Do You Want To See ‘The Ultimate Documentary On Modular Synthesizers’, I Dream Of Wires?

Producer Jason Amm & Director Robert Fantinatto are making a documentary about modular synthesizers, I Dream Of Wires.

Not just any documentary, but the ultimate documentary on modular synthesizers:

I Dream Of Wires started off as a modest exploration of the passion and obsession of a few designers, manufacturers, collectors and musicians. But interest in the film has convinced us that there is a demand for a comprehensive documentary that will explore, both geographically and thematically, the wide ranging influence of the modular synthesizer.

So far, the entire production has been conceived, shot, edited, and financed by one person, director Robert Fantinatto. Response to the film’s in-progress promotional traile (above) has been overwhelming enthusiastic, sometimes verging on fanatical! Synthesizer forums have been abuzz with commentary, and the most common response has been people suggesting who must be interviewed, that there needs to be more.

The modular synthesizer community has responded to the quality of the trailer, and are now determined that this project is destined to be the ultimate modular synthesizer documentary.

In order to make the ultimate documentary on modular synths, though, these guys need to raise money and they want the help of the modular synth community. They want to do additional filming in the UK and Europe and it’s going to take a little money to make this documentary as awesome as a lot of people want it to be.

They’ve started a fundraising site and are offering a variety of sponsorship packages to make it easy for people to help out:

  • For $25, you get a DVD copy of the film sent to you, upon film’s completion.
  • For $45, they’ll send you a DVD copy of the film, a T-Shirt + sticker/postcard/buttons.
  • For $125, they’ll send you the full package: DVD copy of the film sent to you, upon film’s completion; CD and Vinyl LP copy of the original soundtrack by Solvent; a T-Shirt; and a sticker/postcard/button set.
  • For $1,500, they’ll give you all that stuff plus give you an Executive Producer credit in the film.

Any more than that and they’ll probably give you a kidney or something. More sponsorship options are listed at the site.

Last time we mentioned one of these synth-related fundraising projects, they made their goal in half the time they had planned.

These guys are trying to raise $30,000 in 60 days and they’re offering some pretty sweet sponsorship options. Watch the preview – and decide if it’s worth a few bucks to you to see ‘the ultimate modular synthesizer documentary’.

See the I Dream Of Wires fundraising site for details.

35 thoughts on “Do You Want To See ‘The Ultimate Documentary On Modular Synthesizers’, I Dream Of Wires?

  1. And all of a sudden I am no longer impressed.

    Yes, I was /very/ impressed with the original trailer (which has been shown before) because I could really associate some of my own ideas and impression into the opinions and stories which were told in that intro. That was COOL stuff.

    But seriously; they want $30,000 ? For WHAT I have to wonder? I mean; the preview I saw already was fscking awesome, why has all of that suddenly become impossible now? From their own website: “We need to raise $30,000 to continue shooting along the U.S. and Canadian West Coast, as well as in Germany and the United Kingdom.”. I don’t get it; we get to “pay for travel and production” (how expensive is gas? Why Europe?!), “the film needs to be color corrected” (sorry but have to disagree; the trailer I saw was already awesome. Its not about the /looks/ its about the /contents/. Something does not have to /be/ perfect in order to perceived as such!).

    And finally my favorite: “Please note that while $30,000 is our goal, any money raised beyond that goal will be put to great use; more money means more opportunities for us to travel to further locations, and more budget for post production. This will ultimately result in more content!”.

    I am quite heavily disappointed here. Quantity does /NOT/ make quality. Do these guys even have some kind of plan or are they merely winging stuff “With 30,000 we can do enough!” ?

    I perceive this as if they are no longer believing in their own project and as such need to have some solid reassurance – up front – before they’re willing to take “further risks”. I’m also getting the feeling that they’re majorly overdoing it. I mean; they already had some /really/ awesome material. How much has that cost them?

    Is this about a good movie or about trying to get a trip to Europe, financed by others? Speaking of which; /why/ Europe I have to wonder? As if there are no good synths in the US or something? Maybe they feel their work to be “incomplete” without approval from Jean Micheal Jarre or something?

    I’m very disappointed.

    1. Synthfan

      Sounds like it might be time for you to get a new moniker!

      These guys have done some great work already.

      A modular synth documentary can’t be comprehensive, though, without covering European synth manufacturers or the fact that European artists were some of the first musicians to use modulars in creative ways.

      It’s going to cost some money for these guys to fly to Europe, live there and travel. And based on what they’ve done so far, it’s pretty clear that if they can raise the money, they’ll return with some amazing footage.

      Don’t contribute, if you think $25 is too much for a DVD. But do you really need to disrespect them because they want to make a serious, professional quality documentary about synths, but they aren’t independently wealthy?

