Hardly Sound began life as a web series. Randy Reynolds asked me to take some photos of his band, Leatherbag. I was happy to oblige and we were both happy to learn that we got along really well.
Pretty soon I was shooting videos for Leatherbag. I still had my red (yes, red) Pentax K-x when we shot the first one in Randy's backyard. The stylistic choices that I made then last to this day. I'm embarrassed to say they were mostly accidental.
Next we shot a video at Superpop Records with Seth Gibbs. They recorded four (great) songs, and I shot the whole thing. Randy, like myself, is always ready to hit you with a Big Idea. In this case: what if this was a whole series? What if, instead of just being a fun thing we did just for Leatherbag, we invited other bands to Superpop and did the same thing with them?
Hardly Sound was born. I'd be lying if I said it was a grand adventure. Quite frankly, it was initially a way for me to build my reel, to get some much-needed experience under my belt, and to meet some cool bands. I say the following only because the exact opposite is true now: Hardly Sound was never very creatively fulfilling.
Look, I'm a filmmaker because for whatever reason - an unhappy childhood, the inability to function normally in society, whatever - I need an outlet where I can completely control how to communicate who I am to the world. When I talk to you on the street, in the hallways, on the phone, in a (shudder) meeting, I am not really me. I am presenting myself in the best way that my self-esteem-deficient brain will allow.
With film, though, when I get to do it the way I want, that's me. That's what the new Hardly Sound does for me.
There was another series. Native Sessions we called it. It was the little brother to Hardly Sound. We recorded people at Randy's house using a USB microphone and an old Macbook. We got some great performances out of it if not the best fidelity.
But then the Big Ideas kept popping up. Randy and I agreed that things needed to change. It didn't make sense to have two different series with two different names. It was too confusing. So, okay, let's cut Native Sessions and beef up Hardly Sound.
Storytelling, I kept telling him. Storytelling is the key. Randy agreed, liked what I had to say, though I wonder if he knew what he was agreeing to.
I wrote voiceover. I recorded it, too. It was personal and tried to be funny and made at least one reference to Pokemon. And for the longest time I didn't tell anybody because I knew how it would be perceived: I was sticking myself into the show for the sake of, I don't know, Internet fame. So I made sure it was good, as good as I could make it, before I let anyone see a cut of the episode.
It remains to be seen whether I ruined the show or not. So far the feedback's been positive. I mean, Hardly Sound is now going to be a TV show. That has to mean it's good, right? I can't really allow myself to believe that. Not yet.
The video here is to introduce you to Randy and myself. After all, we're your narrators. We're guiding you through these stories so it'll probably be nice for you to be able to put some faces to the voices you'll hear.
I also wanted this video to serve as a sort of memorial for proto-Hardly Sound and Native Sessions. The experiences we had on those two series are crucial to what little success we've gained thus far and to whatever success we may be lucky enough to have in the future. I had a lot of fun doing it, and met some awesome people along the way. I'm proud of the work we've done and so damn excited about the work we're doing now.
We are a testament to the idea that two nerds with Big Ideas can go a long way.
Visit vimeo.com/stuck if you want to see the stuff I mentioned above.
And definitely, DEFINITELY visit hardlysound.tumblr.com to keep up with the new show!
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