Video on a Shoestring

White clouds covered the light blue sky like paper, providing little shield from an otherwise oppressive heat so it was clearly too hot for Robert C Fullerton to be wearing the black vest and dress shirt. Still a professional will dress for the performance at hand and RCF was ready, so when I met him in front of the historical society, we set right to work. I filmed him walking by the Historical Society with his guitar case in hand and even though it looked great, it was the one shot that we didn’t use in the final edit.

A few nights earlier, RCF and I had communicated online about filming a video in support of Torrington in a poll run by the Department of Tourism. I expressed interest in showcasing some of the highlights of our home town within the structure of a music video and RCF graciously offered any song that would work toward that end. Some songs like “She takes her picture at night” or “Let it Rain” wouldn’t work for that purpose thematically but “Shoestring” had a rhythm and a message that invoked the spirit of walking.

As luck would have it I had the day off and so did RCF but we didn’t have infinite time and we didn’t have a script or a budget. Fortunately the song Shoestring is about a person with little money. RCF performed the song at three locations, the church, the park at Franklin Street and on Mason Lane and then I would intersperse those performances with footage of Main Street in Torrington that I already filmed, thereby providing a cohesive video of a wandering minstrel who was “living on a shoestring”, singing for his supper.


Of the three performance locations, I like the Mason Street location the best. As he sat on the stoop of the vacant Gales Dry cleaners building, the faded red brick and severely weathered door provided the exact backdrop for RCF’s faded blue jeans and weathered brown shoes.  It’s an iconic picture that tells a story.


When regular filming was done, we sat on a bench at Trinity Church and I asked him some questions on camera about his music. Perhaps that interview footage may be used on another post or video. All told we completed our filming in about two and a half hours and the rest was down to editing. By comparison, that night’s editing would take about the same amount of time as the filming and remarkably the synch worked fairly well given that we were not playing the recorded song during the filming, RCF played it live all three times.

It was just past a normal lunch time but not late enough for me to pick up the kids from the bus. RCF dropped off his guitar and vest and we walked up to Las Delcias restaurant.  I ordered fajitas which is generally speaking the only thing I order at a Mexican restaurant no matter the establishment, the price point, or how many minutes I scour any menu considering every other alternative. We sat in front of the refrigerator that held the drinks.  Loosely tethered to the top the fridge was the bottle cap opener and we popped open two Modelos and waited for our order while the World Cup played on TV.

We talked of ideas, of art and community, of the state capital and how Torrington might learn from Hartford in both positive and negative examples. I fully expect Torrington to be a destination for the arts within the next 3 years but it will happen when the arts community works together. We have an opportunity right now to lay the foundation of something truly incredible, where we do not just create individual pieces of art but come together to be a part of a larger movement of creative expression. It will take singer/songwriters, painters, sculptors, jewelry designers, film makers, theater directors, videographers, puppeteers, cartoonists being a part of the experience. I believe now is the time for the self-taught artist to take center stage and the stage will be set in our own backyard.


1 reply »

  1. Reblogged this on rcfbackagain and commented:
    Thank you, J Timothy Quirk, for saying this so perfectly. If I weren’t “down to just two quarters, three nickels, and a dime” (Shoestring), I’d buy you another Modelo!

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