The Fair

April 1st, 2004 | Produced by Jason Rayles

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THE FAIR
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Producer
Notes

I shot this video at the Brockton Fair using the
cheapest digital video camera I could find. When I
shot the video, I intended to use only video stills
from the footage for a book that I was making, so the
camera work leaves a whole lot to be desired; I did
lots of quick pans and zooms to find and frame as many
interesting things around me as quickly as possible.

 

LOOK! A Clown....

Because the audio capabilities of most video cameras
(including, yes, mine) is so crummy, I recorded the
sounds from the fair onto a minidisk using Sonic
Studios head worn binaural microphones. They look kind
of like headphones, but they sit in front of your
ears. I felt a bit like Dork City, USA, using them,
but I was there on a mission, so I put on the
emotional armor and forged mightily ahead. If I were
making a strictly video piece, then I probably
wouldn’t record onto separate media b/c it’s a hassle
to synch everything up, but b/c the audio didn’t have
to be perfectly tied to the video, I wanted to get the
best quality sound that I could.
Jay saw a copy of the book that I made, and asked if I
was interested in doing a radio piece with the audio
that I had. Obviously, I agreed, and I thought that I
would simply give an impressionistic ramble of the
things I saw at the fair. The radio story went
together pretty quickly, in maybe 2 weeks. I had
already done a lot of audio editing for the readalong
cds in the books, so I mostly assembled snippets of
that in Pro Tools, and laid a voice track on top of it
at home. During the course of the editing, Jay
discovered that I make a living doing computer
programming and animation, and he knew that I had
video from the fair, so he asked if I wanted to make
an animation to go with the audio. I agreed.
The animation took forever. I worked on it in my spare
time, and early on, I established a fairly quick pace
for the animation. I wanted to maintain the pacing
throughout the piece, but I didn’t have much good
video to work with because of my frenetic camera work,
so I had to keep grabbing stills from the video,
exporting them, bringing them into Photoshop, editing
them, bringing them into Flash, laying them out and
animating them. Over and over and over. My original
idea was to have more drawings and frame by frame
animations similar to the ferris wheel animation in
the NIGHT section, but in the interest of actually
finishing the piece, that didn’t happen.

About Jason Rayles
I live in Somerville, MA. My likes include Stereolab,
Will Oldham, Cat Power, Fugazi, Modest Mouse, Jay-Z,
Scout Niblett, George Saunders, David Foster Wallace,
Jorie Graham, Stevie Smith, Billy Collins, Brother’s
Keeper, Hoop Dreams, Wild at Heart, Eternal Sunshine
of the Spotless Mind, Matewan, Martin Scorcese, Cindy
Sherman, Chuck Close, Chris Ware, Goya, Bosch,
Strangers with Candy, Curb Your Enthusiasm, milk,
rice, and cats.


Additional support for this work provided by
Open Studio Project

with funding from the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting

 


30 Comments on “The Fair”

  • Jay Allison says:
    The Fair

    Get to a broadband connection and check out Jason Rayles’s remarkable, painstakingly detailed Flash/Audio work, The Fair. If you’re like us, you’ll feel you’re witnessing something new, something familiar but changed, like the immediate future. Once the piece starts, you’ll find it hard to close your eyes, but if you do, you’ll hear a fine radio piece under those images. But, my-oh-my, the images and the way they work.

