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mini concept docs

August 2nd, 2010

Many many years ago when I was obsessed with and serious about accordions, I met a filmmaker by the name of Robert Emmons. He was at the time planning to make a documentary about the Acme Accordion School in Westmont, NJ, where I was at the time taking lessons. About the time he started shooting this film I dropped out of Acme due to life getting in the way. Fast forward now about nine years, and I get an email from Robert.
The documentary about the accordion school didn’t get completed, but he’s been hard at work on other projects, completing two other full-length documentary films. Lately he’s been working on an interesting collection of shorter films, completing two a week for the last half year. He writes, “I set a goal to make two short documentary films a week based on randomly drawn words, they premiere every Wednesday and Sunday. At the end of six months, I’ll have 52 films. Today is my 50th, so only two to go!”

He wrote to me because I appear in the 49th film, which is footage from the aborted Acme documentary filmed in, I believe, late 2001. You can see the post about it here, and the film itself right here below. I make a small appearance at 1:33.

Now that’s cool and all. But take an hour or two and watch as many of Robert’s films in this project as you can. It’s really a terrific project. My favorite of the group so far is KALEIDESCOPE, which happens to be film #48. Robert’s got great taste in music as soundtrack as well, and since he spends some time writing about where the music for these films comes from, I can tell it’s important. As I watch these, I’m creating a not-insignificant list of musicians and bands to search for and get a hold of.

Years ago I was following a musician called Podington Bear who had a similar project going on, posting two or three songs every week for a year. And back when I was writing and drawing comics, I used to assign myself a page of writing — something complete with a beginning middle and end, not just a sentence or paragraph — every day. These kinds of exercises force one to get out of the claustrophobic and self-defeating need to make it perfect, and loosen up a bit. The results of these exercises are often not great, and never perfect, which is precisely the idea. However, they are usually inspired and the nature of the deadline is that one is forced to make decisions and stick with them, rather than hem and haw for months, never actually going anywhere.

Thanks for getting in touch, Robert.