This documentary film examines the avant-garde rock group The Residents: their obscurity, their fanbase, and their place in the music industry.
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Just the facts...
To extinguish some concerns over the potential direction of the film being merely a boring fact-by-fact representation of The Residents career, I need to specify the exact purpose/intent of this film. At the same time, it must be indicated that without gathering material and doing research, there is no way to specify EXACTLY what it will become; to make a documentary with an agenda seems pointless and irresponsible. I can offer some insight into the reality of the project by addressing some facts early on:
- The Residents have a long narrative history that is based half in fact and half in rumor.
- The Residents hide their identities.
- The Residents have never achieved great commercial success, but their career has spanned 40 continuous years and is showing no signs of slowing.
- The Residents formed independent record label Ralph Records and published not only their own work, but work of other artists in the 1980s.
- Fans of The Residents are small in number but are highly devoted.
These facts produce some interesting questions that this film will seek to answer:
- What are the most keystone facts/rumors that create the lore of The Residents?
- Other than mythical N. Senada's "theory of obscurity," why do The Residents remain obscured, and how does this change their relationship with fans and the music industry? I will not be "unmasking" their identities.
- Over their 40-year career, how have changes in the music industry impacted their artistic direction?
- How has their artistic direction affected the music industry, with particular attention to other artists?
- Who are The Residents' fans? What do they look like?
This film will be no more about rumor/opinions surrounding The Residents than it will about the few absolute facts of their existence. Presenting facts and examining rumors are paramount to making this film as complete as possible, but I am not creating a film that will present rumors as facts (other than the fact that the rumors exist and are sometimes believed as fact).
In order to answer these questions, it will be necessary to travel and meet important figures and notable fans in the flesh. It will also be necessary to network with fans online to gather leads and anecdotes that can help frame the unique relationship they have with The Residents.
- Fans/friends should contact us at email@example.com to get involved.
- You do not have to pay to be involved. Although we appreciate if you do, we are not begging and we are not giving preferential treatment to those who do (other than the rewards listed on the right, of course).
Is this for YouTube?
No, this film is not intended for a YouTube audience. It is planned to be a feature-length documentary film that will be sent to film festivals and marketed as a documentary film, not propaganda for The Residents or a compilation of self-indulgent fan vlogs. Hopefully, the film will raise awareness and excitement for The Residents through success at festivals.
Some (boring) personal background...
As a long-time fan of The Residents (I am also from Louisiana!), I have always found their work to be inspiring and constantly compelling, regardless of whether I am listening to Eskimo or Tweedles, or watching Vileness Fats or Disfigured Night. When I first obtained a copy of Ian Shirley's Meet the Residents, I read it from cover to cover in one sitting. Something about The Residents' unique way of making a 40-year career out of navigating their varied artistic interests has always been a source of inspiration for me.
For nearly a decade, I have tried to convert my friends into Residents fans, but I have never known anyone to appreciate them in the same way as me. Then in February 2010, I first experienced a live performance by The Residents during their Talking Light Tour in Boston, MA, and I encountered a new sensation: being surrounded by other fans! Other people know the lyrics to "He Also Serves"? Whoa! Suddenly the fandom that, for me, had only ever existed on internet forums had faces and voices.
The Residents' fanbase is strong and dedicated, but that doesn't mean that VH1 would have ever been willing to produce a Behind the Music for them. Although The Residents have more albums than Eminem, your local record store is bound to have twice as many Eminem CDs. How is it that such a strong following could emerge for a band that has remained under most people's radars?
I want to work with other dedicated Rezheads and create the documentary we may never otherwise get.
Calling all Rezheads...
Simply put, travel is expensive, and the only way to properly make this film is to get up close and personal with fans and friends of The Residents. I know how to make a film for almost no money; I have done it many times. But I don't know how to travel or eat for free.
I can complete this project to a satisfactory degree with $10,000 to cover travel and basic living expenses for the months I will be working on it (beginning July 2011). The more we can raise, however, the better this film will be. Any money over $10,000 will be used to hire more crew members to keep the quality of research and filming as high as possible.
Any amount of money, no matter how small, will help. No matter how much you donate, even if it is absolutely nothing, we can always use your help in other ways. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any useful information or resources. Remember, this film is by Residents fans for Residents fans; it can't be completed without the help of Rezheads everywhere!
Three more things...
1.) I will not be "unmasking" The Residents in this film. That is not the point of this project.
2.) If you think you are the biggest fan of The Residents in the world, please email us at email@example.com and tell us why!
3.) Although I have not heard back from them yet, I hope to receive the blessing of The Cryptic Corporation to make this the best it can be. Send them an email if you want!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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