Sunday, December 12, 2010

Alan Tanner

words and interview conduction by Carla B

Alan Tanner has long been one of my favourite film clip directors, purely because his work is always interesting. In fact, his ideas range from quirky to intriguing to weird, and everything in between. Not only does he remain constant in his good film-making, but the number of bands he has worked with is extensive; it includes many great artists such as Conor Oberst, Jenny Lewis, M. Ward and Tilly and the Wall. What makes his film clips stand out is his willingness and ability to play with ideas and create something different, such as for the Mynabirds' Numbers Don't Lie. 
When I first watched this clip, I admit I had no idea what was going on. But that is what makes Alan Tanner's work so amazing; each time you watch a film clip again, you pick up on something you missed and it is still as good as when you first watched it. So, after watching this film clip a few more times, I saw things I hadn't initially. This is also a great display of Alan's ability to suit his own ideas with a song, without it being a recount of the lyrics.

Alan's work does not stop at film clips though; he has made a series of weekly videos for Saddle Creek Records, all of which are comical and a great satire of what life is like at the Saddle Creek headquarters. From them, we have learnt of Kate Taylor's hatred of chai lattes and Alan's hard work when working on these videos . What I like about these videos is that Alan has managed to capture the comical nature of many shows I watched as a child, with overacting and often very limited dialogue, such as with Holly Jolly Springmas.

Alan Tanner's work has continued to be entertaining, and even though he has been out of action for a while, I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Mr Tanner.

What have you have been doing recently?
Just helped my girlfriend move here (Los Angeles) from Omaha Ne. It's been raining for like two weeks, so I've been spending a lot of time convincing her that it's not always this gloom doom.

How did you get into film-making/directing? What made you start?
Basically, I started directing so that I could cast myself in good acting roles. That hasn't panned out like I thought it would.

Your videos are always visually and conceptually diverse, for example comparing Time Lapse Lifeline and See Fernando. What is your creative process? 
Well, I think that most of my videos have a common theme in that the characters are always deadly serious about doing some really dumb stuff.

You used to play guitar for Maria Taylor. Are you still pursuing music or playing music of your own?
I spend more energy trying to think up cool band names, and musical concepts than I do practicing guitar, or writing songs. That's always been my downfall when it comes to music.

Why no more Saddle Creek Weekly movies? The ‘super soft’ one in particular was hilarious.
I really liked that one as well. CJ is hysterical. I would love to do more of them, unfortunately it's a lot harder to create relative material now that I'm living so far away from those guys. I always loved the concept of the weekly movies. I'm actually in the process of putting together a very similar project right now.

What is your favourite film clip of all time? Has it influenced your work?
I just went to see Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World for the second time. That movie is completely blowing my mind and stuff.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Turkey Pot Pie.

If you were a serial killer, what would your trademark be?
Count Chocula.

How did you get into the Omaha/Saddle Creek scene?
Maria Taylor, Orenda Fink, and Neely Jenkins.

What’s next for Alan Tanner?
Less music, more talkies.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview, I'm really into anything related to music :))
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