Thursday, February 11, 2010



"Practice what you know, and it will help to make clear what now you do not know." Rembrandt

Artist in His Studio, 1629 Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Often in the past, when I was stuck working on a large documentary, or a doc that had a looming deadline, I would undertake smaller doc projects.

For instance, during the completion of Goodwill, I also made YARDSALE! and Wolf at the Door.

The goal was to just make. Make to make. And in that process, the flow of ideas would hopefully overflow into what I was stuck on, or currently working on.

I just recently finished a short conceptual documentary piece called Faces, After Whitman. I don't have any specific projects in sight except for theater installation work for the upcoming Rutgers production of Kafka's The Trial, but I feel like I have momentum that I don't want to lose.

In an effort to keep that momentum I am undertaking a project that is in fashion these days.

I was invited to participate in a Vimeo competition called VERY SHORT DOCUMENTARIES. The docs can range from one second to one minute and must be based on the presented concept, in whatever form the filmmaker chooses. The first topic is "Happiness".

I wanted to enter quickly and I had a little piece I have always like that expressed happiness in a raw and delightful way. It's called JUNI to B.I.N.G.O.:

I haven't written on my blog of late and this above idea has inspired me to use it for posting little documentary creations, which will henceforward be known as MINICONCEPTDOCS.

I want to push myself to think conceptually, and stay active. You never know what massive flower any of these little seeds might grow up to be.

Last night, as I laid in bed unable to sleep, I thought of the parameters for this project.

First, I have decided to post the shorts on Youtube, not my normal Vimeo site.

One, so I can centralize this project on a specific channel; two, Youtube videos can be screened on smart phones, while Vimeo videos cannot because they still use the Flash plug-in; and three, Youtube has a restriction on length that will make sure I keep any submissions to under ten minutes, but the data size can be up to 2GIGS!

So, the rules:

1. Docs will be video renderings of a single concept word that will be randomly generated.

2. Word will not be generated until last entry is posted. I will use this generator (I like it. It's just clean looking!) and post the word in a blog that will be updated when the last documentary is completed. Check out Sunday's word!

3. Currently posted word can be overruled by a suggestion from any MINICONCEPTDOC enthusiast, unless the currently showing word is already in production... So check frequently!

4. Docs will be 10 seconds to ten minutes in length.

5. Docs will be posted on every Wednesday and Sunday. (However, this first one is a cheat as it is going up on Thursday.) This will go on for as long as I see fit!

6. Docs can be of any quality ranging from highly under produced to highly produced. Titles, credits, edits are not required.

My first randomly generated concept was PROMISE. This was a challenge. It's not a "thing". It made me think. I liked it.

Because of the snow days I had time to put in titles on this one, a luxury I might not always have, though I will try. There are no edits in this piece however, it is a single shot.

In the future I hope to really experiment with what the documentary form can be. Some entries may be still images, some loose video montages, others may be a single interview, and so on...

So, in getting on with it...

The channel for the films can be found here: MINICONCEPTDOCS

My first entry is, PROMISE:



1 comment:

  1. Dear Robert. Here begins my cyber-creeping of you. I'll comment on each miniconceptdoc, chronologically, as I get to them.

    I like this one a lot. I love snow at night. But I want to know what netflix you were returning at the end. I only pray that it was something esoteric and amazing, not Paul Blart, Mall Cop (but I know you own that, so there's no need to rent it, unless of course you wanted to compare your Bluray copy with the DVD version)