the reason I make movies

SCHERMANN SONG: In The Studio

While prepping to talk about my films in Belgrade, I came across this never-been-released "behind the scenes" featurette covering our first recording day for all the beautiful songs in How Do You Write A Joe Schermann Song. It's a really exciting peek into how the performers Christina Rose - Actress and Debbie Williams brought Joe Schermann's music to life with their talents. If anything, just watch it for the great music they created.

You can check out the film at WatchJSS.com and on VIMEO ON DEMAND

The Films My Dad Showed Me

I've been dreading writing, and more importantly, posting this. Because when I do, and if you're reading this now, my father, Francis King, has passed away.

One of the biggest influences he had on my life was introducing me to the films that he and my mom loved. When they were dating in Taiwan, they went to the movies a lot. And they saw a ton of American films.

I somehow think their love of going to the movies rubbed off on me and my love for cinema.

I want to share with you now the films my parents showed me -- and how I love them so much. Both my parents and the films.

REAR WINDOW (1954) - quite possibly THE FIRST Hitchcock film I ever saw. Still one of my all-time favorites to this day. As a kid, I experienced so much genuine terror and delight with its unique storyline and visual style. Watching it now, it still holds up and is an example of a master at work. It's a perfect film.

SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) - As a kid, I never realized how "adult" the humor was in the film. I just enjoyed the slapstick and screwball antics. It was only until later did I come to appreciate its daring, bawdy, sexy side. The performances and directing are a true delight. The dialogue is a dream. This one gets better with every viewing.

NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) - Action. Suspense. Romance. Great score. Cary Grant. What else could you ask for?

THE MUSIC MAN (1962) - I love the songs. They're ingrained in my head. I probably saw this film at least once a week. I had a mad crush on Shirley Jones. "Marian the Librarian" is simply one of my favorite numbers I've ever seen (I couldn't find an online clip of the entire number or else I would've posted it). But this is also a great clip showing how much complexity there actually is to the songs.

THE GREAT ESCAPE (1963) - an epic adventure with an all-star cast. This was another film I probably watched at least once a month. Every time a favorite character of mine had an upcoming death scene, I secretly wished that for once -- just this time -- that they'd get away. And this was the film that introduced me to Steve McQueen. Enough said.

MY FAIR LADY (1964)  - another musical where I still think of the songs to this day. My dad used to hum the tunes all the time. That's probably one of my best memories. And I definitely had a crush on Eliza Doolittle.

WAIT UNTIL DARK (1967) - this is the film (along with REAR WINDOW) that made me love the "single location thriller". I realized a good story didn't need tons of locations. And it's another film starring Audrey Hepburn. I think my parents must've loved her (who didn't?).

Spoilers in the clip below.

 

 

 

 

 

'Schermann Song' in William Martell's 'Act Two Secrets' book

I'm an avid reader of screenwriter William Martell's BLUE BOOK SERIES on screenwriting. So color me shocked and totally humbled that today I discovered he included a section on HOW DO YOU WRITE A JOE SCHERMANN SONG in his book ACT 2 SECRETS. He uses the film to give examples of how to create conflict with characters, escalate dilemmas and move the story forward through song. Martell even admits to crying twice while watching the film.

He writes:

'Joe Schermann Song' has a classic love triangle story with great songs and all the gritty real bits left out in Hollywood films. At times the film seems like Woody Allen's ANNIE HALL in the way it looks at relationships in a very real (and complicated way). The film manages to be both a big fun musical and an Indie film where things don't always end happily ever after - which is what makes it a stand out.

And he says this about the song number 'Moth To The Flame':

These dilemmas are often explored through song and dance - like the great audition number where both Evey and Summer sing the same song and we cut between them...and they even manage to do a great split screen duet! They end up singing on either side of Joe as he accompanies them on the piano in the audition room. This is a great musical number that dramatizes Joe's dilemma - and takes the audience inside the character so that *we* wonder which he will choose...and either way he's screwed.

So honored. Thanks Bill.

This is a show stopper thanks to the amazing live performances (no lip syncing going on) of Christina Rose and Debbie Williams and Joe Schermann's fierce piano playing.

Oh and people ask me how I did the transition the shot from Christina to Debbie and back again in the opening minutes (when the camera tracks behind the judge's head - see video around 00:26). It was an extremely difficult in-camera trick that I did manually with my slider. Without any motion control device I was just estimating where the camera framing would end up on what vocal...and I only got it right twice. Out of at least 12 takes, the shots in the film are the only ones where I nailed the timing.

You can view all the rest of the musical songs by clicking over to my VIMEO page.