Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bald Guy 040 Insulation

22 degrees this morning. Put a jaclet on your house. At least, wear a hat.

Monday, October 19, 2009

NH Film Festival

Had a great time at the NH Film Festival. I only wish I could have seen more/ been there more. I guess having the Music Hall a block from my office was just too much. Allowed me to duck out of a screening and then finish an edit. Just glad I can't yet edit on my iphone.

One of the fine things about a festival is the community of makers. Great to see Ron Wyman and George Kachadorian and hear them talk about social responsibility and film. It's the ol' cause thing. In their panel discussion I would have liked to add to the notion that came out about conversation that cause oriented work is about relationship. As a filmmaker we need to be embedded in the world we inhabit. Little video cameras have given us the opportunity to bring the camera into those worlds. Like in Food Inc where a small clandestine camera caught horrendous conditions in the food processing world. Like in George and Courtney Bent's documentary Shooting Beauty where small video cameras are mounted to a wheelchair to go along for the ride. Along as we are given a tale of freedom on the dangerous streets of Boston.

Any of us can get an inexpensive camera and record. That's a start. But it's the relationship that camera forms through its human handling. It's the relationship that the camera forms with the community it enters. With the people surrounding it. It's a 3-dimensional world.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Paolo Nutini

I met Paolo Nutini last night. He's a sensation and all the more so in an intimate pre-show living-room performance in an acoustic gig I was privileged to attend thanks to The River 92.5 and the Green Alliance. It's a silly comparison – crossing forms and modes – but he's a Bode Miller of music, albeit happy and seemingly comfortable with other people. He offered our preshow show his songs and his band of performers. They also looked to relish just playing. Altlantic recorded and rumor has it we'll be able to hear the mini-gig on the radio. We could have been in the Buena Vista Social Club, or a southern porch, with the rhythm slapped out by a box upon which the drummer sat.

Great performance is PRESENCE. And Paolo is rooted in his song, wistful, longing and connecting to the presence of all great perfromance. Wish I could have pulled out my Sony webbie and grabbed the moments, flickering candles, and budha statues lit by the flames looking on over Paolo's shoulder. On second thought – glad I could just be there and not have to work. (Wasn't enough light, anyway, so I cut the thought.)

But this sheer genius of voice and instrument isn't simply an invention of the moment. This kid cut his chops in a studio and clearly watched, listened, learned. He knows how to take the stage and share the stage. The blend of personalities is strung together by someone who has seen good and knows how to tap it. That makes him REALLY GOOD. It's where the Bode comparison holds. You don't get to great moments of presence and performance without the chops to transcend those very chops. It's what we all look for – at least speaking for myself – this performance that leaps off the stage, frees us from gravity, and turns our solo acts into connected art.

I pitched Paolo into connecting to the issue of climate change and if it hits him I'm sure he will. We all need that sense of presence, if not simply the presence itself.

Here's a clip that does a decent job of connecting to Paolo. Find him yourself.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

48 hour film project

Pick the thing up and do it. Wow. It is real.

I saw Celebration at the Music Hall some years ago. And Hoop Dreams. People. Camera. Relationships. Power. "Don't just stand there. Move it!" It's apt.

That was the line of dialog we were given. And Max Otterbein, waiter. And sunglasses and a genre: buddy film. And 48 hours to make – script, shoot, edit!! – a film.

Never had much pull for a 48 Hour Project till this year. And meeting Sean Hurley. We talked about collaborating. And then this thing in New Hampshire. Pick a camera up in our back yard. See what happens. Portsmouth has been much ignored filmically (not any more!)

Put down the money to enter.

Crazy week leading up to the Friday with two other films to be shown Thursday night. Hoo boy, didn't even read the rules till Friday and then a quick scan. Hope the guy at the table next to me wasn't lying about the 7 minute max thing.

Sean would bring Rick. I would bring Jay with a second (and preferred XDCam) camera.

