Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


Raymond Vineyards, St Helena, California, USA

May 9, 2012

This essay, Fearless, is the fourth in an ongoing collection with embedded Music Videos:

The internet is a forgiving medium. Music videos aren't. Here's what I mean by "music videos aren't". Here's what I mean by this.

As the writer of this internet series of Conversations For Transformation, I'm not constrained by any particular expression I make. It's more than that actually. It's I'm not even constrained by any particular version  of any particular expression I make. To be sure, I don't announce any new essay until I can live with it out there, open to the world, unprotected. But even so, the genre  of my writing is what I call "glass walled studio":  I post each version of each essay (in fact, each piece of each version of each essay), to the internet as soon as it's written, even if the entire piece isn't yet complete or not yet what I deem "perfect"  (I call this approach "glass walled studio" because you can see what I create as I create it). Then I'll read each piece of each essay over and over and over  again, sometimes as many as a hundred times or more, until I can read through it from beginning to end without one single interruption, without anything  calling me to change it. Only then is it complete for me. Once that point is reached, I may never read it again.

This is what I mean when I say the internet is a forgiving medium. This is what I mean by the forgiveness  of the internet. I'm not constrained by this medium to deem any particular version of Conversations For Transformation to be the final  version. If I see something which needs to be changed, I can change it - at any time, from now into perpetuity. In this way, Conversations For Transformation on the internet exist in a soft, malleable medium.

with Alexandra - Twelve Thirty (The Mamas and The Papas)
Not so with music videos. Once a version of a music videos. is produced, it's a complex undertaking to make even simple corrections. It isn't easy to change just one section. It isn't easy to change just one expression. The thing is what it is, whatever it is, once it's out there. Without its medium being soft and malleable, I get to live with it - regardless of the form it's in.

That's why with the making of a music video (unlike with the writing of an essay), I'm conscious of so much more in advance  which won't be easy to change after the fact: profiles, lighting, backdrop, sound quality, camera angle, volume (both control and direction), and more. In fact, there's so much going on with the making of a music video that there's a very real risk all the concern  for getting it right  can and will overshadow the simple joy of playing and enjoying the music in the moment.

What I've learned about Life  from making this series of music videos with my daughter Alexandra is a lot  of it is in the preparation - actually, there's no excuse  for not being prepared. But once the venture is under way, once the record  button is pushed, once the first piano cord signals the start of the song, then it's time to go full tilt, flat out, full on, balls to the wall  (so to speak).

In the end, it's not the profiles - although they're important. It's not the lighting - although that's important. It's not the backdrop - although that's important. It's not the sound quality - although that's important. It's not the camera angle - although that's important. It's not the volume - although that's important. Nor is it the harmony or the melody or the accuracy of the phrasing - although they're important too. And it's not even the quality of my voice, such as I can muster it to powerfully go for  and hit those high notes which The Mamas and The Papas  hit with ease and aplomb - although it's also important. No, it's none of the above. So what is  it, then?

This is what it is: it's Alexandra and I making music together. That's all it is. Plain and simple. Not the profiles. Not the lighting. Not the backdrop. Not the sound quality. Not the camera angle. Not the volume. Not the harmony. Not the melody. Not the accuracy of the phrasing. Not the quality of my voice. What it is, is the thing in itself:  Alexandra and I making music together ... and the "thing in itself" is always  complete, flawless, faultless, beyond needing any correction.

If a picture speaks a thousand words, then a video speaks a million words, and a music video speaks a billion words. Music, in and of itself, is awesome. To be fearless  playing it with my darling Alexandra without holding back until all aspects of it are "perfect", is one of Life's sublime, worthwhile pleasures.

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