If We Shout Loud Enough
Folk Hero first started a working relationship with Bruce Willen and Nolen Strals of Post Typography when they did the title design work for our feature documentary, "The Harvest", in 2011. However, Gabriel’s relationship with the pair actually extended well beyond that, back to when they each pursued a degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2001. So when the opportunity to film the final tour of Double Dagger (Willen’s and Strals’ band) came about, we pitched the concept to their record label, Thrill Jockey.
Initially, the project was much smaller in scope: Gabe would travel solo with Double Dagger and capture the tour in its entirety. Then the live performances would be edited down and included on a dvd with their final album, a memento of the band’s 10 years in existence.
the final tour
Double Dagger shows are known for their high intensity and raucous crowds. A Canon DSLR was selected to document the tour because of its compact size and relative low cost– compared to other cameras subject to obliteration. Surprisingly, Gabe walked away from the tour having busted only one lens and one eardrum which "rang and hummed ceaselessly for a few weeks after".
After touring two straight weeks with the band, Gabe was able to acquire hours upon hours of this deeply personal performance footage. The experience of being at a Double Dagger live show was captured so honestly that we knew we had to do something bigger with it. Turning the footage into a feature documentary seemed like the only logical thing to do, but we only had about three months in which to do it.
Additional examples of RAW footage from the Tour:
ART IN "If We Shout Loud Enough"
We wanted the art to feel authentic so we enlisted Bruce and Nolen to design the actual flyers. We discussed their flyer making process to ensure that we included important construction elements in the animation. Another key factor for us was to allow the content of each flyer to be inspired by actual footage used in the opening sequence, allowing us to make a clean transition from live performance to stop-motion.
There were many topics that we wanted to cover in the documentary, the most important being the relationship the band had with art making. We decided to model the film’s credit sequence from a process that Nolen and Bruce would use to make show flyers in their younger days. This process involves cutting and pasting found images together with hand-drawn type and graphics. The finished collage would then be run through your boss's photocopier during her lunch break, and distributed across town after work.
Another successful idea we had was to create a comedic character to play host and narrator. Local music critic Tim Kabara is considered by many as the “unofficial” historian of the Baltimore music scene. We took his real life occupation a step further by creating a character that riffs off of pretentious music critics. Tim’s sharp banter and criticism of Double Dagger's recordings helped provide direction and humor to the film.
BALTIMORE IS EVERYTHING
The city of Baltimore plays a huge role in the film. Its presence is felt strongly in both the songwriting and philosophy of Double Dagger, so it was something we wanted to capture aesthetically within the film. In addition to discussing it conceptually, we also incorporated the city as a character by filming sections of neighborhoods, which worked as scene transitions throughout.
EDITING THE LIVE SHOWS
One of the key decisions made early on in constructing the film was to show several of the band’s performances in completion. A lot of music documentaries will often only show a portion of a performance before cutting away to more biography or drama. In contrast, we wanted to keep the Double Dagger performances complete as a way to fully preserve the band’s identity and as one of the greatest live performance acts to come out of the Baltimore underground. Since we only had one camera on tour, Gabe worked with the band to make sure all of the "hits" (and a few personal FHF faves) were played at multiple venues, aware that the collage of spaces would add a layer of visual interest and help amplify the frenetic experience of being at a live show on screen. The result is best realized in the clip below:
3 Months For Post
Thrill Jockey wanted the film to be released with Double Dagger’s final record, “333”, on record store day (04/20/2013). We were still in the process of filming–and figuring out key story elements–when we learned about the new plan. For 3 months we worked around the clock in order to complete the film, with enough time for it to be printed and included in the packaging.
Once again, Post Typography provided their design services by developing the artwork and menus for the DVD. They developed the instructional image below for the inside of the packaging, based off our concept inspired by Double Dagger’s final message to their fans: start a band.