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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Living The GALILEO Mystique---Sometimes a Lonely Existence

I've played the drums since I was 5 years old.  My paternal Grandfather bought me my first drum set when I was a kid.  Remembering vividly when we first visited a local Philadelphia toy store to get the set sticks deep in my memory.  It was a sunny afternoon.  Who would have known it would evolve into a long lasting musical endeavor.  Who would have known I'd be living the GALILEO Mystique for years to come.  Playing in a rock and roll band was always something that came naturally.  I've been doing it since I first started working in the entertainment and news industries.  Drumming has always helped my editing abilities.  Cutting to music and having a fervent timing sense has been important when cutting images for documentaries and solo projects.  But I never thought I'd be living the life of Galileo during the years of drumming and laying down the perfect timing tracks for so many artists.  It has occurred that way.  Uncontrolably, not in my power but philisophically mostly the same.

Galileo invented the telescope.  He was a remarkable craftsman who proclaimed that the world circled around the sun during a time when these types of ideas were considered blasphemy, part of a heretics thinking....Destined to be excommunicated from the church for proclaiming something that was accurate and proved to be right.  His discovery of the truth was a bit ahead of his time.  Not many were wanting to hear his proclamation and never wanted to accept his truths....even if they reflected personal and courageous accuracies.  Who knew I'd be living the GALILEO Mystique....

I had been playing with a rock and roll band for over 10 years based out of Westfield, NJ.  We called ourselves THREAT TO CULTURE and although I didn't think we were conventional as musicians, I felt that with some time and repetition, the music might catch on.  My other "mates" in the band were afraid of success.  They didn't want to "play out" and were determined to keep the music underground...separated, singled out and isolated from the general public for many years until they began to muster up the courage and fortitude of allowing their original sound to be heard.  I would battle constantly with the composers of some of our music to allow me to create drum tracks that worked...bringing their music to the forefront and allowing them to shine.  That's what a good drummer does.  He or she lays down a beat...a heartbeat....a constant thumping sound that works itself into the music and gets you to listen from your soul...gets you to listen with your heart and fall in love with the music while simply adding a background basic track that supports the body of the work.  That's what we do as drummers.  That's what we are suppose to accomplish if we are to be successful drumming artists.  The music was not all the time sensational while working with TTC but overtime it evolved, it fermented.  It became a fine wine.  The heartbeat, like a newborn baby was embedded into the tracks and awakened new listeners.

The Threat To Culture years or TTC days as we liked to abbreviate were introspective and long lasting.  The writers were at first unconfident with their own abilities and grew into trusting my basic beat sensabilities until we carved a niche into the music making it our own.  This drummer revolved around the Sun for over ten years playing various grooves and creating a vibe that was unique to TTC.  We recorded constantly and carved a niche as a descent underground progressive rock band from the Northern, New Jersey Area.  Local clubs enjoyed allowing us to play our music to semi filled concert halls.  I lived to serve.  I completed my mission in introducing some rather shy boys into the New Jersey music scene.  It was always a pleasure.

After over ten years, it was time.  We experienced "personal  and creative differences" that arise in any kind of musical or artistic endeavor and it was our moments of clashes that eventually knocked at each other like opposite atoms creating an atomic explosion.  Those Catholic Boys just don't get it right all the time....Unfortunately fear reigned on and my stubborness to get us out there to play out more caused the fear to grow.  But they did evolve.  They did create a sound of their own.  I'm so deeply proud of their heroic efforts over the years.  It was time to go.  We parted ways but the music lives on.  I'm so proud of those boys.  Yes, yes....Galileo was once again excommunicated from the Catholic Church in the form of Threat To Culture but the music and the great times we shared are forever there for everyone to see and hear.  We Rocked!  Galileo Rolled!....Another search continues for a new home.  Peace and love to my "band mates" of Threat To Culture.  It was one hell of a ride....Forever searching.....


Friday, November 25, 2011

I Visited The Sun---Traveling to Florida for Thanksgiving.

