Tag Archives: involvement

Capture d’écran 2013-10-03 à 16.18.15

I remember starting a note not that long time ago, trying to find the link between a radio documentary about foreigners in Switzerland, a TV one on some forgotten tradition in Sardinia – actually a beautiful horse race that celebrate Saint Constantin – the fact our brain works mostly on the unconscious, that our eyes only screen portions of “sight” and all is then recomposed including the idea of the movement, that TV is still the main channel for support when you want to share something widely, that adding ice cubes to a dumpling’s stuffing makes is lighter or that climbing the Everest kills a little amount of brain cells….

Well the link, never obvious, was partly revealed to me when I took part, last weekend, to a Masterclass on Transmedia. I went there pretty openly, having the intuition that some answers about the power of versatility could be revealed to me.

By the way, if you ask yourself what is Transmedia :

Transmedia is “the vanguard process of conveying messages, themes or storylines to a mass audience through the artful and well-planned use of multiple media platforms and brand extension that creates intense audience loyalty and long-term engagement, enriches the value of creative content and generates multiple revenue streams.” (Jeff Gomez, 2013)

When I look at my resume, I realize I studied Economics, became an expert in Product Supply, worked in Market Intelligence, developed my knowledge in luxury goods, FMCG and sportswear, that I am as well graduated from an Art College, speak 5 different languages and got 2 nationalities, and make photography and movies now with an ongoing project linked to a company I try to developp….And believe it or not, I very often feel like I don’t have an interesting profile. Actually I would say the right profile.

In a pretty structured society as is the continental western european , being a bit of everything is a hard concept to grasp. It even intimidates and cuts off some possibilities  We recall the people who climb the highest peak or run the fastest….which most of the time requires an entire life of training and efforts to achieve it. Expert in a silo, easy to locate on the life’s game board. Or maybe just the post WWII mindset –  that needed strong certainties – still being the major influence…?

So what about the average – or above average in many of those silos ?

Over that weekend I understood how much the future is about versatility !! And on how the articulation between ultimate experts and broad thinkers works : just like a sword , some have the prestige to be the tip and others are the sides. The most important is that both are sharp ,efficient…and needed for a long-lasting success !

The weekend really offered interesting perspectives on how we can move on, and even if the aim of it was to get highly pragmatic solutions to business cases, for me it reinforced the need of always seeing the big picture first.

In my days at Procter, one of my line managers told me once – helped with a  nice drawing – that sometimes you are climbing a mountain – it was a triangle shape, like those famous chocolates – but it isn’t the right one and so you must start over. I always consider it as a strange lesson : the mountain was far too big on the sheet, and personally even if I am climbing the wrong mountain, it will always be a good training for next one, and in my case another piece of experience for the future.

So what ? Well there is no right or wrong profile but what is sure is that the future requires ideas and a lot of imagination, rather than solution on how to keep on with what we know.

One clue….: TRANSMEDIA !!!!

Christmas time and New Year’s time are truly holidays for me. It is the moment of the year where I don’t think about work, movies, writing or anything else but only to spend time with my wife and family.

This year particularly I must admit I totally switched off this little internal “scout” that always takes pictures  – as a location could be used for a movie – , writes down thoughts and situations – that might turn into a nice scenario – ,  and keeps observing the universe around – ready to capture what will be the next documentary.

I even told someone, who asked me if sometimes I had those working days where you just want to be sick to not go, those days when you don’t like your job…well if such could happen to someone who does his passion every day, in comparison to the average office employee…. I said yes. When it becomes a job and isn’t a hobby any longer, some days are a real pain. It is just a job like another.

I know that some people might find that my words are blasphemous and that there’s no boredom or routine in any artistic activity. Well… good for them , probably more idealistic than me, maybe less pragmatic, maybe just different ?

Being in that mood, I just read the following

where the writer asks himself which side to choose. Question that every artists probably asks himself once in his life. A famous movie director, Cameron Crowe, said once :

” In the future, everybody is going to be a director. Somebody’s got to live a real life so we have something to make a movie about”.

Interestingly enough as Cameron initially started as a writer.

I started as a painter. And during my high school times I was sure to become a painter. The first doubts arrived when I had to repeat a year, missing my promotion..and it opened me to literature. Actually  a teacher and the fact of repeating the yearly program in every branch pushed me to read. I kept a book hidden on my knees during every lesson. I had to fill the time. Like in prison, with new inmates I wasn’t sure I wanted to truly know. When I think about it I realized I missed something there, maybe friendship or a nicer relationship with them. However reading and for first time being pushed to write gave me the passion for literature and storytelling. I must say before I used to paint to express my feelings or copy the reality. With a friend we were spending hours in the fields , in the forest, in the nature , just drawing. Making our lessons. He’s a great and talented painter now.

