As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ll be shooting a number of videos with CMJ this summer. Here’s the latest I helped put together: an interview with Adam and John from the band Taking Back Sunday.
Looking at the last post, it’s been a while since I’ve added anything to the blog. I’m sorry to say that May and June have passed and I haven’t added new videos. But there is a reason for that (and I hope it works as a valid excuse). I’ve been working on some other projects that have distracted me from Less Talking, More Shooting, and will hopefully be able to share them with you soon.
First up: over the past few months, I’ve been spending most of my time (and mental energy) working on a short documentary. It began as a project for school, but soon took on a life of its own. The subject: a hole-in-the-wall arcade in Lower Manhattan called Chinatown Fair. Lovingly referred to as “CF”, Chinatown Fair was one of the last remaining arcades in New York City and housed a devout scene of fighting game aficionados. It drew a crowd of diverse ages, races and backgrounds convened around a similar interest. Initially my idea for the film was a profile of the arcade and the players that called it home. All that changed, however, when the arcade lost its lease and suddenly closed.
I decided not to give up with the film, but instead to focus on the history of the arcade, its impact on the gaming community, and a look at “what’s next.” My first step was to reach out to the players and record interviews with them. Since I wasn’t able to film inside the arcade before it closed, I crowdsourced footage from those that knew it best. The clips, taken on everything from digital cameras to camera phones, are intimate and personal. Though the rest of the world might consider video games just a hobby or pastime, this group sees them as a way to connect with one another. As I lined up interviews, I couldn’t help but admire the openness of the players and their willingness to talk about a place they loved. After telling one participant that this world was new to me, he “welcomed” me to the fighting game community saying, “it’s not an easy scene to leave.”
I finished a rough cut of the film, which I am titling simply “Chinatown Fair”, a few weeks ago, but have since been fleshing it out. I’m in the final stages of editing and will have the final product up in a week or so. The entire process has been an eye-opening one, exposing me to an entire world I barely knew existed. But that, I guess, is the power of documentary film.
In other news, this summer I will be working on a number of videos with the music publication/blog CMJ. I will be recording interviews with bands, and hanging out at concerts (tough work, I know). I’ll post them here intermittently when they’re finished and hope you check them out as well. Since “Chinatown Fair” has taken me so long to complete, that will be my entry for May/June (I make the rules, so I get to break them). So keep reading! I have an idea for a video in July that could be interesting, and may have a surprise or two along the way.
Below I’ve posted the first video I shot with CMJ, an interview with Katie Stelmanis from the band Austra. Check it out!