Saturday, May 3, 2014


Welcome to 12 Films With Music.  This is the fifth consecutive internet project Brooklyn-based of pianist and composer Jesse Stacken.  This project follows a progression of sorts.  First was the Daily Improvisation Project, for which I record and posted a solo piano improvisation daily for a year.  That led to the Weekly Improvisation Project, for which I recorded and posted an extended (one hour or longer) solo piano improvisation every week for a year.  After the conclusion of that, it seemed natural to do a weekly composition, which I did for a year, posting a recording and score every week. That gave way to the Messiaen Project, which I just completed.  For the Messiaen Project I composed, recorded, and posted weekly a solo piano composition which utilized in some way the techniques of the French composer Olivier Messiaen.  All of these projects are preserved in full at  I invite you to check them out when you have a moment.

So, about three or four months ago, in the midst of the Messiaen Project, the idea for 12 Films With Music was conceived.  I didn't commit to it being the next project, and I was actually thinking of going another route until about a month ago.  The gist of the project is this:

I will shoot, edit, and score a short film every month for a year.

Now, I must be up front with you.  I am not a film maker.  I have no training.  I have no professional equipment.  If I had professional equipment, I would have no idea how to use it.  I do have an interest in film beyond Hollywood, but I am far from what you could call a film buff.  I have my favorite directors, but I'm sure there are many important people that I should really know about if I was to get serious with it.  What I will be shooting is essentially home movies - not in content, but it quality.  I have a consumer grade camcorder.  I have a Nikon DSLR camera that I might try to learn to shoot with.  And I have an iPhone.  I will use iMovie to edit the films, unless I find I can't stand it, in which case I may upgrade to something better.  I say all of this to basically ask you to "throw me a bone" as far as the film quality and maybe even content goes.  My expertise is in music, and my focus will be the scoring of the films.  These films can be thought of as no budget music videos.

The music might be composed, it might be improvised.  It will probably be solo piano, but if the opportunity presents itself, I could see adding some other instruments to the mix.  This music will be recorded live.  I have no interest in using midi (does midi still exist?), or computer samples, or anything like that.  I really love acoustic instruments and that's where my interest lies at this time.

These projects always start out as something, and turn into something else, so I don't want to say too much about what's going to happen.  Right now I have an interest in shooting nature, and highlighting seasonal change.  I think that a monthly post could show a nice progression of the seasons.  However,  I do not want to commit to that idea.  I'll allow this project to go in any direction it wishes.

I will upload the videos to YouTube, and then embed them here on this blog.  I invite you to follow by email for updates.  Thanks for reading!

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