Jeff Harman and Haskell Wexler
Conjunction, LLC is the newest company created by owner Jeff Harman, who functions as writer, producer, director, and at times, special effects designer and editor.
Encounters Over the Years
(Some Fun Stories You May Enjoy Reading)
Since the late 1970s, Jeff Harman has built a diverse career in many areas of the entertainment industry. Jeff was a musician and owner of a full-service production studio offering music production, TV and radio commercials, audio visual productions, electronic and acoustical design and education from 1980 through 1997. Jeff has worked as an audio engineer, cinematographer, cameraman, sound man, musician, actor, and producer in many industrial films, audio-visual and music video projects for nearly 30 years. He has worked with such notables as George Carlin, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Budd Boetticher, Bernard Girard, William A. Fraker, Ricky Martin, Bobby Vee, Boz Scaggs, and many others. He has studied with William A. Fraker, Laszlo Kovacs, and Foster Denkar.
Jeff has procured financing for music videos, music production, TV pilots and feature films. He has spent many years working and training in directing, cinematography, lighting, gaffing, grip and rigging, special effects, CGI effects, editing and color grading.
Jeff has studied the mercurial art of screenplay writing for over 30 years with such masters as Syd Fields, Michael Hauge, Christopher Vogler, Blake Snyder, Linda Seger and James Bonet as well as many others.
Starting in the late 1970s, Jeff came to Los Angeles, California, to work on many projects doing production, design, acoustical testing and electronic modifications for recording studios and film dubbing studios. He has done freelance design and modification in acoustics and electronics in film studios, audio recording studios, concert halls and theatrical spaces for such famous and notable studios as Hal Roach, A&M Records and many other independent studios throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America and Puerto Rico.
In the late 1980s and through the 1990s, Jeff became very interested in producing and directing motion pictures. Jeff has studied acting with such notables as Tom Toddoroff and FIWI as well as many other acting coaches in order to understand the delicate craft of acting. He has also completed many classes in screenwriting, directing and cinematography over the years. In directing, Jeff has studied with or been coached by Mark Travis, Gil Bettman and Judith Weston. He has also studied with or has been coached in cinematography and lighting with such notables as László Kovács, Foster Denkar, and William A. Fraker, among many others.
In the summer of 2013, Jeff had an opportunity to study cinematography, lighting and various production techniques with Haskel Wexler at the Mole Richardson stage. Haskel, at 91, was as full of energy and wit as a 25 year old. He is certainly one of the great cinematographers of any era in Hollywood. He's won two Academy Awards, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf 1966? and Bound For Glory 1976, he also was cinematograper on One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest . He also filmed In The Heat Of The Night another classic film. Jeff said, "But his most important work, in my opinion, was telling the true stories of human plight in his various films and documentaries he has made. Medium Cool 1969, the US attempted overthrow of the Nicaragua Sandinista Regime documentary Latino in 1985, and the workers rights documentary Who Needs Sleep?, from 2006. The class was excellent because Haskel can uniquely use technological innovations and equipment to tell stories, while not allowing it to get in the way of narrative direction of the production. I was very honored to have studied with him. I sat next to his son Mark Wexler, who is also a very accomplished director, producer and cinematographer. Mark was kind enough to snap this photo of Haskel and me. "
One career highlight was when Jeff met director Bernard Girard, who had written and directed Harrison Ford's first movie Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round with James Coburn, and directed The Mad Room with Stella Stevens, Shelly Winters and Skip Ward. Girard had also directed the The Happiness Cage with Christopher Walken, Joss Ackland and Ralph Meeker. Jeff had met Girard through a musician and music producer Richard T. Bear, whom Jeff had hired to finish producing a music project in Studio City, California. Girard had a script that he was trying to get funded for a TV series called The Recycled. Jeff liked the script, which was about a talented musical group in prison that was to be let out on a parole basis under the care of Jack Ward, Greg Morris's character. Jeff then creatively built substantial promotional materials from Girard's studio career and, hoping he could help the director make a return, Jeff raised the funding for the TV pilot from various sources, including an heir to IBM. The initial pilot was filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada at a local prison and at certain casinos and restaurants on the Las Vegas strip. Jeff was a producer as well as actor in the TV pilot with Greg Morris from the original Mission Impossible TV series and Freddie Bell from the 1950s Freddie and the Bell Boys. While working on the set, Jeff befriended Freddie Bell and learned that Freddie had originally influenced Elvis back in 1956 with regard to Elvis' hit song "Hound Dog."
