October 24, 1973
San Francisco, CA 94101
This letter is to confirm that TVTV has permission to videotape Millennium '73 and all related events. TVTV has unconditional rights to the material with the sole exception that it is not to be used for 35 mm film presentation, Rights are for videotape only.
TVTV warrants that Divine Light Mission, Guru Maharaj Ji, and Millennium '73 will not be represented in a derogatory manner.
We are looking forward to seeing the product of your work.
Millennium press secretary
PRESENTED BY DIVINE LIGHT MISSION 3400 MONTROSE BLVD. HOUSTON, TEXAS 77006
TO: Hudson, Megan, Allen
RE: Pre-Houston Briefing
MILLENIUM 73, MAHARAJ JI, ETCETERA: I have now had our encounters with Maharaj ji's people and organization - my visit to Houston, two- trips to the New York office, and an afternoon with SOUL RUSH in Washington. It's very intense and I invariably get a headache, spaced out, bored, or hostile, but I always seem to have a reaction. I think it's madness without malice, kind of a benign Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I think receiving the knowledge (henceforth refered to as The K) and subsequent reinforcement techniques do produce genuine changes, probably physiological as well as psychological, in the Premies (devotees). I think it will make a very, very rich videotape/TV show but we're going to have to work very hard to get it. The problem is that the emotions felt by the Premies and the reactions we'll form to hanging out with them are not always visually explicit. A related preblem is that 91% of the people who've recieved The K no longer can relate the experience in the rational-analytic-empirical terms we relate to. The only way to understand the experience is to have it and feel it. Than it creates a logic of its own because you've altered your premise.
We are going to have to Push our imaginations beyond a verite/ interview approach to a highly stylized edit. In essence, we're going to have to improvise a form of impressionistic journalism which allows viewers to either share the emotions of the Premies or share our reaction to them. We are also going to have to practice the lesson we keep telling ourselves we've learned: that a tape has to have a pre-focus. Of course, the focus can change, but we have to have a starting point. Essentially, we have three levels of information to present:
1. Basic journalistic facts. We have an obligation to tell an audience who these people are, what the movement is. Both the conventions and advortising were familiar subjects. Maharaj ji and his movement are not.
2. Good investigative journalism. What's the reality behind the facts? Who really runs things? Is this Indian family conning a lot of American kids? How much money are they spending? What is receiving The K all about?
3. Video and audio impressions/interpretation/analysis. More on this further on in the section on PRE-FOCUS.
The crew covering SOUL RUSH had the initial problems of what to focus on and how to document the things they found important. We finally decided to concentrate on the hierarchy, in the form of a woman named Susan Gregory, and the rank-and-file with supplementary shooting of the overall environment.
Susan Gregory is Rennie Davis' ex-old lady from the Peace Movement days. Rennie now has a new lady, a blond thing with a couple of kids. Susan is the organizer of SOUL RUSH and when the camera was off she told Elon: "You know, this is one step away from facism. But it works," I saw her in D.C. at the Washington Monument where after a wearying afternoon of music she delivered Satsang to the crowd and mobilized them for a candlelight march on the White House. The gist of her Satsang was that they had the answer and the strength to bring peaceand that's what going to the White House was all about. My sense of her was that the same ego needs in her which had been frustrated by the Peace Movement were springing forth there-a totally captive audience ready to do whatever she said.
I also talked with (and taped) Rennie Davis. Elon sums him up: "He wants to do the 60's over again, but get it right this time." Rennie told me virtually the same thing. The Movement was always too fragmented, no one could agree on anything, you couldn't get anything done. Here everybody was united on a common goal, one which everyone could subscribe to. I commented that the Peace Movement had a pretty universal goal, they thought, but it turned out to be just a special trip and why wasn't Maharaj ji just another one of those? Well, at that point you get one of those Blissed Out looks and a reply that "you'd understand if you'd received The K." Rennie also told me that Blue Aquarius, the world's worst rock and roll band, in my opinion, "is giving us back all the music we loved in the 60's."
