In some communications over the past two years with pipe organ purists (those who consider digital or combination organs to be abominations) who have cynically praised my film for "celebrating mediocrity", I have simply said that they have failed to grasp what the film was intended to do. After explaining it to them, they were more receptive although still holding grudges against the instruments. Several of them gave me suggestions of pure pipe organs to film next or even suggested a re-make of the film using better instruments!
While I do greatly admire full pipe organs and crave the sound, I also greatly admire companies who produce digital and combination organs -thereby making them more affordable for small or poor church congregations, schools and universities, and even home owners. I ask these people the question "Does it really matter what kind of organ people are playing as long as they are learning the art and keeping it alive? In this economy, with the expense and maintenance costs of full pipe organs, I believe that digital and combination organs have kept the industry alive. They have even protected the pipe organ itself by preserving the art of playing and making organs accessible to more people than ever before. My film doesn't celebrate mediocrity. It celebrates passion.
Therefore, I measure the success of the film by different standards. Has it brought in thousands or even millions from box office and DVD sales? Nope. I haven't even recuperated my production costs. In financial terms, the film was a box office bomb which hasn't even netted a positive return yet. Does that bother me? Absolutely not. I didn't make the film to get rich and be famous.
I have indeed created a name and reputation for myself as well as received commendations from many of the organ community's hierarchy of performers and local / national leaders. My reputation has preceded me in some instances where people I just met ask me "Are you the guy who made that movie about all those organs?". In some cases people have been a little star-struck. In spite of all this attention for myself, my underlying hope is that I become known for my efforts in trying to save the art and beauty of organs (in all their forms) and inspire younger generations to learn how to play them. This film has simply opened the door to that cause for which I stand firmly and will advocate to the best of my ability.
Congruent with this belief, in partnership with Rodgers Instruments Corporation, I have recently finished filming five initial mini-documentaries for an on-going web series featuring young organists. The web series, which will be announced and made available by Rodgers in the coming weeks, showcases young organists who describe their passion for learning and playing the organ. Some of them hope to make a career of it. Some just play for the joy and satisfaction. Regardless of their intentions or what kind of organ they play on, their passion is what matters. This passion is what I believe in and what I want others to see. This passion is what will inspire a new wave of appreciation in younger people.
Let's face it, the organ community and the art is aging....literally. Soon the organ virtuosos of today will be gone and who will the legacy be left to? Will it die? Will it survive? Or will it flourish? I guess that much is up to us. I attended an organ symposium a few years ago in Salt Lake City where this very issue was brought up. A gentleman stood up and with a lot of vigor and emotion in his voice he reproved the pastors, ministers, full-time organists, and others who tell a curious person "No." when they ask to see or play the organ. He said this, more than anything, is killing the art. Being told "No." or "It's too expensive." or "You don't know what you're doing." only reinforces the stigma that "organs are for old people".
The organ isn't some fragile china doll that will break with mishandling. You would have to use a sledge hammer on the console or tap dance on the keys to damage the instrument beyond repair. (Obviously I would be extremely selective of those allowed to enter the pipe chambers.....that goes without saying.) I've been in the factory and have seen how consoles are built. They are solid machines that last decades. There's a better chance that an act of God will destroy the instrument than someone who is simply curious about it. So, if you've ever told someone "No.", then shame on you. You're a hypocrite. How can you advocate for the organ, but deny access of it to those who want to learn. Be open-minded. Be willing to teach. Be willing to inspire the passion.
Hopefully this posts sheds more light on the intention behind the making of this film. After reading this, hopefully those who have seen the film, those who watch it again, or those who watch it for the first time will understand it's message and see the film for what it is. That is how I measure the success of the film. Now you see the bigger picture.
JAN 26, 2014: The King of Instruments is an official entry at the 2014 LDS Film Festival!!
The screening will take place 12:30pm Friday, February 7 at the Scera Center for the Arts in Orem, UT.
Tickets are on sale now through Scera.org.
