Filmmaking

Emergence

Age 16

Manifestation

When I turned 16, for my birthday, my mother gifted me a Quelle Super-8 Film Camera, and I started filmmaking.

Quelle Super-8 Film Camera

I was first making mute films, but not for long. I was envisioning to make the sound for movies, and this would require the use of a tape recorder and a special projector that could be synchronized with the recorder for the playback of movies.

Grundig TK245 4-Track Tape Recorder

The sound would of course be played from the tape recorder as at that time, fully audio-equipped projectors were only available for the studio range of products destined for radio and television, and not simple Super-8.

Bauer Projector before Upgrade to Sound

But Bauer had come up with an uncanny solution. There was an upgrade to be attached to their projector which consisted of a number of reels and wheels to be attached at the left side of the projector (seen from front). It could be called a ‘synchronization module.’

The device was to be put closest to the tape recorder as the tape had to be inserted into the synchronization module, as it was the sound that was making the pace of the film depending on the speed of the sound playback.

I had thus found a complete solution but my mother was shying away from the investment. These devices were not cheap. And not one but three of them had to be purchased at the same time for the whole thing to work.

I was being tested. My mother was working in a media studio run by the government for the equipment of schools with audio-visual content. They had various experts, a regionally well-known art photographer and a sound engineer. They had a huge collection of films that could be watched in the cinema, or rented out for presentations and the use in schools. My mother was first working in the film archive on the ground floor of the villa, then got her office on the first floor, which was specialized on color slide collections of Baroque art in the Saar region.

Ludwigskirche. Baroque Church in Saarbrücken.

Given the new idea, she asked the sound engineer if her 16-year old son would possibly be able to produce sound-equipped movies? The man with the name of ‘Kohler’ was affirmative. He had known me well as from the age of 10 I was no more spending my school holidays with grandmother but in mother’s office. And most of the time I was hanging around in the sound studio, and was introduced to classical music as well as George Gershwin for whose music I got a special liking.

He must have told my mother she should give me the opportunity after testing me for mother came home not long afterwards with a huge and very heavy tape recorder and a microphone, and the idea I should make sound using traditional techniques. She had also rented out a film about professional sound production and an old projector they had in the office and did not need at the moment.

Watching the film, I was dumbfounded how easy it was to for example produce steps on asphalt or on a wooden floor or else on a tile floor. I got a piece of old marble and some salt, and produced the noise of steps on a tile floor, then producing a number of other sounds. My mother told me to record it all using the tape recorder and microphone. I did and she returned all to the office after a few days, asking Mr. Kohler to listen to my recordings of self-made sound. Kohler must have been enthusiastic for he suggested mother to buy the devices I had suggested. He also found my idea great to make a film about the office, which was the project I envisioned. So my mother indeed spent the money and bought that wonderful machinery. I was excited over both ears for weeks to come, and the film was a great success.

The director of the media office organized a real event in the cinema where my film was being watched by the entire staff, after the office was closed for the public. The general judgment was that my mother should support my talent for audio-visual production and the director insisted that I could come to the office every time for learning more, which I did.

Sony VX-2000 Camcorder

In 2000, after my mother’s death and after having inherited the family fortune, I bought the Sony VX-2000 camcorder, which turned out to be a functional and well-built device that I used until 2011 when I bought the Canon 5D Mark II, which in turn I replaced in 2018 by the Canon 5D Mark IV.

Canon 5D Mark IV

That was marking a temporary halt in my filmmaking endeavors, finding the DSLR structure and functionality a real handicap for producing videos. I cannot get myself to using a tiny LCD instead of a full viewfinder. Also, the form factor is not really adapted to video production, and a complete sound solution was entirely missing.

Zoom H6 Handy Recorder
Using the ZOOM H5 for the Canon 5D

The latter problem was solved when I purchased the ZOOM H6 Handy Recorder, but I would still have to find a way to having a decent LCD monitor as a viewfinder solution is tech-wise impossible for the 5D. The solution here would be the Atomos Ninja 5.