  • Catherine Stifter says:
    Wow, Thanks for that

    I’m viewing The Fair on T-Mobile wireless at what speed I have no idea. The pictures seem to jerk around a bit and if you meant them to do that, it works for me. If not, well, it works for me. I’m used to incredibly slow dial-up at home, so I drive to town and go to the St____ck’s to use the wireless. Enough about the problems of rural access to view such pieces.
    I’m a fair-going kind of Midwestern gal and you totally caught the experience, especially the nighttime, ferris wheel swirling lights in the dark dark sky above that sleazy hot dog stand that smells so horrible after you’ve passed it a gazillion times during the day.
    I’m also sort of amazed by how your slightly deadpan delivery contrasts so nicely with the bright, bright, weird pictures. I don’t know how old you are, but it seems like everybody under the age of 35 uses that Ira G. delivery now. He’s created a new paradigm for radio producers of experiential pieces. Just an observation. Did you ever scream during the recording? Or are you muy tranquil, even at the Fair?
    I’m interested to hear about how to chose the narration style to fit with the visuals? I could also hear a quicker, higher mroe frenetic read that might work or maybe it would just be too much?
    Your delivery makes me feel like you are looking back on it all, analyzing it with your voice. Making it smaller than real life somehow. I always wonder if pieces like this are poking fun at this kind of mundane, but also quintessential americana.
    We have to look at our own stuff. What else is there to look at? I’m watching the Bush press conference on the big screen opposite my table and it’s another weird kind of contrast to your piece. Frankly, I’d rather be at the Fair.
    Best to you. Keep working in radio. Don’t leave it behind for the big glamour world of video….heee heee. We old radio hounds need you multi-media types to drag us into the new world where it all mixes up so easily. Congrats. Thanks for getting him here, Jay.
    Catherine

  • Michael Bell says:
    "Fair"ly Overwhelmed

    I only have impressions to report after watching this piece. In general, I’m amazed. The tone of the narrator’s voice, the articulate descriptions of the scenes and the beautifully surreal mix of video and still images created a sense that something is terribly wrong and twisted at the heart of the common US fair. It made me think of how horribly mechanized northamerican culture is (I’m from Canada, but what’s the diffence?), and maybe fairs are an expression of this: the babies preforming and being rated, the pigs racing, the smash up derby, the contraptions that we climb into to defy gravity, the processed food. All this is supposed to be a great deal of fun and escape but it seems to express the way northamerican culture is: mechanical, desconnected from the earth, overwhelming, competative, loud, unhealthy, and on and on. For me, The FAIR exposes all this very well.

  • Missy says:
    Fair enough!

    Jason

    This piece is wonderful, and I can only imagine how long it took to put it all together – your voice is so right for storytelling/radio. This piece has me thinking about the impact of video/photographs/sound/voice together and alone. I have seen the hand made book version of this piece which is beautiful in how it was packaged and presented – with the cd and images. There is something about being able to hold a book and in the case of your book, listen to audio and look at images, and see how it changes each time I view it. My response is more personal and other senses come into play. Here, with moving images brilliantly put together, your voice and what you chose to shoot and edit – I am taken directly into the fair which has immeditate visceral impact and leaves me feeling more reactionary about the media and us as a culture. I have fond memories of going to fairs growing up – I also see how fairs nurse our fantasies/neuroses that can be self serving and potentially hurtful – a place for displaying reality TV – show biz mom kind of behaviors.
    How would you compare this piece with your book?

  • Katie McCaskey says:
    Excellent

    I think Rayles’ "Fair" manages to merge graphics and voice in a poetic and captivating way. The musicality of the speech blends well with the animated images and sounds of Americana. I believe this piece asks us to consider our country’s values as seen through the microcosm of traveling, small-town entertainment. For me, "Fair" seems to be a metaphor for consumerism and consumption without respect to impact on the surroundings as by their very nature fairs set up, exist, and leave abruptly.

    Rayles certainly has talent to spare and I hope he continues to produce more.

  • Jackson says:
    What to say?

    Jason: I can’t even begin to go into the whole graphics thing — but of course I’ll try. This is a whole lot better than cheap film, it’s great internet. This is wonderful work.

    Second time through just with audio, a few sniggly things. On occasion, it seems to me — for what this is worth — your narration steps too much on the thing you’re highlighting: the dog and bad breath (smelly?), for instance. There’s a kind of Carnack the Magician thing you can do: say what will happen and hey presto! It happens — just as you predicted. And while I wouldn’t cut anything, I would add more ambient sound. Just a few seconds between paragraphs or something — if only to let us smell the onions on the grill.

    It is an interesting challenge, the whole tour-guide motif. And all in all, you struck a pretty good balance between drawing the listener’s attention to yourself and directing it elsewhere within the scope of the piece.

    I can’t remember the moment, but there was a point in the narration where it sounded like — hmm, you were almost going to cry. Your voice — which all here have rightfully admired — was at the edge of breaking. You’ve listened to this thousands of times and probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

    Any comments?

