shootonline.com (04/2004), Matt and Kyle's Destiny Unites Rock N' Roll Legends
www.shootonline.com, April 2004
Matt And Kyle's Destiny Unites Rock N' Roll Legends
Directors Document Creation Of Fleetwood Mac Album Say You Will
By Emily Vines
LOS ANGELES - While visiting his hometown of Detroit in September 2001, director Matt Baumann received a call from his directing partner Kyle Einhorn that would change the next two-and-a-half years of his life. As Baumann recalled, "[Kyle] said, 'Guess what, you've got to change your plans. We start shooting on Monday at 10 a.m.—we got that Fleetwood Mac job.' "
Several days earlier, Baumann and Einhorn, who direct as the team of Matt and Kyle, met band member Lindsey Buckingham when mutual acquaintance Stephen J. Ross, who is now executive producer of House of Usher Films, Santa Monica, assembled the three men to talk about documenting the band's creation of their latest album, Say You Will.
This was not meant to be a nostalgic piece, Ross explained to the directors. He and Buckingham envisioned it as a contemporary look at the band today. Ross said he thought of Matt and Kyle in part because of their youth—both were in their late 20s at the time. He also picked them based on their characters. "I just knew it was an extremely sensitive situation—the relationships within the band," Ross said, "so I really needed to propose people that in my heart of hearts I knew would a) listen to the band's concerns and requests and b) be sensitive to them, because if they weren't sensitive to them they were going to be out the door."
When Matt and Kyle signed on, they, along with Ross, became producers on Fleetwood Mac: Destiny Rules, through Candlewood Films, Los Angeles. It is the first longform project for the directors. Prior to this assignment, they shot commercials from '98 to '01 through now defunct Barking Weasel. Their reel includes spots for the Dallas Stars hockey team, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and Circus-Circus Hotel and Casino. They are currently in postproduction on a couple of spots for Laughlin Visitor's Bureau in Nevada out of R & R Partners, Las Vegas, via AirWave Productions, Las Vegas.
When the directing team asked Buckingham if the project should take the form of a television show, movie or clips for the CD, the musician told them they could make that decision. However, all agreed that they wanted to approach the piece as cinéma verité.
Although Matt and Kyle had never shot a documentary, they decided to just feel it out. "We didn't model it against anybody's other work," Baumann said. "We wanted it to be what we wanted it to be—it was all instinct."
During the inaugural week of shooting, the film crew was the largest it would be throughout the project; it included a DP, gaffers and camera operators. "The first thing we learned was the less people you have in the recording room, the better," Einhorn shared. "We realized the only way that we could get it done was if there were three people in the room." Those three people were Einhorn, Baumann and a person handling the sound. Occasionally, there was a camera operator.
Midway through shooting the project, the directors discovered that the footage was clearly worthy of a longform piece. However VH1, which debuted the documentary without commercial breaks on March 14, did not get involved in the project until several months before it aired. The directors said that the band—which is comprised of Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood (minus original member Christine McVie who did not want to participate)—wanted to view the finished work before anyone else saw it.
In addition to the footage of the band working in a rented Bel Air home's recording studio, Matt and Kyle interviewed the bandmates individually. Based on the events they caught, the directors identified storylines, like Nicks and Buckingham disagreeing on a mixer for the album, and asked questions that would explore these themes.
However, those did not turn out to be the only intimate moments in the film. "There were a couple of times when I was in there … and some argument would come up and you could cut the tension with a knife," Baumann remembered. "[We tried] to be as professional as possible, but also wanted so desperately to get the shot and get that scene on. It was a real battle between 'keep filming, keep filming' and 'exercise some tact and walk out because this is not necessarily the right time to be filming.' "
Although the production crew had headquarters in the pool house and free reign in the main house, Einhorn said that he and Baumann mainly focused on the band and the album they were creating, and tried to stay out of the musicians' way when they weren't working. But Einhorn laughingly confessed that they did watch the drama captured on the hidden cameras.
IN THE END
With several cameras filming on and off for a year and a half, Bauman said that the biggest challenge was staying on top of the footage. Editor Charlie Sange, who cut the footage out of Playground, Santa Monica, (formerly Harley's House) was involved with the project from the start. Sange would synch the footage from various cameras and assemble tapes, the helmers explained. "[We would] see a tape that had anywhere from two to five or seven different window burns of what was going on so that for cutting, it was really easy to say, 'All right, [we like] one, three, five.' It was almost like cutting a live show," Einhorn noted.
According to Einhorn, sound and lighting were the largest production problems. Since the musicians didn't want to wear microphones, Matt and Kyle relied on the sound person holding a boom and used the camera microphone for backup. As for lighting, some lights were positioned in the room, but did not move around with the musicians. "We kind of accepted that sometimes it was going to look pretty bad and sometimes it was going to sound pretty bad. We tried to embrace that," Einhorn said.
With the bands' passion for making music and the filmmakers' passion for capturing it, Baumann related, "It was two sides of a creative coin going on together, and we bonded together because of that. Lindsey put it as, 'You guys are as much a part of what's going on in this house as the band.' "
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