Canon 5D with Atomos Ninja

This would be a solution, but I would prefer to purchase again a dedicated video camcorder such as the Canon XF 400 or the C100.

Canon XF400 Dedicated Video Recorder with XLR Soundboard

The form-factor is important. In my honest opinion, and perhaps also given my age, the video form factor has huge advantages over the awkward solution of DSLR-based video production. I remember the film ‘Tokyo’ by Wim Wenders in which he says he was a photographer before becoming a filmmaker, and that his first camera was a LEICA M. He further pointed out that he could not imagine to make good photos without a viewfinder. I have the same view of things. The Canon 5D is ideal for photography but a pain to use for video shooting, because the viewfinder cannot be used for video, the internal mono-based sound is awful, and the form-factor is ideal for camera shake, but not ideal for anything even remotely professional to avoid camera shake, else using a tripod all the time!

Ideal Form Factor

Last not least, the Canon C100 would be a fair solution while the price range is higher than the XF400. If however the form factor is functional and pleasant to use, I cannot so far answer. To me, the form factor of the XF400 looks better, and more functional for video shooting.

Canon C100 Dedicated Video Recorder

Piano Studies

Emergence

Age 10

Manifestation

With the enrollment in a state-run boarding school when I was ten-years old, I had at my disposition an old but decently in-shape upright piano in the dining hall, and thus I started piano playing, or what could be mistaken as a drum machine—given the fact that I used the piano as a percussion instrument. In fact, I had no idea how to use this instrument for what I only later learnt to be legato play.

Old Upright Piano. Bad Keyboard, but Good Sound.

Also because the other boys reacted with aggression when I attempted to play ‘classical’ or when I practiced scales, I was more or less forced to play only jazz, blues and boogie-woogie. I learnt the basics of harmony for this simplistic kind of music, and was eager to take lessons in classical music, but none of the two music teachers in high-school were agreeing with giving me lessons. Both said they were too engaged professionally during the afternoon hours, so I was left on my own and did not learn what is the most important: score reading and developing my left hand.

At the age of 18, when I was allowed to leave the boarding, I was taking piano lessons with a neighbor women from Leipzig who had studied under a certain ‘Professor Sauer’ at the Leipzig Music Conservatory. (I guess it was not the famous Emil von Sauer, who was never teaching there). My first two study pieces were the first tune of Schumann’s Kinderszenen and the first Arabesque by Claude Debussy.

At age 22, I enrolled for private lessons with Professor Alexander Sellier from Saarbrücken Music Conservatory. Professor Sellier immediately saw the pitiful condition of my left hand and suggested me to study a selection of exercises from Berens, Pflege der Linken Hand.

Schimmel Upright Piano

My mother had bought me a Schimmel piano and I was practicing several hours per day, seriously, with high ambitions, but it was all for nothing, as the neighbors threatened us with a court action if I was continuing to ‘disturb the peace of the building.’

Sellier did not understand the psychological reasons why I could not memorize anything at that time. I was just bathed in anxiety with the steady threats we were receiving and the anger of my mother which was her reaction to all of that, and unfortunately her only reaction for she had no positive feelings about my musical interests at all.

Finally, in order to avoid further trouble, I found a nearby duplex apartment that had been constructed by the same architect, and my plan was of course to get the piano on the second floor in order to not disturb anybody.

Only when we had moved in already did we realize that the piano could not be transported on the higher floor except by an outside lifting device. It was impossible to lift the piano using the winding staircase. As my mother found the hire-charge for a huge lifter too expensive, the piano had to stay on the lower floor and the result was trouble with the neighbors in the apartment below us. They were working in our local casino, night-shift, and were feeling disturbed by my play. We first cooperated and made an agreement in which I was the loser: I had agreed to practicing only two hours per day, from 10 am to 12, and I was following the rule, while they then found that I had to stop entirely, as they argued they had to sleep longer and beyond 10 am …

As they insisted, thereby violating our agreement, I went to court … and lost. They won the lawsuit and I had to stop playing, which meant for me to move out of the apartment and into an old flat downtown that I shared with a couple of students. The flat was rat-infested, had no central heating and the old oven was somehow defective; there was no water heater either and in winter I was freezing my guts out, but I could eventually practice the piano.

