The feeling of "inspiration" is unlike anything else in the range of human emotions. It's effects are similar to a firework - involving a spark of the imagination, a soaring sense of "the possible", an appreciation of craft and its pathways to delivery, and a final blast of hope from excited anticipation of making a creative thought reality. I always feel this when I experience great artists' work and then hear firsthand their experiences and journeys. I got that today with two documentary filmmakers - Don Alan (DA) Pennebaker and Chris Hedegus - a couple who have been working together since the 70s, who are regarded as pioneers of cinema verite and who've continued to release seminal documentaries across their careers, including Look Both Ways featuring Bob Dylan, The War Room, and Startup.com.
I missed the session with Penny talking about his work developing the first audio-sync camera but joined a throng of expectant buffs who packed into Adelaide University's impressive sandstone Elder Hall that evening to hear an hour long conversation with the dynamic duo. We heard stories about how they came to meet, how they tracked Dylan on his 1950s tour of the UK and how the film marked the beginning of a lifelong interest in music, concerts and subcultural styles over their careers. It was a journey into past technology and what was required to make a film decades ago, as well as how documentaries and the industry has changed - for the better and for the worse. Following the enlightening conversation, a group of us headed to the movie theatre of Adelaide's Rundle Street to watch their 1980s doco Depeche Mode 101. It was a 2-hour time warp back into the 80s where I was given a rare glimpse into the world of a band at the forefront of electronic pop and a group of fans that won tickets to follow them on their tour across the US.