September 18, 2013

NFS Exclusive Premiere: Short Doc 'Side by Side' Shows the Magic of Creative Collaboration

Art is a funny thing. As a form of personal expression, art, in its many forms, can be tremendously powerful and provide a sense of catharsis unlike anything else. However, when groups of people come together and creatively collaborate, something overwhelmingly powerful happens: a piece of content much larger than the individuals involved is born and takes flight. The product becomes a reflection of not only a time and a place, but an expression of what it means to be a human in that time and place. With this in mind, No Film School is proud to exclusively premiere a brand new short documentary from our peeps at stillmotion and Marmoset called Side by Side that celebrates the process of creative collaboration.

First, here's a little bit of background on what Side by Side is all about:

In March 2013, co-founders Ryan Wines and Brian Hall invited a diverse group of artists from Marmoset's roster to take part in a spontaneous collaboration, challenging each band to cover the song of another. 12 bands, four days, and only one studio -- the result is an eclectic, yet cohesive menagerie of songs and sounds, representing a fresh slice of the Northwest indie music and the sense of community that ties it together. Artists include Radiation City, Lost Lander, Dolorean, Kye Kye, The Parson Red Heads, and others.

And here is Side by Side, premiering online for the first time on No Film School:

Although this doc is about musicians creatively collaborating, it has so much to offer from a filmmaking perspective. Narrative filmmaking is, by its very nature, a collaborative art, one that requires a multitude of departments and individuals in order for it to be done well. Individuals, by their very nature, come with a wholly unique perspective that is derived from a unique set of life experiences. This is something that should be embraced and celebrated in the filmmaking process. Sadly, it rarely is.

In the past 50 years or so, much of the world has embraced the notion of the auteur, the individual director whose sole creative vision is resultant in the films that we see. Perhaps there was a time when the auteur theory could be justified, but in the modern narrative filmmaking atmosphere, the idea of the auteur seems somewhat irresponsible due to the fact that it literally take a community of people, either large or small, to make a narrative film.

Hence the idea that filmmakers should truly embrace the idea of creative collaboration. Like the musicians in Side by Side, we should approach every project with an open mind, yet be diligent in conveying our ideas and beliefs. We should be willing to communicate and compromise, yet take pride in the notion that these compromises exist for the purpose of bettering the final product. It's through this process of creative collaboration that we can take our films to another level and make our art more reflective of the people who created it.

Be sure to listen to the full record of Side by Side on Marmoset's blog.

What did you guys think of Side by Side? How do you foster creative collaboration on your sets? Let us know in the comments!

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Your Comment

18 Comments

Nicely shot... but is it a parody?

It has the feel of a lot of these 'short' online docs, solid filmmaking but all very similar.

Similar quotes, similar laughing shots, similar facial hair, similar big glasses. It's like a group of jokesters got together and art directed a project about 'hipster north western musicians covering each others super serious songs that no one has ever heard of?'

And then of course Stillmotion is involved which just makes me anticipate a soft sales pitch for some LED light, production app or cage thingy.

September 18, 2013 at 3:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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enri

hahahahahaha you took the words out of my mouth! it's definitely made to be featured in vimeo staff picks

September 18, 2013 at 3:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets sick of Stillmotions hipster "same old, same old/quirky" BS....looks good, but try something new please! Same shallow DOF, over saturated stuff for years...

September 18, 2013 at 4:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Nongio

And it's filmed here in Portland...I should have known. Hipster bait for sure.

September 18, 2013 at 5:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Thom

Also is it just me or did they absolutely decide to make this look as milky (poor black levels) as possible? Sorry my DP-itis is kicking in.

September 18, 2013 at 6:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Thom

For the love of god will someone define Hipster for me coz for me they always seem to be making cool shit yet people seem to have this real bad hatred for them. I don't get it. What's wrong with them? Really I don't get it :P

Real nice doc though! Inspired me so much I'm going to my studio right now with a nice bottle of wine :)

September 20, 2013 at 6:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Kraig

I would have to agree with you on that one enri. Seeing alot of the same style/trend of shooting lately.

