Name Video Project Challenge

For this project, I chose my mentor, Joe Chielli.

Joe was a classically trained pianist and a composer. He loved to play Chopin’s Nocturnes on his Steinway and would blast it in his car on his way to the photography studio. He always wore driving gloves and was very protective of his hands. Sometimes he would turn down shaking someone’s hand if they had too much of a strong grip.

He also loved sculptures around his home and valued the aesthetics of fine art… which is why I start the film with the sculpture of the woman. He always surrounded himself with women. He found most men to be too aggressive in nature and felt more comfortable around the female spirit. The blue tint is to calm you down and to emphasize the moodiness of the piece.

In the wintertime, he would go to Saint Croix in the Virgin Islands to escape Philly’s winter season. He loved the summertime and the beach. Obviously, this is why I slipped in the beach scenes. He had access to a Steinway in Saint Croix and would play his classical music, swim in the ocean, and meditate.

The angel in the end symbolizes his death – he passed away February 5, 2017. As I write this now, that was nearly two years ago. I hung angels for him before he died. He wanted to be surrounded by them.

I want to thank his wonderfully talented piano teacher Marja Kaisla for allowing me to film her playing “Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9, No. 2” in her home in Chestnut Hill. I only had an hour window to film her and the challenge was real. I must say this was the first time I filmed a composer and there are many obstacles to keep in mind. For example, the strongest hand was her right. On this piece, that’s the one that does all the work. And to film the inside of the piano, it must be in sync with the hands that play. I had only one camera to work with, so I learned my lesson. I honestly believe that the next time I do something like this I should get hold of no less than three cameras… one to place inside the instrument, another above to show the hands and the inside of the piano, and another onto the side. All of which should be recorded at the same time in order to sync it all in real time. Otherwise, in the editing room you are faced with hours on end to match it all. So to save time the next round, I know just what to do.

I am very honest about things. I have nothing to hide. In order to do well in life, you must try and accept a little failure. Only then do you learn and get better over time.

Thank you for watching.