At the time of this Writing, this will be my 10th Article. And now a lot of you might see the style of how I write these. I always start with a Statement and a Question. The reason I begin with a question is that it is necessary to gain interest. If I commenced any Article by stating an Artist and their attentions right away, it wouldn't add any importance to their work. And even if a reader might not like this style, at least they can appreciate the fact that I can showcase the importance of an Artist outside of their work.
Questions help us build solutions that we might have thought of before. Without the necessary angle of questioning rather or not something is working, we stay blind to the possible truth. So it's very odd that we live in a world that seems to be against the notion of questioning.
Well, that isn't the blanket truth. Of course, a person is allowed to ask anything they want (within logic & reason). But we can all agree that the current landscape isn't made for those who question. Instead, it's made for those who Obey & Comply to those who have all of the money in the world. It isn't healthy, nor is it what the human race is built for. But that is how our species has evolved, and we can't ignore this fact.
So what happens when somebody starts to ask the necessary questions that most of us never ask. Well, for the sake of this article, I'm just going to give out 3 Solutions.
The First is Prideful Laughter. This is when a group of brainwashed people laugh at the ones who question & tell them to stick to the pre-determined course. A lot of the individuals who laugh look at those who always question as fools. And to be fair, some of these people are fools. But let's be honest, this is nothing more than a defense mechanism for those who followed the system like dogs. If you get laughed at by this group, and you don't feel stupid yourself, you shouldn't care.
The Second section is Ugly Threats. This is when a group of brainwashed people feel threatened & need to use Physical Force in order to keep their livelihoods intact. One of the most famous examples of an Ugly Threat is a Death Threat. For anybody who has ever had a Death Threat before (which I have), you feel powerless & scared. But just remember that most of these Threats are just jealousy. I didn't feel like I was actually going to die (and I didn't). Death Threats are just an extreme form of people wanting to keep their world in order. Again, don't care unless you honestly feel threatened.
The final form is an actual conversation. Yeah for how dire the previous two might sound, there is actually a chance that you would get a legitimate conversation out of asking a question. These conversations can turn into movements. Those Movements can change the course in how the future feels about a situation. And because of it, the world can completely change within a generation.
That third section is the reason why we should all ask as many questions as (logically) possible. And luckily there are very few filmmakers who ask as many questions as Morgan Dusatko.
Moran Dusatko is an Artist who has his hands in multiple Art-Forms. But the biggest two would be his Auditory Work & His work in the Filmmaking Sector. He graduated from Evergreen State College & has had his foot in many fields. This includes working at a Tech Company, School, Production Company, ETC. But if there was one term that Morgan would be noted for, it will be that he continuously questions the world.
During our 2 Hour Conversation, Morgan continually asked me questions about the Experimental Scene. It wasn't just easy questions either. But we will get into those details later one. But what we will discuss now is the vast amount of work Morgan is associated with.
As an Auditory Artist, I believe that the best word to describe him is an Auditory Explorer. While most people would describe the Auditory scene as a Music-Only Art, this is far from the truth. Morgan creates Podcasts named "Hey Half Sister." This is a Comedic Improv Adventure that never bores the listener. I can spoil some of it, but that would defeat the point. So I suggest you click this link to experience it yourself.
Another Auditory Art that Morgan associates himself with is a term called "Walking Tours." It's exactly what it sounds like; it's an Audio-Version of a Walking Tour. But that definition is only a Surface-Level explanation for how impactful a Walking Tour can be to the listener. One of the best examples is an Audio-Tour named left: behind (which you can click right here). The Audio Tour talks about an Art Studio Building named Inscape Arts (a real Art-Museum by the way) and how it was a place for former detainees. The detainees were more about the Chinese in the past, but as we learn, we get to know the true intentions of the building. The tour becomes a journey for the audience, as we get to look into the mind of the main character. Again I don't want to spoil it completely, so I strongly suggest that you all check it out. But to make a long paragraph short, it is one of the most thoughtful & introspective pieces of Auditory Media I've ever heard. I promise you won't be disappointed.
So his Auditory Work might be impressive, but as I stated before, it isn't the only Art-Form he is associated with. So let's look into his Visual Work as well. One of the more impressive Films is The Hot Dog Cycle. It's a Comedic Film with a Documentary-Like look. But unlike most Comedy Films, this movie is more about the Experience. In most Hollywood Comedy Films, the emphasis is on the Jokes while tying them together in a bland-overplayed plot. But the unexpected nature of this movie makes the comedic moments more memorable (and therefore, more funny). It's a Journey through ourselves & we should all check it out. Watch It Down Below:
A Visual Piece that would be more Experimental is "Still Life of Lacy." Just like a lot of Experimental Films, the whole piece is a Visual Experience. But it's also very introspective & thoughtful, and (again) raises questions after you experience it. The Second-Shot dichotomy gives a new perspective to the other shot (in other words, you need to watch it more than once). It's only a little more than 2 Minutes so that a second viewing won't be so time-consuming. I strongly suggest you check it out below:
But one of the underlying themes in all of his works is the way he raises questions. This is part of Morgan's Philosophy, and I'm about to get into why. For the following segment in this Article, I'm really going to break the fourth wall. So be for warned, I won't have any pretense into what goes on in these interviews. So here we go.
