Monday, February 25, 2008

Text Journal Entry #5 (Travis)

Entry from 12.29.07 - Saturday

Just a real quick update here. I watched the footage from Alex’s performance on 12.13.07 at Gallery 110 in Provo. The footage looks incredible. Torben was shooting with the DVX100A and I was shooting just with a cheaper 3ccd camera, so Torben’s footage looks a little bit better. However, both sets of footage look quite good. Cade’s audio should sound great, so when we sync it up to the video we should have a great document of the performance. Ashley also caught some really good still shots. I’m sure we’ll be able to use quite a bit of the footage.

Torben captured a great shot at the very beginning of the performance...Alex is humming/droning with his voice and Torben has a great shot of him, while behind Alex, in a reflection on a window you can see the audience reacting to him in several different ways. This shot may even be a great way to start our documentary...starting right out with how Alex begins performances, and at the same time, showing various reactions to him. Other great shots are when we (Torben and I) are really paying close attention to Alex’s movements. For instance, one that I capture is when Alex is really belting out some choppy phrases and my camera is capturing his words by jolting back and forth in sync with his rhythms, pretty interesting. Torben captured a great piece where Alex is breathing quite heavily and saying words in rhythm with his breath...Torben quickly begins tapping the zoom back and forth along with Alex’s rhythmic breathing. The effect is noticeable, but not overt. It ends up working very well...another thing we can potentially use. For our first filming of a performance, I feel it is a great success. As I said the lighting works perfectly in that space.

The only criticisms that I can muster at this point is that we capture each other in our frames quite often, which is actually not to big of a concern because we will only be using short clips from this event (if anything). Another criticism is that we didn’t get very good establishing shots of the outside of the venue, we got plenty of B-roll inside the venue, but nothing to speak of outside of it. Once again, no big deal, because we can go back anytime and get some solid establishing shots outside with no problems, probably under even better lighting...

I go back to a statement from an earlier entry...if the ratio of actual footage to usable footage really is 1 hour shot to 1 minute used, than we are way ahead! I’m feeling really good about this project. More entries soon. We are going to be working like crazy on our CEL grant very soon. We are applying for the CEL grant at UVSC for $10,000. This money, if we get awarded, will cover many costs including: an Apple MacBook Pro laptop for editing, tapes, external hard drives, and money to get to shooting locations in New York and Sicily. This will really be a huge help and relief if we get it, and I think we have a good chance. More on this later.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


We have a working ending for the film. i'll never divulge.

Disturbing thought...

Is the hunger i feel to make documentaries about certain people and themes any different than going to the store and feeling the hunger to purchase goods? Aren't i fetishizing Alex? Aren't i also making him an object of desire for others?

In Gratitude...

Wow, things are really coming together for us! We wanted to formally express our appreciation to everyone that has helped us along the way. Thanks to Jack Christianson, Stasha Wright, and the Center for Engaged Learning at UVSC (as well as those on the Community of Engaged Learners grant committee(s)) for awarding the CEL grant to our project, this will really help make our project materialize! Thanks to Dean Bonnie Henrie and the School of General Academics at UVSC for supporting our project and approving our application for the CEL grant. Thanks to Scott Abbott, Don LaVange, and the Integrated Studies Department at UVSC for their constant support, and for their generous donation. Thanks to Eleanor Cleverly-Takahashi and Jack Waters and everyone at The College Times (independent newspaper at UVSC) for the amazing article on our project, and for their continued support. Additionally, thanks to the long list of people (that have not yet been named) who signed on to our CEL grant application, that give us advice, encourage us, support us, and help us in this massive process: Jans Wager, David Knowlton, Laurie Whitt, Larry Harper, Alan Clarke, Scott Carrier, Nancy Rushforth, Michaela Giesenkirchen-Sawyer, Phil Gordon, Errin Julkunen-Pedersen, Vegor Pedersen, Erin Donahoe-Rankin, Ben Rankin, Jason Grotegut, Ashley Thalman, Cade Thalman, Andrew James, Marissa Bernhard, Joey Mayes, and (of course) Alex Caldiero. We must be forgetting a few people...if so, we apologize. We certainly wouldn't have ever been able to (or even imagined that we could have) accomplish so much in so little time without so much help.

-Torben Bernhard and Travis Low-

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Camera Boom Donation

Saturday, my wife (who is also a producer on this project) and I had the chance to go up to sugar house in Salt Lake City to Verabel's house. A long time friend of Alex, Verabel kindly offered to donate her camera boom (also known as camera jib) to our project. She is also lending us a very nice tripod to use during the film shoot. We had a nice chat with her and thanked her repeatedly for being so good to us. The project continues to yield results like this. So many people are offering their services to help this project materialize. Thanks Verabel...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Documentary Awarded CEL Grant!

This past Friday we received notification that we have been awarded the Communities of Engaged Learners Grant! This grant will enable us to purchase necessary equipment and assist us in our plans to travel to shooting locations in New York City and Sicily. You can scroll through previous posts to see some of the preparation we put into applying for the grant. Hopefully other artists and filmmakers will be able to utilize this information in applying for their respective projects. That's what this site's about --- documenting our process and hopefully providing others insight into the thrilling, and many times, challenging work of getting a creative project off the ground. We have many more audio files documenting our grant preparation process that we'll post soon. Thanks for stopping by.

My Lunch With El and The College Times

About a month ago I had a lunch appointment with Eleanor Cleverly-Takahashi to discuss grad school options (we just happen to be interested in similar fields). Eleanor was kind enough to meet with me and fill me in on some of the grad schools she's been looking at and let me know about the process involved in applying to numerous grad schools. One school, in particular, that sounds interesting to me is The New School. Could this documentary be the catalyst to land me in a good documentary program? All I care about recently is this documentary. I used to be a perfectionist with my grades, but I find myself increasingly interested in creative possibilities and resting temporarily from the demands of academia. I'm completely absorbed in this project.

Anyhow, during our lunch I mentioned to Eleanor that we are working on this documentary and she offered to publish a piece in the UVU newspaper, The College Times (Eleanor is the Editor-in-Chief). She has a genuine interest in our project and wanted to help publicize some of our efforts surrounding the documentary. She asked managing editor Jack Waters to help with the piece and he did a fantastic job. You can check out the article by clicking on the image below. I'll post a link to their website as soon as they publish the most recent issue online.