THELONIOUS MONK ON HOW TO PLAY A GIG, PART 3

            It must be always night, otherwise they wouldn’t need the lights.

            Monk wasn’t talking about the time of day or the stage fixtures.  His reference concerned the shadows of emotion.  Somewhere within each of us lies a darkness.  People came out to hear his music because of the light he provided.  It softened their burdens and replenished them.  It was boundless and mysterious.  The same can be said for much of what cinematographers do.  Regardless of genre or form, when our work goes out to the world we have no idea how profoundly it might touch someone.  Thus,  it’s incumbent upon us to never lose respect for our creativity – and the potential it represents.

            Let’s lift the bandstand!!

            Show up ready!  Do your best!  Go deep!  Exceed yourself!  Transcend the mundane!

            I want to avoid the hecklers.

            It would be cliché to claim as our hecklers the suits and the bean counters, but that’s only because the declaration is true.  It also extends to anyone who brings negativity into your life.  Monk is right.  They should be avoided at all costs.

            Don’t play the piano part, I’m playing that.  Don’t listen to me – I’m supposed to be accompanying you!

“You fish on your side of the lake, I’ll fish on my side – and no one shall fish in the middle.”  People need the freedom engendered by decentralized command in order to do their best; to micro-manage is to put a slow death in motion.  This’s great advice for the cinematographer as department head: Let everyone bring their own special thing to the party and give them the space to use it.

8.31.2021

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