Literature became even stronger the day we read Ramuz. Not because of his writings, but because of some of his quotes. We had to work by pairs, and our pal had to pick a quote from the author that would define us. We would keep this line on our desk for the year.The one I was given was :

“I am a painter but I write ; I am wrong”

How true was it..and somehow still is. I didn’t become this great painter I thought, instead I am a simple movie maker – for now -, trying to tell stories about some people to other ones, the most important being the creation of a bond. Respect and dedication on both sides. Highly demanding but extremely rewarding.

So at the very end…am I a painter ? a writer ? a movie director ? Am I making art or living the life ?

All of it actually, and this is where I find my freedom and balance. No label, no category. Not on the observers seat only neither on the actors one . Always where I am not expected and for sure not on the experts side. Trying my best to be in line with my beliefs. Probably I won’t make it as successfully as the most dedicated ones, but it isn’t my goal….anymore.

Merry late Christmas and a happy New Year to everyone !

Some days are stranger than others. As I was getting ready and looking forward to the next shooting days, my health told me “you have to postpone those days for later…”.

I must say it brings me a bit down….because I really enjoy this project !

I like it because it forces me to reconsider myself, my beliefs and certainties. I enjoy it as well because of the great energy brought by all the participants (actors, inhabitants, authorities, pets, sound designers, editors, etc…). This makes the outcome even more interesting as I can’t believe, unless I am totally blind, that the movie that will be created out of all this cannot be touching.

As the snow falls down outside, I ask myself if it is naive ? Am I naive ?

When I started what I can define as my first professional career – actually my first job, all I had in mind was to be the best, to establish my situation, to reach a well deserve management position, well to be the number one so …well so what ? so everybody would be proud of me, and I could show I had all the attributes of a happy successful man.

I must say I am part of that generation whose parents asked them to reach a better life level ; become a doctor, a lawyer or get any important role in the society. Be better than us son. A great advice, but for parents born right after the war, the model of success isn’t what today’s parents teach and hope for the Y or Z generations. At least I hope.

Was then my behaviour naive as well ?

When I left the straight path to a future senior management, which was the logical next step, I followed a decision – hardly followed actually – that I had made 10 years before. Moving from the so close recognized success to climb another ladder.

I embraced the change not knowing how much it would affect my entire life.

I started the Art University on the late, with the idea I would build my network and get successful soon as well. Making movies, working in that industry and there as well getting rewarded with all the panoply of the leader.

Naivety again ?

Or just trying to find a mirror ? But as such doesn’t exist, you go on as long as you can continue to tailor your costume, and sometimes, maybe too late,  you find that mirror, on a hard time, tough life experience, and you look at yourself and realize you like the concept of what your role became, sometimes as ridiculous as those old generals that don’t have anymore space on their chest for new medals.

Actually I think I want to remain a bit naive. I want to believe the unexpected cannot be bad. I want to believe life is not to get trapped in a box and that this is the only way for blossoming. I naively believe as well that blossoming doesn’t always have to do with happiness or with a pre-baked model.

The pursuit of the unexpected can’t be done if you aren’t naive.

Being naive is being able to believe. And being able to believe is getting vulnerable.

And getting vulnerable, is feeling the different moments of our lives…which to me is one of the biggest strength you can have…

So now, the only thing I dream of, is to go outside,…and build a snowman…in a couple of days…once I’d feel better.

And no matter if the weather forecast is rain…

Some days you feel like no matter what happens , all seems right. No matter how much you try to force a situation or to achieve a result, it always ends up with a total opposite content that you’ve planned but it seems even “righter” than what you had planned.

Recently I realized these days are happening more and more often, and specially in my days of shooting. As I mentioned it on some earlier notes, I am shooting a long feature documentary in the village where I grew up (after arriving to Switzerland) and the shooting period will last until June or July 2013. When you initiate such project, you never know how much resources you will need, and by resources it means of course money, staff and material, but more importantly what we could call inner resources : soft skills, energy, dynamism and a lot more things that you can’t just buy. Maybe one that is worth mentioning is the terrible relationship…I think it can even be a ratio between your ego, your “best self”, and everybody’s view on you and your work. As even if we pretend to be detached from what we do – ” come on guys I am not that romantic artist, by the way I am even not an artist I am a movie maker …” –  we get touched when we hear about what we do and even when we don’t do. Talking about our job, sharing our perspective and convincing people to take part to a project are exactly those moments when you are facing nothing but yourself. Actually when you work in a large company and provide your recommendation summary to your boss or anyone else and it comes back with a nice note saying ” it is good but please change all what is in red…by the way can you buy me a new red pen”, well I think it is comparable feeling.

When you are shooting a movie, specially a documentary, you can always hold on to what your idea is and find a thousand of ways of convincing yourself that all has to be done your own way, specially if you have no producer playing with a red pen. But then, and I believe so, and in order to embrace those days when all seems right, you have to carry that red pen with you. When you are shooting what we call “reality”, you can’t just hold on what you believe or wrote down and stick to it. Of course it helps, and the more you prepare your questions on the topic you work on, the more you can adapt and improvise. Otherwise, and it is only my point of view, it means you believe life has to match the model you planned, in other words that the reality is wrong and that your view is right. I had discussions once with a Doctor on that and there was a possible diagnose for such behaviour. In case of a movie , you’ll simply miss the real matter of it.