I never imagined that traveling down to Florida for Thanksgiving could be as easy as it was this year.  Yes, yes, traveling down to Florida for the holidays was one of the most peaceful and publicly relaxing types of experiences that I've had in a long time.  I'm a bit compulsive when it comes to arriving on time ANYWHERE...It's been part of my nature for years and being ON TIME was one of the important factors that I had to establish when I was working in news for many years...The ways you had to keep up with deadlines when writing under pressure established me as an on-time kindof guy that made it important to be compulsive whenever a writing assignment was parceled out by assigment editors and news executives when I once played with "the big boys".  Oh how I don't miss those days as I sit now in a uncrowded airport being part of the security protected elite getting ready for a short trip down to the West Palm Beach area of Florida.  Who would have ever thought that in a way you become a prisoner of your enviornment that you create while I sit here watching the baggage check personel and vast arrays of security personel wandering the airport corriders listening to the vast number of languages from people who have been trained to comply with so many of the standards airport security has set up since we became a post 9/11 society.  I wonder if the days of travel have just expanded our inner conscience to become more insulated...more secure with the ways we have seen ourselves protected by technology, passwords and problems that have worked their ways into insulating us from what actually happens in our communities and with our children.  Please don't think that I'm complaining but it does lead itself into wondering where we place our sacred trust these days when we know that monitoring and compulsive policing is necessary to provide the safety that we need to have especially on busy traveling days like the one I am experiencing this holdiay of 2011.  Gone are the days of having to schlep hords of equipment through airports running to a land where you must gain someone's trust in a matter of hours before interviewing them in front of a camera.  I can't say I miss it.  I don't...along with the pressure that I had to put on myself in order to make the deadlines.  Today, the experience of reporting has become more personal, more dedicated to reporting ideas about your family, friends and the ones you love reflecting a non intrusive way so that once made you feel accepted and unassuming without really trying.  My voice has not been sensored in a long time and it is mostly therapeutic these days to be able to write about personal experiences without really having the BIG BROTHER syndrome watching over my every move even if AT&T companies help us from afar in any kind of computer problem we might have when a system or a glitch takes down one of your computers.   So let us all be thankful this holiday season for a time that will be less intrusive and analytical allowing us to speak our minds and not be invaded by Orwellian "thought police" who know our evey move before we take a step outside.  It's something we all deserve to share with our fellow citizens in order to be free and enjoy the luxuries of friends and family this holiday season.  I wish you all peace and a good sense of serenity this holiday.  We all deserve it when traveling through busy airports and vast arrays train, bus and busy highways getting to the ones we love.  Enjoy the moments with with family and friends.  They only want the best for us all.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Still About the Story as Unconventional Media and Award Winning Filmmaker Eric Mofford Shares Some Unconventional Experiences.

Eric Mofford is a producer and director that has been involved in over 50 film, television and on-line productions and numerous music videos. He has worked as an Assistant Director and Production Manager on another 30 feature films and television programs, including the Emmy award-winning 24, CLOCKWATCHERS, KALIFORNIA and DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST. He has just completed producing, HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM, a feature Documentary Festival favorite, on the loss of domestic oil and energy alternatives; the live action portions for the EA video game, NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER, with Maggie Q; MANDALA, and a five camera live concert performance by world musician, David Arkenstone (also Directed. Previous producing credits include BLACK. WHITE. for FX television, EXTREME MAKEOVER:HOME EDITION for ABC and the IFC critically acclaimed comedy series, MINOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF JACKIE WOODMAN. In 2001, he co-produced the 13-part documentary series, SENIOR YEAR for PBS. He served as the Supervising Producer on the Docu-Dramady film, WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE DINGLE, shot in Kerry County, Ireland.

Eric has taught numerous media workshops (including the International Film and Television Workshops) and been a panelist on funding councils and numerous film festival seminars. For the last 5 years, he has been mentoring filmmakers with an individualized, tutorial-based instruction program One on One Film Training.  Eric still considers his best and most challenging work to be raising his two daughters.

GP MEDIA:  What would you say are some of the key ingredients to becoming a responsible and ethical documentarian? 

 ERIC MOFFORD:   It always starts with story. What is the story you are trying to get across to the viewer.  How is it the truth?  Then you need to find the elements that support that vision, be it people or places.   Ethically, you can’t change the story to fit your needs because then it becomes reality television or a fiction piece so you need to find the elements that are true to the story you want to tell as a filmmaker.

GP MEDIA:   Name two or more experiences in your life that have greatly influenced your work.

ERIC MOFFORD:  I went to Emerson College with the ambition to direct narrative feature films and animation. I took a documentary class which included work on a documentary entitled, "Woburn: Who Bears the Costs?" It was all about the toxic waste in the drinking water of Woburn, Mass and children getting cancer, later told in the feature film with John Travolta, "A Civil Action."  This Emerson project turned me on to the power of documentaries. Each film inspires me to tell another story.
Having children was the other big experience. You want to make the world a better place for them. I’m a filmmaker, I know no other way to change the world. Narrative films can be entertaining, but look at the power documentaries can have to make us rethink our world, who we are as people.  "A Thin Blue Line," "Inconvenient Truth," "Food, inc." "Paradise Lost," these films have helped free innocent people from jail, changed public eating habits, etc. That inspires me as a filmmaker.

GP MEDIA:  How have electronic media and the internet played into how you find audiences?

