Tuesday, 21 November 2017

DONALDdonald: Trump talks

DONALDdonald (2017)
When I showed Erkki the ballpoint pen a pal in St. Louis, Mo sent me, he said, “Let's shoot it.” The pen has a red, white and blue stem and a PRESIDENT TRUMP'S head. The head talked in his own voice when you pressed it down. It said all sorts of silly stuff that people eat up. Including me. Erkki tied a long string around Trump's neck and strung it up between two poles in the studio and shot it. Trump looked terrific on screen. - smarmy, with pouty lips. Erkki recorded his dialogue. We made up a ditzy, obsessed fan - BETTY BOOB. BB's dumb dialogue matches Trump's. I did the voice-over. Erkki directed. He kept saying higher, higher, softer, breathier, sexier. We did it over and over. And then let the whole thing rest to do another project.

Sharon Pettus, the pen pal sender and I decided to go to Washington D.C. to check out the scene in the capital. We stayed at the Willard Hotel, the turn-of-the-20th-century icon, where the word lobbyists got its start. President Teddy Roosevelt hung out there. So did a lot of people who wanted to promote their company, their country, their cause, or just wanted to be where the power was. They made the lobby their meeting place hoping for a chance to make a pitch to the President. The new 'place-to-see-and-be-seen is the Trump International Hotel. We went there for a farewell drink. Wine is 27 dollars a glass, but worth it. Just to see all the BEs and WANNABEs waiting for President Trump to show up. His only go-to place in the capital.

Back in Helsinki Erkki took in all the footage from Washington. I asked Sharon for her ideas. She suggested Trump's head be in black and white. And the American flag turned upside-down, as a symbol of the topsy-turvy Trump administration. Erkki and I liked it. But the surreal made the real look banal. We dumped the Washington footage. And started all over. One minute on screen took about ten hours in the studio. And Erkki did the animation and other corrections later. The first person who saw it said, “What the fuck.” God bless America.

Maggy has a flair for good stories, and she has never let reality get in the way when telling them. The way i remember the session, Maggy had everything figured out pretty well before she came to the studio. So sure, i said "let's shoot it", but only after she asked me to. So, i can't take much credit for the idea, other than simplifying it quite a bit in the editing session - Humpty Trumpty on the wall (making a great fall) got tossed out, along many other ideas, all in the name of being concise.


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