It should be said that Michael and I are making Sparrow Songs out of our own pockets. And during the month of November my primary focus wasn’t this project but was simply finding work, some kind of work, any kind of work that would allow me to continue paying my bills. I’d spent the better part of the Summer cutting a feature length documentary where — because it was a “cool and edgy” project — the pay was low. When that job evaporated due to a lack of funding it was only a short time before I was in serious financial trouble. I didn’t work for a month straight and got to the point of where I’d take any work that was offered. And I did. The result was that I took a job working nights at a post house. Nights means that you work 6pm to 4am every night. It also means that (in some kind of twisted logic) you make less money than working days. It also means that you don’t see your wife. It also means you scare the hell out of your dog every time you come home. The thing is, I was grateful for the work. Sitting there, stuck in an ice-cold office – the AC is set at a level designed to combat the daytime baking Burbank sun — it was very very clear that in this age of rampant joblessness a lot of the jobs that are even available are themselves demoralizing.
Mercifully, I only worked nights for one week (thank the Lord for well-financed studio pictures) but the majority of my energy this month was spent simply trying to stay afloat.
That being said, it seems only appropriate that this piece focuses on people who are currently in the exact same situation that I was in at the beginning of the month (and could find myself in again if I don’t stop working on this stuff while at work). We spoke with whoever would talk with us and to a number every person we spoke with was candid about their situation and their emotions.
Still, because of the personal pressures outlined above both Michael and I can’t help but feel that we could’ve done better with this one. There were some missed opportunities and confusion in the vision that didn’t sort itself out until very late in the month and in the project.
Part of both the joy and the difficulty in doing Sparrow Songs is that we’re essentially learning in public. What we’ve released today is a finished piece, but to me it feels like a sketch. I just hope that the short-comings in the construction of the narrative don’t undercut the very real emotions and situations we captured.