I don’t know what possessed me to do this, but I’ve started a vlog. I may not have the patience or stamina to stick with it, and I value blogging. Making myself write on a regular basis has helped me a lot. But I wanted to see if doing something similar on YouTube might be useful.
I’m playing for a silent film show three to six times a week for the next several weeks, and I figured this was something unusual. I will continue writing and posting here, embedding the vlog posts as I go, and will continue to cover other things, though.
My basic idea for the vlog is to play a show, come home (or go back to the hotel, if it’s an out of town show), tell you about it on camera in 10 minutes or less, and move on. I’ll talk about how it went for me, anything interesting that happened at the show itself, and give a little insight on what happened in terms of scoring the film I played for. It’s a little less philosophical than the blog posts, and a little more reportage (if I may use that word on television) which isn’t what the blog is about.
Wish me luck.
Today’s vlog is about my show this afternoon at MoMA, accompanying A Fool There Was (1915) starring Theda Bara. It was an interesting challenge, as many mid-‘teens dramas are, as a lot of the drama needs more help than usual from the score, I thought, so it’s a little extra work.
It’s a film where you see both the “old-school” cinematic language of the early ‘teens mixed with some more effective technique that would eventually imbue an entire film. Some of the storytelling language is still utilizing the “here’s a title explaining what you’re about to see” and then watching it happen. But this film also leaves certain leaps to the imagination, with a title card of Kipling verse cutting to the next scene. There are melodramatic scenes and Delsarte acting choices, but there are also long-held shots of a sunset over the ocean with an idyllic family silhouetted in the foreground. There’s a scenes that’s a sustained long take of Theda and her victim pretty much sitting there in a romance-soaked stupor, and there is a sequence toward the end of a shadowed staircase and the poor old wealthy soul stumbling drunkenly down it in a few closer shots.
On the surface, A Fool There Was can seem like an antique, but these scenes where the filmmaker(s) appear to be trying to break out of their shell(s) a little are worth noting.
And here’s my vlog for October 21, 2019.