September 18, 2013 at 5:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I liked the look :)

September 20, 2013 at 6:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Kraig

I feel the same way about the style as the rest of you, but it's the content and what we can take from it that matters.

September 18, 2013 at 5:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4496

Let's be clear that's not a doc its a commercial. Who else is getting sick of the over use of slow motion?
I want to see at least some of this collaborative process and not just hear about it. Having said all that I did head on over and listen to the music and it's pretty good.

September 18, 2013 at 6:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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matt

I'm surprised I watched it all. It was mostly because I expected to see some part of the actual collaboration and partly because of the bad comments from above.

I'm also surprised I kept watching it, because after 2 minutes I realized I didn't care or was paying much attention of what they were saying...I didn't know what it actually was.

ABout the look. Well, the abundance of hipsters everywhere is overwhleming, but I didn't hated them. I am kind of sick of the shadow depth of field and the same look over and over. But it did look good. Maybe the DOF was unavoidable as they were shooting in low light studios, I don't know.

The slow motion was unbearable and made the whole thing very boring.

September 18, 2013 at 9:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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maghoxfr

*shallow

September 18, 2013 at 11:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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maghoxfr

so... uhm... it has nothing to do with the documentary feature hosted by Keanu Reeves that details the debate between film and digital in movie-making? I mean... that other one that is called Side by Side?

I was a bit dissapointed that I still can't see that one... http://sidebysidethemovie.com/

September 19, 2013 at 8:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Why are people being so negative? As a promo doc, it was stillmotion's job was to tell the story of some bands covering each others songs in an interesting way that makes you want to find out more about the music. They clearly did that very well. Just because something has been done before or you don't agree with the style doesn't mean it's worthless or boring. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel every video shoot. Tailor some specific aspects of the production to the subject when it calls for it, otherwise production companies should never put their drive to be creative or original above telling a client's story. Save that for your personal indie film experiments that 12 people will watch on vimeo.

September 19, 2013 at 10:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I am surprised by all this negative comments...cmon guys...this is a very nice piece of filmmaking, and the execution is lovely....slow mo, shallow dop, beautiful colors and a hipster vinatage look...I love it...and the music suits well the whole movie...congrats!

September 20, 2013 at 8:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Whrere's black metal band?

September 20, 2013 at 2:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Oleg

It's nicely put together, but...
I have no idea who anyone in the video was; who Marmoset are and why they initiated the project; what real benefits came from the process; what the process involved and how they organised it; or about any other aspect of it.

So it's not a documentary, it's a commercial. And a very vague, boring one where the viewer just keeps waiting for somebody to stop talking in broad strokes and get down to business.

September 22, 2013 at 9:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Alex

I feel like the comments in this article about Auteur storytelling not being relevant today and that "creative collaboration" is the way films should be made is a little skewed in its one-dimensional analysis of auteur filmmaking. Just about every film every made has been and is a collaboration, as mentioned. I don't think any of the auteurs would say that there films were all about their way, their vision, and their opinion, with no one else's input. The actors bring their opinion to their performances, whether the Director knows it, or likes it or not. The editor(s) bring their opinion by what they choose to include and not include. And so on and so on. While filmmakers at all levels on the cast & crew maybe want to be more vocal and less hierarchical in their filmmaking craft today, ultimately good films are helmed IMO, and as evidenced by the work out there in the world, by one director or maybe a pair of directors, in order to guide the team and keep them on task in the direction the ship is going. The idea of the auteur is not that the auteur is "God", and that everyone does what he or she says, but that he or she is the Conductor, helping bring everyone's performance together for a single piece of art. Without a Director leading, inspiring and guiding the team towards a vision, films devolve in to committee creations like so many blockbuster Hollywood studio fare that we see today, where Producers and Studio Executives "collaborate" with everyone.

September 26, 2013 at 1:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Brad