ERIC MOFFORD:   These days the Internet is your only hope for survival and finding an audience. We are not only filmmakers but we have to be fundraisers, sales agents and PR marketers. It’s just too hard to get anyone to do that kind of work without charging you a lot of money. Most movies don’t make the kind of money they once did. And no one will have the passion that you do for the project. You’ve got to be out there blogging, posting on social media, twitter updates, emails, always working to increase your fan base. It’s not fun and I don’t really enjoy it, but it’s got to be done.

GP MEDIA:  Do you think documentarian filmmaking has become less adventurous, less rebellious, more reality TV based in theme and messages?

ERIC MOFFORD:   Short answer, No! I think it may be true that many documentaries on Network television are more reality based in style, but that’s been going on for a long time. When we produced the series, “Senior Year” for PBS in 2000, everyone saw the style as new ideas for reality television, but we were just using old ideas from Cinema Verite. Today, everyone has a camera. At Occupy Wall Street, I think people with cameras outnumbered police. There is an endless supply of styles and information presented in documentary form on YouTube. It isn’t all good storytelling, but it inspires the creative art for everyone. When we were at the Emmy’s this year with our film, “Houston We Have A Problem,” I was really impressed with how many documentary films I wanted to see that had aired on television, this year alone.

GP MEDIA:What do you envision the future of documentarian filmmaking to look like in the next 20 years and how might delivery methods to audiences change in this competitive marketplace?

ERIC MOFFORD:   Well, I’m real excited by Transmedia, which is why my company is called Unconventional Media. Basically, it’s the idea of your smart phone, ipad, kindle, computer, television, all connected together to help tell the story you are interested in. So, let’s say you visit a famous place, you can watch short documentaries about the location on your phone, while you are there or if the film you are watching on television is important to you, a list of numbers to call for change appears on your phone. Basically your film is only part of the bigger experience so story is still going to be the most important aspect for it to stand out.
We'd like to thank Mr. Mofford for his masterful insight into helping contribute opinions and progressive thinking about the future of documentarians...To learn more about his company check out the Unconventional Website and if you're in the Los Angeles area where Mr. Mofford is based, explore some of the many wonderful films his company has produced and enlightened us with.  His work not only tells stories but leaves the viewer with a message that we can all take home and think about as we apply it to our day to day lives.  That's all for NOW...  From GP MEDIA,  GALILEO PRODUCTIONS, LLC,  I'm James Ford Nussbaum.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Get Ready and Stay Tuned for My Interview with Progressive Thinking Filmaker--Eric Mofford, Unconventional Media

Unconvential Media is a Los Angeles based production company spearheaded by acclaimed and award winning filmaker Eric Mofford.  His webiste for the company boasts many different types of genres and has a history of producing some of the industries most innovative creations which have included films like, "Finding Hope" and the Emmy nominated documentary "Houston We Have a Problem".  Mofford's style is assertive and unafraid to explore topics like child abuse and energy conservation issues as he's exhibited many of his films on nationwide tours of the country traveling to such places as Atlanta and the mid west.  The thing I like most about his Unconventional site is the variety of samples he allows us to explore layed out in a most unusal and different style than any other site I've visited.  His statements on the site are bold and brash allowing the visitor to take a behind the scenes look at what his company is all about.  One of the more fascinating aspects of Mofford's lifestyle is his family who comprise a clans of artisans that collaborate on many projects that are not just ordinary but capture unusal and different topic matters that some filmakers wouldn't dare explore.  Mofford has been an inspiration to my company and troops here at Galileo Productions and we'll dabble into some of his philosphies more deeply through future blogs when I conduct a one-on-one interview with this Master.  His intelligence and wit are never ordinary.  So--do your homework and check out Unconventional Media in preparation for one of our next blogs on the artist named Mofford....

Relating to Other Video Production Blogs

Groovy Like A Movie is another video production blog on the internet that always seems to fascinate me when it comes to learning about the latest and greatest innovations within the industry.  This blog is extremely well layed out and easy to read.  The topics are also inspiring catering information about RED CAMERAS and other production tools that simply make a significant difference in the way you produce video.  I believe the company is based in San Diego and touts magnificient scenary from their office windows leading you to think that they're based in one of the best locations for a production company.  Working with the RED CAMERA has been one of the newest advertisements for production companies that use this camera.  It doesn't use tape and applies a PCM card into the camera to record video data at a much higher pixel count then most giving the user a look that is suppose to be better than film.  However, the camera has some price point limitations and doesn't ship in any small way.  Many production companies are using this tool now and have found it to be the answer to all of their production concerns.  The PCM card is also utilized in editing using FINAL CUT PRO or AVID but there have to be some major hardware issues included with your editing software when using the RED system.  Groovy Like A Movie also has some superb examples using the RED camera system on it's blog and I occassionally check in to see what's new in San Diego.