      1. And a lot of European synth makers will tell you that one of their biggest inspirations has come from the US. Or would you now disagree that Moog was one of the first ? Or Roland (Japanese!) to follow up.

        If ur going to do it, do it right.

        Duh, and you don’t need to /be/ somewhere to do an interview or get (for example) pictures. A picture can be just as good as a camera footages, esp. if you’re short on cash.

      2. I don’t disrespect them, I doubt this particular decision. Because you’re right; they already made an awesome trailer which already got us some cool material. So they already showed us that a lot of cool stuff can be made, even while on a budget.

        So then I can’t help wonder; why not start with one part and when that catches on in the sales continue with the finishing part 2. Someone already beat me to this but with projects like these I cannot help wonder “What happens if they don’t make the target”?. Its a lot of money in a rather short time span.

      1. >>>I wonder what will happen if they don’t make their target.

        Sondance — this is a good question, and you aren’t the first person to bring it up — So I intend to address this on the IndieGoGo page in the near future. The answer:

        It will still get made and people will get the package that they paid for. It just means that we won’t likely be able to afford to do things like go to Germany &/or the UK. There is already enough footage for an interesting doc, and after our West Coast trip, including NAMM 2012, there is no doubt that we will have more than enough footage for a great doc. But it would be a shame to limit it to the North American scene/perspective.

    2. Wow, Synthfan – what a cynical, ignorant response. The content from that trailer cost the director approx $8K out of his own pocket to shoot. It is enough material for a great trailer, but a handful of people from Toronto and NYC hardly makes for a comprehensive documentary on the subject. *You* may not feel like we need to go to Europe to make a comprehensive documentary, but if we had a $25 donation from everyone who’s response to the trailer was “Where’s Dieter Doepfer?” / “How come you didn’t visit Schneiders Buero” / “You should get Richie Hawtin in there”/ etc, well we’d be a lot closer to our $30K goal right now. If you want to know what $30K covers, read the IndieGoGo description, and leave your cynicism at the door, because most of our costs are described there, and I’m not sure why you feel inclined to doubt us. Let me get you started: try 2 plane tickets from Toronto to Berlin and return, 5 days hotel, some train tickets, etc… camera & lighting rental… This trip alone will eat a significant chunk out of that $30K. It’s not a vacation for us – it’s a work trip — I’m appalled that you even thought to suggest otherwise. We do have everything clearly budgeted out, and let me tell you that $30K is a modest goal – in all likelihood it is going to cost more. Let me put something else out there for you to consider: I have been putting 2-5 hours a day, for the past few months, into research, planning, making contacts, etc on this project — the director Robert, has surely put in 100s of hours — not a penny for our valuable time, and no assurance that we will ever see a penny for it. To have someone like you publicly question our motivations is truly disheartening. Personally I can’t believe that anyone who has watched that trailer and read our IndieGoGo campaign could doubt our sincerity and passion for the subject. If you think a great modular synthesizer documentary can be made with gas money and a handful of people from 1 or 2 cities, then you should go ahead and make that yourself. According to you it’ll cost you next to nothing to do, so what have you got to lose? Alternatively, you could contribute $25, essentially a DVD-pre-order, and help us to make a documentary that is both great and comprehensive, both geographically and thematically.

      Jason/Solvent (producer for “I Dream Of Wires”)

      1. Jason

        Thanks for weighing in on this.

        I didn’t expect to see a lot of negativism on this – but it makes me think that the more transparency that you can bring to your fundraising project, the better.

        That said, make sure your comments here don’t turn into personal attacks. Calling synthfans’ comment a “a cynical, ignorant response” is borderline.

        Figure out what you can to convert the cynical and ignorant synthesists out there. If you can do that, reaching your fundraising goal should be easy.

        1. Synthhead — I understand and appreciate what you’re saying, but I do disagree with a couple of points:
          1 – IMO, calling Synthfan’s comments “a cynical, ignorant response” doesn’t qualify as a personal attack — I am calling it exactly as I see it. It’s cynical because it questions our motives and even calls our character into question, suggested that we may be raising money to finance a personal vacation (!?!). It’s ignorant because it presumes that the trailer was produced on no budget, and that we don’t need more than a little gas money money to complete it. The guy clearly has no experience or understanding of what it takes to make a documentary film, so he is in no position to call our budget into question.
          2 – We are not aiming for transparency – I am a part of the modular synth community, and I interact with it. This is beneficial to the film IMO – an outsider wouldn’t have the knowledge and contacts that I do.

          Anyway, we have already received a lot of enthusiasm, support, and contributions for our campaign, and I thank all of you who have been positive and helpful towards the project. We are open to suggestions and critique as well, but I felt compelled to respond to this particular attack, as it was so spiteful and ill-informed.


