MicroCineFest catalog - november 11-13, 2005
October, 2005 Interview
w/ tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
conducted by Skizz Cyzyk by email
Skizz: With STORY OF A FRUCTIFEROUS SOCIETY, for the first time that I've noticed, you seem to be in demand, as if you're finally getting some of that recognition you've always deserved, which so many less deserving individuals have enjoyed all these years instead of you. Is that my imagination or have I not been paying attention?
t,ac: "In demand" is definitely stretching it too far! "Recognition"? Not particularly. Even though I've been a filmmaker for 31 years & a vaudeomaker for 28 AND I've screened all over the world (Australia, China, Malaysia, Hungary, Germany..), I'm still not mentioned in ANY books on either of those subjects that I know of. Endless drek is pumped out by basically ignorant academics about Andy Warhol's films, for example, but very few writers will even touch someone like myself. Warhol's a no-brainer, I'm not. Let's face it! I'm from Baltimore. That translates into WORKING CLASS SUBHUMAN MORLOCK. As I'm fond of saying, "I think I'm a GREAT filmmaker, I just have a hard time finding anyone who agrees w/ me." The punchline to the joke, of course, is that I fully expect to attain some moderate reknown by the time I'm too much of a vegetable to benefit from it anymore. I'll finally be 'safe' then.
Skizz: When you first told me about the film, I got the feeling from you that you weren't expecting to get it screened many places and that it might drive away a lot of audiences. What have the reactions been like so far?
t,ac: I premiered it in Pittsburgh where there's a substantial community of experimental film enthusiasts (currently centered around "Jefferson Presents" - a film presenting group) - thanks partially to the presence of Pittsburgh Filmmakers. This (v)audience is appreciative & enthusiastic. One might say they paid RAPT attention. Then I screened it in Greensboro & Raleigh, North Carolina. People were mostly appreciative in those places too. Finally, I screened it in Toronto where it was also well rc'vd. Alas, there's always the danger that people have a knee-jerk 'appreciation' for the COST of the materials used (computer editing = good) because our society is so inculcated with consumer brain-washing. Naturally, I'd like to think that that's NOT the case in the appreciation that "Story.." has been getting. It's intended to be a MASSIVE jump-start for the language areas of the brain & I like to think that it's successful in that regard & that people ACTUALLY ENJOY IT FOR THAT. Imagine that, right? There're no prominent tits, gun battles, or robberies - how can anyone LIKE such a thing?! People aren't completely braindead yet.
Skizz: In this film, why did you credit yourself and refer to yourself as the Ballooning One instead of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE?
t,ac: In the current incarnation of the Fructiferous Society that the title primarily refers to, members (all 2 of us) chose plant-related names. The Ballooning One is my name & is both a reference to the Balloon Vine (pictured throughout the movie) & to my having worked for a hot air balloon company.
Skizz: How did you come up with the subject matter for the film?
t,ac: The Forked One, in Berlin, revivified the Fructiferous Society primarily for the purpose of using an already existing name as a new context for various language-related activities. This became the springboard for my compiling a multitude of expanded language usages under one umbrella.
Skizz: Let's talk about your work ethic. You've made 246 films, 46 of them are features, and 180 were made over the course of 19 years in Baltimore. You must be eligible for some sort of record for most prolific experimental film & video maker ever.
t,ac: John Porter, a great super-8 filmmaker in Toronto, has made over 300 movies. So he's still ahead of me in that department, as are others. STILL, it's a big number, eh?
Skizz: How do you find the time, money, resources, and ideas for all of your films & videos?