I then had composed a little etude for the left hand, dedicating it to Sellier and leaving it with him in the hope he could play it once for me. But it disappeared and was never found again. Sellier said casually that his son Anselm, age 4, had played in the score chamber …

I canceled the lessons and never took up again studying with a teacher, but wholly on my own. I then can say that I am, if ever, a self-taught pianist.

Unfortunately, I had one more problem, a kind of dyslexia for score reading, constantly confounding the two keys and substituting wrong notes for right ones because of large-scale anxiety. This anxiety manifested in sweating and sometimes also a fluttering movement of my hands.

This problem lasted for many years, holding me back in my study of compositions and composers, as it was simply too time-consuming to study new scores. (The problem actually only resided through positive affirmations, and at the year of this writing, in 2020).

Because of this general anxiety that was the result of abuses suffered in the boarding and the lack of understanding of my teachers, I started in 1994 a new journey: I began to record my improvisations:

32 Previews

In 2003 I composed a series of mini piano etudes.

https://music.peterfritzwalter.com/category/piano-etudes/

This allowed me to focus on developing my own style, which was first a sort of cocktail piano, that I called my ‘Charlie’ style and then expanded into musical improvisations based on classical harmonies, in ‘July 2017 Improvisations’ and ‘I Love You, Puerto Rico.’

Charlie (2016)
July 2017 Improvisations (2017)
I Love You, Puerto Rico (2018)

In 2020, recently, I returned to jazz piano, but in a different mood and with eventually a serious intention. For while I had experimented with jazz piano over my younger years, this was not a serious interest for somehow my views were conditioned and I adhered to the prejudice that classical music was the only ‘serious’ music and jazz, blues, or pop were ‘light’ music. This is after all the official view at music conservatories around the world. So I had to really go through a journey of de-conditioning and this was only possible after I fully accepted my musical talent and at the same time, my predicament. This process was completed in the first half of 2020, at my age of 65. So I can say that this step into musical maturity took me 55 years to accomplish …

I started to study Stride Piano, from a collection by Judy Carmichael, titled ‘Introduction to Stride Piano.’

I also take up my studies again of improvisations by Thelonius Monk, Earl Hines and Art Tatum. Having in the meantime overcome all anxiety, I am preparing those pieces for recording through the meticulous study of the scores published either in books, as dedicated scores or through Youtube videos that display the score.

Photography

Emergence

Age 12

Manifestation

Kodak Instamatic DCF 1.0

When I turned 12, for my birthday, I got from my mother a Kodak Instamatic camera. I was very excited about it and started a new journey, photographing about everything I could in our neighborhood and within our apartment. I also took it to the boarding I was enrolled in during the week (while spending the weekends at home).

References / Sites

Smugmug Portfolio
Food Photography

Modeling

Emergence

Age 4

Manifestation

At the age of 4, I got a temporary job as a child model for a nation-wide mail-order company, Versandhaus Schwab in Hanau, Germany.

They had ten little girls presenting the girl-wear in the show, but no boy. I was then the only male child which had a funny pointe as I was bowing every time in the wrong direction of the stage, and also because with my blonde curly hair, I could have been mistaken for just another girl …

The experience left me excited and content, also because of the first money I had earned in my life, but my mother decided to discontinue my engagement with modeling for reasons that only much later I could understand. (She had been obsessed with the fantasy I could be sexually molested and abused in such kind of an environment. For that same reason she sent an agent back to Vienna who had come because of my phenomenal voice, and their decision to hire me for the boy choir, the Wiener Sängerknaben.

