Glovebox Film Festival

Friday, July 22, 2011

Interview with the makers of "Just Because"

 One Smith Band's music video "Just Because"

I met Stephanie Stender during the Glovebox Short Film and Animation Festival in June. The Glovebox team was in contact with Stephanie months prior to our meeting and her music video/animation "Just Because" was passed around and quickly became a favorite. Stephanie directed and produced the One Smith Band's music video, "Just Because" which won several Glovebox Golden Glovie Awards at the Glovebox film festival. When Stephanie contacted me about the film's nomination at another festival, I was more than happy to spread the word. See, I believe as artists, we are all in this together. The more people we can touch with art, the better. The more people that I see doing their art, the happier I am and the better the world and immediate community is for it. Here at Glovebox, we want to spread the word about other festivals and non-profits so artists like Stephanie, have more avenues to spread their work, touching and inspiring more people.

Stephanie and Dan Flynn worked on "Just Because," spreading music and art. Their music video "Just Because" is nominated for a World Music and Independent Film Festival (WMIFF) People's Choice Awards. The WMIFF is a unique festival that blends music, film and fine art. It's a great organization that helps to promote all submissions, which we here at Glovebox fully support. Selected films will be featured at the US Navy Memorial Burke Theater the week of August 15th and our red carpet awarding will be held at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC on August 20, 2011. Help get "Just Because" there by voting here.

I think having such a talented group of people as friends is what keeps me motivated. When you see your peers creating beautiful art - no matter what their art form: painting, music, dance - it really motivates you to express your own voice with your artwork.
- Stephanie Stender

How did you both get started in art?

Stephanie Stender: My background is in film production. I studied film and photography at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia and then a couple years later, received my masters in film production with a focus on directing at Boston University. My films always had a whimsical sensibility that really went hand in hand with animation, but lacking any drawing skills myself, I only dabbled in stop motion animation. That is until I met the talented animator Dan Flynn a few years later when I started as an editor at a local animation studio. We started to collaborate soon after.

Dan Flynn: I got into UMass Dartmouth as a computer science major. I realized before my first semester started that it wasn't really what I wanted to do, so I went "undeclared." Through my sister (who went to the same school) I got a job with the art history and design office, and learned about the "Electronic Imaging" (EI) major there, which was a sort of "jack-of-all-trades" major that covered digital media like Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightwave 3D and Flash. I switched my major to EI shortly afterwards, and throughout my time there focused on 3D animation. I did some 2D animating in Flash, but it wasn't till I graduated college and got a job working at Soup2Nuts in Watertown as a Flash animator that I really took a liking to it, and I feel I became a stronger animator there.

With such strong artistic and technical backgrounds, how did you find yourselves doing music videos?

SS: I've always been obsessed with music videos. I grew up watching MTV. While other kids were watching Mr. Rogers, I was watching Land of Confusion, Take on Me, and the undeniable classic Thriller. As a child, I was also in love with silent films. We would go to the local church to see old silent films played with live organ music, and I remember it being such a treat. So, I think it's no surprise I fell in love with music videos. I saw them as our generation's silent films, but played with awesome 80s music. 

Music video for The Andersons' "Take It Outside." Directed by Stephanie Stender.
What is your process in creating a character that is all your own and helping the musician realize their vision for their song?

SS: This might sound odd, but I cannot listen to music without envisioning the film that goes with it.  The notes create a feeling in me, making its own music video in my mind's eye...Luckily, so far, my vision has always coincided with the musician's vision for the song.

DF: Listening to the song over, and over, and over. Figuring out how to tell a story and how to make the music relevant is like solving a puzzle, so there is a lot of thought involved. Eventually things just start to click, and that's when you know it's really working.

I love the different methods of reaching a visual story - where do you find inspiration for your work?

SS: I grew up in a household of storytellers. My grandparents would sit around the kitchen table, telling stories and having a good laugh. The need to tell a story seeped into my bones. One of the greatest privileges of being a filmmaker is the ability to transport someone to a different world, to entertain her, even if it is just for a few minutes. And I think my family really inspired me to do that through their love of a great narrative. And I am probably going to embarrass Dan by saying this, since he is one of the most humble guys I know, but he also really inspires me. I am always blown away by his talent. He can animate smoke, fire....the list goes on. But what I love most about Dan is his voracious need to learn more. He lives and breathes animation, and his enthusiasm for his art form really inspires you to get moving on your own!

DF: Like anyone, I'm inspired by those who have gone above and beyond. I'm inspired by musicians, animators, actors... I aspire to be as talented as they are.

Animation by Dan Flynn

How do you stay motivated?

SS: I think having such a talented group of people as friends is what keeps me motivated. When you see your peers creating beautiful art - no matter what their art form: painting, music, dance - it really motivates you to express your own voice with your artwork. Of course, watching a Michel Gondry music video motivates me, but in a different way. It feels a little removed. You start to think to yourself, well, he has such and such budget, or he start to belittle your own abilities. But seeing your peers creating art, it puts faith back in your heart and gets you revved up.

