Ep. 9: Ben Model/When Knighthood Was in Flower

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Mike Gebert

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Ep. 9: Ben Model/When Knighthood Was in Flower

PostThu Jul 20, 2017 6:57 am

NitrateVille Radio Episode 9: Ben Model, on playing for and crowdfunding silent films like When Knighthood Was in Flower

Ben Model at the Loews Jersey Wonder Morton

Ben Model plays music for silent films at the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, on DVDs, and all around the world, so that would be enough for a podcast. But he's also become a label of his own, his Undercrank Productions releasing rare silents in collaboration with the Library of Congress, crowdfunding them through NitrateVille and other sites in an innovative new model for releasing films made possible by the internet. So we talk about how that works (the closest NitrateVille Radio will ever get to a TED Talk), including his latest release (and first release on blu-ray), When Knighthood Was in Flower with Marion Davies, out July 25. And needless to say, there are examples of Ben's scoring for films throughout the show. (63:00)

Here's how the show breaks out:

(2:26) Ben talks about playing music for silent films, how you do it and some of his mentors along the way including Walter Kerr and Lee Erwin.

(22:15) How he and others like Ed Lorusso and Eric Grayson pioneered this method of fundraising for and marketing silent films via social media (including NitrateVille). If you've ever thought of doing it... this tells you how!


(34:22) Ben talks about collaborating with the Library of Congress, and with people like film historian Steve Massa on bringing back forgotten comedian Marcel Perez.


(46:13) We talk about Ben's release of the lavish historical romp When Knighthood Was in Flower, with Marion Davies.

When Knighthood Was in Flower is available here from Amazon. Two other Marion Davies films, Beauty's Worth and The Bride's Play, which were originally Kickstarted by Ed Lorusso and primarily funded by folks at NitrateVille, are also being released by Undercrank Productions; here's The Bride's Play and here's Beauty's Worth. When Knighthood Was in Flower and The Bride's Play will also make their TCM debuts on August 29 (Marion Davies' day during their Summer Under The Stars month).

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More Links:

Here's Ben Model's latest Kickstarter (and its NitrateVille thread), The Marcel Perez Collection Vol. 2. Here's the original collection, and here's Steve Massa's book which, I should note, fits perfectly inside the DVD case.

Ben's own podcast about playing for silent films is here at iTunes and Stitcher.

Upcoming live performances are here. You can support him on Patreon here.

Here are his links for Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Here's the Kickstarter for the Lloyd Hamilton set, which Ben mentions. It's already funded but still has a few days to go as of publication, so here's your chance!

Listen above, or subscribe at iTunes, Soundcloud, or Stitcher on your mobile device, to make sure you hear every episode.

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Re: Ep. 9: Ben Model/When Knighthood Was in Flower

PostThu Jul 20, 2017 12:16 pm

Seven Kickstarters for me ..... Number eight coming up end of summer.

Thanks for the mention. Honored to be included in such illustrious company!
Ed Lorusso
http://www.amazon.com/Edward-Lorusso/e/ ... 203&sr=8-1
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Re: Ep. 9: Ben Model/When Knighthood Was in Flower

PostThu Jul 20, 2017 2:18 pm

I'm very cautious about involving myself in the various online social media that have popped up in the last twenty years, but when I realized that Kickstarter is an updating of the techniques that August Derleth and Donald Wandrei had used to finance H.P. Lovecraft's The Outsider and Others -- they had placed a single tombstone ad in Weird Tales, telling people they could order the book in advance for $2.50.... and nowadays, Lovecraft is considered a major American writer... well, it made sense to me.

What Ben doesn't mention is the enormous amount of work that he and other Nitratevillains have put into these projects: hundreds of hours in doing them and thousands in, to paraphrase James Whistler, learning how to do them. We are very fortunate to have people like Ben, who are willing to do the work, and asking just a few dollars from each of us for a finished project. My gratitude, Ben, and Ed, and others. Just let me know when my next chance to help out with a few bucks will be.

His plagiarism was limited only by his faulty technique.

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Re: Ep. 9: Ben Model/When Knighthood Was in Flower

PostThu Jul 20, 2017 8:24 pm

Bob, thanks for your kind words. Took 6-7 years, plus whatever experience and research got me to that point, to figure a lot of this out. As far as future Kickstarted projects, that remains to be seen.

Sign up for my emails at silentfilmmusic.com and get an exclusive link to watch a rare comedy short
Undercrank Productions - rare silents on DVD/Blu available on Amazon
follow @silentfilmmusic on Twitter and on Instagram
Silent Film Music Podcast available on iTunes

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