Regrets? Maybe.

I remembered this exchange between Soleri and me the other day and thought, why not post it again, you know, as a super special encore presentation! Hope you like it.

I.G. took advantage of this blog’s stellar feature, Ask the Filmmaker. Why don’t you?

Dear Filmmaker,

I think I read somewhere that when you started interviewing people, you recorded those interviews audio only. Is that right? Do you listen to that now and wish you had shot those interviews?

Good luck with the film.


Hi, I.G.

Thanks for the warm wishes and the question.

You must have read What Was I Thinking? The first interview I did with Paolo Soleri I recorded audio only on a broadcast-quality digital audio recorder, and yes, now I do wish I had used my camera. I wish I had captured one exchange between Soleri and me in particular. To put it in context, I asked him what was the projected population of the original plans for Arcosanti. Here it is:


But, and this is a huge point, I’m pretty sure this exchange would not have happened as it did if the camera were in the room. Soleri doesn’t like cameras and he was obviously more at ease when we spoke with just the audio recorder running. So I take some solace in the knowledge that the joking that occurs in this audio wouldn’t have happened on video.

This ease was a big reason I initially wanted to record the interviews audio only. But the unease created by cameras can also lead to interesting moments, just watch any Werner Herzog documentary and you’ll see what I mean. He’s a master at letting the camera roll after a subject has answered a question. If you let people sit in silence after they’ve given an answer (especially to a question they’ve answered a million times), they will often elaborate on that answer in a fresh way, and sometimes you get something special.

Sorry I.G., got a little sidetracked there. Yes, sometimes I do regret not shooting that first interview.

2 Replies to “Regrets? Maybe.”

Comments are closed.