Shoulder-to-shoulder; worlds apart.
We’ll listen to anything except each other.
A typical rush hour on a crowded train turns eventful when a spontaneous decision reveals the musical tastes of commuters of all walks of life.
We follow a young woman wearing headphones as she makes her way onto a crowded MUNI train during evening rush hour. Commuters rush by, people wait in dense groups on the platform, and tourist wander aimlessly around. Music from her headphones cut with crowd noise fills the scene.
The woman enters a very crowded MUNI train and finds herself crammed in a corner surrounded by people from many different backgrounds, ethnicities, and social strata. Everyone is tense and grumpy and most are listening to headphones of some sort. After knocking into the young woman, a middle-aged man wearing headphones smiles apologetically, takes a liking to the woman and then gives her a bigger smile. The woman, stressed and impatient with the packed train, shrugs it off.
After a couple seconds, the man is struck with an idea. He reaches down to his music device and pulls out his headphone jack. He holds it up to the young woman making it clear that he is inviting her to listen to his music. She pauses, smiles, and then removes her headphone jack and puts it in to his device. Her music drops out, we hear nothing but the train, and then we hear his music. He makes it clear that he’d like to listen to her music. She obliges and now her music is cut into his music.
A young man standing next to them has watched the exchange and the couple notice. The girl them removes her jack from the first guy’s device and trades with the new man. Audio is cut and merged accordingly. The first man then catches the eye of an older woman and they smile and exchange jacks. Audio edited accordingly.
This sets off a quick burst of people trading headphone jacks and listening to each other’s music. Old, young, Asian, African American, skater, Hindi, office worker, drug addict, tourist, executive - they reach over and around each other trying out different music. People are smiling and we feel tensions and stress melt away. Headphone cords of all different colors and styles become criss-crossed and layered between them. They are drawn closer by the knotting of the headphone cords.
Audio is added layer by layer in sparse, controlled elements. Each new device will have a fresh genre of music which will be added to the previous track creating an escalating composition that becomes both more complex and beautiful as it develops.
The group of participating commuters spend many seconds listening to music and generally feeling good. As the next stop comes up, it’s clear that a couple people need to get off. But the crossed and knotted headphone cords make it impossible for them to get untangled in time. They make an effort but the doors open and close before anyone can get off.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
You love this idea and want to be a critical part of making it happen. So much so that you are willing to invest in the film and be a primary financial supporter. With your help, we can make a strong and lasting film that will be seen by thousands. Stay behind the scenes or get your hands dirty; whatever works best for you. Together, we can make something great.
As much of the impact of this piece will be driven from its music, I will need to find a talented composer who understands the vision and has the techical chops to pull something like this off. This is not a simple cross-fade to cross-fade excercise but a sort of aural alchemy in which vastly different sounds and beats melt gently into one another resulting in a wholly fresh composition. There's a chance to do something interesting here and I'd like to find someone who is into the challenge.
For a simple idea, this thing has a lot of moving parts. 30+ people, train schedules, phone calls, headphones, tickets, and a whole host of typical unknowns that all need to be managed. Interested?
You know the drill. Any kind of shoot needs a couple smart folks on hand to keep things running smoothly. Ready to run around for a few hours and do...something, everything and more?
Would you like to be on the train? Awesome. I will need approximately 15 main characters - people who will actually engage in the headphone swapping and be the main focus of the film. See the character type list below. Additionally, I'll need another 14-15 people to be 'regular commuters' in the background to provide the feel of a crowded train. These support characters are not directly involved with the headphone swapping experience.
Primary shooting will be on a Sunday morning, bright and early, on the K/M/L line between West Portal and Casto Station. Hours are planned to be approximately 6am - 1oam. There will be coffee and treats galore. Two additional hours at Powell Street Station during random rush hour will be necessary for 5-6 of the main characters, as well. Exact date/times to be worked out later.
- Cool Mission Girl, Asian, mid-20's
- Regular Marina Guy, non-white, mid-30's
- Fun Skater Teen Boy, Latino, early teens
- Cheeful Surfer Girl, Pacific Islander, teens
- Scary Heavy Metal Guy, White, mid-30's
- Happy Hippy Rasta Guy, mixed, mid-40's
- Awkward IT Guy, African American, late-40's
- Grumpy Old Man, White, early 60's
- Bored Office Worker Woman, Indian, mid-50's
- Stern Executive Woman, African American, early 50's
- Hardcore Punk Girl, White, early-20's
- Scary Homeless Guy, White, mid-20's
- Quiet Grandmother, Asian, mid-60's
- Gruff Construction Worker Guy, Latino, early 30's
- Nervous Office Worker Woman, Middle Eastern, early 20's
I'll also need a good mix of the kind of people you see on the train commuting every day. Basically extras, these characters have no specific type and will be chosen later. But I'll start a list now if you know that you'd like to be involved in this capacity.
Shooting will be in early 2013.
I plan on submitting the film to high profile festivals and believe it could do really well. I'm excited to give it a shot and I hope you would like to be a part of the experience.
Hit me with questions or let me know if you can help. I'd really appreciate it!