Then went to the Fresh Local Truck (convenient camera platform for our opening shot) for lunch Thursday and met Doria. She's a sensation – an instant connection. She's dong a documentary on refugees from Bhutan. "Wanna help make a film this weekend?"

"Going to a wedding on Friday in NY, but I can get back if afternoon's not too late?" Get out! Jump in. What can she do/ want to do? "I can act if you'd like. Except I'm in the Union." Not a problem for me! 'Cept that I HATE paperwork.

So we all jumped in. Played. And believed that we wouldn't waste our time. We got the category we wanted (not that we knew any better). A buddy film. Sit and jabber. Let 'em roll. See what happens.

But we did so much more than just let em roll and get what we get. We started there. Doria said it. And she echoed a line in our climate change documentary project. "You begin where you are, man." We cut the specific line (remember that 7:00 thing??), but the thought permeated.

And Sean... alive from the first moment. He and Rick started improvising at Gill's Indian restaurant next to the Double D Comics (no other filmmakers were hungry?) right after we got our assignment. They started playing with elements.

Sean was alive and awake at – was it 5 or 6 AM as we began to plan the shoot, Rick was in by 6AM (doing the morning show on NHPR gets him going pretty early most days).

And the same on Sunday. Sean and I were up with the sun, cutting away. Could have used those 4 hours of sleep for a sound mix at about 6:41 PM Sunday. But jumped in the car and flew to Manchester Karmic radar detector set for every corner.

Thanks Chris and 48 hour Project folks. You kicked some life into these old guys. Well, Sean & Rick aren't so old.

Somewhat cross posted on our blog

these old guys. Well, Sean & Rick aren't so old.

The above photo is why we wanted to use Jay's XDCAm:

Still pretty much as the camera recorded it, lit by two street lights, 7:56 PM (or thereabouts)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Uncle Joe Awards

The winners of last night's Joe Rogers Award for Independence were given at a packed hall in Boston. In this profile we learn the steps Michael Greene and Dennis Machado have taken to get where they want to go.

What a night! What a week! What a life!

As I get ready for the 48-hour film project beginning today I’m just getting over a previous 48-hour film project.

Last night was Awards Night – the Annual Celebration & Fundraiser for Work, Inc. a non-profit service provider in Massachusetts that supports people with developmental and psychiatric disabilities. One of the evening’s awards is the Joe Rogers award for independence in honor of my uncle and dedicated to his determined spirit. The award is presented by Joe’s family and my dad, Mark Rogers, performed the honor of presenting the awards to Michael Greene and Dennis Machado. As part of the celebration we have, each year, created video profiles of all the nominees and winners.

We had another profile this year: the 2009 Work Inc. Consumer of the Year. Maura Sullivan is inspiring in her quest to connect with others and her leadership in helping others with disability to similarly connect. There is still a bit of last night’s dinner on this monitor – don’t want to admit working till the last minute, but it does seem forensics might ID remnants of the roast beef served up. We were glad to provide this profile of Maura Sullivan – done with time to enjoy desert.

Thanks to Jim Casetta, CEO of Work Inc. and Jim Cawley, development director, and President of the Boston City Council, Maureen Feeney, who was nothing short of inspiring in her position of MC for the evening event. And to Joe Rogers for leading the way; David & Terry Rogers, Mark & Susan Rogers, Barbara Rogers and in memory of Leonard Rogers.

cross posted on Bald Guy on Climate Change and My Uncle

Saturday, June 6, 2009

How to party with Bode Miller – on not

I am terrible at throwing a party.

It’s not that I don’t have something to offer – not embarrassed about the food, the conversation, the entertainment, the other friends, nor do I care if the party is for 4 or 400. I’m about typical when it comes to social quotient. I both like being with people and being alone. No shortage of entertainment in either place.

It’s just the logistics of a party. The f-ing details. And the question of why.

Making a film – or any creative endeavor is a little like throwing a party. You invite people you know to participate. You give them a sense of why, when, where, who. Like a barn raising. But, of course the difference is, unlike a barn-raising, many (most??) projects take more than a day, a weekend, a month... So at the end of the party you say, “Hope you had a good time! See you at 6 AM tomorrow for doughnuts and coffee!”