Cooking

Emergence

Age 4

Manifestation

Emerged in an emergency situation (sic!) when I was four and a half years old. My mother was sick and in bed with anemia, asking me to fry a couple of eggs. I did so and had thus achieved my first dish: fried eggs.

From the age of six I was trained in cooking and baking by my grandmother during the Easter holidays and the great school holidays in July/August every year. This was covering the preparation of game like pheasant, deer or hare, as well as steak Tatar. Then there were the salads that our tax advisor liked so much, the potato salad or the noddle salad, and sauces like gravy. In baking I learnt to prepare hazelnut cake, biscuit cake, bitter-chocolate cake, almond cake and vanilla cake. Besides, I learnt to prepare garlic butter and various side dishes.

The journey started because my mother did not like to cook and what she cooked was anyway awful. She preferred to read Agatha Christie while my grandmother and me were busy in the kitchen.

At the age of ten, my mother declared me to be the ‘grill master’ and that meant to roast the chicken and later clean-up the grill. My mother found me good in doing that kind of work which gave me a little bit of self-confidence (which was otherwise as good as absent in my psychic setup and my life in general).

At that age, I already cooked entire menus, and some were esoteric like Peking Duck with orange sauce and Chinese rice, served with Chinese Oolong tea.

The journey continued over the years and intensified once I inherited the family fortune, back in 2000, followed by my 2-year stay in the Provence, France (2002-2004) when I cooked every day and tried to learn the art of wine pairing.

IMG_0152

References / Sites

http://honortheonion.ipublica.net
https://veggycuisine.wordpress.com

Smugmug Portfolio

Bread, Wine and Cheese
Raw Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs
Le Confit d’Ail
Salads
Soups
Vegetarian Dishes

The Creative Self

A Definition

Our Creative Self is our essential motor of self-expression, thereby being at the service of our spiritual identity. This Self is not the Ego, as it is not conditioned nor self-serving. While the term ‘Self’ suggests that activities inspired by it are related to ourselves only, in truth the Creative Self is essentially transpersonal. Its creative expression serves humanity as a whole as its motivational trigger is service, not self-aggrandizement.

My understanding of the Creative Self is based on the Multidimensional Personality Structure that is an essential characteristic of creative genius.

Creative Genius (Kindle Edition)

That means in practical terms that the Creative Self fosters multi-vectorial expression in the form of several talents representing each a part-self which is however not separate but integrated in a whole, that is, functionally aligned with the whole of the personality. Thus, in terms used by systems theory, we are here not dealing with parts at all, but with relationships of wholes to a higher order: the individual consciousness!

In my own case, this multi-vectorial orientation in my self-expression is facilitated through the following talents, displayed here in the order of their emergence in my path of life:

  1. Cooking (Age 4)
  2. Modeling (Age 4)
  3. Photography (Age 12)
  4. Piano Studies (Age 10)
  5. Filmmaking (Age 16)
  6. Writing (Age 30)
  7. Art (Age 30)
  8. Languages (Age 30)
  9. Legal Analysis (Doctor of Law) (Age 32)
  10. Astrology, Numerology, I Ching, Runes (Age 30)
  11. Book Design and Self-Publishing (Age 55)
  12. Professional Narration and Audiobook Production (Age 60)

The term child prodigy is used for children who are proficient in one single discipline, usually the mastery of a musical instrument. But in my own case, I was a child prodigy with a multi-vectorial spread of interests, and this was so also because my interest for learning the piano was not supported.

There are certain key years when emergence occurred, and they were as follows, given that my year of birth was 1955:

—1959 (Age 4)

—1965 (Age 10)

—1967 (Age 12)

—1971 (Age 16)

—1973 (Age 18)

—1985 (Age 30)

—1987 (Age 32)

—2010 (Age 55)

—2015 (Age 60)

—2020 (Age 65)