Small Star Seminar / Production Instructions

SMALL STAR SEMINAR

My name is Cory McAbee. I am the writer & director of the Small Star Seminar and creator of Captain Ahab’s Motorcycle Club. CAMC is a global art collaborative that I began in 2012. Participation equals membership. If you are reading this you are participating. Welcome to the club!

Small Star Seminar is a crowd-generated road-film, concert-film, documentary and narrative. I designed this project as an opportunity for us to work together to create a crowd-generated feature film like no other. I hope you will enjoy being a part of this project.

Thank you.

APPROACH

I will travel across the US and through select countries as a singing representative of the Small Star Corporation, a company that urges people to give up their goals, stop reaching for the stars and start looking for the stars within their own minds. I will sing optimistic songs about quitting, accepting one’s own limitations, and the power of sitting quietly. As an encore I will introduce the concept of Deep Astronomy and answer questions from the audience.

Stage performances will be used for a portion of the film. Much of the film will be created from footage taken of peripheral events leading up to and following the performance.

Honesty is a key tool. We will be creating this film as a documentary. All events must be real.

One activity that will be a strong element in our film is street promotions. We are designing tri-fold brochures for participants to hand out in public places. This is a good opportunity for people who would like to be in front of the camera. I ask participants in this activity to become acquainted with the material. Listen to the album, Small Star Seminar. Consider the ideas and develop honest opinions that you can share with the public in a spontaneous fashion.

The hanging of posters, flyers, or any street-art should also be documented. If your activity is graffiti, unauthorized postering or any other forbidden display of self-expression and you would like your identity concealed, take precautions while filming and/or make a note of it when you deliver the material.

Willing participants should give their consent on camera to the person filming. Any unwilling participants will be masked in post-production.

The end goal is to produce a unique and entertaining film that is unlike any other while creating an enjoyable experience for our participants. I hope that friendships and working relationships will develop as a result, and that everyone will be proud to have been involved in this project, both artistically and for the purpose of creating art to benefit humanitarian and environmental causes. When the film is complete it will be distributed as an independent feature. Revenue generated through film sales, after reimbursing production expenses and paying taxes, will be donated to charity.

PRODUCTION

SCHEDULING EVENTS:

  • We will reach out to you with a projected schedule. If you have any proposals, suggestions or requests please contact us at smallstarcorp@gmail.com.

COMMUNITY:

  • I will be requesting permission to share your email information with other participants in your area. Photographers, cinematographers and recording engineers should be invited to document activities. Artists in all fields should be invited to contribute. An open chain of communication is important.

CREATING THE EVENT:

  • For booking instructions see BOOKING LIVE SHOWS on page 5 under FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY.
  • Submit the event information to the local press for calendar listings.
  • A press 1-sheet and photo are included in this package. More press images are available online. Phone interviews can be scheduled.
  • Report all developments and event info to smallstarcorp@gmail.com. Document the above activities.

ENVIRONMENT & PROMOTIONS

While building awareness for an event we can create a mystique that will motivate responses from unsuspecting extras, while creating content and building a visual environment for the film.

  • Invite actors, artists, and friends seeking an interesting experience to hand out tri-fold brochures in public places. Ask them to familiarize themselves with the recorded material so that they may respond candidly to passers-by.

Actors: (directions)

  • Actors, please embrace the music, ideas and events as a matter of personal interest.
  • You have recently discovered the Small Star Seminar and within it have found something that you’ve been looking for. You want to share it. This is the first time you have attended a performance or seminar. You hope to enjoy yourself. Participate in the Q&A if you feel comfortable doing so and stick around after to say hi.
  • Do not come to this project as a character. You will be playing yourself.

Press:

  • Newspaper reviews and listings that include images can be featured as props, as well as promote the show. A 1-sheet for press is included in this package.
  • If you have connections at radio stations encourage them to air tracks from the record and/or mention the event in their calendar listings. If you can record this it could be useful in our film. If you can film a DJ speaking about the music or an event, this would also apply.

