A Fool's Idea

11 min read

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kingmancheng's avatar
Welcome once again to Film in Progress! This is a series of articles I am doing on works in progress by filmmakers and animators. Sometimes in our line of work we don't have a lot to show for a long time because lets be honest, production time for film or animation takes an awful long time so it's difficult to show people what you're working on. So what I hope to achieve in these series of articles is to give you a chance to talk about something you're working on, and if you have stills and other pieces of development work you can show it off here as well!

To take part in this project or for more information just send me a note I can talk to you (and your team if applicable) about it!

Today we have BrianABernhard with his project, A Fool's Idea!

Let us begin by introducing you to the rest of the community first. Who are you? And are you a professional filmmaker?

The official legal name is Brian A. Bernhard, however over the years I have been credited as Blight Productions, Blight the Clown, and sometimes Uncle Pappy. I sometimes make comics, I sometimes draw pictures, I sometimes make videos and movies, I sometimes perform in strange/funny live theatrical situations and I sometimes make music.

I was a producer/animator for various television stations in NYC for over 10 years, where I was nominated four times in the NYC EMMYS and I have won two TELLY awards. I quit my television gig last summer and moved to LA in order to pursue building my own production company that specializes in documenting and supporting creativity. My first attempt at such a project was for one of the television stations in NYC. I created a series about artists called "ART or something like it!". It was very well received and a week after it was nominated for an NYC EMMY, unfortunately the television station decided to cancel the series.

So after a few years of building up the courage, I have decided to make a go of pursuing something I can be proud of by creating a company that is designed to inspire and support the creative communities of the world. My first completely independent venture into this domain is a web-series called "A Fool's Idea" of which I am on the verge of launching the second season.

So I guess for now, I am a professional documentarian of the creative world.

Wow that sounds really exciting! Sounds like you've got tonnes of experience under your belt! Before we ask you about your current project, I'm sure other members here would love to hear what shows you've worked on! Any chance on expanding on that bit?

A few projects I have worked on have been...

- Shooting, directing and co-producing national ABC segments featuring Weird Al, Chris Hardwick, Kevin Smith and Adam Carolla. www.blightproductions.com/arch…

- "Art or something like it": An EMMY nominated series about NYC artists.

- "Professor Bob's Brain Stew": An series inspired by Bill Nye the Science Guy, which teaches science principles with comedy and magic.

- "The Viral Sockpuppets": An interactive conversational story making game.

- "White Noise": A Multimedia clown experience featuring Jef Johnson (From Cirque Du Soleil & Slava's Snow Show)

- "A Fool's Idea": A conversational documentary series about comedy, performance, life & clown.

- I have collaborated with the comedy/activist group "The Yes Men" on a few projects.

- I made a short documentary about animator Bill Plympton, which was included in his last big DVD release.

There are a smattering of other shows I worked on while at the TV station but none of them are anything that I can be proud of.

That is absolutely fantastic, I am a massive fan of Bill Plympton so I'm thrilled to hear your work has been noticed and used by him! But lets hear about this second season of "A Fool's Idea". For those of us who haven't watched it, what is it about, and what was your inspiration for it?

We are interested in exploring this crazy, powerful and historically amazing art form called “clown” and its practitioners. We thought that other people would love to hear what they have to say, so we decided to find individuals who have dedicated their lives to the craft of clowning and ask them questions about topics other creative people might be interested in.

Each episode (with the exception of a few specials) is centered around one thesis question and each artist responds with his or her viewpoint on the matter. Our goal is not to define concrete answers to each question, but rather to build a dialogue through conversation about creativity, performance, life experience, comedy and process.

The word “clown” has been corrupted in time so many people no longer remember its historical relevance or what it even is! The word “clown” are often generates negative thought in tone and associated with horror movies, serial killers and fast food. This is culturally and creatively irresponsible.

The clown has historical significance in almost every culture. From the shamanic fools of ancient Native American cultures to the court jesters of the middle ages, always reminding us of our own stupidity. When people spiral out of control, it is up to the clowns to bring us back down to Earth. In it’s purest form, the clown is the greatest communicator in the world, with its ability to transcend language and connect to an audience without words.

In a nutshell, the core concepts of what the world knows, as comedy owes everything it is, was and will ever be to the clown. They are our most basic human instincts, our worst fears and our greatest moments of joy. Their essence goes beyond makeup, oversized shoes and polka-dot pajamas. In fact they have everything to do with the discovery of innocence, honesty, humanity and communication in the creative space.

“A Fool’s Idea” is our way of helping society remember how to find its innocence so that we can remember what it means to be human.

This sounds like an absolutely fantastic idea. Time does often change the meaning of words as language and culture develops. I have to admit I had a childhood fear of clowns so I'm very interested in seeing how this turns out. Thank you very much for your time Brian, do let us know when you launch season 2. Looking forward to seeing the results to your hard work!

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BrianABernhard's avatar
Howdy, I just wanted to say hello and follow up with you on A FOOL'S IDEA. All systems are go, and I am in the middle of posting lots of new content. Over the last few months I have posted 22 podcast interviews (one where I interview Reggie Watts from the basement apartment of Natasha Leggero's house). I have also posted two new episodes of the conversational documentary series and I am about to post a brand new episode of the biographical documentary series this Wednesday. If you have a few spare minutes please check out all the content, interviews, and performances here: www.afoolsidea.com