Seattle’s had been experiencing a very mild Winter until the epic snowstorm of January 2012. While maybe not epic to those outside of Seattle it was a welcome break from the regular. Now that rains has returned and slush flows freely in the streets I and many like me have returned to the norm. My response to the brief exposure to cabin fever was to double down my focus on creative pursuits doable in or near my home.
A Winter Road
The first project was a set of HDR photos of the farm up on 88th. It’s a lovely vista with a peak of Lake Washington in the distance. I hope that 10 years from now that it isn’t being converted to Apartments!
The Yellow Bird
The next project happened when I was getting ready to ride my mountain bike in the snow. I had the door open as I got my gear ready for the ride. I saw lovely yellow and black bird flying around the porch maybe looking for some shelter from that snow. Suddenly he was in the house. I grabbed my camera and shot some video before I attempted my rescue. Watch the short film to find out what happened next. Turns out he was a Townsend’s Warbler who had been fooled my our mild winter.
My other big projects this week were two days of Gaffing and Cinematography for the web series GLITCH and a portfolio set starring my bike in the snow. I’ll try to post that group soon. It includes an interesting 360 degree panorama of my bike in the snowy forest. I’ll search for a place to host it online.
Other good news this week includes 3 jobs in addition to GLITCH, includes documentary and portrait photography commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Dr Donald and Mary Malins, a promotional video for Dex One – Rooster Down Tattoo Gallery and a series of videos for an Eastside SEO guru. The week before I landed a gig to do work as a boom pole operator/sound mixer for a short film highlighting the treatment on Filipino veterans of WWII. 2012 is off to a good start!
I started school in Kenmore and lived there until age 10 when the family began the transition that would lead us to Bellingham. Kenmore was a small town back then, still is, but much of the country charm has left replaced by a certain suburban quality decidedly upscale. I remember when I was a kid the firemen would let me play with their white dog with black spots as I stared in amazement at the shiny brass pole they would slide down during an emergency.
The drive-in was called The Arctic Circle or AC for short. The teenage girls who worked there would save the ice cream cones that had collapsed during their creation and sell them to me at a reduced rate. You would just ask for a “mistake”. My Grandma worked at the local thrift store called the Wigwam and my grandfather was a race car driver at a place called Sky Valley. I guess he was pretty good.
Two days ago I was looking for some inspiration and I looked up in the sky at the wave after wave of crows passing overhead as they made their way up the lake to there roosting areas in the marshes and forests beyond. I ventured down to the water and captured a few of the crows as well as the unique industrial area and the setting sun beyond. These are a few of the pictures I took.
Alice: A collaboration with filmmaker Amanda Murphy.
As a filmmaker myself this film helps points out the power of collaboration. So often our creativity becomes stymied. We focus on future gigs, new production and editing software, new cameras. We forget that the reason we started this process was so that we could create and collaborate with other artists.
The production plan for the camera department was largely improvisational. My approach to the production was similar way I approached my Dutch Bikes piece; to discover the essence of a “process”. Of course more goes into it then that. Amanda and I are both graduates of the film program at Seattle Central. I should warn folks that some of the shots in this film may be difficult to view. For my part I am impressed with it’s overall quality. Amanda edited the piece nicely.
The project was filmed in Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle Washington. The camera used was the Canon EOS 7D. The lenses used were the Canon 50mm f/1.8 and the Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6.. Lighting was achieved through practicals. The music is from Nine Inch Nails Ghosts I-IV released by Trent Reznor under a Creative Commons license. I was attracted to the interesting decorations found around the studio apartment and included some of them in my shots. Amanda was a brave and talented performer/filmmaker.
The film program at Seattle Central is scheduled to end forever in 2014, barring an economic miracle. I am still holding out hope that the program can be saved. Perhaps with closer integration and a sharing of resources with the existing photography program and the schools Creative Academy? It would be sad for future students to miss out on an opportunity to create. Seattle’s art, film and media communities will miss the yearly influx of talented technicians and artists.
Page 91 has an interview Michael Kleven completed in the Summer of 2010 with Seattle Poet and UW Professer David Wagoner regarding his relationship with the seminal literary figure Theodore Roethke. My mother, writer and artist Sandra Kleven & Seattle filmmaker and DJ Omar Taboada both deserve credit for their work on this project. This interview was an outgrowth of the short film we did about Roethke: To The Moon. I am planning to direct a long form documentary film about Roethke and his influence on his students life and growth as artists. This film will be based on my Sandra Kleven’s writing and research done in conjunction with her studies at The University of Alaska Anchorage. In 2011 she earned an MFA in Creative Writing at the school.
Check out indie producer Mike Ryan’s guest post on the Hope for Film blog on indieWIRE. In his view indie producers who used to be like Rock Stars are now more like Jazz Artists. This is somewhat disheartening for me as I continue in my efforts to develop several feature documentary and narrative features. On the other hand he points out that this may lead to a return to a focus on artistry and integrity in indie films. That’s a refreshing view point and I hope my films can attain the highest level of legitimacy once developed and released.
During the recent Meetup of Seattle’s DocuTalk@911 indie producer Nadeem Uddin shared his own experience producing Bhopal: The Search for Justice amongst his other films. I was so impressed with his own commitment to difficult topics that I began to recommit myself in my efforts to produce The Stanley Mute Project. This is the film about an Yup’ik artist incarcerated under unbelievable circumstances by our Western standerds and his odyssey and that of his people.
In my perspective earning a living wage with some creature comforts is acceptable. If I wanted the Hollywood lifestyle I would have gone Hollywood years ago anyway! During another recent Meetup of King County wedding vendors I began to feel more confident in my own abilities in making a living at my day job as a photographer, videographer and production crew. Creative work in this area will support my efforts as an indie producer/director. Please look around my site and let me know if I can help you out in any way. Then give Mike’s post a good read!.
I got some great news this week. A phone call from the Yup’ik artist Stanley Mute. Stanley is serving a very long sentence at a for profit jail in Colorado. This contact is the 1st step towards the planned documentary I am developing.
The subject involves Stanley’s case & the situation of other natives who have been left behind by our judicial process. One innovation I will be bringing to this will be dramatic elements from my mother, Sandy Kleven’s award winning short story Holy Land.
Sandy met Stanley in 1984. Her belief in him & his art is key to my own interest. She has a gift for capturing universal element of the Yup’ik people’s poignant struggle.
I’ll update the blog as I make progress in scripting & raising funds for this important film.