During the 12 Interviews I've done (obviously there will be more), I always prepare a list of questions. This list of questions generally goes into how an Artist views their work & the world that accepts it. Most of these questions are very personal to the Artist because they are all different. But a few of them are Universal, and one of these questions is something every Experimental Artist should ask ourselves. The question is "What can the Experimental Arts Scene do to promote ourselves better"? Not a very fun question, but it is necessary. As an Experimental Screenwriter, I always ask myself why the masses don't take my craft seriously. Everybody else I've interviewed has asked themselves the same exact thing.
But Morgan's interview was mainly focused on this one question. I called him & we went straight into the discussion as to why the Experimental Arts Scene isn't taken as seriously as it should be. He wanted to ask me personally, why I'm not out there creating the same type of work that my featured guests do. You can see his passion from his frustration, and he isn't alone.
I'm not going to lie; I get frustrated about the lack of Experimental Representation as well. We have had almost 100 Years of Avant-Garde Films (an offshoot of Experimental Film), and we aren't taken seriously by most American Audiences. In fact, most of the time Avant-Garde Films are viewed as the brunt of a joke. I'm not offended, but I am frustrated. Why was the Avant-Garde scene only represented in Film Schools & Art Magazines? Why doesn't the general populous take an Experimental Risk with their Visual Media? Why aren't we as respected as Hollywood, or accepted more in Major Film Festivals? It's a stigma that I hope to change but honestly, can't confirm that it will.
Morgan feels the same exact way. As I stated in Will Erokan's Article, Evergreen State College is one of the handful of Colleges that accept Experimental Film in the United States. That's not a good statistic, in fact, it's kind of depressing. Why wasn't Experimental Filmmaking allowed in my old film school, or most film schools? I want this to change, we all do. But Morgan continuously asked me how we are going to do this.
Well- I can't answer that question in exact detail. But I want to dedicate the rest of this Article to try to respond to this issue. Maybe it isn't the best answer, but it will certainly start a Conversation. And in the end, isn't that what matters the most?
So before I begin, I just want you all to follow Morgan Dustako's work on Vimeo & his website. His work will make everybody ask certain questions. And just like the end of this Article, it will stir up Conversations. When the rest of the world is fearful of asking questions, Morgan shows us that it is necessary for a dialogue. The question now is, are you going to start a constant dialogue yourself?
Alright, now let me try to answer Morgan's question, "What can The Experimental Community Do To Promote Ourselves Better"? Remember, this is my personal opinion, doesn't reflect any of the Artists I have covered or will cover in the future. But Morgan specifically wanted my answer, so I'm going to give it to him. With that out of the way, here we go.
For thousands of years, Art (as a concept) has always been associated with mindsets. Fixed Mindsets always sought Art that was more Beautiful, while Growth Mindsets tried to find Art that was Inventive & had a deeper meaning. Obviously, you can mix the two together, but I'm using a broad stroke for the sake of the reader's interest. Anyways, Traditional Art was more about Perfecting a Craft while New-Age Art was more about creating a New Craft. For the purposes of this argument, Hollywood Films are Traditional while Experimental Film is New-Age.
When Filmmaking was brand new (back in the 1910's & 20's), nobody was concerned about certain Plots or Tropes. Instead, people were in awe of the new technology and saw it as an Opportunity for Creative Expression. A lot of Filmmakers went out of their way to be Visually Inspiring, like Metropolis. Sure, some of these films were Politically Incorrect by today's standards. But the Idea as a whole was to Inspire the Audience. And that is one part of History that most Film Majors seem to forget.
Anyways, because of the Expensive Quality of Early-Age Filmmaking, Hollywood (and different foreign entities like Hollywood) were the only ones who could play with the new technology. Because of this, Hollywood had the early edge when it comes to the Filmmaking style. So right from the get-go, this city was able to create a Tradition just by having the most money in a Capitalistic Society like the United States.
But of course, not all entities last. And the technology got cheaper over time. So why didn't Avant-Garde Film become more popular during this phase? Well, Hollywood started to rebrand itself during the 1930's, otherwise known as The Great Depression Years. While most people were struggling, Hollywood used its power to sell the people an "Escape From Reality" structure. In other words, Hollywood used their power to create "Awe-Struck Distractions" over "Visual Inspirations." And a culture of Worship into Celebrities & the City Itself was Born.
