The Louise Log is a dark, funny, weird yet relatable web series about a woman, her life, her men, and her inner voice. The series has recently gained attention as a topic of interest for Roger Ebert on this twitter page. Producer and writer of the series, Anne Flournoy, is no stranger to getting attention and accolades for her works in video. Her first film, Louise Smells A Rat was invited to be in the New York Film Festival. Variety called her third short Nadja Yet “a nine-minute showstopper”. Anne has shared insights about her series in this FnS interview.
All of your video projects focus on the inner consciousness. Is that your “thing”?
The ‘unseen’ is one of my burning interests– that and the discrepancy between what appears to be and what is.
It may not be true for people in their teens and 20′s today who seem very at ease being ‘transparent’, but when I was growing up we were trained in wearing a mask, sort of like an emotional Sunday Best. That makes for a lot of conflict but a rich inner life.
Much of The Louise Log is unpredictable, and even irrelevant. Is this symbolic, or is it written as a stream of consciousness, as the narrative sounds?
We’re talking about the voiceover here, right? The voiceover is sort of the secret weapon of The Louise Log. It started out as a way to salvage a first episode which looked pretty and had great music but which needed something more. Years ago a friend who’d taken a class in graduate school with Emir Kusturica learned about (and passed on to me) the marvel of ‘the third thing’. If a scene isn’t working, say between a man and a woman, add an angry cat. Etc. I’d seen and been haunted by a wonderful Godard film Two or Three Things I Know About Her. No matter how many times I watched it, I couldn’t seem to grasp it. I’ve probably seen that film more than any other and it has an extended whispered voice-over.
So getting around to answer your question, usually, the voice-over gets added after the picture is cut as a way to make sense of the ‘action’ and sometimes to fill in essential information that isn’t in the picture. There’s a temptation for the VO to just react to the action but this seems to be less successful than if the voice-over has a ‘theme’ of its own– and often one which wasn’t even considered in the shooting script. In Season 2, my co-writer Sandra Vannucchi was more careful about making sure the VO was written in but even so, sometimes it changes in the editing. The VO does a balancing act of doing a lot of jobs. If it sounds like a natural stream of consciousness, I’m happy.
So which came first? Louise’s loss of attraction to her husband, or her neurosis about her relationship with him? What is the origin of her “frustrated ego”?
Louise’s neuroses are definitely the core of her problems. She could be married to Prince Charming and eventually end up despising him. That old saying, “If you’ve got one finger pointing AT someone, there’re three more pointing back at you” applies.
I think the origin of her frustrated ego is that Stepford-type mask. Learning at an early age that your spontaneous responses are not acceptable gives rise to all kinds of second-guessing, self-doubt and self-hatred.
When I saw what was happening to Phinneas, as a filmmaker, I immediately thought that you had to write it in because of unavailability. Sometimes we have to be flexible, huh?
Actually, it wasn’t Kenneth Goldberg’s lack of availability but that the story took a sort of a hairpin turn. We shot Louise’s reaction to the terrible sound effects at the end of episode #17 almost a year after the rest of that episode.
What are you most proud of, as a filmmaker?
Hmm. We just put up a new website with pictures and mini-bio’s of the cast, crew and musicians and looking at all of them, my jaw dropped with something like pride. That these amazing people are willing to work with me and on some level believe in me is quite humbling. But it also makes me feel incredibly supported and, yes, proud.
I’m definitely proud that with the (self-imposed) upload deadlines, I’ve wrestled my perfectionism to the ground and finished what for me is a ton of work.
And then there’s the fact that after basically admitting complete defeat, after seventeen years of trying to (raise kids and) rewrite and find a producer for my second feature, I was basically giving the finger to ‘the business’ (but just for the moment, I thought). I went off into amateur-land with my little Panasonic standard definition camera to try something, ANYthing to reconnect with being a visual artist. And bingo. It feels like I hit the jackpot. To have found a way to work at my own pace, to be able to figure out a story as late as the last days of the editing, to work for the price of the videotapes. And maybe most radical of all, the internet allows me to have a direct relationship with the audience. The possibility that the audience rather than a producer or a corporate entity could become the source of funding is completely exciting. Not sure if I feel as much ‘proud’ of myself for this as thrilled that I stumbled into this new world.