The Premies on SOUL RUSH seem like zombies some of the time, they're so oblivious to the real world. The environment they're in totally reinforces that and therein, I think, is the core of it all--certain sensory deprivation coupled with mass hypnosis. First off, the twelve Greyhound buses carrying them are referred to as Ashrams and each is equipped with a shrine (with Maharaj ji's picture) and a Loud speaker for mobile Satsang. Off the buses they have no free time other than rigidly scheduled meals or relaxation periods. In the mornings they meditate under sheets in their hotel rooms. Each day or two they attend a Blue Aquarius concert and sit in the front rows. By the end they're on their feet cheeringand joining hands in time to the music. The enthusiasm of their response measured in relation to the quality of the music is out-of-joint. Playing to a sane crowd at Winterland Blue Aquarius would be booed off the stage.
3/ Pre-Houston Briefing
Our crew spent an hour on Sunday interviewing a Mahatma and the Premies thought that was hot as spending time with the Holy Family or a Mahatma is a real privilege. The Mahatma, an Indian and one of Maharaj ji's first followers, talks about receiving The K and the trip in general. He's a pretty funny guy with that metaphysical sense of Indian irony that I thought the Guru showed in the film. When Wendy told him that Satsang bored her he said: "Don't listen. Just tell them (the Premies) you want to talk about something else."
Because of who we are we get a lot of their energy in trying
to convert us. This is for several reasons:
1. We are obviously skeptical and that allows Premies to reinforce their own feelings when they give you Satsang;
2. we're making a documentary and they want it to be favorable;
3. we have useful skills which the DLM's could use if we were converted.
Elon, Wendy and Rita will probably have a chance to receive The K in Houston and may do it. Wendy was particularly bombed out with that kind of fear/desire of totally surrendering to receiving The K. It relates to her splitting up with Paul and the kind of ego-loss she feels which is the weakness that the DLMovement exploits. 99% of the Premies were genetic defects in their other life, your traditional lost souls. At last they have some power.
The freakiest of them are members of the World Peace Corps (WCP) which is headed by one of the brothers. The WCP is one of three arms of DLM, the others being DLMissions and the Divine United Organization (DUO). Apparently there is some political conflict between the three arms. The WCP does crowd control at the concerts. They're fanatical about checking your press pass and asking you to move back. Even if you've just showed them your pass they ask to see it again. If you're standing in front of them they ask you to move back a step just to exert some control. But pressed as to why they reply, literally: "Just following orders."
The DUO is the service organization and the DLM the business front. Each brother has an arm of the overall org. with the exception of Bhole ji who leads the band. Actually, it appears that the drummer really leads it and when Bhole ji sings he lip syncs to one of the chorus. Nonetheless, the crowd goes wild over him and demands encores. Yech.
Most of the Premies have been on other trips before but assure you this is the last one, this one works. Freakier are middle aged people who've succumbed like a used-car salesmen and his wife, we met, from Massachusetts. "Oh, I was a member of the Women's League of Voters, president of my country club, but now…" Five of her friends and two of her seven children have received The K she says.
4/ Pre-Houston Briefing
I think the scene in the Astrodome will drive us crazy so that our quarters outside will have to be kind of an oasis of sanity. I suggest you bring the nitrous tank, I'll bring my cassettes for decent music, we'll need some food and maybe some darts to throw at pictures of Maharaj ji. We should also check out the local movies and give people a list of good bars or something for a hit of instant realword. Really, I never hang out with those people and fail to get a headache.
As I said in the note I sent after Houston, I think the Maharaj ji is the perfect blend of Eastern religion and pop culture. We always thought pop stars would become gods, but here's a (the, excuse me) god who has become a pop star. The adulation expressed towards Maharaj and his family appears to me like teeny-boppers mobbing the Osmonds. The media that DLM uses, slick fan magazines, bad films (they're shooting MILLENIUM in 35mm with a plot about a lost soul who finds himself on the way to Houston), and worse music are at once so familiar and different that they provide the reinforcement the Premies need. The music played by B.A. is so eclectic it does sound like everything you've ever heard, but it also has nothingunique about it. Every great religion had a great art form. I can only assume this is a second-rate religion because it has second rate-art or that pop art is second-rate by definition and therefore Maharaj ji's art is first-rate, if you follow me.
Their rationale is that "we use what works. God has given us these tools." Moreover, they rationalize Maharaj ji'swealth:
1.Why shouldn't we want god to have the best? (This was said in reference to his Mercedes 600 limousine).