  • Jason Rayles says:
    feedback feedback

    Firstly, thanks to everyone who took the time to watch/listen and respond. Secondly, I am a little disappointed not to have heard from anyone who only listened to the piece. I am certain that not everyone has the plugin and all. I hope that doesn’t frighten anyone from listening to the audio the way they would any other transom show.

    Jackson, I agree that there could be a little more breathing room between scenes, so the listener can absorb more of the fair and reflect on what I’ve said. I have gotten that feedback from others, as well. You also bring up an issue that I wrestled with while making the piece, which is that perhaps I step on the things that I am trying to highlight. The "one dog plain, one dog bad breath" example is a good one b/c that is a really strong memory that I have of the day, so I wanted to mention it, and I have it on tape, but the noise is so high and the kid’s voice is so quiet that the listener would not have been able to make it out. I searched for some subsitute sound in the rest of my recording, but I just didn’t do a good job recording the sound of food that day. In the passage w/ the Museum of World Oddities, I say the words along with the tape recording b/c I think that the tape is a little hard to understand by itself. I tried to time that sequence so I could say the words clearly while revealing enough of the tape underneath for the listener to appreciate the taped voice’s character. I think there were successful moments. I like my duet with the MC for the baby contest, and I think the part where I say "Next to that is the titanic junior and the orient express roller coaster," followed by the roller coaster sound is Carnack the Magician-like. Your tour guide analogy is apt. I do want the piece to have forward movement, so I try to gently move the crowd onward without shoving them in the back.

    These comments tie in with Missy’s question about the book b/c I do not have a strong presence in the book. I do not control the reader’s pace the way I do here. I did try to be sympathetic to the listener when making this piece for transom; I didn’t want to ask the listener or a program director to make 62 minutes of space in his day for this thing that has little relevance to his daily life. I didn’t give a f*ck about the audience when I made the book, though. I just made the thing that I wanted to see. The read-along cd for the DAY section of the book is 18 minutes of ambient sound with no narration/commentary. The NIGHT read-along is about 14 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of outro from a carousel. The order of the sounds corresponds to order of the images, but there are no beeps or anything like that to indicate page turns to the reader. The book experience is more fair-like in that regard b/c I am not playing tour guide, and I am not talking into his ear the whole time. The reader has plenty of time to meander/reflect/walk away.

    Catherine, Michael and Katie all touch on how we are at once implicated in and outside of the events at the fair. When I played an early draft of the radio piece for Jay, he said that I stood too far outside the event, and that, "You were there like everyone else. You even recorded the whole thing and made a book about it, then you made a radio piece about it. Everyone else just went home, but you, you’re obsessed!" which is funny and true. I then tried to position myself inside the events at the fair, so I certainly don’t want to say that these moments are small or that we are bad people. When I went to the fair, I intended to make only the book. I hesitated at first to even make the radio piece b/c there is no narrative struggle, and there is no rhetorical therefore. There’s just my impressions. If the entertainment is violent and the parents want their kids want to be #1 and the food is greasy … hey man, that’s just the way it is. More importantly, however, I think that authorial intent is utterly meaningless and that the listener’s interpretation is everything. I am happy that you guys were able to connect larger ideas to my story.

  • Rob Rosenthal says:
    Should there be photos?

    Jason,

    What a magnificent piece of work. Jay’s comment to you is right on. Clearly, this is a labor of love. It comes through.

    I typically don’t like fairs. I’ve never figured out why. Just don’t. In fact, I was tempted to not watch/listen to your piece for that reason. I’m glad I did. You’ve helped me to reconsider my thinking/feelings about fairs and I’ll certainly have your piece in mind next time I go — it’s that captivating.

    To one and all:

    If this is a radio piece, should there be photos especially if the photos are so animated? Does the prominence of the photos detract from the power of radio as the most visual medium — not just for Jason’s work but in all cases?

    Perhaps my thinking is antiquated. I’m not sold on the confluence of radio and photography. This is not to say that Jason’s production isn’t genius. It is. And, it’s not to say that there shouldn’t be a marriage of the radio and photography. I’m a big fan of http://www.musarium.com/ especially, http://www.musarium.com/icedreams/index.html and other similar productions. Heck, I’ve worked with photographers on radio projects myself.

