geo geller

March 16, 2015

albackground

Filed under: stay tuned — admin @ 6:01 pm

background notes rough edit – work in progress

Conversations with Albert Maysles, Visual Poet – 2002 rough cut

what i loved about Albert Maysles was his generosity, kindness and his eye, he had the eye of a lover, a Visual Poet – often we would talk about those moments beyond the usual in a film he or others especially films he shot when i could feel where he stayed on something or discovered a little nuance or look in the face or eyes – we had many conversations during that time and one of the many thing that stuck in my memory that we both agreed upon and is the biggest challenge for a doc filmmaker, who doesn’t have an agenda driven doc, is fighting turning off the camera – its not the answer to the question you get but what they say afterwards that you are really looking for – this is approx 2 hour excerpted from the very first 6 hour conversation i had with him –

the first day i filmed Albert was for a work in progress doc that is still in progress and is in this rough cut was for a “Whats a Documentary of 2 seven year olds” that i have been filming for years http://geogeller.com/whatsadoc and to my surprise after i asked the question we continued to talk on camera for few more and more hours on the roof and he was going strong as i was getting weaker and weaker holding onto the camera, that was attached to a bi-pod that i invented as a quasi steady cam that allowed me to shoot for hours but after a few hours of shooting, framing, audio, conversation, lighting i was holding on for dear life but Albert was charging ahead – fyi the noise is the industrial air conditioners fans that were in the background and i didn’t mic myself since i was originally just going for what he had to say about “whats a documentary” – i also didn’t trust wireless mic given where we were on the roof in 50 street bet 7 and 8th ave in NYC so i used an on camera quasi shotgun seinheiser ME 64 mic that also made sounds while walking too – after i got tired of holding the camera for hours out side we went inside and to my surprise we continued – inside presented even more problems – i learned from being a contractor in a previous life “if everything went easy you wonder what you missed” well i didn’t wonder i was battling windmills – so when i first approached Albert to show him what i shot i said it was a rough cut and what you see is what he saw and the way it was experience with all the issues including the back lighting issues – it was a new camera to me the Sony PD 100 and i was more interested in getting the audio i figure i could use b-roll which is what you see when i am panning the office also i never expected to be there more then 5 min – the back lighting issue forced me to shoot up and tight focus on his face too – sometimes you gotta work with what you have and you get what you got and nothing is perfect but that is what i love about docs – they make an art out the imperfect anyway i hate moving and disturbing or distract people with what ever is wrong or in your head to get to a better shot, spot angle – but if it throws them off you just screwed yourself – also i fight interrupting people and put a finger over my mouth so i have to think twice when i am going to interrupt somebody – a good talker is a better listener – also Albert spoke so softly i could barely hear him sometimes which make it difficult to keep the conversation going when you can’t hear the other person – i also had issues of sound from the office if we faced the other way – so back light vs sound pollution from people in his office – i chose back light – also fyi i never have written questions and don’t do interviews i prefer to have a conversation with people and i never like to know too much or do research i want to be surprised and have them tell me in their own words – i also don’t ask specific question for a reason they are more general and give people room to dream and go inside themselves to find out something that will surprise themselves too – but my hidden goal is to strike gold and look for those diving moments beyond the usual and sometimes they flow like a stream and other times people are too protective to let people in – albert loved people and loved talking and was a lover as well as a Visual Poet – have another film of Albert looking at this film too – when albert was watching the film i filmed him as well and i also have a film of Albert talking about the back story of some of his other films –

Note: when i first told Albert this was a rough cut and after seeing it he said don’t touch it, leave it the way it is – he also said and i have it recorded somewhere that “nobody had made a film like this! which i thought was because it had no cutaways or b-roll – he also said “lots of people have filmed me but nobody has filmed me like this, i didn’t know i was so articulate or expressive” he also wanted to show it in two days to his master class in Chicago and i said let me get you a better VHS copy and when i came back the next day he brought his daughter in to the screening room and turned on the VCR and said “you see that guy on the screen its like he is having a private conversation with you!” needless to say coming from Albert Maysles – so later i told my mother about what happened and i said “i don’t need to make another film i got what i wanted – i wanted one person to feel like they got what i was after was for somebody to feel the intimacy of somebody eaves dropping and feeling as if they were having a personal conversation

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