“Left Alone Rhapsody” is a feature-length documentary film by Stewart M. Schulman about Leonard Bernstein protégé, John Bayles who debuted at Carnegie Hall at 25. His jaw-dropping technical prowess at the piano initiated a 30-year-long concert and recording career as a solo pianist, composer, and improvisor. At 54, a left-brain stroke immobilized his dominant right side.
Left Alone Rhapsody chronicles John’s rise from four-year-old Texas musical prodigy to international star; John’s fall post-stroke and courageous struggle to transcend paralysis; and John’s determination to reinvent himself as a one-handed musician and storyteller. The question is: With just his left hand alone, how far will he go? All of that is what Stewart came to Buzzco to foreshadow in a brief opening animation. Here are his thoughts on our collaboration:
“I was looking to Candy to create an opening animation that would help us set the tone for the film—to foreshadow the arc of John’s rise and fall, and ‘hoped-for’ reinvention, without giving ‘any real specifics’ away. Candy immediately grasped what I needed, and gently guided our team in a direction that took our ideas and improved upon them. Her final animation is conceptually clear, visually stunning, and emotionally engaging. When we needed a second animation, (completely different in nature from the first), to help us explain the neurological differences discovered between the brains of musicians and non-musicians, Candy created something scientifically complex yet visually pleasing and accessible. She is a joy to work with and an artist I greatly admire.”
I found this film very inspiring and this was a challenge I was delighted to take-- to try to figure out a way to introduce an audience to become engaged in this fascinating story of recovery and resilience after a major life crisis. I had a lot of fun working on it and I'm glad it was so well received!
Written, produced, and directed by
Stewart M. Schulman
Buzzco Associates, inc.
Director of Photography