    But, I’m not certain we should be using the word radio for pieces like Jason’s. Good radio accomplishes what Jason has created purely with sound — the visuals are ours. When the visuals are predetermined, it’s not radio, right?

    Jason, if you weren’t going to produce the audio with photos, what would you have done differently?

    Cheers,
    Rob

  • Phil Easley says:

    I just now listened, only listened (dial-up connection), and loved it as a radio piece. I find the three-way negotiation between the fair, the author and the listener fascinating. I happen to like your jammed-up impressionistic delivery, because it reminds me of a fair midway, where there are also no spaces.

    45 years ago I was one of those 4-H kids leading a farm animal around a ring, not exactly sure what the judge was looking for, and not really sure why I would deserve any credit if he found it (a little like a radio producer). And, as a twelve-year-old, I thought the nights on the midway were absolutely fantastic, and knew deep down everything you talked about, although I could not have articulated it with much eloquence. You captured it all, and in a way that invites the listener to think about what it is within us that is attracted to all this razz-ma-tazz. Your mention of Osama Bin Laden’s presence in the shooting gallery, for me, was a high point. I don’t know who we shot at in 1960…

    The piece also reminded me of an audio portrait done at some state fair several years ago, and played on one of the NPR magazines. It was a rather slickly produced affair, no narrator, natural sounds carefully positioned, timed and segued for the most artful effect–a very nice example of a public radio audio montage, but it just wasn’t dusty enough. Your guiding narrative makes this piece infinitely more real, more valuable. I should send you a big shiny fancy blue ribbon.

  • Sue Mell says:

    Hey Jason. Great sound, poignant and evocative narration and reflection– "the hinge of the day"—what a beautiful turn of phrase. I’ve only played the audio so far and the only thing I wished was that I hadn’t been told up front that I was going to hear the whole day so that as it unfurled there would be the slightest element of unknown in where you were headed but…that might also just be more of something I’m interested in personally in terms of radio narrative.

    I’ll have to chime in again once I’ve downloaded the plug-in and seen the photos but my thoughts are that when you only listen, although you hear Jason’s audio vision of the fair, that there would tend to be more blending with the listeners’ memories from their own pasts. With specific authored images, my feeling about what you’d end up with is something not necessarily more visceral, but visceral in a different way–that you’d be more catapulted into Jason’s actual, literal experience—closer to a virtual reality game– you’re literally driving with his eyes as well as ears. So, not more or less—just different. I wonder if this is what Rob may be experiencing as a possible "detraction"—in that he misses that blending he’s accustomed to experiencing with only audio.

    On another note… the sound in/of the fair is so seamless. I’m working on something now that involves a collage of sound and I’m wondering if you could talk a little about your choices—how you sorted through all the sounds and wove them together and if there was anything particular that you found helpful or challenging in terms of fades or other technical tools. ( I must confess that I did at moments wish for a little more uninterrupted sound of the fair, so that I could get lost in the swirl for a few more seconds myself… but again, I don’t know that that would necessarily work and/or add anything in terms of the piece.)

  • Jay Allison says:
    juxtaposition

    As dazzled as I am by Jason’s work here, the beauty of the images and the way they explode and dance, my one critique is that the text and the images are too often on the nose. They simply reinforce one another, a coming-together which can sometimes be a lovely thing, but too much of it ignores the power of juxtaposition, layering, and complexity in the information we receive both visually and aurally. I can image more moments where the image and the word create a third dimension of meaning at the intersection.

  • Jackson says:
    The Department of Redundancy Department

    Interesting above that Jay speaks of "image" and "word" above. One of the lessons of radio as practiced in and around here is the sense of three dimensions we create with audio foreground (usually narrative) and audio background. Just like painters exploring perspective in the early Renaissance — creating the visual illusion of depth along the X and Y axes — radio creates the illusion of audio depth with mixing.

    Of course, Jason’s piece isn’t radio, it’s internet. It works pretty well without the pictures, so it works as radio if you don’t bring in the pictures. It will be interesting to read posts from other people who have only listened to the piece so far and see what comes of their experience of the Flash.

    What Jay says above reminds me of the linguists who inveigh against the redundancy built into the usage of, say, the English language. There’s a verb which must agree with the subject and which is also qualified by an adverb so that we can read/see/hear how the subject actually does what he or she does.

