I’ve never set out to make something award winning. It’s something I’ve heard other producers talk about – as the initial intent of a project – to become award winning. But it’s never something that has driven me to make content, or even something I ever really think about – aside from that one fleeting day dream during that particularly great shot. As a producer, I am about story. Be it the story we’re telling, or the story of the person doing the telling. So it just so happens that this time, the fates collided.
On that morning back in November, I can’t say that I knew I had stepped onto a set of something award winning (read about my overwhelming sense of awe here). I did know, without a doubt, that I had stepped into an incredible story. And I suppose the thing about a good story, is it keeps being a good story even after it’s initial telling. A great story, tells itself repeatedly – taking different forms in each retelling.
Invisible Cities began as a collection of stories published by Italo Calvino in 1972. So at the beginning of this particular tale, 42 years ago, a man wrote in what I suspect was some impressive Italian about my feelings in present day. Maybe Calvino was slightly clairvoyant or maybe his stories were just his own exploration of the human spirit (read a great observation on Calvino’s work here). Whatever the intent of the writer, as I read the beginning of the source material for one of my most unique experiences in recent history I was struck with how instantly I related.
But the special quality of this city for the (wo)man who arrives there on a September evening, when the days are growing shorter and the multicolored lamps are lighted all at once at the doors of the food stalls and from a terrace a woman’s voice cries ooh!, is that (s)he feels envy toward those who now believe they have once before lived an evening identical to this and who think they were happy, that time.
– Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities: Cities and Memories 1. (pg. 7)
Maybe it wasn’t September, but July. And possibly, I was experiencing a moment in not just one city but in two (In 1972, globalization might have not been as tangible as it is in 2014) – in San Diego and North Hollywood. And maybe the days have yet to grow shorter, but remain stubbornly and delightfully long. But I was surrounded by multicolored lamps – or better yet unabashed fanfare – outside of every establishment and with every step I could hear some variation of excited cries. Because in this moment, according to my own experiences – it seemed these words were about Downtown San Diego during Comic Con.
On July 26th, or really in the first hour of July 27th, settling in with just the glow of my charging phone and ignoring a building exhaustion, I decided to check in with the world outside of the 8 block radius of the Gas Lamp district. It was in this witching hour that I discovered that in North Hollywood just mere hours before the Artbound Episode of Invisible Cities: An Opera for Headphones had won the Los Angeles Area Emmy for Best Entertainment Programming.
We at ReKon Productions were now part of an Emmy Award winning production team. We won a Los Angeles Area Emmy.
Now it being the 66th Annual Los Angeles Area Emmys, I know logically that others have won Emmys before and others will win Emmys again. But on that night, in that moment, no matter how many lived this experience before and after (in however many variations of it might exist) – none could feel my happiness again.
Maybe this is not what Calvino meant in the passage that struck me. But that’s the power of a good story, it tells itself to each person it meets.
Invisible Cities: An Opera for Headphones was an unconventional and powerful story as a live performance. When given the opportunity to capture the performance for a documentary piece, our director/ producer Joris Debeji strove to mirror the unique movement and fluidity of the piece for television audiences. I was awestruck by performance and production from the moment I set foot on set. It is a happy moment to have the passion and creativity of this project be awarded such an honor.
Congratulations to all who have had a part in telling this story.