2. By wearing a suit and surrounding himself with material goods people like our parents can relate to him better.
I'm convinced therefore that the Premies still feel there is an adult world out there which they are either beating or getting back at. Maharaj ji is the first combination rock star and father figure
More thoughts than this, but how to show it all?
OUR VIDEOTAPE/SLASH TV SHOW: By pre-focues I don't only mean content, but also style. Envisioning beforehand precisely how we want the tape to look. For example, we've already decided to record the spectacle in color and cut back to b&w for behind the scenes and interview footage, literally the black-and-white facts. The most exciting option(s) we have is quad editing. I've spent a couple of days at WNET's editing room and am Blissed Out over what we'll be able to do: fading tape to tape, doing it again for a third or fourth layer of information; instant replay, still frame and slow-motion reverse on the video disck; frame edits. However, we're up-against an economic limit in that we just can't afford to get too carried away. Unless we raise more money the budget
5/ Pre-Houston Briefing only allows for three days of editing preceeded by two days of dubbing to quad, Thus, we have to have things pretty much worked out on our rough cut. The TV La5 is definitely going to loan us an IVC for. a month, either an 820 or an 870. First, we'll have to dub our one-inch color down to half-inch (on the 8600) for screening and editing. This means we need either a 3130 or a one-inch machine for rough editing as we need color capability, the 3650 won't do. That's why I'm trying to get an 870 as we can take it to San Francisco with us.
As I see the tape it needs recurring elements and tension. I think the tension comes from two sources: the anticipationof what the Premies expect in Houston and what Maharaj ji will tell them on the last night; and The K.
At first I thought Maharaj ji would only speak on the last night but he'll be there all three. I can't imagine that they won't orchestrate the emotions so they climax on night three. Secondly, we will have rap on rap about how we have to receive The K. This will climax for us either by one of us receiving The K, recording the ceremony, or finding someone to give us a good rational description suited to Western minds and TV audiences.
As for the elements, Satsang is one, the sensory environment another, the Holy Family, Premie life, the hierarchy. We got good tape of Rennie at the Washington Monument and we might think about digging up some of him at May Day. Also, Skip and Anda are covering him in Chicago and will try to get casual footage of him hanging out with Abbie and Jerry.
I see the tape opening with a black-and-white shot of the outside of the Astrodome intercut with the same shot in color (we'll do this by shooting color and stripping it for the b&w jumps). Audio over the b&w will be premie raps, audio over the color will be ecstasy. Then we might want to cut to the faces of the Premies whose voices were just heard and let them continue the raps introducing the various elements in the tape through quick edits. Next we'll slow that down to our exposition, perhaps a conversational narrative of one of us talking about the whole thing (I want to try audio recording some of our raps and using them as narration). Thus, we will have established both the emotional and information bases of the tape. Beyond that it's hard to see but we are playing with these specific ideas:
1. Satsang: Because all the Satsang is alike, mostly monotonous, I think we should set up a Satsang gallery where we ask Premies to give Satsang straight into the camera (on a tripod) while they wear a lavalier mic and sit in front of a blank background. What we'll do is mark the eyepiece with a grease pencil using the lips as a reference point so we develop an animation of one face fading into another.
6/ Pre-Houston Briefing
2. The Sensory Environment: Receiving The K involves four sensations related to seeing, hearing, tasting and feeling. Hearing is the music, seeing is the Divine Light of course, tasting is the nectar, and feeling, as I understand it, is the Word, With the exception of the Word the other three techniques are similar to Yogananda. Now, I see the sensory environment the Premies putting themselves through as programmed to reinforce these sensations. In fact, they'll tell you that the knowledge doesn't stick unless you meditate on it and that at first it doesn't seem like that much. When DLMovement first started it was relatively easy to get The K and as a result not everyone who received it pursued it. Now you have to be more committed about it and in fact they aren't giving it out now but are telling people to wait until Houston where there will be 25 Mahatmas (the people who give The K) in attendance.