          1. You’re taking my comments personal which is a very bad way to deal with criticism. And you shouldn’t because I am /not/ criticizing you personally nor any of the other guys behind this project. But I am commenting on the project as a whole based on the information you gave the audience. Is it that hard to imagine that you’ll get both positive as well as some negative comments?

            I’m not going to comment on what you said here, IMO it speaks for itself and the last thing I want is turning a discussion into a mud slinging fest.

            I do want to comment on /why/ I have the opinion which I’ve shared above. First keep in mind that the only time I comment on something is when something truly and honestly interests me. And yes, that can be in a positive or in a negative way; even criticism can be constructive at times. My response is not something “out of the blue” either, if you’ll lookup the previous article about the trailer you’ll notice that I had a totally different story.

            Alas; the main reason I’m a little reluctant about all this is because I’ve seen a lot of similar projects before (not perse in the synth world). Some worked out for the best but some also didn’t. Often resulting in people “simply” losing their money. And if you witness that a few times its easy to become weary when you see yet another project popping up.

            So when I went over the information put on the project page I simply couldn’t help wondering about the things I mentioned above. Its very easy to get carried away by enthusiasm, especially after seeing the (IMO) cool trailer. I’m the kind of guy who tempers the enthusiasm and starts to wonder a little deeper.

            As such my comments above. I merely raised the question if cutting costs couldn’t be a liable option to ensure the release of part one before expanding the project into something massive. Quantity doesn’t make up for quality.

          2. To quote you — “Is this about a good movie or about trying to get a trip to Europe, financed by others?” — You would consider this question of yours to be a mere critique of the project, and not a personal insult? In my books, this is more than a criticism of the project – it is questioning our motives in a very mean spirited way. I think my responses have been well-tempered, and far from a case of mud-slinging. As I’ve already said, we are open to criticism, but it should be smart, constructive criticism — not a case of someone making public their own cynical speculations. Your comment about “quality not quantity” is also an ignorant one — you have not seen all of the footage we have so far, so you actually have no idea whether what we have is enough material for a quality, full-length documentary. It is enough for a quality trailer, that is all that you know. Please note that in this thread alone, we have received suggestions to visit Detroit, Iceland, and Japan — so as you can see, there are people who feel like we should take this project further by interviewing more people — we agree with this, but we cannot afford to do that out of Robert’s pockets, hence the fund raising campaign.

            1. I also notice that you’re now very busy criticizing the things I say and brush it all away as “insulting” and “appalling” but so far haven’t responded to anything I said in my first post.

              Its not me putting it onto the website that “your contributions will help to pay for travel and production expenses for this 2-man operation.”, as such my conclusion is that contributors also pay for a trip to Europe and as such I do indeed wonder if this is about Europe or about the movie. I mean; you never did share /why/ you want to go there or which specific places you think you’d need included in the movie. Having a plan of action up front and knowing the goals helps a lot, yet that lack of information makes me wonder if you have those already. As such my previous comment: do you focus on “Europe” or about “European aspects which should be included”. If the latter applies, why don’t you share those?

              Heck; sharing such info might even get or enable people to help you out more with cost reductions. You already mentioned hotel costs in your original response. If you’re short on a budget why not try to get the community to help out where it counts? I’m sure some people would be willing enough providing a place to sleep for example. At the very least they can recommend hotels. Truth be told: out of all “communities” online (I experienced a LOT) none is better than the “Synth (loving) community”. IMVHO of course.

              Yet you already mentioned above that you didn’t plan on transparency.

              Why not?

              Yes, I admit that I sometimes write stuff up in a passionate way. Same can be said about you. Think what you want, but I know all too well what happens if you set your expectations too high. And I am honestly afraid that this is exactly what is happening here.

              You can ridicule my comments about quantity, but that is still how I pick this up right now. Take the trailer; its not the amount of people or “big names” which made it awesome. Its what some of those people had to say, and how they said it. You could sometimes taste the sheer passion. That is what made it awesome in my opinion.

              As such I do indeed still wonder; why not try cutting costs and focus on what you can currently do ?

              1. “I also notice that you’re now very busy criticizing the things…” — you’re right — I have put too much time and energy into addressing your comments, and I am done with it. Hopefully my responses so far, not to mention the quality of the trailer itself, have made it clear to others what that our motivations are sound, and that our aspirations are to make the best film that we possibly can. It would be a real shame if one person’s cynical speculations influenced anyone else to question our passion for completing this project.

            2. “you have not seen all of the footage we have so far, so you actually have no idea whether what we have is enough material for a quality, full-length documentary.”