Graphics:

  • A graphics collection is available online. New designs are currently being created by members. High-rez files will be posted when available.
  • We encourage designers, printers and graphic artists to create their own posters, brochures and advertisements for local events while including a small collection of standard designs for continuity purposes.
  • Send your illustrations and designs, along with your name and location to smallstarcorp@gmail.com for inclusion on our websites and to be shared on our social media pages. Artists will be credited.

MUSIC:

  • The Small Star Seminar collection was written and recorded specifically for live performances. The “Seminars” will be performed to these recordings.
  • Crowd generated instrumental pieces will be featured throughout the film between the performance segments. Requests for this material will be made during post-production.
  • Do not use samples from copyrighted material.

CINEMATOGRAPHY (directions)

  • Whenever possible backlight non-participants or frame them in a manner that is sensitive to their privacy. Silhouetted figures and unidentifiable passers-bye will be used to create our environment.
  • Feature our participants.
  • Aspect ratio = 1920 X 1080
  • Color images.
  • Preferred frame rate 23.976, Progressive (film), 24 frames per sec.
  • Try to keep shots stable for at least 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Capture details of the surroundings, including animals, plants and architecture.
  • Feature graphics created for our project.
  • Photograph crowd scenes where the masses are silhouetted or obscured.
  • All material generated from this tour will be considered the property of this production. Do not release footage or recordings online. Releasing segments would damage the possibility of distribution and harm our chances of getting into festivals.

AUDIO:

Wild Recording.

  • For on-the-street gorilla recordings they now make lapel mikes for iPhones. I suggest the Rode Microphones smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone for Smartphones. Cheaper versions and devices are also available.
  • When recording on multiple devises you can create a “common slate” by standing near each other, saying the date and time, then one person claps their hands.
  • ROOM MIKES. If you’re looking for a good self-contained recording device I recommend the ZOOM H2next Handy Recorder. It’s great for recording conversations and ambient sounds. I recorded the album Small Star Seminar on it in my apartment.
  • Record conversations before and after the show.
  • Capture at least 90 seconds of wild sounds / room tone / ambience at each location.
  • Avoid recording in areas where other people’s music can be heard.

Recording a live performance.

  • Make arrangements to record direct from the soundboard. Some soundboards have their own recording equipment. You can often attach a recording device to the board.
  • Set up room-mikes to capture the audience.
  • If a house sound engineer helps you record the event or records the event for you be sure to get the recordings from them before they leave unannounced.

STILL PHOTOGRAHERS:

  • Post and share still images online.
  • Tag people and places on social media to help us reach a wider audience.
  • Send us your photos at smallstarcorp@gmail.com for inclusion on our website, social media pages and for possible inclusion in our Electronic Press Kit for potential use in future reviews and articles.
  • Send a note that includes your name, location of photos and your hometown. (City, state, country)
  • Attach your name to the Jpeg.
  • Photos with Watermarks will not be accepted.

EDITING

  • Footage may be altered, shortened or forfeited for the benefit of telling this story.
  • Do not edit, alter or color correct the footage. Providing raw material allows us freedom to create a unified look during post-production.
  • I will edit the film in New York.
  • I will be asking many of you to help with After Effects.

DELIVERABLES

  • I will travel with a hard drive. We can transfer raw audio and footage onto my hard drive after the event.
  • Material created during or after my departure can be sent to me at our Dropbox account. Contact us for info at smallstarcorp@gmail.com.
  • For efficiency purposes it would be helpful if one person at each location could adopt the position of Media Manager. This is someone who can gather, catalogue and prepare the materials, (footage & audio) to be transferred or sent.

CREDITS:

  • I am writer, director, and one of the producers of this project.
  • A small group of people who are working closely with me as producers will receive producer credits.
  • The Smallest Star & Captain Ahab’s Motorcycle Club will be credited as production companies.
  • Make a list of all contributors and collaborators. Include every person responsible for arranging, filming and recording the event in your area.
  • Please use basic descriptive titles to credit each person’s contribution. Avoid ambiguous or complimentary titles. The goal is to keep the end credit crawl under 3 minutes while honoring everyone’s efforts.
  • A list of titles is available in this package.

FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY

For this project to sustain itself I will need to support myself and the film as a working musician and speaker. When the production has ended I am hoping to have earned enough money to cover the costs from post-production through to the end of a release campaign. Below are requirements and options that will subsidize the production.

BOOKING LIVE SHOWS:

  • So that we can make sure everything is well-coordinated, please communicate with us before approaching a venue. In some cases I’ll book shows directly, with your help, and in some cases I’ll ask you to book them.
  • The show you are booking is called Cory McAbee/Small Star Seminar. The name of the artist is Cory McAbee. It’s okay if a venue wants to promote a show using only the name of the artist.
  • Book a performance as a musical performance and not as a “film shoot.” If you tell booking agents that you are making a film they may try to charge a rental fee for their space. Most venues do not welcome film crews.
  • Negotiate a fair price based on the venue or event. It’s okay to ask a booking agent what they think is fair. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised. Pass-the-hat venues can work in areas where no other venues are available, but they should not be our first choice unless there are exceptional reasons.
  • In select venues I will be performing with digital projections of the songs lyrics. The text presentation is in sync with the audio. The presentation can be adapted to other languages.
  • The projections and music will be played from a Mac computer located on stage.
  • Performance spaces can include movie theaters with digital projection and good PA systems, nightclubs with or without projection options, film festivals, music festivals, bars, performance theaters, etc.
  • Medium to small size venues are preferred. Large venues are hard to fill and can look empty on film, but we can work with that, too.
  • Interested parties can visit http://corymcabee.net for music samples, videos and info.
  • The set is approx. 60 minutes, plus an encore. This can be altered to fit the needs of the venue.

LECTURES:

  • Lectures will not be featured in the film, but they are a good way to subsidize a tour. I have given lectures, panel discussions and PowerPoint presentations on Captain Ahab’s Motorcycle Club at universities, conferences and festivals throughout the world as a way to finance the CAMC music tours and to generate interest in our project.
  • Attached is a 1-sheet for lectures and masters classes. Please forward to interested parties.

MERCHANDISE:

  • Record sales are the life-blood of any musical tour. I am hoping to subsidize this project in part by generating sales online. I encourage everyone to promote the record and to share the music with friends. Awareness of this material will help create the environment within the film.
  • Small Star Seminar (album) can be found at corymcabee.net, bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.

PATREON:

  • In June 2015 I raised money to fund the beginning stages of our project through a Kickstarter campaign. Continued support is being raised at http://patreon.com/smalleststar.
  • The Patreon page will be used as a tool for sharing PDF files and images. You do not need to be a member or financial supporter to download materials from this page.

HOSTS

FOOD:

  • I love a good breakfast, and I drink coffee.
  • I am unable to eat abalone or scallops and I try to avoid garlic while traveling.
  • I don’t eat before performances.
  • On my rider I ask for steamed rice, bottled or filtered water, herbal tea and an orange back stage.
  • After the show I usually enjoy eating.

LODGING:

  • If you are connected to a hotel or B&B, that would be ideal.
  • I enjoy staying with people, provided there is a private place to sleep and I am not an inconvenience.
  • I usually get up early.
  • Living arrangements and private meals will not be filmed or recorded.

TRANSPORTATION:

  • I have never driven a car. I will be relying of friends, supporters and collaborators to get me from point A to point B.
  • Please contact us if you are available.
  • We won’t be recording conversations during car rides, but we will be gathering travel footage.
  • We will want to document arrivals and departures.
  • When necessary I will fly or take buses. At those times I will need someone to collect me from the terminal or provide instructions for public transportation.
  • Dog and cigarette odors are not a problem, but perfume can make me carsick.

LEGAL:

  • Participation equals consent. Everyone who submits material or participates in this film project must know in advance that this is Not For Profit. Everyone is volunteering their services. The final product will not resemble anyone’s expectations, so there is no room for disappointment.
  • Release forms and consent notices will be available soon.

COMMUNICATION:

The Smallest Star is on Mixlr


For updates and information subscribe to The Smallest Star / RABBIT / Captain Ahab’s Motorcycle Club email list:




More soon!
Cory McAbee