The way I see presenting this is through shots of eyes, ears and bodies. We already have some good shots (made close with the wide angle) of absolutely spaced out eyes which really come across on the screen. I think we can find one set of eyes from a Premie we've interviewed which we can keep cutting back to after the interview as a reminder that the ensuing spectacle is for these eyes. One shot I want to try is wandering through the environment using the camera as eyes fixing on the recurring images of Maharaj ji and his family. In other words, try to see the environment as a Premie does.
As for ears, it's hard to find expressive ears but I think a recurring ear intercut with Blue Aquarius could make a point akin to the one on eyes. I'm also fascinated by the body language because DLMovement has absolutely no credo about physical fitness. Hell, Maharaj ji mimself is terribly out of shape and has an ulcer, You'll also find that whatever The K does it doesn't translate into a physical presence. One guy who gave me Satsang in New York kept fidgeting in his chair and adjusting his tie.
3. The Mahatma as narrator. The guy we taped looks like Lobsang Rampa (sp) on the cover of those paperbacks and we might use his wit and wisdom for recurring commentary kind of like Walt on Disneyworld TV show.
4. Outsiders: Rita shot some nice tape of a group of spectators in Boston and similar raps could also be used as counterpoint. The Premies' interface with the outside world is particularly important and we may not be able to get a lot of it in Houston because they will be so isolated. and the city is so spread out.
5. Parents: Getting a Premie at home in verite ala Fred Wiseman is a must. This will be hard to set up and will probably have to be done after MILLENIUM. In fact, we will
7/ Pre-Houston Briefing
probably find other things to shoot afterwards and thus shouldn't overextend ourselves at MILLENIUM. One particular thing to pursue is whether or not MILLENIUM lived up to the the Premies' expectations. We're also going to want to send someone to Denver but we should wait because I don't think there are a lot of people there right now and we will have better personal contact after MILLENIUM.
3. The Hierarchy: This is more traditional documentary footage of interviews with leaders and shots of them in action. I'm interested in four or five people only three of whom I've met: Rennie and Susan Gregory; Bob Mischler, President of DLM's; his accountant; and Diana Stone. Diana is the only one appealing enough to want to be friends with away from the madness. The Hierarchy still have their intellectual tools and one thing they do is tell you how you're feeling ("because I used to feel that way before I received knowledge") to attempt to counter your feeling. With the exception of Diana, they're all on power trips and in Rennie and Susan's case(s) they have a cause which is even more righteous than the Peace Movement. They know we can burn them. These people aren't dumb and are well aware of the perils of the press. (See second paragraph in Diana's Letter). The only effective way to deal with them is to be totally honest admitting to your hostility, boredom and skepticism. After all, our credo is: "fair but subjective" and I don't think we should be misleading about our intentions. If DLMovment works for some people then we can't belittle it.
However, getting into the hierarchy is akin to getting into the rankland-file in that there's a barrier to penetrate, The Premies' barrier is Blissed Outedness while the hierarchy's is wariness. They don't want to have their scene blown. My sense of strategy is to choose the people we want and begin with formal interviews and using that for access to casual momenta, Rennie, especially, should be developed as a character and having him in D.C., Chicago and Houston will give it some texture, Diana assured me we can hang-out at MILLENIUM offices in Houston and that will be one of the first things we'll start shooting there.
In essence, we have to describe the hierarchy as an organization using that to provide basic journalistic facts about DLM. They we really have to confront them on their motives. In a way, they're using the Holy Family to play out their power fantasies at the same time the Holy Family is using them.
4. The Holy Family: A man named Richard Profumo is in charge of interviews, I've spoken and written to him and also told Diana we want interviews. The MILLENIUM press packet says interviews can be arranged and Diana assures me that we're number one on the access list for everything. However, there may be a problem with Maharaj ji himself as he will be iso-
8/ Pre-Houston Briefing
lated during the events. Also, you only get to see Maharajji if Maharaj ji wants to see you (ref. seeing Bal Bwangiin the Ramparts article). However, I have a feeling they will. make an attempt to provide access as MILLENIUM is an upfront media event, they-make no bones about it,
Beyond interviews, however, we need home movies of them, some hanging out, Just to be in their presence is a trip for DLMers and we need. to convey that: sense of adulation. In fact, that's one of the curious things about the movement, that Maharaj ji's grace extends so heavily to his family. It seemes terribly misplaced when see Bhole ji in person who's not terribly impressive, In addition, Maharaj ji's father was also a Perfect Master and I wonder what Jimmy the Greek would say the odds are of having two in one Family in succession.
