If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may recall an interview with WFMU dj Kevin Nutt, he of Sinner’s Crossroads. Kevin provided many wonderful photographs to accompany the interview, but I held off using one because it seemed perfect for the occasional feature I like to call Tourist Eyes.
Here then, a photo Kevin took at the Archive of Alabama Folk Culture in Montgomery, where he is the folklife archivist.
WFMU is a listener supported radio station and they are currently having their fundraising marathon. This station is a national treasure. Please consider throwing them a little money. If you give during the Sinner’s Crossroads broadcast (on tonight and next Thursday), you can get some nifty swag.
A couple of years ago I met with an editor about editing the sample for A Life’s Work. The conversation eventually turned to music for the film. One idea I told her I had idea was of staging a choir performance of Is My Living in Vain? Shooting the choir as it rehearsed and eventually performed the song, and using those segments as interstitial bits.
She asked if she could hear the song. I was prepared; I had it on my iPod.
Here it is, sung by the Clark Sister.
She listened through the first chorus and removed the ear buds. “It’s a great song. But I think it might be too on the nose,” she said.
I was disappointed with her answer. I fell in love with this song the instant I heard it on Sinner’s Crossroads, the outstanding gospel music radio show on WFMU, and I thought it was perfect for the film. The organ, their voices, this song destroys me each time I hear it.
But I didn’t argue with her or dismiss her comment. Why? Because the second she said what she did, I knew she was right.
I learned a lesson: There is such a thing as being too on the nose, in a sense, being too perfect. If I were making a film about a couple of dysfunctional lovers, and there was a scene of them driving in the car and arguing, I wouldn’t have Love Is Strange by Mickey and Sylvia playing on the radio. It’s kind of too easy.
And I was reminded of another lesson: It’s important to listen to people.
Want to share a lesson you learned or were reminded of? I’m all eyes.