ARTISTdirect Q&A Lynn Shelton, Director
Thu, 16 Dec 2010 15:46:02
The Velvet Underground Photos
The Velvet Underground Videos
Want a one-way web ticket to Seattle? Then you need to watch $5 Cover: Seattle, MTV's comprehensive web series/docudrama about the Seattle scene, which follows the inaugural series about Memphis.
No, the docudrama is not a rehashing of the long-gone grunge era. Rather, Humpday director Lynn Shelton converges on the Pacific Northwest to expose what's going on now, focusing on 13 bands over 12 webisodes that showcase one weekend in Seattle. Real life as a musician in the region unfolds before your eyes in the most intimate of fashions with these webisodes.
ARTISTdirect contributor Amy Sciarretto chatted with Shelton when the series launched about the web series medium, exploring post-grunge Seattle and what she has in the feature-film pipeline.
As a feature film director, what was your attraction to the web series medium?
I wasn't sure. When I was in Sundance with my third feature...I saw myself as a filmmaker. When I was approached by the exec producer from MTV, I was unsure that I wanted to make a web series my next project. I had mixed feelings. It is not that I don't like them; I hadn't thought about them thoroughly as an art form. The more I spoke to them about the project, the more I understood it. I wanted to portray Seattle with a local, genuine flavor via these artists. Once I was assured of that, I was more excited about it. And it is like a feature film in 12 little chapters. I like the challenge of creating something where you can pop in, see episode 7 and have it be satisfying to you. You can watch it piecemeal or actually see it work beautifully when watched in order.
Any other elements of surprise about the medium for you as a director?
I was also surprised at how far reaching it could be. I could have made another 22 docs about other aspects of Seattle. It celebrates Seattle and shows off the talents of the community. It shows all aspects to the rest of world. It is also a beautifully designed website and easy to figure out. I wanted you to feel like you had visited Seattle with a local tour guide for a weekend. I wanted to show the full spectrum, and bring people here.
What are your favorite bands from the region, since Seattle's musical history is rich?
I wasn't in Seattle in the '90s, so I missed grunge. I was in NY for a decade and came back when the music industry was pancaking down on itself. I was disconnected for a long time. For the last few years, I was listening to old standards: a lot of The Velvet Underground, David Bowie, X, bands like that. NPR is too depressing so I would listen to KEXP and hear local music, like what I used to listen to in high school and college.
What was something crucial you learned about Seattle and its music scene while doing this web series?
I was trying to illustrate the real sense of community I had detected among musician friends I had. I developed the relationships as I developed the project and wanted them to be connected. Everyone is in 4-5 different bands. They advocate each other and there is a healthy competition. They are bringing it and they raise the bar in side projects, egging each other on. I was hoping this connection would be out there and that was the case. I was verifying my own theory.
At the Wrap party, one of the guys came up to me and said I had helped strengthen ties and created new ones. That was nice.
What is next for you, feature-film wise?
I have a project in development with Focus Features based on Then We Came to the End, a best-selling novel. We are hoping to shoot that in the Spring. I shot a small film that is in the same scope and size as Humpday, which was shot in a couple weeks in Washington State. I am currently editing that. It's not titled, but Emily Blunt and Rosemary DeWitt play half-sisters and someone comes in between them.
What's on your holiday wish list?
Truly, and this just came into my head, since I am staring at it: I have the ugliest couch lap blanket/ afghan and it is hideous. I hide it when guests come over, but it's so comfortable. I gotta get that replaced with something easier on the eyes.
Check out $5 Cover: Seattle here!