    Don’t get me wrong: the images illustrate the sound of Jason’s piece very well, but they don’t — what? — amplify it. In a way, it is like what I mentioned above, Jason. When you said "dog with bad breath," we probably would have heard the guy speak it even with all the noise seconds later.

    The problem — if I’ve got this right — is that you, Jason, began by doing the book. In other words, SOUND WASN’T YOUR FIRST CONCERN in this piece.

    Sooooooooo, Mr. Mul-tye-meee-deee-yah (no offense intended), you have created a book, you have created a moving image with sound, you have created an audio version. Which of the three reflects the — gulp! — intentionality of "Fair" best for you now?

  • Jason Rayles says:
    re: FIRST CONCERN

    "SOUND WASN’T YOUR FIRST CONCERN"

    ——

    Jackson, I don’t understand why you say this. In fact, sound was my first concern. The book was an attempt to solve some problems I was having with another project. I was trying to figure out if one person could capture decent imagery AND good audio at the same time. The imagery was already figured out; I could use a digital camera or a video camera. The image quality even from a video camera was acceptable to me, even though dv resolution is just 720×480 non-square pixels. If image quality was of primary importance, then I would use film, but the shutter makes noise, so I couldn’t do that and capture audio at the same time. I had tried lots of things to get good sound (built-in mic, shotgun mic on top of camera, external mic into camera), and the best thing that I came up with was what I did at the fair. I wore binaural mics on my head and recorded onto minidisc. That, combined with a hand-held video camera was small and unobtrusive enough for me to move freely and capture sound that actually sounded good.

    Making a radio piece was not my objective when I was at the fair, true, but that has absolutely no bearing on the quality of the sound. Also, making an animation was not my objective when I started making this radio piece. If I had set out to make a radio piece initially, then I probably would have captured the ambient noise in exactly the same way, but I probably would have also done some interviewing w/ a hand-held mic. Whether the images do or don’t illustrate/amplify what’s in the story have no bearing on the story as a radio piece, anyway. In fact, where you say the images don’t amplify what’s there probably underscores the primary status of the audio.

    I would not say that the piece is internet and not radio. I could put the animation on a cd-rom and bypass the internet completely. I have also put the audio on the internet w/out the animation. You’ve asked whether the book, the animation or the radio piece best reflects the intentionality of the piece, and your comments in particular answer the question for me. For me, every component stands by itself. The animation is propped on the radio story, but I think of them separately, and each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses. At this point, if I was going to re-mix the radio story, then I would not try to integrate it into a new version of the animation. If I was going to alter the animation, I would just do it with the existing audio. The book had a life of its own before the radio story was conceived, but even w/out the book, I don’t think that the radio story would have been much different if I was going to try to make a radio story with the audio that I recorded.

    Now, for the part about how your comments answer the question for me: I would say that the book was the most gratifying thing to make, and I think it most successfully brings out the true feeling of the fair. I absolutely love love love radio, and I wish there were more pieces on radio that had no narration or no music. News, call-in shows, and TAL dominate public radio, which really surprises me, given that there are lots of people out there who play with sound and make sound works that have no narration and can create worlds without voices. I think there’s also not enough radio theatre happening these days. I enjoyed making these pieces for transom and I am totally grateful to Jay and to the rest of the people at transom for the opportunity to show my work, but you, Jackson, keep splitting hairs about genre, and there is obviously some idea out there that the animation competes with or undermines the radio story (which I happen to disagree with totally, but who cares). I think that you could take lots of television shows, record the audio, put that on the radio, and have a great bit of radio theatre. I bet you could make a regular radio series from Frontline. Anyway, over the years, I have dabbled in making audio pieces, some video, computer art, short stories, essays, poetry (I’m not saying this has been great stuff), and it all felt constrained. It wasn’t until I made my first book that I felt like everything had a home and a purpose. The fair book is like a book, but it’s also video, writing, audio, painting/printmaking, and sculpture. It is free from the tyranny of genre, so I don’t have to explain what it is exactly and how one way of looking at it undermines all its other ways of being.