Not a popular closer for most.

But even for the singular, one-off, run of-the-mill party it’s still a basic question of who, what, where, when and embedding the why in there. Do we need to know why we should party? I think it’s handy to know if we’re to buy tupperware, drink like Lawrence, or catchup with old friends, yes.

And there’s the rub. Work to have fun? How come?

Here’s the connection, tangential as it might be. I was talking with a friend about wanting to make a fort for my kids. He said excitedly that he had a fort he was looking to move, his son having gone off to college and the big wide world. My friend is a builder and his fort is solid. Cool for us! But we’ve got to get a crew to move it. Now moving a fort is not quite party material, just needs a few guys to grab corners and heft the thing into my friend’s trailer. But how to make that happen. I stink at throwing parties. One time I invited friends to a party then didn’t show up. True story. That’s when I knew. And it seems especially bad when the purpose is to get friends to do something for me.

I’m actually pretty good on the communication of that last item. It’s a matter of being honest, straightforward and staying away from any guilt trips – YOU OWE ME! It’s the time thing. And it’s THE CIRCLES OF CONNECTION. I bet my cousin in Connecticut could help. Or my brother in Columbus. Or my friend in Massachusetts. But it has to be realistic. A real fort needs people in close enough circles. And then there is the issue of the social circles. A “hefting of the fort” can be a good way to join circles – my local friends, to my film friends.

Connection and the why. The fort needed 4 people to move. Tim, my friend the builder, me and two others. I made a few calls to local friends and could find only 1. So the 2 of us showed up at Tim’s house.

Tim builds houses. So the fort was really a little house. On 7 foot four by four stilts. Around a tree that burned down leaving the fort standing. Amazingly the 3 of us lowered the building to the ground, using the concept of leverage and a deep and abiding faith in God. Once to the ground we realized that there was no way the 3 of us, or even 4 guys heftier. Tim’s built like a house framer, but, me and David are finish carpenters, at best. So we need at least 6 people. A bigger party. For another day of fun.

And it hit me. I like helping friends out. I like hanging out. I like creating. I like helping others create (editing, shooting, writing...). I hate organizing schedules. Does anybody? Some tolerate it better than others. I work with one such person. But I just want to hang out with friends. Hang with creative folks, even those who don’t think they are.

I’ve been out at Sundance a few times. One time I was there for a screening of my Bode Miller film, Flying Downhill, showing at the competing XDance. I was at one of the Sundance hotels looking for a friend, hyping (inviting him to) my screening. And as I was being as cool as possible to fit in – arrogance works as well in a pinch. I could see the buzzing of little parties. One group was assembled around their film and it seemed that some of those party-members sole purpose was to wrangle other partiers to attend their film. Some of the group were solely “ticket-givers” and knew who should sit where. These were professional party people, not amateurs like me. They knew where everybody should stand at the party. And what kind of vodka was in. And out. Don’t know if this was the group associated with another party (film screening) scheduled for the same time as mine. But my friend told me that he had to go to that party, even though he had seen the film and the distributor had already been chosen. He simply had to get more of Little Miss Sunshine. Even though I hadn’t seen it... how could a reckless skier compete with a kid with a great smile, not to mention my hero, Alan Arkin. Our Bode party was good, but would have been better had Bode not been such a good partier (or, at least talked about such before the party).

People who are good at social media look like they are good at a party. But really it’s all about a simple conversation. No problem. My mon, who seems to be good at parties, taught me that many people feel awkward at a party. You just talk. Be yourself. Listen.

I gotta run to find some friends to move a fort! And hang with the kids.

But I do want to pitch that I’ll be working with Sean Hurley and some other friends on the 48-hour film project. We’ll begin at 7PM Friday, June 12 and the party ends Sunday night at 7PM. A movie in hand.