I worked quite a lot on preparing the project and now that I am shooting it, well I feel like there is nothing I can really push for. I only have to follow day by day, week by week and soon month by month the sequence of events ; change of seasons, people’s activities. I have to adapt to the rhythm of what I am working on. And it feels right even if sometimes far from what I initially planned.

That kind of thoughts often come to me as a result of work in progress, reading in progress and movies that I watch. (Some of them will be part of a later note)

Books :

Shadows on the Hudson, by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Poland and the Jews, by Stanislaw Krajewski

Lumière de l’image, by Alain Jaubert

Movie :

This must be the place, by Paolo Sorrentino

To Rome with Love, by Woody Allen

5 Broken Cameras, by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi

Sonatine, by Takeshi Kitano

The Guns of Navarone, by J. Lee Thompson

It seems all random and maybe you don’t see the link between all these materials…

But to me… all I can say… is that it only sounds right all together.

More than a year ago, I started a project, which is part of what I call the light ones, where not a lot of money is needed but efforts and good will compensate what is missing.

This kind of little project is totally at the opposite of the long documentaries I try to make every couple of year. Indeed I believe that for us, movie directors, it is needed to practice our art in between the larger sized projects. Like a musician, we need to practice to be able to perform freely when the showtime has come.

I was recently talking about it with a colleague and friend : we agreed on the fact that not only you need to but definitely have to. As well the hardest isn’t in running those little projects, but lies in the absence of such. Like kids not going to school for a while, the closer the comeback the strongest the stress…and usually the circle is hard to break.

We are taught to do meaningful pieces all the time. We are supposed to build our career on a perfect model…that was established by people picking out of big men’s careers their success and rarely their mistakes. To always have a great well thought purpose and meaning in all our work is a major threat, if you don’t adapt it to your criterias . It is a common legacy for most of visual artists to define their own scale of importance. And no matter if it doesn’t match what previous generation expects of you, if you don’t want to get crazy, you have to do it. (by the way, when we’ll be in their shoes, let’s remember this !)

In my case, my main interest tends towards everyday’s reality. Like I said in an older post, I believe that the world has much more to offer and to teach me than I have (so far). It doesn’t mean I don’t find my spot there in the big world or that I am not sharing anything or taking position ; rather the opposite I have this certitude we all have a role to play and that one person missing changes the entire balance and meaning of the world.

Because of this, I know the importance of going and asking people for their story. We could even say testimony. My profession means  giving this space to others, to their stories, their situations and to find the most respectful way of presenting it. Of course I have my point of view and my beliefs and you can feel them in what I do. But the most important is this precious balance between everyone’s view and how to present it. Again we are all needed to make the full picture attractive and coherent.

All this to say I have been filming  some amateur and semi-professional models (photography or other) those last 14 months. My initial thought was to understand the meaning of dealing with your own image in our overexposed society. Moving along with the project I realized that the question was only a small part of the project.

So here below the link to the first interview. I tried to make it in a kind of performative way, by choosing with the model one of their favorite actions and a location that made sense to them. Then I let it roll for a while, only asking them to keep the pose. Just like my first passion of painting, giving you the time to travel within the frame at your own rhythm.

Next ones will come soon

A safe landing 2 days ago. The feeling of an uncommon jet lag. We arrived home after our holidays. We came back home after work as well. 3600 km in 10 days. Our plane was a car. Our trip back in two times. Our vacations in four movements and 8 bits.

Now time to start the week. In fact not – we are Thursday. Weekend is close and no time to breathe. The air feels different. Probably the mountains, the altitude. It was flat over there. Never ending horizon. A vaste space where thoughts get wiped away by the wind. Here the mountains are hermetic. Here the heights are a barrier. We should feel safe. We do feel home.

Working time. Restless. Something changed. The landscape changed. Snow in the Alpes and rain here down. I feel like it is time to rest. But the rhythm is an new one. Actually like an old friend we knew that came back to our place. 3 steps for the movement. Then immobile. Time to think. No need to hurry before the next step.

The rain goes on outside and I know the digestion time started. A lot happened between the road trip, the memorial visit and the Festival. So many different things. So much in common. We are moving and entering a new phase of our lives and it is right. It sounds right.

All experiences are worth. Every new person you know completes you. Sometimes it is hard to see it, sometimes it is easy. Just natural. Just the way it should be.

I remember something from a deep past that goes beyond my own existence. It is rare.

I shared time in every possible way. It is rare.

I had the greatest professional time ever with amazing people. Every jury member. Every staff member. Thank you guys

Bounds are created.

Lace is woven.

Life can grow further.