accompanying "The Artist"

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BenModel

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accompanying "The Artist"

PostThu Jul 05, 2012 4:07 pm

FYI, re doing a show of "The Artist" with live musical accompaniment...

Someone at a venue I work with every year approached me about the idea of showing "The Artist" and having me accompany it live on the theatre's organ. Sounded like a fun idea. Only real trick would be making sure whoever is on the mixing board turns the sound on and off in the 3 spots where the film has synch sound. I was asked to look into the logistics and licensing of the show, and contacted a booker at The Weinstein Company who reps that the region, and explained the idea for the show. He gave me the rate for a DVD/Blu license for the show, and it's rather reasonable. However, the question of whether it was okay to play my own score or the one by Ludovic Bource came up (insert your own Kim Novak jokes here). The booker checked with someone with The Weinstein Company who happened to be in the office that day who was someone who knew about this issue. The answer was that the company wants the film shown with the original score. I have asked about whether or not the score is being made available, and if it would be okay for me to recreate the score using themes composed for it (I have a CD of the soundtrack) if the score is not published for piano or organ yet (bet it's not). I am still waiting for an answer on this.

I'm posting this here to help get the word out so that anyone planning to do a show of "The Artist" with live music, especially now that it's out on DVD/Blu, doesn't have their show shut down.

In December 2011 this trial ballooon was floated in the Hollywood Reporter about a possible tour of the film with live orchestra, but I have not seen anything further about this.

A couple of other theatre organists I know have had a similar idea of trying to do a show with the picture. Once I hear back from the booker at Weinstein, I'll post here.

Ben
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Rodney

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Re: accompanying "The Artist"

PostMon Jul 09, 2012 6:24 am

BenModel wrote:FYI, re doing a show of "The Artist" with live musical accompaniment...

Someone at a venue I work with every year approached me about the idea of showing "The Artist" and having me accompany it live on the theatre's organ. Sounded like a fun idea. Only real trick would be making sure whoever is on the mixing board turns the sound on and off in the 3 spots where the film has synch sound. I was asked to look into the logistics and licensing of the show, and contacted a booker at The Weinstein Company who reps that the region, and explained the idea for the show. He gave me the rate for a DVD/Blu license for the show, and it's rather reasonable. However, the question of whether it was okay to play my own score or the one by Ludovic Bource came up (insert your own Kim Novak jokes here). The booker checked with someone with The Weinstein Company who happened to be in the office that day who was someone who knew about this issue. The answer was that the company wants the film shown with the original score. I have asked about whether or not the score is being made available, and if it would be okay for me to recreate the score using themes composed for it (I have a CD of the soundtrack) if the score is not published for piano or organ yet (bet it's not). I am still waiting for an answer on this.

I'm posting this here to help get the word out so that anyone planning to do a show of "The Artist" with live music, especially now that it's out on DVD/Blu, doesn't have their show shut down.

In December 2011 this trial ballooon was floated in the Hollywood Reporter about a possible tour of the film with live orchestra, but I have not seen anything further about this.

A couple of other theatre organists I know have had a similar idea of trying to do a show with the picture. Once I hear back from the booker at Weinstein, I'll post here.

Ben


Thanks for posting! I actually had a local inquiry around here, and suggested that they run the film sound but precede it with a live-performance Charley Chase silent, but in the end nothing came of the show. It would be nice to know if this film is going to be like (1) Chaplin features or (2) every other silent film. I could see it going either way... after all, one can apparently show The Wizard of Oz with Pink Floyd music, if that's what blows your skirt up.

If you were able to find and use the music that Ludovic Bourse's apparently wrote for the scene that was released with the Vertigo music, that would give an interesting angle to your performance as well.
Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
www.mont-alto.com
"Let the Music do the Talking!"
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Jeff Rapsis

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Re: accompanying "The Artist"

PostMon Jul 09, 2012 2:59 pm

We have a local filmmaker here who is working on a "modern" silent film, and my advice to him has been to not release it with any kind of finished score or recorded soundtrack. Instead, for any screening of the film, local musicians would be required to create music for it — music that by its nature would be different each time.

Of course he's concerned with control over the audience's experience. But I tell him that his film will stand out and get a lot more attention if he leaves the soundtrack up to chance. It will also mirror the reality of how most silent film was presented — conditions under which people first fell in love with the movies.

A lot of the interest in silent film, at least for me, is in the opportunity it presents for musicians to create new music to help a film come alive and connect with new audiences. Music can help bridge the gap between a 90-year-old artifact and a contemporary audience. It's the difference between seeing silent film as an "antique" medium of expression and one that's alive and still has a lot to say and the power to move us.

I realize that releasing 'The Artist' with a recorded soundtrack was a commercial necessity. But wouldn't it have been clever and courageous of its makers to create a version that would be suitable for live music, and then leave it up to chance?
Jeff Rapsis
www.jeffrapsis.com
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BenModel

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Re: accompanying "The Artist"

PostMon Jul 09, 2012 7:59 pm

What was explained to me by the person at Weinstein was that because of all the hubbub over the Bource score being an original score or not etc they're insisting The Artist be shown with it intact. As I understand it, this is going to be a situation like the Chaplin features where live accomp means live orchestra using the orig score.

People making new silent films need to have a score on the film so they can get it shown at festivals, but I agree that something should be in place where the filmmaker allows the film to be show with live accomp when/where it's possible to do so, and not necessarily by the person who wrote the score that's on the digital file that was sent in to the festival.

Ben

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