5. Maharaj ji himself: Yes, well, don't say don't say that working at TVTV isn't interesting. I mean, how many other video groups would get you in to tape god?
He's going to be terribly far back in the Astrodome, so much so that DLM plans a color video projector to highlight his face. That camera, along with their movie cameras, will be on a platform in front of the stage. Special passes will be necessary for this and Diana assured me we had first priority on platform space after their own crews. Be sure to remind her of this in Houston. What we're trying to arrange is a Peed from the projector which we could then composite with our hand-held camera thus alleviating the need to use the Asaca as a camera of record, There may be a problem in that lightswill bo down on the audience when Maharaj is on, but we'll see. During the day, of course, there'll be adequate light for color (at least 60 footcandles). Moreover, the Asaca lens will only pull 75mm so I don't think we should waste it but rather emphasize it for access by wandering through the crowd and doing hand-held work with it. I'm sure everyone will want to try it but I see our color cameramen primarily as A.R. and Paul,
Now, in terms of editing, I don't think we should use a lot of Maharaj ji up front because his absence becomes a tension which we can then resolve through his presence. We will probably use him as a tease at the beginning and end heavy on him. If he gets assasinated it'll be better than Gimme Shelter. However we have to figure out how to avoid the conventions pitfall which was that we didn't have good verite footage of either McGovern or Nixon. This means we do need an interview and a way to get in with the Holy Family and hang out with them. Again, hit Diana for access as soon as you get to Houston. Skip mightbe good for the Holy Family and the Mahraj ji although I'd be into interviewing him myself, If we do get an interview we should give real thought tu who will do it (Maureen would be great) as we need a balance, between respectful head nodding and hard but; fair journalistic questions.
9/ Pre-Houston Briefing
. 6. The Same Question Gimmick: i.e. asking different people precisely the same questions: What's it like to receive K? What are you expecting will happen here? Were your expectations fulfilled? Isn't this crazy? How do I know it's not just another trip? You're 25 now, are you going to do this for the rest of your life? Is the movement growing? (This is a particularly interesting point. Skip thinks it's topped out and I asked Rennie what would happen if in three years it wasn't any bigger. I tend to agree with Skip with whom I also share the perception that it's boring at root and probably not worth more than 60 minutes on TV. Of course, there is no boredom if you're on on The K, but I think we'll be freaked in the A-Dome at times because we'll feel alone in the middle of 60,000 people).
7. Us: Self-indulgence, the critics call it, but I see no way of avoiding our subjective reactions to the event. Now, our experience seems to be that footage about us (e.g. Democratic tape) is boring, but footage of us commenting on or interacting with events is not (e.g. A.R. at the end of Rolling Stone which I've seen strangers pick up on). In fact, essence of our journalistic style and we are at the point now, as with the rest of our form, where we have to push it rather than letting it happen randomly as most porta-pakers do.
First, we need to choose crews where people will put themselves into the tape. There's a real conflict here in the East about all these film people TVTV seems to be working with and I'm ambivalent in that some video people don't shoot very well, but: a film head is not always what we need. For example, of the crew on the road only Elon is really into tape. Rita is a functionary, used to taking direction. I like her a lot, and hope we'll work with her more, but I don't think she's pushed her imagination a whole lot. Wendy was kind of freaked but she is very good in certain situations. The fourth person is an itinerant filmmaker named John Keeler who was selected by the other three when Skip couldn't come. We accepted him because Elon, Rita and Wendy said he'd be good to work with. I think he's too much of a film person and don't even know if he's good at that, but he's also a real fine guy and I think you all will like him.
Second, I want to have a crew cover us. This will alleviate the burden of having to pick up a camera when something is on and then becoming self-conscious. I want a separate verite crew who sees us, and possibly other media people (althoughthat's not PO important) as a story. I want to try this the first few days before MILLENIUM. If it busts out we'll reassign the crew but I definitely want to see if we can refine our style this way.