  • Jason Rayles says:
    in response

    Rob, if I were going to produce the audio w/out the images, I think the only thing I would have done differently is that I would have probably given more "breathing room" between paragraphs. I think I might have spent a little more energy tweaking the final mix b/c as I was making the animation, I noticed little bits that I would want to go back and change. However, I used the audio as the established baseline, and I just laid the animation on top of that. Once I had the animation synched up w/ the audio, I had no desire to re-work the audio. Some info on the editing process: I made an initial draft, which I played for Jay, and he gave me a lot of really great feedback. I then went home and started integrating some of that feedback into the piece, and I would send short sections (30 seconds or so) to Jay for further feedback while I continued to work on the piece. I got further feedback from Jay in that manner for the first few minutes of the DAY section. At that point, I had a sense based on all of Jay’s feedback of the general issues that I wanted to address in the mix, so I just finished up the rest of it on my own. I don’t really like my voice in the piece, especially during the DAY. I would consider going back to change that.

    Phil, here’s what the judge said about one of the blue-ribbon pigs: "I started with the young man with the biggest pig in the class. His pig is real clean (again, they don’t have the best washing conditions here today), he spent a lot of time brushing the animal, the hair is real soft. One criticism is: you’ve used a lot of baby powder. When the judge goes to touch it, you don’t want to have a white cloud coming out. Take a damp cloth and that’ll blend it in a little bit. You’ve done a real good job as far as trimming the animal. The ears are immaculate. There’s no dirt on the inside. There’s no long hairs." I hope that sheds some light onto what the judges were looking for 45 years ago and why they would have given you credit if they found it.

    Sue, I chose a lot of these sounds when I made the book. For the book, I listened to the audio (I had about 11 hours of audio), and just separated out the interesting passages. I also watched the 4 hours of video tape and exported the most interesting stills. If I had sound that I really liked, then I would scan the video for an image that could work with it, and vice-versa. Of couse, I had great audio that I couldn’t use b/c I didn’t have imagery, and I had great images that I couldn’t use b/c there was no corresponding sound. When I made this piece for transom, I started by just writing down what I remembered from the fair, and most of that was stuff in the book b/c I had been working w/ that material for about 5 months. Plus, that was the best stuff anyway. Interestingly, I felt much less bound to the images when doing this piece for transom. I made the audio first, and if there was anything that got cut or added, it was based on whether I had sound to support what I was talking about, not whether I had images to support what I was hearing. For the book, the sounds I started with were just anything that caught my attention (rattles, jangles, interesting voices, screams, etc.), and for the radio piece, it was much the same with the addition of re-scanning the recording for any sound that supported my memory.

    My technique for blending the sound was not to do straight cross-fades, but to start bringing up the next sound while the focused sound was at full volume. I would then bring down the volume of the focused sound at whatever point sounded most natural. I think it helps to have the loud parts of sound 1 offset w/ the loud parts of sound 2, i.e., if both tracks are quiet or loud at the same point when you are doing a cross-fade, then the cross fade is very noticeable, whereas if track 1 goes loud quiet loud, and track 2 goes quiet loud quiet as you are cross-fading them, then it sounds a bit more natural. I also am usually trying to hit a particular opening and closing sound for each section, so I try to make the existing sound fade out completely (or be quiet enough that it’s not interfering in any way) just as the opening of my new sound is at full volume. I also make sure that the closing point of the focused sound is at full volume or close to it when I start to bring up the new sound. I draw pretty much all of my fades rather than recording the movement of the faders. That’s not a recommendation; it’s just how I do it, which I think is just a side-effect of my familiarity working on a computer rather than on a mixing board.

    Jay, I agree completely. I originally intended for the animation NIGHT section to be much more frenetic/random/abstract than the DAY section, but I guess I am just a really uptight person. There is a different visual style in NIGHT, but it is more subtle than I would like. I think the place where I was most successful getting at what you are talking about is this sequence, which starts 49 seconds into the NIGHT animation and at 7:16 in the audio:

    Hey look! I just commited a political act of vital, national importance! Hey look, pretty colors and women! Hey, that looks weird.

