - 4
a location in New England

I know from recent experience that the process of editing a film is whittling, whittling, waiting and more whittling.  But how do I describe the process of imagining something that's still gestating? Is it a blob of clay with chunks being added gradually? Or maybe an aerial view that hones in more and more on a specific character/place? Or is it a collection of index cards that get blown into a random order - one landing in a direction I hadn't anticipated, redesigning the whole constellation somehow.

In my last post I was hankering for time spent creating live work. So it's entirely possible that this one will begin as a live dance, even though I describe it as having "a location". Which brings me to the Archive I've selected for this post.  Blow by Blow was a live quartet made at The Yard on Martha's Vineyard in just a few rehearsals.

What I knew:

I'd invited a cast of 2 men and 2 women
it should be about 15 minutes long
it was called "An evening with Martha Myers" -  so someone believed I could do it!

It was a grand success, largely thanks to the four adorable, game, highly talented quartet of dancers I'd assembled. 

Below is an edited souvenir of that project - not precisely a "dance film"-  using footage from the live performance.  The song which became its title was composed by long-time friend Steve Elson (with lyrics by long-time husband Daniel Wolff) so licensing was a cinch. The dancers - who have since appeared elsewhere in my work, on Broadway and in the Mark Morris Company - are credited in the goofy animations which I was teaching myself to use.

Although seen only 3 times in the charming but small theater at the Yard,  little old Cartoon Love has gotten more hits on YouTube than anything else I've made.  

Lesson? Just put "cartoon" in the title!


Alberto said...

I miss Mica Bernas. Need to see her perform live once again soon. <3

And Dancers Inc. said...

If I understand correctly, you can see her dance with the Mark Morris Dance Group soon!