David Singleton

David Singleton's Diary

Monday 21 February 2022

Mind the Gap

On Friday, an email went out to those working on the King Crimson documentary with the title MIXED, TITLED, CREDITED, GRADED.
Most large-scale projects are finally ripped from the hands of the creators by a final final final deadline – the one you really cannot miss. And this film was no exception. The rolling credits for Toby Amies include, as I recall, cameraman, director, producer and (scarily for those who know him) production manager. And he has worked tirelessly to achieve completion.
We have all learnt much along the way. It is interesting that Toby has identified those four distinct roles. When we started, it all seemed so simple. Toby makes documentaries. We will fund him and give him the necessary access with his camera. He will produce a documentary. Hidden within that assumption is much of the DGM ethos. Which is that we perform a multiplicity of roles to make things possible. Am I the band’s manager, producer, editor, mixer, mastering engineer? We live in a small world where if you take responsibility for a project, the role simply becomes: “the buck stops here” – whatever it takes.
Robert dismissively (and accurately) describes the early days of DGM as “The DGM charity” – in our keenness to erase the wrongs of those companies that financially rip off their artists, we originally turned the tables too far the other way. We have now achieved a healthy sustainable balance, but the charity still exists. But differently. Creatively, we still do whatever is necessary to bridge the gap that always seems to exist in bringing worthwhile projects into the world.
I recall several years ago suggesting to Alex Stormy Mundy that he was ready to “step up” and be the producer on some projects (which would also have some potential financial gains). Ever the sane man, he voted to stay as he was, working hard and conscientiously until 5pm every day – leaving the madness of “bridging the gap” elsewhere.
I originally thought that the movie would be different. What do I know about making movies? I was “the executive producer” – together with Robert Fripp, I set the project in motion, found the finances and fought to maintain Toby’s artistic integrity. Toby had brought in two knowledgeable players from the film world – Nick Jones and Kat Mansoor, who have helped hugely with each stage of the movie. Job done.
As we neared the end, the “gap” became more apparent. How can it take from October until February for us to license our own music from our own publishers?! What kind of surround sound mix is suitable for a movie like this? And. And. And. And. To his credit, Toby filled most of the void. And several weeks ago, he called and said “David, I think you need to be credited as a producer, because that is what you are doing now.” Helping him bridge the gap. And we are finally on the other side.