Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Miriam: A Serialized Interview with Brian Pera

“For me, serialization means a story keeps on deepening and expanding over time.” -- Brian Pera, Writer and Director 

“Woman’s Picture,” the film, is a beginning. Filmmaker Brian Pera plans to continue exploring these characters in an open-ended series of short, web-based films over the next ten years or so. 

The segments, while at first view may seem unrelated as stories, do relate on “subterranean levels of mood and theme,” according to Pera. This is a process he likens to perfumes from a long established house like Chanel. Compare two of them, and the differences are obvious. But, when looking at the line through time, the differences become more muted, while the parallels become more apparent, and more complex.

It seemed appropriate to serialize this interview, which was conducted online, as well. So it will appear over a five day period.

Visit the other participating blogs for different angles. They’re listed at the end of this (and subsequent) posts. And stop by Evelyn Avenue  for all sorts of interesting stuff. “Miriam,” which is to be released in early October, will be sold there, and through Lucky Scent

Andy Tauer has provided a very generous allotment of sample prize packages for the drawing, too. Details appear at the end of this post.

Pera has also done a fascinating series of short films in which women talk about their memories of perfumes, loved ones and the links between them. Look for "Melissa" here on Saturday, September 17th.

The first question:

“What was the fragrance’s development, the process of collaboration with Andy Tauer, like?”

Brian: “Andy and his work represent for me, in a way very few people do, what it means to be truly independent now.  Indie and independent are words which are used very loosely these days, but Andy sets an example which really clarifies what those terms essentially need to mean for me.  I feel a real kinship with his creative philosophy and practice and that's the reason I approached him in the first place.  It's the way I'd like to make films, not just now but always: following my own instincts, doing much of it myself, getting my hands dirty, making things, producing them, in a meaningful way which feels hand crafted and sincere rather than hyped and distorted by a thousand intermediaries.  It requires a strange admixture of humility and confidence, and I hope I'm moving toward that equilibrium as successfully as he has.

Andy read the screenplay and said yes, which shocked me.  I expected him to say no.  I felt I needed to ask and get it out of the way, and once he said no I could move on to others.  But he said yes, and away we went.  From the beginning he showed a lot of trust in me and faith in what I wanted to accomplish.  He started working on the fragrance very soon after he said yes.  He saw a first cut of the first three Woman's Picture short films, including MIRIAM.  We exchanged many letters discussing Miriam and her influences, relating it to our own experiences.  He told me pretty early on what direction he was considering going in.  We then talked about that, and I think he made a few modifications, as did I, and we moved on from there.  

I think the creative process is both singular and universal, and I found that while the art of perfumery is obviously a lot different than filmmaking, the practices share many of the same struggles, challenges, and inspirations.  In one of the essays he wrote on perfumery, Edmond Roudnitska talked about imagination and the way it works - by association, by organization of accumulated influences and inspirations.  It means being open.  "The most insignificant detail - occasionally even one that is alien to the field of perfumes - can trigger a first association of ideas, which can entail another such association..." and so on, and all those associations graft themselves onto an initial idea like base notes and modifiers in a perfume. 

 That's filmmaking, too, really.  So when Andy and I talk about combining the arts of perfume and film I think we're not just talking about the result but the process, the engagement; as artists we're both inspired by each other's creative world to make something new, and our imaginations work alongside each other, producing some third piece of art which exists in the mind of the smeller and viewer, who relates these things for herself.  

Collaborations are pleasurable to me and I feel very comfortable with them, but few have been this rewarding and gratifying.  I think everyone who knows Andy's work knows something of Andy - that's the kind of artist he is, a very personal one.  I can tell you that's sincere and real.  He's a uniquely committed individual and I consider myself more than lucky to have engaged in this with someone so creatively generous and fearless.” 

The drawing: Each day, I’ll pick two winners at random from that day’s comments, who will each win a package from Tauer Perfumes. This includes a sample of the fragrance “Miriam” and a DVD package with excerpts from "Woman's Picture," a bonus 15 minute short from the movie, and related short films from Evelyn Avenue, and the “Miriam” short film, which opens in Los Angeles in October. I’ll announce the names of the previous day’s winners with each day’s post.

Previous winners of the “Miriam” package won’t be eligible to win again until the drawing for the Grand Prize, a purse-sized sprayer of “Miriam,” which all commenters are eligible to win. That random drawing will be held at the end of the five-day series, and announced at 9:00 a.m. US Eastern Daylight Time, Monday, Sept. 19th. 

All winners must contact me with postal details at the email listed to the left, by midnight US Eastern Daylight Time, Friday, Sept. 30th. Otherwise, I’ll do a random drawing to select alternates.

Visit the other participating blogs for more exploration of “Woman’s Picture,” reviews and links to the other short films from Evelyn Avenue in which women talk about their memories of perfumes.

Perfume Shrine  (post up now)
 Persolaise (post up now)
Perfume Smellin Things (September 21)
Perfume Posse (October 5)

Photo by Andy Tauer.


Kelsey Anderson said...

What an interesting idea. Can't wait to hear more!

Irina said...

very interesting, more, more...
thank you

Ines said...

It would be very interesting now that Brian described their interaction to see the movie and smell the perfume and realize for oneself what thought went into it.
So far, I've never associated a perfume with a movie and would love to try it for the first time. :)

Ewik said...

That's a first time, that i heard of such a collaboration - very fun to read!

Zazie said...

I like the idea of different creative universes colliding, producing something new and inspiring.
I would love to smell Miriam and see the movie - I like the idea of linking these different experiences. Both perfume and movies mean so much to me.

There are perfumes I tend to gravitate towards when I go to the cinema: my favorite for the task" is Jicky, but most classic Guerlains will do.

queen_cupcake said...

I like reading about the creative process and am so glad that Brian and Andy were able to collaborate. Clearly, they are both open, imaginative artists, and it will be interesting to see what they come up with, going forward.

Anonymous said...

Ahem, it would be nice to win a sample after reading this interesting article. Thx - Alica -

Sebastiano R said...

That's really independent, indeed. Not all that stupid fashionable stuff so common in these days

dremybluz said...

Hope that the series gets a large following. Please enter me in the draw.

MAureen said...

I have been following this in the is so interesting. I always look for perfumes in films and imagine what people are wearing in them. This seems like a very unique collaboration. Please enter me in the draw...thank you.

ccdouglass said...

Not to be repetitive, but...SO interesting! I, too, am eager for more. Thanks for the draw!

Elisa said...

Don't you just love it when you don't have to settle for your second choice?

Nancy said...

Perfume aligned with film...ah an alter ego....
Please enter me in the draw!

Bob J said...

It's both appropriate and telling that an independent fellow like Andy has entered into such a unique collaboration. A creative imagination combined with the wonders of the web has brought both us and Andy to a point where even small producers may have a world-wide audience. Just saying...Go Andy !

Veta said...

Thanks for this cycle of interview!
I guessed that Andy is a very enthusiastic and creative person but collaboration with the film-making industry is absolutely indie and stunning.


Good blog!!