DF: The thought of creating something that people will enjoy, and something that I can be proud of is what keeps me going.


Check out more of Stephanie Stender's work at:
Doorstop Productions
Youtube channel

You can follow Dan Flynn's work on his blog here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Interview with Photographer Paris Visone

Photos: Paris Visone

“It would be easy to say my life is a constant photo session. I see the camera as...more of a limb than a prop.” - Paris Visone
Paris Visone is a photographer based out of Boston, Massachusetts. Visone told us once that Glovebox needs to do more photo shows. Actually that was what she said in an email when she said she would do an interview with Glovebox for this blog. She recently did a shoot with Blondie and won a Getty Images Editorial Grant in 2010, among her other cool projects and professions. She has a solo show coming up at Suffolk Gallery July 22nd with an artist talk. More info on that here.

Paris is a straight shooter (no pun intended). At least that was my first impression of her about 3 years ago when she participated in the Glovebox photo show, Focus. She’s a cool chick and she knows it. I spoke to her about her spunk and her skill recently.

GLVBX: Tell me about your personality and how you would classify the type of person you are to work with.

PV: I am definitely a "let it flow" type of personality. And maybe a little loud at times. I do things seriously, but I don't take myself too seriously. Working with me, hanging out with me, there's really no distinction between the two.  "Working" just means we're actually getting something done.

What would a shoot with Paris Visone be like?

I do a lot of shooting from the hip. So it might seem like I am distracted by a situation and not actually shooting. I get a lot of "Oh, you should take a photo of this" from people who don't see that. While they're thinking I'm not doing my job, I wait for photos to happen. The over-presence of a camera can completely alter a situation. I try to stay as "real" as I can.

Tell us how your personality affects your work? Do you think it effects the quality of the shot?

Personality has a lot to do with the photos that you get. You can be standing right next to someone with the same camera and get totally different photos. I shoot with a 24mm lens. This forces me get close to my subjects, which works since I would say that I'm an in-your-face kind of person. Standing across a room with a paparazzi lens to get that candid shot is poor form compared to a subtle wide-angle shot in the midst of the moment. I like to be all up in the situation, rather than stalk it. The more connected you are to your subject, the more confident you become, and that will show in your photos.

I want to ask you about your artist statement. I think you have a really interesting artist statement for a documentary photographer - you end with three words: Experience, Remember, Relive.

Experience--How do you experience a photo session? Are you living it with the camera by your side as a “prop” or are you experiencing the situation through your lens?

It would be easy to say my life is a constant photo session. I see the camera as my replaceable baby. So maybe more of a limb than a prop.

This relates back to my earlier question -- what role does Paris play in how the session plays out?

I really try not to interfere in a way that a photographer normally would. I have a sort of old school documentary outlook on photographing. Even when shooting with a bulky large format camera, I usually stick to normal conversation. I just feel like you have to let people be themselves in front of the lens. Sometime I will get the question, "What should I do?" My answer is usually, "Whatever."  If you give people the confidence that what they already are is what you want, they unknowingly give you the goods.

Remember--When you take a photograph, is your intention to freeze a moment in time? It is a nostalgic exercise?

For me, clicking the shutter is more of an impulse thing. Usually while photographing I have no preconceived notions. I see something that I think is "worth photographing", and I shoot. I know immediately if I like it without even looking at it.

Why I like it is a totally different story. I usually have to live with a photo for awhile before I can really wrap my head around why I took it.  And there a lot of photos that I am in love with, and years later I still don't know why. I think those might be my best. Or worst.

I wouldn't say that I am sentimental in the traditional sense. But I would say that I am somewhat nostalgic, although photography is not for me to generate nostalgia. I shoot because life simply compels me to.

Relive--What does this sentiment mean, to relive? Are you reliving the moment through the eyes of the author (you) or is someone reliving a memory? Explain this idea to me--how important is it for you to be able to relive moments.

One of my intentions is to let the viewer make the photo their own. I love when people tell me that they know a version of someone in one of my photos. Or they feel that they have been in the same place or situation. I really like shooting everyday moments, because it is usually the first thing people forget, but ultimately what makes someone who they are.

But personally, relive is simple. It stems from the fact that I have a terrible memory. If I don't photograph something, according to my brain, it might as well not have happened. Reviewing photos is how I live my life, not how I review it. You could say that what reliving is for most people, is simply living for me. Life is photo.

Paris Visone Photography tee seen here modeled by Matt Katz-Bohen, keyboard player for Blondie (left)

Check out the Paris Visone Photography tees - send Paris a photo of you wearing your tee shirt and she'll post it! More information after these Blondie photos!!

Paris Visone Photography
Check  out Paris on Facebook and Twitter