X-Message-Number: 24928
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 2004 04:48:19 -0700 (PDT)
From: Randall S <>
Subject: Re:Imminst Film Project

Kennita wrote:

"On Monday, Oct 25, 2004, at 02:00 US/Pacific, Randall
S wrote:
> I guess my main criticism has to do with
> the content of the interviews themselves.

preceded and followed by no end of criticism
of just about every aspect of the project.
There are some constructive comments in there
-- e.g., I had heard the audio anomalies, but 
not thought about audio remixing -- but
Randall, haven't you ever heard of a "criticism
sandwich"?  It's "a slice of praise, followed
by a slice of criticism, followed by another
slice of praise"?  There are a number of good
references to it in Google, and I'd suggest it
as a useful tool for everyone (yes, you :-) ),
for interpersonal relationships of many kinds
(as the variety of the sites on which it is
found will attest)."


Your point is well taken. I apologize to Bruce for my
brusqueness. I was in a bit of a hurry when I wrote
that message, and I had a lot of stuff to write.  I
certainly should have been more diplomatic, but I
wanted to get in a lot of points, just in case Bruce
was still shooting footage. I agree, this is no small
venture by Bruce, and he certainly deserves praise for
even undertaking it. Furthermore, as I point out below
in my modified comments, the quality of the video
itself, the resolution, etc., is excellent. Bruce
apparently has some expensive equipment.

Also, as for me helping out with the project, I would
love to do so. In that spirit, I have been looking for
public domain film and still images to use. It looks
like www.archive.org may have some, but the actual
copywrite varies from item to item. So I am planning
to read the description for each suitable item in
order to see what can be used. 

Also, I am reposting my comments from yesterday,
slightly edited, as it appears that the URL for the
actual download does cause an autodownload for some
HTML mail readers. THat will probably cause some
cryonet readers to not be able to read cryonet at all
for that day, if they are on dialup, unless they want
to wait a long time. So, I deleted the fully qualified


Bruce Klein posted on cryonet the url containing a
preview of a cryonics/life extension/immortalist video
documentary. Here it is: http://www.imminst.org/film

The preview video file is about 21 Megs. I downloaded
it and took a look at it.

I think this is a very important and useful project,
and I commend Bruce for his efforts in this area.

The quality of the video and the lighting was good. I
note that you have a panasonic dvx100a, which is
apparently a rather expensive camera. The quality of
that camera really paid off.

Jonathan has already made some comments about the
documentary prototype which he posted on cryonet. I
agree with Jon about his comments, especially the
audio. Bruce is going to have to remix the audio,
which I am sure he knows he has to do. However, it
looks like the master audio from the first segment is
pretty bad and may not be usable. Also, the video part
of that first segment would not seem to be something
useful at all. I do not see any use for that first
segment with Kekich at all. It just doesn't seem like
it would fit in with what you want to do.

Most of the other interviews look OK, in that they are
of the right composition for this sort of thing, etc.
The lighting was fine in almost all of them, although
the audio seemed poor in maybe one or two of the

Perhaps the best part of the preview was the voiceover
parts where the video was panned over a still image.
Those segments allowed us to consider the central
questions of the preview. Very professional panning.
THe video of the stained glass window was interesting,
and that sort of thing could be very useful for
introducing some of the fundamental questions.

However, I guess my main criticism has to do with
the content of the interviews themselves. I did not
see anything in any of them that I found compelling,
attractive, intriguing etc. Part of it may be the
subjects, and part of it may be the material, the
particular quotes used. YOu might find it hard to get
a believeable interview if they are scripted, but I
still think that some sort of scripting might be
needed to make the interviews more compelling. Perhaps
more directed in terms of questioning the
interviewees, pushing them by asking pointed
questions, a dialogue. Perhaps you already have that
sort of stuff, and it was just not in the preview...

Also, how can I say this? For one, the interviewees
seemed to be-- in general--overly intellectual; in a
way, they came across as somewhat stuffy, or maybe you
could even say that they resorted to dogma, quoting
phrases straight from the "Bible of Life
Extensionism." Maybe it was just me. But having a
documentary consisting of 130+ IQ life extension
enthusiasts quoting the dogma, using the kind of
complex sentence structure that we cryo/transhumanist
types are wont to use, that may not be that most
desirable content. That kind of sentence structure is
great for written stuff, but it may be problematic in

In your future interviews you want to get some sort of
footage of your interviewees interacting in their
normal, everyday lives. Maybe you could get some
footage of them at their jobs, or in their homes,
interacting with family, pets, cooking, riding a bike,
walking in the park, etc. Humanize them, etc.

Also, you might want to somehow work in some images or
interviews of other types of people, like women, or
like kids. Children can be very powerful on this sort
of documentary, and their concepts and ideas of death,
life etc are not set in concrete like adults. A couple
of simple statements from them regarding some of the
fundamental questions concerning this documentary--
that could work pretty well.

I liked it when you panned over the still images. And
as a possible way to introduce some of the fundamental
questions and concepts, I think that
voiceover-while-panning-over-still-images, that has a
lot of potential.

The thing is, you need some sort of good footage of
ordinary people interacting in a way that is conducive
to bringing up the fundamental questions. Those
"fundamental questions" were more or less addressed in
a way in the preview, but not particularly well.

What would be great would be some footage (or even
panning over still images) of some sort of funeral
rites or something like that. Now, there are stills
and even video in the Wayback Machine/Internet
Archives (archive.org) that is free to download and
perhaps not copyrighted, but whether it could be used
for this documentary, I do not know. But I would not
be surprised if they had something related to
funerals, or other cultural rites that may be related
to death. A brief historical look at the intersection
of human society and death may be a productive
approach. Perhaps panning over
historical/anthropological photos of funeral rites,
religious ceremonies, etc, could be workable.

Also, once you have introduced the concepts/questions
related to death, you may want to get some footage or
stills related to our attempts to stave off death,
i.e., medicine/healthcare etc. Again, archive.org may
be a source.

The problem with getting new footage is the whole
legal thing--you have to have subject approval, I
think. But then there is the whole public question.
Can you use footage taken in public places? I think
so, but you need to research that....And then there
are even copyright questions when it comes to using
footage of public structures, buildings etc.

So what would be a workable structure or progression
of ideas for the documentary? How do you introduce and
progress into and develop the fundamental ideas and
questions? How do you create the script?

Here are some fundamental blocks/units that might be
considered as a sequence for the documentary:

A. Death and our relationship to it
--historical, cultural, rationalization, taboos,
religion, etc. New ideas. Science Fiction. Pop culture
examples (use of pop culture, Hollywood examples would
entail dealing with copyright issues).

B. Medicine
--historical, scientific advances, cultural acceptance
of new breakthroughs (organ transplant acceptance).
What steps have we taken in the past to beat death?
Why have we tried to beat death at all?

C. Transhumans
--what are their motivations. What are they like? How
are they different, alike from the rest of society?

D. How do they justify their exotic ideas?
--interviews, scientific concepts, etc. Again, public
domain images from archive.org could be useful here.

E. The Near Future, what does it hold for
immortalism/transhumanism, Cryonics? This could be
where you have Alcor/CI footage, etc. What are the
principal entities/actors in this new movement?

Interview clips of transhumanists/cryonicists
addressing any of the issues in A-E above could be
used as well. A good tactic may be to introduce a
general idea or question using a series of public
domain still images, panned over, then use a short
clip of one or more transhumanist interview subject
speaking to this idea/question.

Anyway, these are just some of the ideas that I have
come up with tonight.
No offense to anyone at all, BTW. Just trying to help.
And thanks to Bruce for working on this project.


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