Unfortunately, they still have this type of Celebrity Worship Culture that no other Art-Form (outside of Popular Music) really has. For all of the changes that have happened in the city, it only had 2 chances where the Art took over the Scene. This was the 70's & the Early 90's. Star Wars killed the movement in the 70's; Independence Day killed it in the 90's. This might sound dire, but we have the ability to use this business tactic against them.
We live in an age where the obsession with fame & Hollywood Culture is so absurd that it's becoming cool to mock this mindset (instead of Celebrating it like most of the 20th Century has). And Hollywood (as a whole) has become so bland & forgettable, that they can't inspire anybody who isn't bought into their stupid system. So here is what we can do to gain recognition.
1. Stick Together & Promote One Another- Hollywood is infamous for being a selfish culture that doesn't care about helping out the little man. Let's not practice this mindset. Not only is it Morally Good (in my opinion) to promote one another, but it gives us a more Democratic System when it comes to supporting work. In Hollywood, it's a Pyramid System. The Executive Producer controls everything, while the people below collaborate with the Executive Producer. If we have a system where the Artists share & help each other out, it will look far more attractive to the general populous. And when Artists take over the medium, only other Artists will be allowed to make work (unlike today, where Artists have to fight against those who worship the system).
2. Go out of our way to get people excited- While it might seem otherwise, Modern-Day Films are very dull to the general populous. They just don't know the alternative. We can show it to as many people as possible, and here are a few venues that will support us. First & foremost, we must contact local Concert-Halls & hand them flyers. Next, bring it to Poetry & Theatre Joints. Next Art-Galleries, then try to talk to some local Restaurants. Continue to promote to as many places as possible until it gets recognized by everybody.
3. Never Copy One Another- It's one thing to be inspired, it's another to steal. Hollywood is notorious for just taking ideas from other films (and those films take ideas from one another & vice versa). Always offer something original, no matter how you feel otherwise.
4. Promote Yourself Online- This might sound like number 2, but the practice is different. Instead of trying to sell your art, try to sell yourself. Online Promotion is way more drenched in Personality than it is on Brand. So get yourself a platform to sell yourself. A great platform is this blog (shameless promotion, I know). But you can also be guests on Podcasts, show up in Youtube Videos, be a guest on other blogs, etc. Whatever you can do to promote yourself, do it.
5. Be Patient- The mindset isn't going to change overnight, but it will change. If we continue to support & show ourselves off, we will find an Audience. I can't guarantee it will be a Hollywood Sized Audience, but we will get one. But we must remember that we are the seeds that are slowly blossoming into a new revolution in media.
6. Laugh off Criticism from more Traditional Art-Forms- Obviously, we should listen to criticism from one another, but that isn't the issue. Just like I stated earlier in this article, we are going to get people who are Pridefully Ignorant or Angry that we are trying to change the pre-established landscape. Ignore them unless they have some good advice (which 85% of them don't). As an Experimental Screenwriter, I get closed-minded criticism all the time ("How can you write a script that doesn't focus on Story"). But the goal shouldn't be to conform but to find those who agree with your vision (which I've done).
I'll leave some other points open for other Articles, but hopefully that History Lesson can help us learn about Hollywoods mistakes. And these 6 Steps can give us a guide. It might be a Vague Guide, but we can always add to it later. I want some other opinions in the comments, but hopefully, Morgan is open to these answers.
UPDATE: I recently talked to Morgan & he wanted to add a few more points. Remember these are his Opinions, not mine (or anybody else I've talked to).
The First would be to focus on the Audience more. He doesn't want to focus on Audience in a Robotic Assembly-Line Fashion (Like Hollywood). But he wants us to remember that people are watching are movies. So we should put that into consideration. I say (Me not Morgan) we shouldn't conform to pre-established standards, but we should always put the Audience's Experience in our mind when making our Art.
The Second Would Be To Critique One Another. Not from the Traditional Arts (like I stated before) but we must be able to examine & offer up different outlooks on each-others work. I couldn't agree anymore. He said one of the greatest parts about being in a Film School (that accepts Experimental Work) is that you're able to hear different outlooks. Once you leave you're lost. If we continue to give each-other Feedback throughout our lifetimes, were able to really discuss what an Experimental Piece really stands for.
Now that we all have these thoughts in our heads, will we think about the future of this Art-Form? I sure hope so. But only time can tell.
I know this Article was a bit different, but I feel like Morgan enjoys this discussion more than a blanket promotion. He is a wonderful guy though, and he is
If you want to follow his work, follow both of his Vimeo Accounts (1 & 2). Also, Bookmark his website if you want to see his Audio Work. Unfortunately, Squarespace doesn't allow me to put those Audio Pieces on the blog itself. But it's certainly worth a listen.
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