Though the TV pilot Jeff completed with Girard was never picked up, it was a good experience in production, acting, financing and meeting many talented people. During production in Las Vegas Jeff became good friends with Greg Morris, who was having much trouble with his health during the filming of the pilot. Jeff said, "He passed out on set and had to be rushed to the emergency room on one occasion, and it was tough to get enough coverage and footage due to his health. As a result the production value on the pilot suffered. Greg passed on a year and half later from advanced brain cancer. Greg Morris was a very dignified, talented actor and equally a very kind and generous person. I was privileged to have known and worked with him. I wished I could have helped him more with his personal trials."
Jeff was working on composing and playing the music soundtrack for the TV pilot made with Girard's son Peter Girard. While recording in the studio he met Ross Davis, the studio owner, and office manager of the legendary comedian George Carlin. Thanks to Ross Varoom Davis, this eventually led to meeting and working with George Carlin on a number of occasions throughout the years. Jeff will always cherish the three large filing cabinets in his office which still sport the labels "George Carlin Stationary". Jeff remembers, "One day in his office in Brentwood, George asked, 'Hey, you need any filing cabinets?' I said sure. He said 'Good, get 'em out here. I'm getting new ones tomorrow!' When I brought the filing cabinets to my office in Beverly Hills, I found an envelope with several one hundred dollar bills inside. The next day I returned the money back to George, who said, 'Wow, where the hell did you grow up? Here, you get to keep one for being uncommonly honest.'"
Jeff recalls one incident when he was working with George Carlin in the recording studio. "Ross Davis, George and I were talking and having a nice strong cup of espresso coffee. Then George said, 'I have to be somewhere soon, let's get this session going and do a mike check.' Once in the studio, George put on the head phones and started to do a test of a comedy skit routine which was a birthday gift for his friend Jack Burns the comedian. In 1959, George and Jack began their careers as a comedy team, eventually making a first appearance on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar. When you have someone like George Carlin saying anything in front of a microphone, whether its a mike level test or just a rehearsal, I move as fast as the neurological impulses from my espresso-filled brain can make my index finger smack down the record button, while my left hand is speedily adjusting the input faders on the recording console. When he flawlessly finished his routine, which was just supposed to be a rehearsal run through and a mike level test, George lifted up the front of his black baseball hat, scratched his head, squinted his eyes, looked up at me and said, 'Did you by any chance take that?' I answered, 'Yes sir, I certainly did, I got every word of it.' George asked, 'Were the levels ok?' I said, 'Yeah, they were real good.' He said, 'Good. Gimme the tape, I gottta get the hell out of here!' Then George snatched the tape out of my hand and said, 'Thanks, see you all later,' and, poof, he was out the door. The entire session was over in the blazing speed of George Carlin. George was an absolute out-of-the-blue genius, in every respect, and he certainly didn't need any rehearsals, having done many films, TV and road shows sometimes up to 280 days out of the year doing his comedy for nearly five decades."
Jeff recalls, "Another time I was waiting at Carlin Productions, and the secretary said to just go on in the office have a seat and wait. While I was sitting at George's desk, I noticed a large, beautiful, golden picture frame above his desk on the wall. I stood up to read it and inside the frame there was an official-looking document--George's discharge from the U.S. Air Force, addressed from Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, LA. He was discharged for being listed as unproductive, and A. Failing to repair for guard duty at building 34, 14, June 1957, and, B. Driving while Intoxicated at 0030 hours, 17, February 1957 . Later George informed me he was actually quite proud of that document and that it deserved to be framed with GOLD! I'm pretty certain the universe may never again produce anyone with such an amazing, incredibly ingenious mind! He was not only incredibly witty and funny as a performer, but meeting him in person, and working with him really showed me just how razor sharp his mind actually was. I would have loved to have given George an IQ test. I'll bet he would have dented the bell!"