    Obviously, finding a comfortable stopping point is one of the biggest dilemmas in any creative project. I read an interview in TapeOp magazine recently w/ Will Oldham’s brother, who records/mixes some of Will’s songs, and he said that Will doesn’t like to do more than a few takes of his songs. Granted, when I am working in Flash, it’s not like I’m doing a live recording, but I do want to finish what I start. I would like to have pulled in more straggling, beautiful images. I would like to conveyed some jolting, jerky motion. I would like to have some jittery, presstube-like animations happening on top of the images in the NIGHT section. However, when faced with the decision of whether to worry over this precious, little animation for the rest of my life or to find a point that felt comfortable enough to move on, I chose to move on.

  • Scott Pohl says:
    interesting work

    As a public radio newsguy who’s son is going into film-making, I found your work especially interesting. (I’m taking the liberty of turning my son onto this site so he can see this).

    I don’t often get to spend time thinking about the visual aspects of my radio work (why bother?), and pieces like "The Fair" show that, perhaps, that’s more limiting than it needs to be.

    My compliments.

  • cw says:
    on the night section

    the beginning of the night section had a particular momentum that i liked. you set up a whole freaky adolescent mating dance and then introduced guns, fireworks, group male bonding etc and i wanted you to stay w/ that them longer. it felt skittish and accurate, but maybe that’s just me…

  • Jay Allison says:
    Congratulations to Jason!

    It was just announced that The Fair is a Finalist in the 2004 Flash Film Festival in the STORY category. This is a competitive international competition. It’s very good news.

    You can see all the nominees here:
    http://www.flashforward2004.com/flash/flash_site.html
    and vote for Jason’s work in the People’s Choice category, because he deserves it.

  • Tim L. McNabb says:
    Excellent Production and Programing

    Wonderful work from a production standpoint, but the narrative – it sounded like some Berkely poli-sci grad student doped up on Thorazine and Engels, the deadpan masking contempt for the subject.

    This is, of course, an observation, not a criticism. Now I now what a Berkely pol-sci grad student doped up on Thorazine and Engels woudl think of a county fair.

    Tim McNabb – http://www.duckbutt.com

  • Elias Hickman says:
    Excellent piece.

    You have my vote hands down. I am so impressed by the work. I worked at a fair once and the descriptions of those inaudible melodies was realistically and elloquently put to say the least.
    Good job.

  • Petrova Giberson says:
    wrap you ass in fiberglass

    The pacing of the piece was pretty constant, image and sound playing off each other, at times mimicking or following the other and then switching roles. They took turns leading which was nice. One thing that I wanted more of was the space to savor, to let an image stay still or the sound to go quiet. The idea of giving your eyes or ears an aftertaste. Moments of just sound or just image. Maybe quick sound and no picture or a still moment of sight, or else a fast motion of swirling color with a quiet description. So that as we watch in our own heads we can choose to remember the words you just told us, let them echo off the blank walls you temporarily set up, or else fill the space with our own thoughts or just enjoy the silence while we watch.

    What I was searching for came at the end in the long photo montage of stills that created a full 360 view of the fair at night. There was time to let all I had seen and heard unfold and file away, to create an entire feeling, as if you had just set off multiple levels of spinning words and pictures and this was the time they needed to catch up and slow down. I would have liked to feel that space a little more throughout the whole piece. But then I think you knew that and it was something you purposefully held until the last moment?

    The piece was great. It was interesting to see something I was already familiar with in book form presented in a new way. It’s hard for me when I can’t place an experience totally. This version of the fair exists as a combination of book, radio, video and I found myself aware of my trying to label it, or place it. Soon when more work is shown in this combination I will see past the technical means and experience it just for the story… It’s the excitement of something new; you are in the midst of a beginning, almost a new media from combining already existing ones – which seems like we are all grasping for that right now.

  • Sprocketman says:
    Suicide Ride

    This film made me want to go to the fair and commit suicide!! The narrators droning depressed voice was grueling to listen to. I felt like I was listening to the ramblings of a mental hospital patient on 24 hour suicide watch!
    As far as the visual part of the film there were too many shots of ass and crotches! Also the blurred over-stylized images were as nauseating as the rides themselves.
    This film failed to capture the fun and excitement of a county fair if that actually was in fact its intention. It grossly dissected what is supposed to be a fun, care free escape from reality into a bizarre gathering of freaks and fat people. I would prefer to see a film about the enjoyable, unique and exciting world of the carnival or at least a simple, "family events in Brockton" film rather than a Michael Moorish interpretation of events at the fair.

