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a crack in your ear through which sound surreptitiously slips, or an illicit substance which gives your ears immense pleasure while enslaving them to a crippling addiction

Friday, September 22, 2006

michel gondry

I had always heard that Spike Jonze (the guy who directed Being John Malkovich and Adaptation) was a really great music video director, but I'd never seen any of his videos. So one day I was at the video store, and I noticed a collection of his work, and I rented it. His videos were very entertaining, and I noticed it was part of a series of collections of music videos by various directors. So I decided to look at the next one on the shelf, which happened to be a collection of Michel Gondry's work. I'd never heard of Michel Gondry, but the cover of the DVD had Legos on it, which was a big plus...

Now, you have to understand, I've never been a big fan of music videos, I think most of them are pretty boring. But when I started watching Gondry's work, I was taken with it right away. I'd never seen any of it before, I didn't even know it existed. But every one of his videos was based on a really clever, beautiful, and brilliant visual concept.

He made a video palindrome for the Cibo Mato song "Sugar Water." The screen is divided in half, and the right half is just the left half played backwards, yet the whole thing comes together to tell a story.

Another video, for "Star Guitar" by The Chemical Brothers, is simply looking out the window of a moving train, but Gondry uses digital effects to sychronize the passing landscape to the music.

A lot of his work uses stop motion animation. In this video for "Fell in Love with a Girl" by the White Stripes, he animates with Legos. (Legos, by the way, are one of the great inventions of modern man)

The DVD also includes several short films and commercials he directed, along with a well-made 70 minute documentary about his work. I loved it so much that I went out the next day and bought it. It's the first DVD I ever purchased, and for a long while it was the only DVD I owned.

I became very interested in Gondry's work (which includes the films Human Nature and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), and suggested to Studio 360 that it might be fun to do a piece about him (this was about a year ago). I contacted his publicist, and of course they wanted to wait for his movie to come out (so that, like, 500 pieces about him would appear all at once...). But I kept up correspondence with them, and three weeks ago I finally got to meet him. We spent an hour talking about all kinds of things, mostly his new film The Science of Sleep. The completed segment is airing this weekend on Studio 360.

You can hear the segment by clicking on this sentence.

In the piece, he talks about how he really just started doing all this creative stuff to meet girls, and that it turned out to maybe not be the best strategy after all... but still has its rewards nonetheless.

At the end of the interview, I asked him to sign my DVD (just couldn't help myself). He told me that my request was very unprofessional, and then said (in his thick French accent), "but, you know, in French, amateur means 'lover of things'..." So I guess that eased my embarrasment a little. And then he signed my DVD, even drew a little picture. Here's what it looks like:


sweet 16

The third of the pieces I worked on for Time Magazine is online now. It's actually the first piece I did for them (it's also the one I did the most work on), but I think they pushed the date back on it to coincide with back-to-school. They sent a photographer (Lauren Fleishman) and an audio recordist to a Sweet Sixteen party in Long Island, and I edited together a multimedia slideshow from the material they collected.

Basically, the story is that this girl had a 16th brithday party that was on the scale of many weddings, courtesy of her parents. And now, courtesy of Time, you can experience the joy of adolescent indulgence. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

fair game

So it's finally official, we've just announced our new project for PRI. It's a nightly comedy/variety show for public radio hosted by Faith Salie. I really wanted to call it "The Faith Salie Experience," but no one else agreed. Instead we're calling it "Fair Game." My job title is Consulting Producer, and I'll be working on the show until the end of November, so my full time involvement is temporary. Look for the show to start airing in NYC & other selected cities in November, with an official national lauch in January. Here's the first part of the press release, the part that describes the show:

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 7, 2006--Public Radio International (PRI) announces the creation of "Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie," a high energy, interactive news and entertainment program produced by PRI and based in New York. Slated to premiere nationally this fall, "Fair Game" is hosted by the irreverent Faith Salie, Harvard alumna, Rhodes Scholar and star of "Significant Others," Bravo's critically acclaimed improvisational sitcom. With "Fair Game," PRI again moves the industry in a new direction, designing the hour-long weekday evening program as a hybrid of the satirical news and late-night variety show for a young, culturally connected, politically savvy demographic. The "Fair Game" Web site will be a vital part of the show's appeal, incorporating the most powerful attributes of social networking. Not only will visitors be able to interact online with the producers and one another, they will also help shape the program by posting content, rating musical performances and weighing in on the latest broadcast.

PRI President and CEO Alisa Miller says, "Research clearly shows that 20- and 30-somethings consume media on multiple platforms simultaneously. 'Fair Game' will capitalize on those listener preferences and offer a lively show in the ways listeners want to get and interact with it. The resulting influx of new, younger listeners to public radio benefits everyone. Our taking this step is consistent with our history of developing and supporting innovative programs -- 'This American Life' with Ira Glass, PRI's 'Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen,' 'The Tavis Smiley Show' and 'Open Source from PRI' with Christopher Lydon to name a few."

"Breaking new ground," adds Melinda Ward, PRI's senior vice president, Content, "is one of the things we do best at PRI. 'Fair Game' is the latest of many original, imaginative programs we've introduced to the public airwaves. And 'Fair Game' is just the start. We've got other major program initiatives in the pipeline, all intended to expand our affiliate stations' reach and impact on air, online and on demand."

If you'd like to read the entire press release, click here.