We never had a wrap party for our Bode film because it was moving with us as we went. One such party was in Park City, 2002 after the final Olympic slalom. At 4 AM I walked out from my bedroom and told Bode and the 20 or so others in the living room playing coin games that it was time for me to get some sleep. Thus, end of party. He said “That’s cool.”

We need someone in our endeavors who likes to throw a party. Me, just let me cook and talk. I’ll clean up after. Eventually.

Cause a good party can even help promote climate change solutions. Really.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bald Guy on Climate Change 032

Bald Guy on Climate Change finds some great solutions with US Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter, on a tour with the Green Alliance. Habitat for Humanity builds houses, but in the process of their good work finds ways to do more good with their ReStore. That's good.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Balg Guy 013

Bald Guy gets hung out to dry with his investment in a new solar array.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bald Guy 029 Wide

This is Bill's entry into the Fiestamovement, a call for 100 bloggers to drive and write about their time behind the wheel of the Ford Fiesta as Ford tries to make it the IT car.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

NESEA Building Energy Conference

Was at the NESEA (Northeast Sustainable Energy Association) with Now or Never. We were (are) generously hosted by Boston Chapter of NESEA, BASEA if you're a fan of acronyms. It's aka Boston Area Solar Energy Association and they attract a good amount of querries. I know because I needed to let folks know that we were interlopers, not the real solar deal. We were just the press looking for stories of why folks had come to the conference.

We were LIVE streaming at NESEA and will be today:

We met some fascinating people: an energy auditor in Maine, driven by high energy prices; an alternative energy service company; a number of folks in the wind business; and the president of a college. The College President, Mr. Theodore Landsmark, took the opportunity of our live feed to sign a resolution of commitment on climate change at the school he leads, The Boston Architectural College.

There's great energy at the Buiding Energy Conference and we'll find more of it today.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bald Guy 027

In Saco, Maine they've connected the train to a station that's "on the grid and off the grid" as it gets power from the wind and the earth. The station's smart design is a source of pride for its community and a service to everybody that passes by, including US Congress member, Chellie Pingree. Developer Bob Martin and architect Mike Lassel tell us of why a facility like the Saco train station is good for all of us.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bode Miller: The Journey Continues

I am known to write long letters. It's okay. Not everybody reads them, but if you can and want to I'd like it, because I've got a story to tell. And It's about an adventure.

I began a journey ten years ago. The start of that journey is one of those moments etched in us. I was heading toward a tollbooth and heard a press report of Bode Miller coming back from Japan and the 1998 Winter Olympics. That was the beginning. I would follow Bode to the next Olympics in Park City (2002) and see what happens. And find meaning in the journey. That's the essence of any project and the essence of how we learn as we take steps forward.

And the journey continues today. The best journeys of my life have been forward and backward: new experiences that build on old ones. We go away to learn about who we are, where we come from. And so for the story of Bode Miller.

a preview from the soon to be released Bode Miller: The Early Years

Bode's grandparents introduced my parents. It was the 1950's and they were each on their own adventures. They found themselves at the Tamarack Ski Lodge. My mom worked there. As did her older sister, Nancy. My dad was a lodger. They were part of that Bohemian gang, like Kerouac groupies, not looking for a club, but just a place to rest and BE. To ski and BE. To live life as it's meant to BE. Jack Kenney, Bode's grandfather would write in the bathtub. And call up Groucho Marx on New Year's Eve. And Peg Kenney, Bode's grandmother, would keep the place from going completely belly-up, and would ski like nobody else. She was a medal-winning skier and could have been in world competition, had things, timing, fate been a bit different. She came east from Squaw Valley, taken in by Jack Kenney and his big, funny ideas.

Jack and Peg sold land to my mom and dad, an acre from the 400 Jack had bought with shoeboxes full of coins. Peg would later tell Jo, her daughter, who was busy idealizing a commune on the beautiful and harsh land that you want to have people visit and LEAVE, and that if they stay you've got to deal with all their junk. My parents came up for weekends and then left. But they loved Jack and Peg and the world they inhabited. And that was true for a suburb-full of others for whom the mountains represented the life they wanted to live. You make your money in the city, raise kids in the suburbs, but come alive in the mountains. And, as kids, the mountains were where we truly played.

