HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — As an international distributor of electronic musical instruments during the 1990s, Geoff Farr frequently spent long nights in European hotel rooms watching the only television programs that required no translation: short experimental videos backed with electronic music scores. Farr says German television was an especially rich medium for an American insomniac interested in creative new videos.
“I watched endless hours of shows like ‘Flomotion’ and ‘Man vs Machine,’ Farr says. “There was another program called ‘Space Night’ that ran photos from NASA archives, accompanied by some really interesting electronic music artists. The shows were really compelling … I couldn’t rip my eyes away from the screen.”
Farr surmised that others would find the offerings equally entertaining, and attempted to secure United States licensing rights for the programming. After it became apparent that such rights would be prohibitively expensive, he decided to create his own compilations of original experimental videos, and called the shows i Promise 2 Be You.
Farr enlisted the aid of musician and film editor Bill Black, with whom he had collaborated on an earlier video production that had been selected as a finalist in the 2002 Sundance Online Film Festival. Farr began to envision and assemble what would eventually become 10 half-hour programs on the i Promise 2 Be You Web site (http://www.ipromise2beyou.com).
Asked about the unusual name for the site and the program, Farr explained that he had discovered techno duo The Luxury Tax while visiting California’s Fateless Flows Collaborative Web site (http://www.fatelessflows.com). “One of their songs had this odd Wizard-of-Oz-like voice chanting what sounded like ‘I promise to be you,’ and I wanted a title that demanded further investigation,” Farr says. “i Promise 2 Be You did just that. We ended up using the track as the main program theme.”
Farr tapped New York motion graphics artists Nika Offenbac and Devin Simunovich from C-TRL Labs (http://www.c-trl.com) to produce opening and closing segments, logo “bugs” and interstitial video elements. “Nika and Devin understood immediately what I was doing,” Farr says. “They came back with images that just blew me away.” (Farr isn’t the only one blown away by C-TRL’s work; see what Apple has to say about the firm at http://www.apple.com/pro/profiles/c-trl).
With the show’s architecture in place, Farr harvested work from videos artists across the planet for the i Promise 2 Be You’s inaugural ten-show season. Standout segments came from artists Scott Pagano, Davy Force, Sue-c, Optical Light Pipe and Motomichi Nakamura and Ben Sheppee.
For the first several months of the show’s online life, the videos were available for viewing only at the i Promise 2 Be You site … until the work snagged the attention of Syd Birenbaum, vice president of content acquisition at the online peercasting video network Veoh. Now, i Promise To Be You’s 10 episodes are a popular featured channel on the site (http://www.veoh.com/channels/ipromise2beyou).
“Having the show hosted on Veoh has been a huge push for us,” Farr says. “We’re hearing positive viewer feedback from all over, and it’s really increased the number of new submissions we’re getting for our second season.” The buzz on the shows is growing: I Promise 2 Be You episodes also are available on vuze.com, blinkx.com and babelgum.com.
With the global reach of the Internet, and the burgeoning interest in i Promise 2 Be You content, the fruits of Farr’s dream may end up being seen by millions of viewers-likely a substantially larger number of people than those losing sleep watching experimental overnight television in European hotel rooms.
[tags]Geoff Farr, electronica music videos, i Promise 2 Be You, New York motion graphics artists, Nika Offenbac and Devin Simunovich, musician and film editor Bill Black, Hollywood California news[/tags]