Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Fairground Booth book and film - News and progress









The last chapter of the first draft of The Fairground Booth is now being completed which will be the basis of the book. Why is this important. It is important becuase once the book is finsished and published a script will be adapted to make a film about Blok Meyerhold and The play "The Fairground Booth" This film is actually being edited already even though all the material has not been shot and the script is only part finished. Having said that, good progress has been made on this project and both the film and the book will make a significant contributiuon to The Russian Theatre Film Series

This series consists of 3 films: Meyerhold Theatre and the Russian Avant-garde, Stanislavsky and the Russian Avant-garde and Vakhtangov and the Russian Avant-garde Also included in the series is the book Michael Craig and the Russian Theatre Film Series 

I have decided to use the Copernicus Films site now as the main hub of all the material connected with my work. I have been using a blog (which I will continue to maintain) but this will be the centre where everything gets published and all the news is distributed and all the other sites I have will connect to this site. anything published on another site will end up here.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Michael Craig - Books

Journey to Ogasawara

In September 2005 we traveled from Moscow to Japan to make a film about the Russian futurist, poet and artist, David Burliuk, also known as the Father of Russian Futurism. The film was one of a six part series about the Russian Avant-garde. The visit involved a journey to Ogasawara for several days. This book is an account of our voyage to this island in the Pacific Ocean.



Purchase on Amazon



Encounters with the Russian Avant-garde


Encounters with the Russian Avant-garde complements the series of six films made by Michael Craig and Copernicus Films about the Russian Avant-garde of the 1920s and 30s. Fully illustrated including stills from most of the films, it is not only an account or explanation but also an introduction or to be more specific an "encounter" with this exciting phenomenon. The title reflects an active relationship: firstly through the experience of living in Moscow for many years, plus a direct encounter with the buildings, the architecture and the very territory in which much of the avant-garde arose and to some extent still exists.

Purchase on Amazon

The Russian Theatre Film Series


The Russian Theatre Film Series is an account of this arts documentary series with all its pitfalls, successes, limitations and achievements. The three films which have so far been completed are "Meyerhold, Theatre and the Russian Avant-garde", "Stanislavsky and the Russian Theatre" and "Vakhtangov and the Russian Theatre". This book is part of the overall project - The Russian Theatre Film Series and is a milestone and a marker in this developing project. It is also a commentary on what it means to make an independent arts documentary film series in a foreign country namely Russia.

Purchase on Amazon

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Tokyo Journey and Closed Captions on Amazon Video Direct

The short film Tokyo Journey is now available for download on Amazon Video Direct. View the clip here. Download it here. In due course a DVD will be available as well. Before it could become available on Amazon Video Direct it was necessary to provide Closed Captioning even though there is no dialogue in the film.


Closed captions is something that defeated me in getting my films ready and published on Amazon Video Direct. I use an Amazon company called Create Space to market my films on DVD and the Internet. Now DVDs are becoming more difficult to sell on the internet and downloaded films are becoming more important. In 2016 all my films (all eight of them) were migrated to The Amazon Direct Video Service so that they could only be downloaded and sold directly through Amazon. The criteria for publishing is quite specific and somewhat strict. One of the criteria are closed captions for the those whose hearing is impaired or are deaf. Closed captions are like sub titles. 

Closed captioning (CC) and subtitling are both processes of displaying text on a televisionvideo screen, or other visual display to provide additional or interpretive information. Both are typically used as a transcription of the audio portion of a program as it occurs (either verbatim or in edited form), sometimes including descriptions of non-speech elements.

This can be quite tricky but there is a way of doing it which can minimise the pain. Most non linear video editing programmed have a closed captioning facility. Go into the closed captioning facility and add the captions according to where the dialogue or text is located in the film. Once you have finished you render your film to which ever format you want and then save and export a srt. file which stored the textual data which can be used and matched by amazon when it is upload to your dashboard on Amazon Video Direct.

The editing programme I use is Vegas Video Pro. The process is as follows. Find the point in the timeline you wish to insert text into. Click on Insert and then command and the menu comes up. In the command box chose 608CC1. Then type your text in the comment box and press OK. Then repeat for all the other text you wish to insert as a closed caption. Rememeber also to change the Timecode format to Time and Frames.

To export the srt. film click on tools, scripting and chose export closed captioning for Youtube option

The process is different for Adobe Premier and other programmes but the priciples are similar.

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Russian Theatre Film Series - New book publication

This post first appeared on my blog but it is worth repeating to reach a different audience here. This book is the third by Michael Craig. The first being Journey to Ogasawara which was an account of the making of the film David Burliuk and the Japanese Avant-garde and Encounters with the Russian Avant-garde.It’s difficult to find an appropriate description of the book "The Russian Theatre Film Series". Essentially it is an account of an arts documentary series with all its pitfalls, successes, limitations and achievements. The three films which have so far been completed are "Meyerhold, Theatre and the Russian Avant-garde", "Stanislavsky and the Russian Theatre" and "Vakhtangov and the Russian Theatre". This book is part of the overall project - The Russian Theatre Film Series and is a milestone and a marker in this developing project

Also it is a commentary on what it means to make an independent arts documentary film series in a foreign country namely Russia. Not so much from the technical point of view although there is plenty of technical aspects covered but more from the point of view of a kind of interior process. It is an expedition into the phenomenology of film-making, what obstacles have to be overcome, both physical and technically but more importantly some of the lived experience of film-making. For some people making independent films is a way of life in the same way that for others theatre is a way of life or acting is a way of life or painting or whatever is a way of life. You can't live without it or outside it. The fact that you have to spend a year or two of your life on each film means that it is a life decision. So it has an existential element and this quality of film-making is explored in the book. How the series came about, what were the thought processes involved in the development of the series, which influenced the series overall - who helped who didn't, why things went wrong and why they went right. The book is a staging post on the way to further developments clearing the ground before moving forward to the next phase - a book about The Fairground Booth plus a film on this subject.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Publication of "Encounters with the Russian Avant-garde"