Jeff said "I know this may sound a bit unbelievable to some, but my take on George was, on the inside, in his candid, forthright way, a very moral, realistic, sensitive, caring and dignified person. George was honest and brave enough to call the modern, so-called "civilized world" on its barbaric, virtual insanity and hypocritical persnickety BS. I was filming Lou Paget in Beverly Hills on June 22, 2008, when he died. Lou Paget and I both stopped and said, 'Wow, there goes a page in history!' Everyone was very saddened, and I just paused in solemn remembrance of him. The world will always love and greatly miss the one and only, amazing George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12,1937 -- June 22, 2008.) His daughter Kelly Carlin and I have spoken recently, and she carries his legacy forward."
Jeff also met many producers, managers, agents, and legendary actors and comedians hanging out over the years with Barney Girard and others for breakfast and lunch at the famous Nate and Al's in Beverly Hills on Beverly Boulevard. Jeff befriended the legendary comedian Rodney Dangerfield.
Jeff met a few of the old, classic, Hollywood producers and stars at the famous Chasen's Restaurant that Frank Capra helped get started. Since Barney Girard lived right across the street in the upper apartment on the northwest corner of Doheny Blvd. and Beverly Dr., Jeff and Barney hung out for lunch there often. Chasen's is now a grocery store--another famous landmark gobbled up by modern society.
Then, in the late 1990s, Jeff worked with a director of the classic western era, Budd Boetticher. This was a serendipitous encounter through a client of Jeff's. When Jeff heard he was the man who wrote Two Mules for Sister Sara and directed many of the Randolph Scott westerns, as well as the Glenn Ford western Man from the Alamo and a few of the Maverick shows with James Gardner, he was more than eager to meet him. Boetticher was looking for funding for his screenplay A Horse for Mr. Barnum, a story about the famous Barnum and Bailey Circus. It was to star John Voight and Armand Assante, who both expressed interest in the script.
Jeff remembers, "I met with Budd, and he shared with me many stories and examples regarding such greats as John Huston, John Wayne, and Glenn Ford. John Wayne had backed Budd as executive producer on his Lady and Bullfighter.
Jeff was particularly intrigued by Budd's knowledge of cinematography and how he would break his scripts down and plan shots, "He was very adept at creating maximum dramatic impact. He was very kind in explaining his cinematic and directorial viewpoints on many of his films. Budd knew the dramatic power and story-telling impact of using various lenses. He spent a good deal of time speaking to me about how he used lens effects, camera position and movement to enhance the audiences' experience of the story. Budd indicated, in his veiled way, that he was saddened he never fully returned to directing after his life in Mexico." Budd and his wife Mary were also excellent horsemen and trainers of their Andalusian horses.
"One day at his barn in Ramona, CA, Budd told me how he got his true start in directing. He said he had landed a job at Columbia Pictures as an production assistant, and he was working coordinating a number of extras in a scene when the legendary Harry Cohn passed through the stage area and chewed him out for something. Budd looked at him and said 'Don't you talk to me that way you son-of-a-bitch, or I'll knock you on your ass!' Harry Cohn said, 'Do you know who you're talking to? You get up to my office right now!' Budd complied, and when he closed the door of his office he thought for certain he was going to get booted out the door but, Cohn looked him right in the eye and said, 'I want to know, would you have really knocked me on my ass?' Budd said, 'We'll sir, you're damn right, I would have.' Harry Cohn asked, 'Can you direct?' Budd answered, 'Yes I can, sir.' Cohn said, 'Good, you just got a job directing.' That was Budd's way into the Hollywood studio system as a director."