So I've returned to the mountains to find out about the life my parents started. I always wanted to make a film about Jack and Peg and the world they wanted to create and did create. The Beat generation of Jack & Peg led to the hippies of Bode's parents and uncles. Each family member created a house or two on the land, made a stake in the place. Some were stick houses built from the trees they cut. Some were rehabs and patches of the buildings that were there for generations. But everybody had a stake in the land.

And I thought a documentary about these folks would be very cool. It seemed to me it would be Brother's Keeper (the 1992 documentary), without the murder and with smart people. And 15 people would see it. So I let it sit on the shelf as I made films about people with developmental disability and a passion for the blues, which 150 (actually more than 150,000) people wold see.

And that's when I was driving down that highway and reminded of how good Bode was on a pair of skis. And how exciting. And how places are good backdrops, but we need outward places to go and things to do to know why place is important. Because place and character need to be linked together. And the next Olympics would be Salt Lake City, 2002, a good American place, the destination for a good American story of following your dreams. And the wacky idea of how to get there. And the little understood sport of ski racing, with its many gates and great speed and clock ticking. Now we're talking! We're talking audience here! And EUROPEANS. Millions of Europeans. Addicts to ski racing. Feed 'em with a funny young, brash American. The little I knew about Bode back then – I was off at college and other pursuits as he was growing up – did add up to one thing: this kid is interesting. And he just might be as good as he seems to think he is.

So I spoke to Bode and he said sure, let's go, and thus began a journey.

That's the journey I continue today. Part of it relates to what will happen to Bode, will he stand or fall as a skier? What's the line between person, character, celebrity and circumstance? What is success and failure and how do we measure it? Will he realize his potential as a skier and what is that potential? Is it creating a turn that nobody has ever made before? Is it being fastest down on a particular day? Is it overcoming the obstacles in front of you, skiing on one ski if one ski is given? Or is simply a moment of defying gravity, like each of us as we come down the slope, gliding on a cloud of snow? What's the meaning of this journey – in this journey – following the path of one of the most remarkable athletes of our time?

I still get up early to see live timing of Bode's races, wanting to know how he's doing, if he's okay at the end of the run. People have lost their lives, lost their limbs in this unforgiving sport. And every time I get nervous knowing that I shouldn't be nervous, that I have NOTHING to do with the outcome. But that's why Bode's journey is my journey. I am – many of us are – connected to what happens to others. Bode's performance connects to each of us, to the best and worst we can do. To our mistakes and triumphs.

I consider this the final leg of my active journey on this project. I'll see if Bode goes to Val D'Isere and what happens there, if he continues on to Whistler.

But with this site and through a careful re-sifting of the 400 hours of taped history of the last ten years I'll be creating a "reverse blog" that will go back in time as Bode continues forward towards whatever might be next for him. I'll be reflecting on the journey that I've taken and post short clips from along the way. From the ring-side seat in 2002 as Bode delivered one of the greatest slalom performances in the history of ski racing, to the scene in my kitchen as my son, 3-years-old at the time, and I saw Bode go, on a single run of slalom, from behind to winning by 1 1/2 seconds.

I'll also find plenty of shots of Bode working out nearly naked (see the clip above and stay through the end, if that's your interest).

And we'll be giving you a new cut, for the first time a cut that will be released in Europe with subtitles in German, French and Italian (bravisimo!)!

So stay tuned. You know the location. But just in case it's FLYINGDOWNHILL.COM

-Bill Rogers

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bode Miller:The Early Years Preview

America's great skier, Bode Miller, has always gone his own way. But from where  and to where? In this preview to the profile of the American iconoclast we look to see the line between inspiration and a punshing crash. And we get to see Bode nerarly naked, a rare event on the ski hill.