Thursday, January 3, 2008

Part One is Done. Almost.

Editing, recording narration, hosting concerts, giving speeches, and enjoying the holidays: it has been one busy month! A rough cut of Part 1 was completed before Christmas and after a little spit 'n polish next week, it will be ready for its screening at Northampton's Academy of Music on January 12, 2008 at 3pm. Part 1 is called "Printmakers to the People" and focuses on Currier & Ives' early years, turning points for the firm and personal insights into the fascinating business partners.

We learned a few things about time management from editing the short because creating movement on these static images takes a big chunk of editing time. You can 'move the eye' around the screen and create a dynamic composition without special moves by going closer into the images and revealing the details that aren't apparent at first glance. These details - dress, machinery, interaction, etc. are the magic of Currier & Ives. Once you start zooming in on them, it is impossible to view the prints the same way. The images provide a more vibrant, dynamic history lesson than any textbook.

Believe it or not, some shooting is still underway! Today, the crew videotaped re-enactments at Old Sturbridge Village, with two staffers acting as Mr. Currier & Mr. Ives working together in a business setting. These will be used minimally, but they will help fill out 3 half-hours largely reliant upon only 7 images of the men, and only 2 of Ives! It was a frigid but beautiful, wintry day and cameraman Mark Langevin captured some stunning winter-in-New-England images that will remind you guessed it: a picture print by Currier & Ives!

Next week, we will see how teachers are using the collection in their actual lesson plans, when we visit a classroom at the High School of Commerce in Springfield, Massachusetts. One teacher is looking at women and styles of dress in Currier & Ives prints to spark a discussion about clothing in relation to health and gender roles. Should be interesting! This is the partnership at work: expanding the impact of the collection among students and beyond.

I've enjoyed several speaking engagements over the past month and it seems I never run out of things to talk about! Some crowds are more interested in the history, others in the art, others in the business side of the New York City firm. Today I got a question that stumped me: where was the lithographic paper made? Any takers? I'm looking into it.

The Currier & Ives Holiday Pops concert last month was just a joy from beginning to end. The audience was able to view the short video before entering the concert and so they sat down a little more informed about what they were about to see. Wintry and holiday images and details of prints were shown on a large screen as the chorus sang and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra worked its magic. I attended both weekend performances in order to hand out literature and answer questions about the upcoming series and it was just as good the second time around!

Scott Simon recorded his narration by phone from Washington, D.C. because that worked out better for all parties involved. His voice, as I suspected, is just perfect for the project and it vastly enhances the docs.

I'll keep you posted.

No comments: