United Dictators of Mars: The Music of Tom Mody & Jeffrey Harris







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Jeffrey Harris and Tom Mody 2008 >::..:.::..:::
United Dictators of Mars
Questions for God

Bonus DVD
Offcial Video
"When I Die"

United Dictators of Mars - Questions for God
::.::| LINER NOTES |.::...:.

Tom Mody song liner notesAs a creative amateur musical artist this might be my favorite accomplishment. When I Die seems to be the blessed song. Evertything about it happened like magic. I simply thought it and it came to be. The music writing of the song was one big idea and expirement into a way of creating that I had never done before and it came out perfect. It was also the perfect song to decide to shoot a "making of" documentary. And now this music video couldn't have been better. And like the song itself, I just thought it and it happened. I have never done anything like this before setting up multiple shots and sequences and weaving a story though the music. And I've certainly never edited anything to that extent. But yet I had this all story boarded in my head for a few months and I knew it would work- and quite easily at that. It was all shot on my consumer camcorder and edited in imovie on my mac. All very pedestrian equipment. Jeff and I had 2 night sessions shooting the playing footage in my studio and about an hour of location shooting at the Summit Street cemetary in Sherburne, New York. All I needed to buy was about $20 worth of black fabric at Wal-Mart and a few DV tapes. I shot about 90 minutes of footage total which had to be edited down to 5 minutes. I was really concerned about synching the lip movements with the audio track and even that went easier than expected. I spent an entire day, about 7 hours editing and it was done. After 20 years I have an official music video. I've congratulated myself over and over for this accomplishement as director, editor and writer of the video but when it came down to editing and examining the footage one fact was very evident. Jeff's performance was outstanding. I don't mean walking through the cemetary and all that. I mean his delivery in the studio shots. He'd never "really" done any of that before either but man was he good. He gave it everything and in so many different ways- take after take of pro performances that I didn't catch until editing. As for my performance it was a bit more challenging. If you watched the "making of" video we shot you'll note that I commented that I was writing some of the guitar parts "off the cuff" as I would never be playing them again. Well, I was wrong and I had to go back and figure out what the hell I was playing in sections that were ad libbed in recording. The reason I used so many close-up hand shots of the whammy bar is because there's no way I'm going back and learning all the finger positions to something I was making up on the spot so in the footage shots with me and Jeff I'm actually air guitaring to my own damn solos. My favorite parts are the close/far shots of Jeff and myself. They were just an accident. I was setting up the chair placements in the studio and jeff stuck his head in front of the camera to see how it looked on the monitor and we both stopped and realized how cool that looked so that wasn't one shot layerd over another, I can't do that in imovie. He actually sat with half his face right in front of the camera. And finally it was great to be able to weave our kids into the storyline. Hopefully they'll appreciate it more when we're gone, particularly as it ties into the subject matter of the story.


Jeffrey Harris song liner notes

Kudos to Tom for making this song come to life. He took my story and brought it to the screen with the same vision that I had in my head about the song. I guess the fact that we have been working together for so long (20 years circa December 2007) helps us to understand each other and almost know what the other is thinking. Although sometimes I do wonder what is going on in that dudes head - lol. The acting actually came easy for me and quite honestly, I was shocked because I've never really liked anything that was captured on film of me in the past with regard to any type of acting. But Tom made it easy because he had everything scripted and aligned in his head. The fact that a couple of our children were able to be in our first "Dictators" video was a very special for me. Telling the story of our legacy and having our actual children in the story as the "keepers", if you will, of our legacy, was even that much more special. I have to say technically speaking, that Tom is keeping it alive and using his head about this filming stuff because after all, if you think about it, there are only two of us. It's not like there is an entire band to film so ya gotta give Tom much credit for his thinking and creativity. Having the song AND the video for my own listening and viewing pleasure is something I will never tire of. But I have to say... everyone that I have talked to that has viewed this video have complemented positively in some form or other and that goes a long way in stirring the ashes of the self worth category. It's almost ironic that the video is really a reminder or evidence of what the song story is about. Think about it...

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