              But isn’t it true that a trailer is normally a snapshot of the stuff you already have? Don’t tell me that everything you had went into this trailer and this trailer alone? Because then I too would start to wonder what the eventual goal is.

              1. >>>>But isn’t it true that a trailer is normally a snapshot of the stuff you already have? Don’t tell me that everything you had went into this trailer and this trailer alone? Because then I too would start to wonder what the eventual goal is.

                What I’m saying is that, IMO, the footage we have so far is not enough to complete a comprehensive documentary on the subject. It is a preview/in-progress trailer. Every interview subject we have in there was interviewed for at least an hour, so there is a lot more great footage there, but IMO we need more to make it into a full-length film.

      2. Maybe if you get enough cash coming in you could even look up Isao Tomita in Japan… there are people in the old soviet republics doing some great stuff too. As for me, I’m sold on the basis of the trailer and if anyone’s looking for proof of sincerity of attempt, look no further than having successfully roped-in Morton Subotnick! Great stuff…

        1. P.S. I’d be grateful if the website creators here revive the insertion of hyperlinks? The ‘I dream of wires’ on simply reloads the synthopia article so… I don’t actually know where to find the actual site!!! Obviously, a Google search simply leads to sites related to the Gary Numan song…

          1. OK, ok… I’m an idiot. I didn’t previously notice the ‘slightly lighter than light grey’ camouflaged link 😉

  2. HOpe that creator of this movie will visit Detroit with detroit electro/techno musicians like doplereffekt and gus gus in Europe , waiting this film very much

    1. I’m a big fan of everything that Gerald Donald (Dopplereffekt etc) does, but there are several “but”s there:
      – he does not live in Detroit anymore
      – not sure that he uses modular synthesizers
      – AFAIK he does not publicly discuss his music-making process or gear

      I do have a lead on an interview with one of the biggest Detroit techno artists, a modular user too, and Detroit is a short drive from Toronto so that is definitely a possibility.

      GusGus is from Iceland no? We cannot afford to travel to Iceland.

      Anyway, if you hope that we travel around the world to talk to more people, you know what you can do to help make that happen.

      1. Thanx for reply ,,I’m big fan of Drexiya family(arpanet, zerkalo, dopplereffekt ,Muller and many others GD projects) musicians and of course GD is most mystery figure in this area , hope you will finish this beautiful project soon ,,,,,,,, and cant wait for a video , cheers ,wish you best.

      2. With Icelandair, you can buy a ticket that lets you stop over in Rejkjavik for a couple of days between legs, on your way to eg London. Check them out. $30,000 wouldn’t stretch to more than three beers in a local bar, though.

  3. “we are not aiming for transparency” = bye bye money lol. But what do I know, I use PRESETS …and enjoy doing so dammit!

  4. Just for the record: When I watched the trailer I was waiting for some European musicians and synth makers. Would be interesting to hear what Wowa Cwejman or Ken MacBeth have to say, for instance. It’s funny to read that some people do not consider the rest of the world that is not the USA to be important. If the situation were different and the producer of this documentary came from Europe or pretty much any other part of the world he’d probably would not have to endure this kind of criticism. And it’s not even like you don’t get anything in return for your donations. It’s essentially an art project and as such personally I would not hold the people behind it to quite the same standards as, say, a relief organization.

    1. Thank you Random Chance – it is clear to us that Europe has contributed significantly to the modular renaissance, and we feel very strongly that we need to go there to make this film a comprehensive one. I mean, for starters, where would the modular revival be now if it weren’t for Dieter Doepfer?

  5. Love the trailer, looks like a great film, I’m in. I’ll stay out of the fray, but just add, as I work part time in the film biz, in vfx and graphics, that $30k is extremely modest. If one spends any time at all in production and/or post production, they will see how much goes into the making of a film. I hope you get every penny of the $30k, and well-beyond, and I have no doubt we will be greatly rewarded.

    1. Thank you, Tom, for that… Here is someone that knows, first hand, that a great documentary film is not generally made on a “gas money” budget.

  6. The synth scene is small, the Modular scene even smaller. So small in fact, that a professionally made, well researched doc about modulars would basically have to be community funded. Unless someone who is filthy rich decided to front the cash. I never thought about a doc about modulars because i didn’t think there was enough interest for one. It never crossed my mind. But here it is, in the process. The Director has already shelled out thousands of his own personal money to get where it is right now. I have ZERO problem throwing some cash their way to help this ship continue rolling. The more money, the better the product. Common sense.

    This is a VERY small community, so asking for help shouldn’t be looked at negatively what so ever. Robert and Jason have their hearts firmly in the right place. I just find it a bit odd that someone can even read ANY negative aspects in this at all.

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