Admission is $7.00.
Click the poster or the links below to learn more about the LDS Film Festival.
The King of Instruments has been invited as a Special Screening at the 13th Annual LDS Film Festival 2014!! The festival will be held on Feb. 5-8 at the Scera Center in Orem, Utah.
Stay tuned for more details.
Click the poster or the links below to learn more about the LDSFF.
Be part of the success!! The King of Instruments has started a fund raising campaign in order to enter the film in festivals as well as submit the film for broadcast on Public Television stations. Unfortunately, there are fees required to submit the film to these venues. Your kind donations will help us bring the film to a wider audience. You will also receive special rewards for your donation in honor of your generosity. We only have a 30-day window to raise the funds on Kickstarter.com before they close the project. We can raise more than the minimum $500, but not less. If the goal isn't reached, then no pledges are collected. It's all or nothing!
Click the link below to make a donation now and to learn how your generosity will help us reach our full potential.
We finally have an official release date. The Theatrical Premiere will be held Friday, September 27th at Fat Cats Cinema 6 in Rexburg, Idaho. Click on the Theatrical Release tab for more information.
I had to wait for the finish of this past semester at BYU-Idaho in order to schedule the Taylor Building to re-record the audio for a segment of the film. The building underwent a renovation several months ago and there was a backlog of activities and meetings as a result. However, we finally have a date set to record and then the film can be finished up. Things are getting very close, so be sure to check back often for production updates and more pictures/videos behind the scenes.
I apologize for not being able to release the film in April as anticipated. A few technical issues came up which requires us to re-record (not re-film) two of the organ performances. Scheduling the buildings with the university takes time and patience since we have to schedule practically the entire Taylor Building so we don't have unwanted noise from other activities while recording. Thank you for your understanding and patience with us as we move forward with the film. Right now, I am anticipating a late summer release. Check the blog often for updates.
The cast and crew had a LONG day yesterday filming. We started at 6:00am and didn't finish until 6:15pm when the last of Clay Christiansen's voice-overs were recorded. Everone put in so much hard work, but I believe everyone had a great time. The whole thing was a great experience. We had a really yummy lunch catered by BYU-Idaho and we got so full we all wanted to take a nap. (Somehow I managed to forget setting aside time to take a nap in the filming schedule.) After everything was done, Allison and I went out to dinner with Clay and had a great time talking about his family and experiences with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He is just a genuinely warm man with a big heart. I'm glad he accepted my invitation to host the documentary!!
All that's left now is to put everything together. Troy is working on the audio mixes and I'll be working on the video footage. I've got two weeks to put it together, so "Marathon #2" starts..........................NOW!!
Finished our first day of filming with Clay Christiansen, Tabernacle Organist. It was lots of fun to finally meet him in person after many weeks of emails and phone calls. After the filming, he went down to the Ruffatti organ to practice for his segment tomorrow. Got to hear his new composition and watch him put all the sounds together. You'll like what you hear! We have a full day tomorrow of filming from 6:00am to 6:30pm. I don't think I'm going to sleep tonight!!
This week is the big week! We are filming all of the organ performances this coming Friday and Saturday. This is the last set of major filming to be done. So when it is complete, I can start putting everything together and actually making a movie out of the hours (yes...hours!) of footage from the organs and interviews. Don't worry, for broadcast purposes I have to keep the time limit under an hour. It will be hard to condense all the interviews down to the bare bones because everyone had such great things to say about the instruments. (I refer you to my previous post about that experience.)
I have the butterflies in my stomach and I'll probably not sleep at all this week. I'm really excited for the weekend. It will be an awesome experience!!
I just want to give a big thanks to the Cast and Crew for the great work each of them have done with the project. I really couldn't have made this film without each and every one of them. They are making a dream come true and I sincerely appreciate all they have done.
I also want to extend my utmost, sincere gratitude to all the benefactors who have made this film a reality. Thank you for your generous support and kindness.