Finally we can announce the publication of the book Encounters with the Russian Avant-garde which is now available on Amazon for purchase or download. Encounters with the Russian Avant-garde complements the series of six films made by Michael Craig and Copernicus Films about the Russian Avant-garde of the 1920s and 30s. It is not only an account or explanation but also an introduction or to be more specific an "encounter" with this exciting phenomenon. The title reflects an active relationship: firstly through the experience of living in Moscow for many years, plus a direct encounter with the buildings, the architecture and the very territory in which much of the avant-garde arose and to some extent still exists. Encounter suggests something more casual, unexpected and unstructured but also a sense of living in the avant-garde and being part of it. After all it was the intention of the Russian Avant-garde to connect with the real lived world and to ‘take art out of the galleries and onto the streets and squares of Moscow'

As always when a large project gets finished there is the inevitable feeling of disappointment and wanting to fill that vacuum with another book or project or a film. There is plenty to do and plenty to be getting on with and really I should not rest on my laurels. However it will take a bit of time to change gears and shift into another project.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Copernicus Films, Michael Craig and The Fairground Booth


Since Copernicus Films finished Vakhtangov and the Russian Theatre development has been going ahead on the next part of the Russian Theatre Documentary Film series. A script for a new documentary about Blok and Meyerhold's The Fairground Booth is in a process of writing and rewriting. As well as this film work is taking place with regard to a film version of the play itself. The set design has been ascertained and is being painstakingly designed. This is a big question and will require a great deal of attention but at least the process is underway. The next big question will be the costumes - the design and the over all look as well as how to find the actors who will play the various roles. its a long process and cannot be rushed. There are various other ancillary elements to this series which are also being developed in parallel to the project and hopefully will make up a significant component of The Russian Theatre documentary Film Series but all the work being done in this are is in its early stages. Therefore it seems premature to make any announcements. 
Its worth saying that this series will be made up of five films (possibly more with time - discussions are ongoing with interested parties). The films will include Meyerhold Theatre and the Russian Avant-gardeStanislavsky and the Russian TheatreVakhtangov and the Russian Theatre (all three of which have been completed and released) plus Meyerhold, Blok and The Fairground Booth(documentary)  and The Fairground Booth (film). announcements will be made as each stage of the project progresses. For fuller and more regular updates check Michael Craig's blog or here for more specific updates and related information.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Vakhtangov Study Day – Rose Bruford College

Vakhtangov Study Day at the  Rose Bruford College – Film. Hosted by The Stanislavski Centre.

Guest Speaker Andrei Maleav Babel with the participation of  Graham Dixon 
The Vakhtangov Study day which took place in 2014 took place at the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and performance organised by The Stanislavski Centre with guest speaker Andrei Malaev-Babel, and Graham Dixon. The film Vakhtangov and the Russian Theatre was also premiered at the event.
Books by Andrei Maleav-Babel about Vakhtangov:
BabelThe Vahktangov Sourcebook is a rich and extensive source of information and analysis of the central principles of Vakhtangov’s  work and compiles new translations of his key writings on the art of theatre, making it the primary source of first hand material on this master of theatre in the English speaking world. For more information click on this link or click on the thumbnail.


downloadRanging from Moscow to Israel, from Fantastic Realism to Vakhtangov’s futuristic projection, the theatre of the ‘Eternal Mask’, Yevgeny Vakhtangov: A Critical Portrait:
For more information click on this link or click on the thumbnail.
  • considers his input as one of the original teachers of Stanislavsky’s system, and the complex relationship shared by the two men;
  • reflects on his directorship of the First Studio of the Moscow Art Theatre and the Habima (which was later to become Israel’s National Theatre) as well as the Vakhtangov Studio, the institution he established;
  • examines in detail his three final directorial masterpieces, Erick XIVThe Dybbukand Princess Turandot.
 Graham Dixon and the Michael Chekhov Studio London:
Man Image.tif i Copy Copy CopyThe Chekhov Studio. Graham Dixon  started the Michael Chekhov Studio in 2003 as a means to give actors and directors living in London an opportunity to access and explore Michael Chekhov’s unique approach to the art of acting. Click on the thumbnail or the link above for more information about his work.


The Stanislavski Centre.
stanislavski-portraitThe Stanislavski Centre . The Stanislavski Centre at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance is a unique initiative within the UK to create a home for both academic research and practice/performance events based upon the work of Konstantin Stanislavski. The Centre, which is located within the college’s Learning Resources Centre, houses a core collection of books and other printed material (mostly in the Russian language), a photographic archive of more than 200 images and a small collection of material on video and DVD.

Michael Craig,  Copernicus Films.
Vakhtangov 2Michael Craig and Copernicus Films completed a film about Vakhtangov “Vakhtangov and the Russian Theatre” which was also premiered at the Vakhtangov Study day. Vakhtangov eventually became one of the foremost directors of the Russian theatre in the early twentieth century until his early death in 1922 at the age of 39. Talented and enigmatic, his great achievement was the the synthesis of Stanislavsky’s theories of acting and realism and Meyerhold’s studied theatrically. This film by Michael Craig is the third in the series about Russian theatre in the early 20th century. Click here for more information about this film.