Monday, January 23, 2006

Film for the Blind

It started off innocently enough. Some friend of a friend of a friend invites me to have a drink after a gig. He is a film director, the cousin or nephew or some such relation of a famous movie mogul, but he doesn’t use the name because he wants to make it on his own merits. He is bearded, frazzled, and hunched over like an old man, but he can’t be more than 35. He orders something shaken not stirred and gets me a beer. He keeps leaning forward, peering through the tiny space between the top of his glasses and the brim of his Greek fisherman’s hat. He’s been talking for several minutes about how shitty Hollywood films are, but I think I missed a transition somewhere.

He has just finished an over long sentence with, “…blindness is the metaphorical affliction of our times, man.”
“So,” I ask him, “your film is about a blind guy?”
“Not just about a blind person, but for the blind.” He waves a cocktail onion dangerously between us. “It is literally a Film, For, The, Blind.”
He pauses watching me for signs of enlightenment, waiting to see if I get it.
“A film for the blind,” I parrot back at him.
“Yes!” He is ecstatic. Apparently I have responded in the appropriate manner.
“Yes! I told Francis you were tuned in to this. I played him your song, Secret Ocean—deep, man. Deeeep. Life is a river, man. I knew you would see the importance of cinema for the blind.”
“So are you going to have descriptive audio for the visually impaired?” I asked.
“No, the film will be an emersion into the world as it is for the blind. Everyone will be equally blind when they see this film. You will be blinded by this film.”
“So the soundtrack would be pretty important,” I offered.
“Ex-friggin-lactly,” he said, fist striking the table. The cocktail onion wobbled and rolled, disappearing onto the floor. “I’ve got the best special effects guy in the business working the visuals. Stole him from the ranch. George is pissed, man. But I’ve been struggling, looking for the perfect music for this project. Then I heard you guys. Thunder-friggin-Echo, man.”
“Well, I’m glad you like our music,” I said lamely. “Not knowing much about your film, we would kind of be shooting in the dark. So if you could send us a script or some rough cuts or dailies or whatever you call them. Then we could come up with something that matches the film.”
“No, man. I want you going into this blind. I want you to shoot in the dark. I want you to compose music blind. Then I will meld it with the film I am shooting. Blindness is a mode of friggin operation, man, not just a metaphor.”
“Sounds like the blind leading the blind to me,” I said.
“Absa-friggin-lutely, man!”

I should have said “thanks, but no thanks.” But I didn’t, and 4 or 5 drinks later I was starting to get sucked in by this guy’s weird energy. I was sure he was doing something important. And he wanted the Thunder Echo Ensemble to be a part of “cinematic history, man, cine-friggin-matic history.”

It turned out to be a Waste Of Time.

Download, Waste Of Time, the soundtrack to the film for the blind that was never made.

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