"One highlight for me was when Budd invited me to the TCM (Turner Classic Movies) filming of his biography. When I arrived, Budd was sitting next to a distinguished-looking man drinking coffee. Budd said, 'I want you to meet Mr. William A. Fraker.' By the way, Mr. Fraker had agreed to be the cinematographer for Budd on A Horse For Mr. Barnum. I was just enthralled to meet such an amazing and accomplished film director and director of cinematography as Mr. Fraker. It was a dream come true to sit and pick the brain of a legendary cinematographer and director. He was very courteous and was more than willing to kindly answer any of my many questions."
"William Fraker told me about filming Bullet with Steve McQueen. He was sitting in the camera car in a speed rail cage (a rigged sports car with cheese plates) doing nearly a hundred and fifteen miles an hour just a few inches off the ground in order to get the shots of McQueen in that Mustang! He said all those shots were at real-time, blazing speeds because Steve McQueen wanted authenticity, not a bunch of sped-up film footage for the chase scenes. He spoke of the type of lens and camera mounts they used, because in those days, the sophisticated gyro heads used were not around. William Fraker was trained in the older school of cinematography, as he came in near the middle to latter part of what is often referred to as the Classic Hollywood Studio System era. Speaking with him was very informative. He is what I call a lens smith, and film stock emulsion master. He was very adept at all aspects of lighting and cinematography. The deep, saturated, incredible look of his films certainly speak for itself. He served three prestigious terms as the president of the American Society of Cinematographers and was a member of the British Society Of Cinematographers . I learned much from him in those discussions and examples. Very exciting stuff!"
"I was also impressed with the Hollywood contacts that Budd had. He would make a phone call and I would be sitting with some very impressive people, such as Marty Baum, head of CAA in Beverly Hills, Hilly Elkins, and various studio heads, to name few. Interesting how you can work in Hollywood for years, and after one phone call from the right person be sitting with some of the top people in the entertainment business."
"I could not get anyone to finance Budd's film, A Horse for Mr. Barnum, due to Budd's age and insurance issues. Budd died in the end of 2001, never making his last film. I was pleased to see a documentary about Budd The Films of Budd Boetticher Collection, which featured Budd telling the same story about how Harry Cohn made him a studio director at Columbia Pictures. The film was hosted by Clint Eastwood, Taylor Hackord, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. Clint Eastwood was also the Executive Producer, giving Budd the final credibility he deserved for his life's work in the history of cinema ."
Another very special encounter Jeff had was meeting and working with the famous cinematographer László Kovács who made his original breakthrough filming the classic Easy Rider, directed by and starring Dennis Hopper with Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda. Jeff had an opportunity to study with Laszlo in several classes at the famous original Hollywood Birns and Sawyer camera shop. Jeff said, "Laszlo was originally to introduce the advanced lighting class for Foster Denkar. Foster was the gaffer on Easy Rider and many other films with Laszlo and others. Laszlo periodically stepped in during the classes and gave his amazing techniques on lighting and cinematography."
"On a break, Laszlo told me, 'Jeff if you v-eally v-ant to learn z-he true art of cinematography, go study z great paintings of all z ancient and classic painters, because zey v-ere truly z-he great masters of light and composition.' I can still hear Laszlo pronouncing all of his w's and r's like v's and z's, which was always most endearing to me and everyone else who listened to him. I agreed with him, but didn't really have much access to many of the great paintings he was referring to. A few years later I went to Paris with my wife Camille and Laszlo's kind words rang again in my ears. If there is one place on the planet that offers art, it certainly is Paris. We went to many famous museums and I took thousands of pictures, shooting every painting in sight. I took so many photographs I thought I was going to wear out the damn shutter in the camera. We went to such famous museums as the Louvre, Palace of Versailles, Musee D'Orsay and the Paris Museum of Cinema , including many other places in art-filled Paris. Ironically, Dennis Hopper, Laszlo's good friend and colleague, had his amazing life's work and photography art on display at the Paris Museum of Cinema when we visited there."
