A Brief History of MUSOFYR

Technically, MUSOFYR began around 1973, when I bought my first movie camera: a Super 8mm silent film camera. I immediately began creating my first film, entitled Duel in the Park, under the production company name of "S*S Productions."

S*S Productions later gave way to the Rational Mind Theatre Company. The logo includes the outline of a head with a flowering tulip inside. The tulip is traditionally a sign of madness, so I used a bit of irony in that device.

RMTCo was a non-profit association dedicated to creating new works of theatre. Alongside it stood Rational Mind Communications, invented to encompass works in media other than theatre. Founding members of the organization included my friends, Edward A Debes II, Melinda Gulden, and Fred Birk. The organization ultimately went nowhere due to a lack of funds to produce anything, and a lack of time on the part of the members to do anything together.

RMTCo was born out of a dream I had to take a warehouse, invite artists and technicians to come there and work on collaborative projects. Clearly, there were obvious drawbacks to this plan: in addition to a lack of space, there were the above-mentioned lack of money and time.

Then, in the 1990s, the World Wide Web appeared. Suddenly, my idea of a physical warehouse where people worked together in real time (synchronously) was unnecessary. We could collaborate through email and online chat. We didn’t need to be in close proximity with one another. Jeremy dePrisco and I worked on two theatre productions in this way. In 1998, we exchanged scripts and MIDI files by email for my production of Iphigenia at the Penn State Hazleton Campus (since Jeremy was living in Harrisburg at the time). A year later, we did similar script and music work on my adaptation of Peer Gynt at the University of Charleston (WV).

To better accomplish further virtual collaborations, I created COLLAB-L, "A listserv dedicated to bringing artists together to create collaborative works" (from the Mission Statement). Originally, I had wanted to find people to work with on my projects, but it soon became a place for people from many places to find collaborators for their specific projects, to discuss the nature of collaboration, and to share news and information about what they were doing online. These were the early days of online theatrical experiments at ATHEMOO and IRC, and groups such as StudioZ in Chicago were just getting started.

Begun in 1994, COLLAB-L is still in existence.

As the turn of the millennium approached, I became dissatisfied with the name, Rational Mind Theatre Company. The Rational Mind name had been with me since I started a literary magazine shortly after high school graduation. (It lasted only one issue--and actually, the cover for Volume 1, Issue 2 says that Volume I, Issue 1 is included inside, just so I could use the I,2 cover art. The "magazine" was produced using typed stencils and a hand-cranked mimeograph machine. A remnant still survives in The Mind's Eye, our annual tongue-in-cheek Christmas Newsletter.) I thought a new century required a new name. I liked the Shakespearean line that begins Henry V: "O, for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention." It seemed apropos for an organization dedicated to inventing new works. However, the term Muse of Fire seemed a bit long, and I wondered how I might shorten it to put on a car vanity plate. Thus, we have: MUSOFYR.

While MUSOFYR was created primarily as a film production company, it is ostensibly an "Internet-Based Independent Production Company that merges traditional artistic collaboration with digital media and communication," and therefore displays anything that the Web can serve to an audience.

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