Friday, July 18, 2008

Fourth of July Lump: Doing the DS

I decided to compose a digital story on what happens to me every fourth of July when the band cranks up the Stars and Stripes Forever and in my throat I get that "old feeling." A lump occurs, I can't really swallow easily, I tear up, and I wait for the piccolo solo. We have a former band member who as a young girl, played in the band. Then she left the area, became a virtuoso flutist, married, and then a Mom. She comes to spend the 4th of July holiday with her family and she and her Dad join the band for this concert. Then, usually, she's gone. Well, she plays the piccolo solo at the refrain of the S&S and it is the sound of her solo soaring above the reined-in band that goes straight to my musical soul. It is beautiful music.

The lump is not a lump, of course. It is a constriction of the mentalis muscle. I did a little research on muscle and here's one little piece that I found, from 100 years ago:

The classical descriptions of this emotion seem inadequate or even misleading, as no account is taken of the very im-portant part played by the M. mentalis, a powerful and misunderstood (throat) muscle which already has been shown in activity during speech and will presently be shown active during the emotion of distress. C. M. Lightoller

"During the emotion of distress." Doesn't feel like distress to me, unless CM is using a more classic definition of stress...just a strong response from the depths of my limbic system. I love it's unconditional return.

So the actual construction of the ds took maybe ten hours of conscious work spread across the following tasks. I note "conscious work" because there was unconscious work as well. My brain was assembling visual imagery of what this little story might look like as soon as I formed the idea that I might do a story. The work was putting form and shape on those ever shifting ideas and the finding and putting together the objects necessary to render the actual story - done in iMovie by the way. (The other challenge for me during this project was to learn iMovie better, another story for another time.) Here's a rough list of the steps in a sequential order, rough sequential order I might add. Once this process started, the only sequence my brain took was the sequence I imposed. It, as usual, was offering it's own ideas in relatively random fashion. It was my task to make note of the good ideas and at least try out the not-so-good-ones.
0. write a rough script for the voiceover - done first before anything else happened
1. assemble pictures from albums
2. search for pictures on the www
3. think of music, find the music, convert the music to usable files
4. pay iTunes four bucks for tunes downloaded
5. move all of the above into the iMovie structure
6. storyboard the progression of images of the ds
7. find and add more images
8. begin to adjust the images with special effects
9. learn a lot from my mentors NJ and SL about how to do 8
10. tweak script
11. record voiceover in Q-Time and import into iMovie
12. adjust images more to better conform with the voiceover
13. bring in the music portions tweaking and fitting and editing until they more or less fit
14. tweak tweak tweak
15. export QT movie of same
16. critique
  • ds holds a tension between the script telling the story and the images telling the story
  • should probably be less script
  • perhaps ds is too complicated, too many story lines running
  • ***the young mother and her expertise
  • ***my emotional reaction ie. the lump
  • ***the emotional bond with my Mom
  • ***her unfulfilled life???
  • ***one new Mom connecting me with my Mom
  • ***renewal of soul and the role of music in same
  • ***life and death, life after death, death anticipated in life, the unity of all
  • not enough pictures of the band, repeating some cause confusion for the view - why is that man there for so long???
  • some transitions are clunky
Sounds like the plot for a good chickflick, no?

Probably not, actually. We all need spiritual sustenance and each of us gets it - if we are lucky - from different places. This ds unpacks one little piece of this world and a moment in time. If that was the overall goal, I think the ds does that but not in as uncluttered a way as it could have been done. And, I did learn how to use iMovie pretty good - THANK YOU NJ and SL!

1 comment:

Sandra A. Lathem (aka Sandy) said...

thank you Charlie for everything you teach me about the complexity of learning and our individual and unique response to life's experiences.