10/ Pre-Houston Briefing
7. The K: We've got to get at this because it underlies everything. Unless you've got K you can't understand any- thing. We need descriptions of receiving The K both emotionally and journalistically. We need people who've reeived it who can describe the experience in Western terms (which is taboo) like: "we sat in a room for three hours while they worked on our brains, then they touched us here, here and here," Apparently the physical part can be painful. Interestingly, part of The K is opening the Third Eye (pinneal gland) and the headaches you get are right between the eyes.
I don't think we can get a camera into a K session, certainly not openly. We might think about hiding one or putting a wireless mic on one of our people who receives the K. I have mixed feelings about this in that I don't like to betray confidences, however as a journalist I think we have an obligation to present this phenomenon. This will be very hairy, akin to Richard Burton (the 19th century English explorer) being the first non-Moslem to sneak into Mecca.
8. Overall: As we did with the GOP convention, we will treat all three nights of MILLENIUM as one night, not worrying about chronology. Color coverage will range between a good In Concert shoot with strong verite shootingof faces. I believe TV is about faces, not spaces … about people. (Saw a really fine movie, Mean Streets, which does this really well). Spectacle and ecstasy incolor, the rest in b&w. It's important that color tape not seem like better black and white and that we were too cheap to shoot only in calor. Thus, color information has to be perceived differently than black and white. This means more b&w at beginning, more color at end. (ref. Wizard of Oz where Kansas was in b&w, Oz in color). One problem is an FCC rule that you can't add burst to more than five minutes of b&w at a time but we can get around it.
We need to build tension in the tape, that it's heading towards a climax. As bad as their music is we will be able to use it to build at the end along with crowd yelling.
Recurring elements like eyes and ears, Satsang, Rennie some like Rennie and Susan used as narrative, others used as leitmotif like collage.
Overlapping sound will also work will trying to layer audio as well as video.
11/ Pre-Houston Briefing
Our main problem will be exposition, how to get the facts out quickly and interestingly so that we can go on with the interpretation. I think we're really going to have to push ourselves on this creatively, taking what works along with taking chances. We need to get bizarre video/film shots like planes arriving and buses roaring by. We also need to shoot with editing in mind, both in terms of making shots which have a place to come in and out of and building a narrative. That is, visualizing a sequence you'd like to tape and going out and getting it. This is akin to trekking after facts for a story, but it has to be conceptualized visually.
For what it's worth, my theory of good video is that it's about transactions and transformations. By transactions I mean an exchange between people and people, people and environment, or people and camera (as a last resort). Just shots of people alone are film. Tranformations are changes, that you can see people going through changes, that they are not perceivedthe same at the beginning of a tape as the end. A particularlygood time to get this is during transitions, transitions between space or activities when people are changing gears (going from the conventions to dinner, from hotels to the Astrodome, from ecstasy to boredom). Above all, good TV is about people. That's what always blows people out about good porta-pak tape, that somehow it gets into people in a way that regular TV doesn't. That's what I'd like viewers to come away with from our MILLENIUM 73 show, that they've met a group of people and they have a strong reaction to them.
ORGANIZATION: We are going to have to provide the same facade of togetherness that outsiders think characterize our gigs: a place to stay, transportation, written briefings and contracts (which are almost props) equipment needs anticipated and organized, a sense of editorial direction. I think we all agree that we really do have to give some direction, that people want it and we want to give it. Of course, we don't want automatons and that is the difference between us and film, we choose to work with people whose abilities we know and trust.
So, this is how I see personnel breaking down:
Hudson: producer, keeping it all together with the assistance of T.L. and Jodie (although I'd like her to shoot).
Michael: Editorial overview. I think I will help Hudson keep it organized but also be in charge of scheduling and keeping a concept overview. The only thing I want to shoot are style set-ups like Satasang raps, no coverage.
A.R: Number one camera man. I think A.R. and Paul will be our best verite cameramen most able to record events for good narrative footage. I don't think either of you
12/ Pre-Houston Briefing
need be overly concerned with organization during MILLENIUM, although A.R. will be essential during the week before. A.R. will also need to take an overview for the edit.
