Friday, April 06, 2012

Just extend the rope

When I worked at the Smithsonian, way back in the mid-90's, I was lucky enough to attend a multi-week workshop for documentary filmmakers.  One of the speakers was a producer from Kartemquin Films in Chicago, the production house behind Hoop Dreams.

I'll never forget this guy's presentation.  He showed us a clip from the 1962 documentary, Lonely Boy, that profiled recording superstar Paul Anka.  There was a moment where the filmmakers were interviewing Anka's publicist and the the publicist was going over the top in his zeal to promote his client.

His publicist was claiming that Anka was the greatest composer of all time, better than Mozart, etc.

While the publicist was raving, the filmmakers  laid in B-roll shots of Anka writing songs before a performance under the publicist's words and the whole moment basically made Anka look like a douchbag.

The Kartemquin guy stopped the film and said, "Never do that.  Never, ever do that.  This is cheap and unethical.  Anka would never have said those things about himself and those words hung him based on the publicist's comments."

Fuckin' eh.

He went on to say, if you're going to hang someone the best and only way to do it is to simply extend them enough rope and they will most likely hang themselves if they are guilty of the charges.

He said it may take time but it is almost inevitable that the person will self destruct, your job is just to tell the truth.

I have found those words to be as right as rain.

Case in point.

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