t,ac: It helps if you don't mind (or even ENJOY) working in fucked-up ways! I've been working in vaudeo since 1977 but I didn't have my own camcorder until 2000 (well.. actually I had a PXL-2000 by 1988)! & that was a cheap $100 VHS camcorder that most 'pros' wdn't use. I've edited most of my vaudeos going from home deck to home deck - often using borrowed &/or broken equipment. THIS IS NOT AN EASY WAY TO WORK. But it's borderline free. I shot Joe Coleman & Whitney Ward's wedding using a PXL camera, a filmstrip camera, a super-8, a regular-8, etc.. - outputting the final product to VHS. All cheap-shit stuff in a room full of people using high-end digital cameras. Wch movie did Whitney & Joe end up liking the most? Mine. Wch movie got used as an extra on the "R.I.P." documentary about Joe? Some really, REALLY poor stuff shot on digital. Why? Because the place doing the DVD assembly didn't want to work from VHS. Yawnsville, baby. Basically, while people tell me "Oh, I didn't really do much with this project because I ONLY had a $25,000 grant" I simply work my ass off (ever notice how small it is?) with A FEW DOLLARS. The most expensive project I ever had was my 16mm feature that I spent about $3,000 on. Most people are just such spoiled brats that they can't even dupe a tape without a grant for a new computer. Time? Money? Resources? Ideas? We've all got the same amount of time. Money's only essential if you're too unimaginative to live outside the capitalist mainstream. Resources are EVERYWHERE - especially in this society of EXTREME WASTE. Make FILMSTRIPS. That's a great medium that's barely been explored. Technology is getting thrown away everywhere. Use what's discarded. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE THE LATEST THIS AND THAT. Shove your iPod up your iAss. Use CARDBOARD! Use overhead projectors! How do people think those wonderful liquid light-shows were done? Ideas? Well.. you either have them or you don't. Keeping lively, responding to your environment, reading, having interesting friends, staying busy, just plain THINKING is mainly what it takes. The bottom line is, THIS IS MY LIFE. In other words, if you're really motivated to do something, you'll do it. If you're not, you'll make excuses.
Skizz: You mentioned to me that you've been working with digital video since 1997, yet FRUCTIFEROUS is your first feature you've made with the new technology. Having seen a lot of your work over the years, and knowing that you tend to make the most of whatever format you're using, I've been anxious to see how you would use digital editing software. Believe it or not, FRUCTIFEROUS is close to what I had imagined, though I would've never guessed that you made it using the very limiting iMovie. That must have been a tedious job?
t,ac: I just use whatever's available to me. When iMovie became available, I used it. IT WAS NOT DESIGNED for something large that's edited frame-by-frame (as much of "Story.." is). As such, the computer crashed continuously & it took up to a week of fairly continuous labor to make SEVENTEEN SECONDS. That was at its worst. But, I persevered & it was worth it to me. Obviously, digital editing is much, MUCH easier than what I'm accustomed to. So that's fine. BUT, DIGITAL is not a MAGIC WORD. Digital Schmigital. People overly confuse the MEDIUMS with the information storage methods. I've seen no proof yet that CDs, for example, are anywhere close to being as archival as audio cassettes. & yet people are foolish enuf to clamor around CDs. ALL mediums have their advantages & disadvantages. Ultimately, I choose DNA as my preferred information storage vehicle. Cum closer so you can hear me better.
Skizz: We've talked in the past about what's considered underground versus what really is underground. Are you fully immersed, 24/7 in a lifestyle that rejects conventionalism?
t,ac: Of course not! As I often say, "I hate money but my landlady loves it!" In other words, I spend a substantial amount of time interfacing with a society that adamantly does not share my opinions. WHICH IS FINE. I don't want to live in a world of clones, even clones of myself. Hey! I like to hold hands & eat in restaurants & go swimming. So what if I like to wear a Creature of the Black Lagoon mask & put dry ice in the water to make smoke bubbles come out of the ocean?
Skizz: Is there any mainstream culture you enjoy or approve of?
t,ac: Probably. It's not as if I judge things on the basis of such categories. I'm just stimulated by whatever stimulates me. I liked "Wes Craven's New Nightmare". Is that mainstream? Obviously I'm more excited about culture that comes from some drive of its producer that's outside of the profit motive. I mean, I'd probably fuck Britney Spears as fast as the next guy but listen to her music? Why bother?! &, of course, I wouldn't REALLY fuck her either - & NOT ONLY because she has people whose job it is to make sure she never, EVER comes into contact with people who might damage her career.
Skizz: Is there anything we haven't touched upon that you'd like to briefly get off your chest?
t,ac: I hope people come to witness "Story of a Fructiferous Society". I hope they feel excited by it & talk to me afterward & ask interesting questions. Or ask DUMB questions! Whatever. Questions are good. What question is this the answer to?
Skizz: Last, but not least, if you could be any vegetable, which one would it be?
t,ac: Whichever one is used by the most girls to masturbate with.
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE movie-making "Press: Criticism, Interviews, Reviews" home-page
to the "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - Sprocket Scientist" home-page
to the "FLICKER" home-page for the alternative cinematic experience
to find out more about why the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sea Monkeys by Experimental Filmmakers) is so important
for A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..
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to see an underdeveloped site re the N.A.A.M.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Multi-Colored Peoples)