Megan: camera and sound. I think Megan, Skip, Jodie, Anda, Wendy and Elon will be best for that kind of interactive taping that we like to get. I don't think Paul, Stanton, Doug, or even you A.R. are that strong at getting into people and I want to balance that sensibility with straight, hard, good verite shooting. Megan also needed for org. chores.
As for technicians, John Brumage will handle porta-paks and we need Harry Mathias for the color system. We'll have two IVC's, one as a back up and Harry will need a helper, one of T.L.'s gophers.
So, this all breaks down into an organizational chart but let's wait until Houston to firm it up, but let's figure this for crews:
1. color crew
2. TVTV in-house crew
3. Holy Family and hierarchy
5. Style crew (I think Stanton would be perfect for this, ref. his Wallace wheel chair shot).
Of course there will be overlap, indeed we ought to try some two camera shooting of confrontation situations, but I think we will make preassignments and let each crew be their own producers and look after their own equipment, drawing on Hudson's and my administrative support structure.
HOUSTON CHECK-LIST: I'm coming down Saturday with Jodie. As I understand it, Megan will come Saturday and A.R. and Hudson are going Thursday. Paul is coming Sunday. T.L. is already there. Skip is coming down by week's end, and Soul Rushers arrive on Sunday.
1. Housing--need to get beds set-up with privacy guaranteed.
2. Rent a cars.
4. Check in with DLM and begin behind the scenes shooting (A.R. and Paul).
5. Schedules--need same sked boards as conventions and a general meeting/hanging out/relaxing area.
13/ Pre-Houston Briefing
6. Money and contracts--I'm still getting it straight with Stern and WNET andwill know for sure on Friday. I hope we'll have it all by MILLENIUM, but we may have to pull our credit card number again, hope not. We can lay off air tickets on Master travel but we'll need expense money and salary checks by gig's end.
EDITING: I'm personally interested in doing the edit. As co-editors I see Skip and A.R. However, it's necessary that we share quad editing skills among us all so we all get the experience. This means I think we should all get to New York one way or the other. My air fare can be covered by lecture gigs, A.R. can get one out of Phil Stern. As the producer, Hudson should naturally be there so that comes out of budget, and Megan can double it up with a visit to Zevin. In addition, N.Y. based crew members well be able to drop in on the editing studio for a few hours each.
TVTV IN GENERAL; TVTV is in good stead with other video folk, but there may be tension over their ambivalence with what we're trying to do. But in general I think you'll find east coast people really want to work with us and work well and that is energizing.
Other media folk are still into the TVTV myth solely as a result of the conventions. Folks like Ray Hubbard, Group W, WNET think we're hot, not that we're going to take over TV, but that what we do is worth including in TV. I think we'll be the only TV coverage of MILLENIUM but Rolling Stone (Tony Guest?), Newsweek (Liz Peer) and maybe Harpers (Larry McMurtry) are supposed to cover it so it will be one of those numbers where we can attract a small, but influential audience of critics to watch and write about the program.
Which all dovetails into where we're going. It's pretty obvious that emotionally things are only partially resolved and that still must be kept from spilling over into TVTV. I think that with ADLAND, then MILLENIUM, and the Phil Stern gig (which we have to talk about) in production we'll be in a strong position to move on the prospectus. In addition, the book and PT survey will establish us in print. Pilot is contingent on investors money. However, we really have to figure out an organizational structure and, given some money, see
what skills we need (business, secretarial) and bring them in. There's no longer any internal rationale for TVTV as group just to be a group, our only raison d'etre is productions which we find fulfilling to work on. If the thing does fall apart then I think it's important that everyonecome away from it with as many skills (like producing, quad editing) and credits-books and programs (I think both Hudson and Megan will have to have space to create and produce
13/ Pre-Houston Briefing
their own programs for the experience, assuming the two of you Feel a need to do that). The thing holding together is really contingent upon money, the prospectus, so as far as I'm concerned the fate of that determines the fate of TVTV and our working together in this configuration. Personally, I don't want to spend much more time in San Francisco, but can only see being away if there's a TVTV reason for it, it's not an end in itself. I would hope then that if we do get money we'd leave the city and move to L.A. If this creates conflicts then it might be good to discuss them now. The only way I can be comfortable is if the thing is re-born and doing new things in a new place, Otherwise the past will trap us.