I would like to make a documentary about the different music that is present within Irelands pubs stretching from Dublin to Galway, dealing with influence of traditional Irish music and the influence of folklore.
This trip would be about 4 and a half weeks in this beautiful country to not only explore music, but also get beautiful B-roll of castles and landscapes that are nearby the pubs we are visiting.
Research and Pre-Production
Once I had established the overall goal that I wanted to accomplish with this documentary, I needed to ask a few questions. What else is out there in the world of Irish Ethnomusicology that I could add too? If I can’t find a specific subject to add too, What can I research to give me a deeper understanding of the Irish culture? Where do I go to find this information?
I was lucky enough to find a great wealth of information through The International Council for Traditional Music (Founded in 1947) website.
“The International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) is a UNESCO NGO (non governmental organisation), and is one of the largest and most international, organisations for the study of traditional music and dance in culture. Its aims are “to further the study, practice, documentation, preservation and dissemination of traditional music, including folk, popular, classical and urban music, and dance of all countries.” (ictm.ie)
This resource not only provides a list of opportunities of formal education in Ethnomusicology and Ethnochoreology but also contributes a vast array of organized and professional fieldwork. This field work consists of a compact disc with various examples of traditional irish music among other things and several updated scholarly journal entries.
One of these scholarly journal entries that I found particular informative was that of Jessica Cawley. Ms. Cawley presented a journal entitled “Musical Development in Irish Traditional Music: An Exploration Of Family Influences” (ictm.ie). This was a great starting point to further understand my overall goal, which is finding the heart of Irish Music and sharing it through the medium of film.
“I used an open-ended, informal interview method, which allowed the musicians to freely discuss the learning experiences that they felt were the most influential. Many of my questions were broad in nature. The first question, for instance, was: ‘Throughout your life, what do you consider the greatest influences to your musicianship?’ Answers to this primary question were diverse, and the interviewee’s narratives revealed numerous experiences engaging with friends, family, teachers, commercial recordings, ensembles (céilí, marching bands and other groups), traditional music sessions, festivals, and classes. In response to the first question, eight musicians explicitly and directly listed their families as a major influence on their musical development. Over the course of the entire interview, a further ten musicians stated their families played an influential role in their development…” (Cawley, pg. 2)
My crew and I would like to take a similar approach to this open ended format in which we let the interviewee talk freely about their influences of family, environment and folklore in their music. We believe the information that we gain from these filmed interviews will be of great significance to the world of Ethnomusicology.
Pubs on the Itinerary
My crew and I will travel through 4 different pubs in Ireland. Initially, we will have four pubs on our list to visit. However, we will be on the lookout for pubs on our way to the next destination or try and visit pubs that have been recommended by word of mouth while in the country.
1. The Stags Head (Dublin, Ireland)
“The Stags Head is the backbone of Dublin’s Temple Bar neighborhood. The 19th-century spacious room has a long mahogany bar ideal for large parties. Despite the pub’s size, whiskey casks in the walls and a Renaissance-style wood ceiling give the bar a cozy feel. It has also been a popular drinking place for famous people past and present including James Joyce, Quentin Tarantino and Irish political leader Michael Collins. The Stags Head has live traditional music every night in its music venue (called the Stag’s Tail) below the main bar. And if you want a more intimate setting, book the old Victorian smoking lounge tucked behind the main bar.”(Travel Channel)
2. Clancy’s, Athy (Kildare)
“Clancy’s is considered one of the great music pubs of eastern Ireland. Every Thursday night, somewhere between 12 and 15 musicians now congregate here. They play fiddles, bodhráns, flutes and mandolins, and sing songs about long-gone tyrants, rising moons and rose-peppered valleys. The tobacco-stained walls are pasted with scores from songbooks, classical and traditional. The audience sways upon scruffy benches and assorted chairs, tapping their heels on the wide-plank floor and allowing their voices to join in with the repetition of each rousing chorus.” (The Guardian)
3. Gus O’Connors (Doolin, Ireland (Clare))
“…one of the most famous pubs in Ireland. The pub is located in the heart of the picturesque village of Doolin, set amongst the rolling hills of West Clare, a stones throw from the Atlantic Ocean.”(gusoconnorsdoolin.com)
4. The Crane (Galway)
“The Crane Bar on Sea Road is one of Galway’s best known traditional music pubs. It has long been a haunt of those who love to play and those who love to listen to them.
Situated in the ‘Small Crane’ Square, The Crane Bar offers music nightly both upstairs and down.” (Thecranebar.com)
Time in the Emerald Isle
We will plan to spend one week in each location, however, if we capture what we need then we will move on. We will have three days for shooting at various times in order to capture the feeling and the culture of each pub location. We will be getting talking heads from the pub staff (Owner, manager, floor staff) and the musicians. My crew will not only capture interviews of these people but also capture the live performance of the musicians.
It is still undecided among the crew about what the compensation should be for the musicians music that we capture and/or the bars that we film in. Obvious compensation will include full credits on the final project of the documentary, market promotion opportunities and most likely some sort of financial contribution that is currently undetermined. The musicians will get a copy of their performances once the film has been made and they will have joint copyright to the footage.
This adventure will take 6 total people including myself. The crew is as follows:
1. Director/Producer – Rebecca Noles/Nathanael Sams
2. Sound Operator – Nathanael Sams
3. DP/Camera Operator – Ethan Borden
4. Production Designer – Alisha Noles
5. Production Assistant – David J. Rodriguez
6. Media Manager (In charge of Dailies, Footage Management, Hard Drives ect.) – Josh Luna
Since this is a documentary, We need high quality equipment, this includes camera gear and audio gear. I’ve selected very portable items for the crew to carry around when in the country.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR – $ 3,300 (Already Purchased)
Lenses: Zeis Prime (Rentals) – $1,500
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera – $1,000
4 Go Pros – $400×4
Aerial Drone – $150
Great for aerial shots of the surrounding country
Fostex FM-4 4-In/2-Out Portable Field Mixer – $2,800
Lots of flexibility
Rode NT4 – $650
Rode NTG-3 – $699
Adverse Weather Conditions
Bose QC15 – 2 Pair – $600
Great headphones to isolate incoming audio (1 Sound Operator/1 Director)
Pelican Cases for gear – around $1,000
Protection for all of our gear.
SD Cards, Hard Drives, Batteries, Cables – $1,000
Instrumentation We Expect To See
“Disassembled for storage, the uilleann pipes consist of the bag, the bellows and strap, a chanter pipe, three drone pipes, and—in full sets—an additional three pipes fitted with a series of large metal keys. These additional pipes, called “regulators,” allow the player to produce the chords that are the uilleann pipes’ most distinctive feature.” (Miller, Shahriari pg. 310)
“A concertina is a free-reed musical instrument, like the various accordions and the harmonica. More distantly related, but still in the same family, are the harmonium and American reed organ (a/k/a pump organ or parlor, It has a bellows, and buttons typically on both ends of it. When pressed, the buttons travel in the same direction as the bellows, unlike accordion buttons, which travel perpendicularly to the bellows.” (Wikipedia)
“One of the most important instruments in the traditional repertoire, the fiddle (or violin – there is no physical difference) is played differently in widely varying regional styles. It uses the standard GDAE tuning.” (Wikipedia)
The following are sample questions that will be asked to the musicians and Pub staff (Owner, manager, staff, regulars) about the influence of music in these pubs.
Interview Questions for Musicians:
What do you classify your music as?
What influences does your music have?
How does this country influence your music?
What are your songs about?
What stories (if any) do your songs mimic? Are they influenced by Ireland folklore?
Why do you sing about these things?
What is your overall desire for your music? How do you want it to affect people?
Questions for Pub Staff
How do you pick the musicians that play in this pub?
What is important to you as someone who is defining the overall feeling or respect to the pubs culture for the musicians to accomplish?
Explain why music is important to this pub? Too this country?
Tell a story that is significant to this pubs history dealing with music.
Do you think Irish folklore has an influence on this pub and the music it provides?
Gear for the documentary (Cameras, Audio Gear, Media Storage ext.) = $11,000
Flights = Approximately $6,000
Per Diam = $50
4.5 weeks of Per Diam/Per Person = $ 1,600
Total Perdiam Costs = $9,600
Travel Expenses (Car, Gas, Transit, Insurance, Housing)= +$30,000
Total Budget Estimate for trip: Approximately $60,000
At the end of the trip costs will be added to the budget estimate based on post production procedures and marketing. Estimate for overall cost of film is around $100,000
The nature of this content leads us to believe that we would be able to raise the money through the help of individuals through the website Kickstarter. We would initiate a campaign that highlights our goals and aspirations for the project and have incentives for investors and supporters that will interest them in supporting this project. We will set the financial goal of the project to $100,000 and hope to exceed this initial goal.
The final product in which we demonstrate our findings will be in the form of a documentary film. We anticipate this film to be available in select theaters throughout the US and available digitally for the world. We would also like to enter our final piece of work into several film festivals. Our overall goal of this project is to add to the already vast amount of information about Irish music and highlight the culture and influences of this music in the environments of pubs across the country of Ireland.
The International Council for Traditional Music – http://www.ictm.ie/?page_id=2
The Stag’s Head – http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/food-and-drink/articles/top-5-pubs-in-ireland
Clancy’s – http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2008/oct/23/ireland-bars-top10-traditional
Gus O’Connors – http://www.gusoconnorsdoolin.com/about-us/
The Crane – http://www.thecranebar.com/pages.php?page=2
Concertina – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concertina
Uilleann Pipes – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uilleann_pipes
Miller, Terry E., and Andrew C. . Shahriari. World Music: A Global Journey. New York: Routledge, 2012. Print.