JEZ'(RE): THE STOLEN LYRIC
Being “press,” I’ve somehow gotten myself on several lists and receive emails regularly about releases or review requests.
Generally ignore releases because I don’t like regurgitating information—if I can’t directly experience something in someway, I don’t talk about it.
And—there are so many things out there, it’s hard to review everything—then, not everything is worth your time…
But—I received a request to review a film—”The Stolen Lyric.”
From the Press Kit:
Short pitchA modern-day Robin Hood and his rock band The Merry steal from the rich and fight the corporate machine in an ingenious animated rock opera that transforms an epic 555 song fragments from 129 iconic artists into movie dialogue.
WATCH HERE: http://bit.ly/29FvUzF
So—I asked the writer if he would come on my podcast, Geek-A-Pedia at PodcastDetroit.com.
His publicist responded that he could not—though one of the producers, Sigalit Trichter, would; and did (listen to the episode here)—SHE WAS FABULOUS—but, he would be willing to answer some interview questions via email:
I invited you to come on my podcast—what obligations prevented?
Only the sense that I feel obligated to remain anonymous. I think it’s tough when you’re an artist and an extreme introvert and your instinct is to shun any type of spotlight, to find the right place to draw the line so that you can still connect your work with people. I like how certain artists play with that line, for example musicians like Daft Punk and Sia who hide their faces and also the anonymous author of the (incredible!) Death Note manga Tsugumi Ohba.
Another reason for anonymity beyond the personal is that because “The Stolen Lyric” is not only a movie but also an underground artistic expression of protest against the mega-corporate system holding us all hostage, and was created by “stealing” millions of dollars of corporate-owned intellectual property in the form of the song clips that comprise the movie dialogue, I kind of see myself as being in the same boat as hackers and graffiti artists who break the rules of the establishment with their work for the purpose of exposing a deeper truth, and my anonymity is a nod to this punk spirit of underground rebellion against the established order.
How do you feel about your product?
I don’t like to think of it as a “product” because it’s not for sale, but I’m insanely proud of what we were able to achieve despite having the deck stacked so highly against us. One of my favorite things about “The Stolen Lyric” is how it deepens the viewer’s connection to and appreciation of all the amazing musicians and songs that are included in it.
Did you like making this film?
It was a mind-expanding experience in every way. I’m a writer, so I never thought even for a second that I would create a rock opera or direct an animated film, but it’s so awesome to have been able to do that, and it also made me see that there are these artificial barriers between art forms, mediums, and even genres of the same art form that don’t really exist but are just in place for the purpose of corporate organization and marketing.
Corporations love hyper-categorizing and labeling everything, making sure all the cogs are in the right place in the machine. During the Enlightenment, the concept of a “renaissance man” who could draw on expertise from various fields to do cool stuff and make breakthroughs was much admired, but in the corporate age it’s all about hyper-specialization, which keeps you feeling on top in your little corner of the woods but ultimately limited in the greater scheme of things.
Were there any difficulties/hang ups?
So many, but I’ll just mention the first huge difficulty, which was putting a complex coherent script together only using song lyrics. There were many moments I almost gave up because it seemed like a hopeless task. Even when I was down to the last few days of working on it I still wasn’t completely sure I would find those few remaining lines I needed. I guess it was the writer’s version of the “unconventional materials” challenge on Project Runway.
What are your plans for the future?
I just go with the flow.
Process philosophy is the argument of becoming vs. being–what is your stance?
Wow, deep…I think these types of questions about being and becoming are ultimately questions about the true nature and meaning of time, which is one of the great mysteries of the universe. That’s why I included that scene in “The Stolen Lyric” where the band members are having a “prog rock moment” by philosophically discussing the nature of time while the kidnapped corporate executive who betrayed them is blindfolded in the corner. I wanted to highlight how true artists try to express these deep things about the human condition and experience in their work, which is something that’s getting lost when artists are encouraged to just make stuff that will sell fast by appealing to basic emotions in the most simplistic way possible or be good to use in a car commercial (and preferably both).
Butt sex… nice.
Haha…unsurprisingly, although it was tough to find lyrics for a lot of moments in the film, I had no shortage of lyrics for the sex scene, so I wanted to really go for it and have a lot of fun with the windfall of material. The original draft I wrote for this scene was even longer and had a lot more stuff going on, but I had to cut it for time considerations. Even as it is, it’s one of the longest scenes in the movie.
Are any of the character designs based on real people?
They are. The main characters were designed to look like hybrids of the original Robin Hood characters and known rock personalities, with Rob’s look inspired by Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, LJ’s look inspired by Joshua Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Will Scarlet’s look inspired by David Bowie, Tucker’s look inspired by Jonathan Davis of Korn, and Sheriff’s look inspired by Nick Valensi of The Strokes.
What was the song clips selection process?
I made a list of the artists I wanted to use, then outlined the basic story, and then the real work was going through each artist’s full lyrical output and pulling lyrics that could potentially work with my story. Once I had all the lyrics I played around with them like puzzle pieces to put together the script.
You ask me a question…
Who is your favorite member of Robin Hood’s band of merry men and why?
If there was something you would want people to know, they may not–what would it be?
(how ever you interpret)
I think it’s cool that the earliest versions of the Robin Hood stories were actually popular drinking songs that were considered lowbrow entertainment, so by re-creating Robin Hood stories out of popular songs “The Stolen Lyric” is the adaptation that comes closest to the spirit of the original.