Monday, 13 February 2012

33 Blah Blah Blah

Image by chumney /
Eki always says story is king. But how to tell it. We usually do a voiceover and interviews (talking heads). But a lot of viewers are tired of TH. And VO. A new movie (The Artist), which might win best picture at the Academy Awards, is entirely (almost) silent.  The music is fantastic and you don´t miss the audio at all. When we filmed "Lucia" we did it in the style of a 1930s movie with sub-titles. It was great fun and I´ve always regretted that we never had it translated from Swedish to English.

TH and VO have become a cliche´. But how to solve the problem. Some let the audio on the camera do the work. But most follow the tried and true and do what we´ve always done. For our next project I´d like to try something different. Maybe do the whole story with music, or in rhyme. Right now we´re thinking of something with a country western theme. 

Or maybe go back to a silent film (in black and white) with sub-titles. "The Artist" was so good I suppose a lot of doc filmmakers are thinking of going down that road. Jean Dujardin, the lead, was brilliant at telling the story just with facial and body expressions. The same goes for his dog, who was not only a good actor but adorable. Right now I´m looking around for a cute pooch.

Lesson 35 Try to find a new way to tell the story and then let us know

Little Margie doc-blog will take a three week break while on the road

Monday, 6 February 2012

32 S´Not Fair

Image by amaci /
The other day I got an email from an architecture student at the University of Maine. He wanted to know where he could get a copy of “Frank & Alvar” (about architects Frank Gehry and Alvar Aalto). Before I answered him I went online. Got a jolt when I found one site, Films for Humanities & Science, selling “Frank & Alvar” DVDs for 99.95. Although it was our production, LMP never made a penny on that distribution deal.

It happened like this: when the Finnish Broadcasting Company (who commissioned the program) closed their distribution department they went to NordicWorld. So did we. We signed a contract and never heard from them. After two years we asked to see a rundown of sales. Nada. But when we decided to cancel the contract they said they had sold the DVD rights to FfH&S and a couple of other places. But with expenses and all there wasn´t enough left over to pay us. Mm-hmm.

After that I went online and checked “Chasing Esa-Pekka” (51´). There are approx 20 sites. And people have downloaded different versions including a couple of truncated shorts. But we have no control over these pirate version. On the other hand, LMP had to pay composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen 15,000 Euros for the right to use his music even if the doc was about him. And 6,000 Euros to the BBC for one minute of his piano concerto that they filmed.

The same thing happened to one of our home-mades: “Posh Poor & Middleclass BRITS”. It appeared in the OXDOX film festival and was picked up by a distributor: Journeyman Pictures. I was thrilled, because this was a doc I shot and Eki edited. Now it has about ten sites. And commercials before the video begins. But again LMP has received no revenue.  Although it´s had about 8,000 hits, that´s not enough to get paid. Eki and I finally decided the more people that see the docs the better. And let it go at that. But the reality is, we had no choice.

Lesson 35: Docs on the internet have a life of their own

Next week: 33 Blah Blah Blah