  • Sue Nicastro says:
    I liked the piece

    I liked the visual effects used in this piece. The voice over was depressing but I think that was what also made the piece interesting. I think many would have presented a more upbeat look at the fair but I enjoy seeing through different eyes with a twist of the unusual.

  • Snailer says:
    Adjust the dose!

    My mother always said, "if you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything". That certainly applies to your criticism of this brilliant piece. If you were nauseated, you could’ve just clicked on the handy "exit" button at the bottom.

    As for Jason’s vision: I think it’s "fair" to say, he really captured the experience of being there and used the various media to their best advantage. That’s something even the mighty HBO with their budgets of tens of millions couldn’t capture in their dark series Carnivale.
    The narration as poetry, was another brilliant execution. The wavering of his voice, the drone: PERFECT! I don’t think an upbeat narration would’ve captured the bizarre and sometimes other-worldly atmosphere of a carny, and YES, it can sometimes be nauseating at the fair, that’s the POINT.

  • Tarek A. Darwish says:
    impressed

    It is so easy to criticize and complain. So many people procrastinate, and comment on what other people are doing, rarely doing anything themselves. I thought this piece of work was engaging, it had a point of view, It had a sense of melancholy, but at the same time it was very human. I enjoyed it as a piece of work, and I admire people who make the effort. I have a question, what software was used for the editing, and could I get some info on the techniques used? thanks.

  • D O'DANIEL says:
    GOOD JOB

    I WAS VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE "FAIR" IT SHOULD BE ON AS A SHORT ON THE IFC CHANNEL. JUST WANTED TO SAY GOOD JOB.

  • doodeyfoodle says:
    Very, very good work

    This was a very good mix of video and poetry. I enjoyed your work. It was very thought-provoking and engaging. I encourage you to continue in your endeavours and create more of such videos.

    My one suggestion – Let the ending finish with a little more subject or theme.

    All in all, very good! Thank you very much!

    Cheers,
    Johnny

  • zzinn says:
    "The Fair" great job!

    You did a really nice job on that both in camera work and narration, you also did great in your flash work and writing….keep up the good work….

  • Rich Gopen says:
    Very Nice Work!

    You did a very good job of capturing fairs of this type in a generic sense. Very much an aural and visual feast, very creatively assembled. You were less successful at capturing the local flavor of Brockton, though. (I live in nearby Bridgewater). For example, the unaware viewer would have no idea of the ethnic flavors of the Brockton Fair or of the fairgoers. The fair you depict could just as easily be in the midwest. While the narration was very well written, it was a bit too "NPR" and the narrator was way too "NPR." Toned down a bit (i.e., a less lyrical) and delivered by a clear-speaking Brocktonian (not impossible to find), the piece would be much more successful. Adding some more local-color voices (supplementing the travelling "fairway" voices) would also help a lot. Final criticism: while the creativity of your presentation is delightful (and I do appreciate it as a fellow multimedia producer), I do think you sometimes get carried away with showing off what you can do, perhaps at the expense of conveying the mood and message. But I started off by saying "Very Nice Work!" and I really did mean it. Congratulations!

  • Melvin Culp says:
    Praises and Pans

    Jason

    "I am a little disappointed not to have heard from anyone who only listened to the piece"

    I was one that only listened to the piece to start. I was looking for sound files to make a CD
    about the fair

    I really got excited about the imagery you created
    with your narration. It was a real nostalgia trip
    for me who grew up (some ’50 years ago) going to the county fair each year

    I could see and sense everything in the narration
    with no need of the images!

    Then once I watched the video it was such a treat
    to see how you had captured all the sights of the
    fair as I remember them – only thing missing was
    more of the farming side of the fair which was how
    most of it got started.

    Despite some of the "pans" it is one of the best
    things I have found on the web!

    Can you tell me where I can find more of your work?

    M.Culp
    Enon OH

  • Melvin Culp says:
    Crap

    your remark
    "Just like painters exploring perspective in the early Renaissance — creating the visual illusion of depth along the X and Y axes — radio creates the illusion of audio depth with mixing"

    where do get such idiotic statements

    and your spelling is very poor – axis not axes!

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