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Enter the Sandman!

Hello again.

Well as promised, here’s the short films I’ve made for the Crick Crack story telling company. With one of the films we tried to keep away from the performance side, try for a more graphic look and hint at parts of the story (didn’t want to spoil the plot, as it’s well worth a look) and the other film, we cut together interview, with parts of the performance to fit in with the previous style of short films. Kate from the Crick Crack is open to ideas and we’ve tried to develop a method and framework to fit the various styles of performances we have filmed over the last couple of years (with each artist this takes a bit of research/homework/thinking on the spot!) I’ve enjoyed the projects and we’ve tried to move the final result forward with each short film, but that’s how everything should evolve anyway!

Here’s a word or two from Kate about the film’s we’ve made-

“Filming performance storytelling is a challenge. Indeed, the use of film as a promotional tool was rejected by the sector for many years; until recently, when a combination of pressure from the marketing departments of theatres and a growing willingness amongst storytellers, led to some, at first tentative and soon far more confident, experimentation with film.

Storytelling lacks visual spectacle. Completion of images and imagery takes place within the minds-eye of each audience member, and consequently it demands a high level of participation. What’s more, storytelling relies on the live, physical co-presence of audience and storyteller. To use film – the ultimate ‘do it to me’ artform – to try to communicate what the experience of storytelling is, may seem something of an anathema. However, promotional films are not made to retell the story the storyteller is telling. Instead, the purpose of a film of storytelling is to communicate what the experience of attending the performance is, the ‘feel’ of the performance, a sense of the narrative content (but without giving too much away) and an insight into the personality of the storyteller (an important consideration, as you’re going to spend up-to 2 hours with them, and place your imagination in their hands).

Working with Michael, we soon found a technique which worked well – combining clips of performance with clips of interview with the storyteller, occasionally augmented with audience vox pops. However, not being ones to rest on our laurels and being rather wary of formulaic solutions, we wanted to try something new.

We felt that there was greater potential for the films we were producing with Michael to become pieces of art in their own right. However, as these are films that are ultimately used to sell a show to potential audiences (and potential bookers) the danger was that we would create a film that promised more, or something different, to that which the storytelling performance could deliver, or that we’d introduce such strong imagery into the film that audiences who subsequently saw the show would lose their autonomy in what they saw in their minds eye (to key the imagination is one thing, to define it is another).

We were also interested in communicating a greater sense of the artistic imperative of the storyteller and the sense of their immersion in the narrative world they are working with. Storytellers are not only performers, but also the researchers, creators, directors and dramaturges of their work. These stories are an artistic means of expressing something they want to say.

This film is the result. It is a film about a story which will happen, not just on a stage, but inside your head

It’s been a busy time of late, work in Scotland for a few days as well as architectural, portraiture and still life jobs around the north. If you can cast your mind back to “big pictures” thats all happening the end of the month beginning of the next (there’s also a behind the scene film) which will be featured in next months blog and if you want to see some behind the scene stills of recent projects, have a look at Michael Baister Photography facebook page, could do with a few more likes!

Not be long until the next one, seeya mb