Nutmeg Conversations: Joey Batts & Rudy "ROY G. BV"
"What does Roy G B[I]V" mean to you?"
For most of us, it's an easy way to remember the colors of the rainbow - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, [Indigo], and Violet.
But for Joey Batts and Rudy, artists, storytellers, and teachers from the Hartford area, ROY G BV is their experimental short film combining colors, sounds, and true stories. As they put it, it is a "sensory journey through the visible spectrum."
Batts, real name: Battaglia, was named to Connecticut Magazine's 2018 40-Under-40 List. He is an English teacher in Hartford, CT. A rapper by night, he's the co-founder of the super-group UZOO which brought together a dozen rappers and artists from the Greater Hartford Area to preform together. Batts also co-founded the Hip-Hop for the Homeless event, a touring concert series benefiting the homeless. Being able to connect with people through stories and make them see what he sees is a huge driving factor in his work.
Rudy, a teacher of music education and music tech, is the music producer on ROY B. GV. For Rudy, primarily a based in the sound and music world "it's exciting to see what's in your head to what comes out of the speakers. Making something from nothing." He sees the struggle, however, with the dueling mediums, "the visual aspect makes people take notice. If you put someone in a room to watch a video they will but if you want them to just sit there and listen to music, they'll ask to get up after a couple minutes."
The film, which has screened several times since it's debut in late fall 2017, began life as an idea for a museum exhibit ("packaging and selling is more difficult than we thought") quickly evolved into the short film it is today. But the core was always there. Built from sound, it pieces the visuals around the idea of what those colors that inspire the name and the separate sections make the viewer think, combining art and music. The interviewees open up in emotional reveals discussing relationships, love & death, and loneliness. The lyrics that accompany each musical transition help echo the messages of the subjects.
Each section is broken out by color, a solid image introduces you to the next part. In between the camera focuses on shots of nature and art being created signifying the connection between them. For both, the transition from strictly sound-based mediums to one filled with imagery was eye-opening "I never realized how much I cared about the visuals that came with creating."
In addition to giving people a voice, ROY G. BV was a response to how we take in info. As teachers, Batts and Rudy understand the mindset of people, especially the younger generation. "Cell phones make us think we're visual learners." We want info in a quick way, we're "hard-wired for a 15-second 'snap'." The film is deliberately slow, forcing the messages to sink in, allowing us to understand what's in the head of the speaker.
As for why there's no "I" in their version? "There's no 'I' in 'Ego'." The "I" comes out through the viewing; we learn about ourselves through the stories of the subjects highlighted in each section. It's a powerful look at the lives of others, Batts and Rudy do an excellent job capturing their truths and struggles through the camera's eye and accompanying sounds.
"What does Roy G BV" mean to you?"
That's the question that opens the Kickstarter campaign for ROY G BV II, the sequel to this transcendental experience film. The boys are hitting the road and crossing the border to explore the colors and sounds of Nova Scotia and Halifax. The limited light pollution attracted them towards this new location but as they state, "the movie is about the journey;" documenting the trip itself is just as important as capturing the lights and sounds.
After that? Who knows. Joey Batts and Rudy both have their own projects but ROY B GV is a nice blend. It helps them tell their stories and bring their passion to life. "The most exciting things in art and creativity is the ability to tell a story."
You can support Joey and Rudy on their next project via the Kickstarter: http://kck.st/2LkpDZ6