"Laszlo was correct in telling me to study these amazing works of art from the masters of light and framing composition. It absolutely gave me a respect and sensitivity to what the great classical artists, painters and Hollywood masters of cinematography and lighting have known. One only has to watch movies like Gone With The Wind, The Wizard of Oz and so many other great classics to know they did not get those timeless nostalgic looks, composition and staging by chance. Laszlo said, 'Using various setups with the appropriate fixtures, often using a variety of small, medium and large lights and carefully sculpting their rays makes you work harder, but the results are truly worth it. As Laszlo, Vilmos, the Great John Alton --the master of Noire--and many others have said, it is truly Painting With Light. I will always remember and thank Laszlo for his valuable lessons and patient suggestions."
"Motion pictures often suffer from frantic, budget-focused, often art-less, production techniques in the rush of checking off scenes listed on the production schedule. The 'we'll just fix it in post' attitude becomes the spiral to project disaster. It is always best to get it right in front of the lens and microphone. Not in post. I have suffered many such projects, at the egocentric effect of 'those who don't know, that they don't know, what they don't know,' and who should not be in control of direction or the production."
"Another fascinating experience was watching Laszlo light a candlelit dinner with nearly 16,000 watts of very carefully sculpted light. He was not being pushed by a rushed schedule and was able to experiment and find the right dramatic look of the scene, something he had complained about on lower budget movies he had been on in the past. He was truly a master of light. He knew how to shape and sculpt the classic Hollywood Mole Richardson fixtures to create a mood that elegantly matched the narrative feel of a scene. Laszlo could do very unusual creative setups with lights. Had I not experienced his unique creative approaches, I am certain I would have never have been able to have discovered them by random chance. He was truly an artist on par with any of the great masters of light that proceeded him in the classic Hollywood Studio era."
"I was recently ridiculed on the set of a low budget movie for fogging up a room and putting a 10K gelled with CTO high outside above the window, shinning through slatted blinds. This was for a dramatic effect in an emotional scene. Yet, I am told by viewers that it's one of the better looking scenes in the movie! Had I not been rushed by the production team and co- director, and had I ten minutes more time, I would have had the scene looking even better."
"One day I went into one of the classic, Hollywood, studio lighting supply houses and asked for a roll of Vinylite which Lazzlo had suggested I get for its great diffusion properties and low light loss. The younger guy at the counter had never heard of it. But the gray-haired, older man down at the end of the room overheard me and smiled. He said he hadn't had anybody asked for Vinylite in almost a decade and wanted to know how I'd found about it. I said, "Laszlo Kovacs," and he smiled and said only the real experts and old timers ever take time to know all the intricacies and real tools of this trade. The older man went to the back of the warehouse, dug it out, and said I got the last roll they had, which had been sitting back there for 10 or 15 years!"
"Laszlo, with his life-long friend and colleague, Vilmos Zsigmond, another great legendary master of light and cinematography, came to the USA from Hungary in 1956 after filming the invasion of the Soviet Union troops and narrowly escaping with the film footage of the ordeal. Laszlo died in 2007, and there was a wonderful documentary made about him and Vilmos Zsigmond called No Subtitles Necessary , directed by, James Chressanthis showing their life's story, work and heritage, and most importantly, giving these two great masters the credit they deserve. I will always cherish having known Laszlo Kovacs and having received his very kind and knowledgeable guidance."
I had helped Vilmos up on stage ,when he was speaking at Paramount Pictures with Yuri Neyman, at the cine gear expo in 2013 and I felt his energy was not long for the earth. He passed away in 2016, another master of images now moved on. He left us much amazing work in his films and great knowledge of cinematography.
Jeff Harman's Company Audio Phonics Corporation
Jeff created Audio Phonics Corporation, a company that existed from the early 1980s until the late 1990s, which provided a wide variety of services, including music production, music videos, industrial films, videos, acoustical design, education and forensics work.
In the early 1980s, Jeff received acclaim from the Wisconsin's State Public Defender's Office when he provided crucial forensic analysis, evidence and a courtroom presentation to a jury which acquitted a high-ranking naval officer who was charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing of a cab driver. Jeff also performed a considerable amount of forensic work on various federal, state and local criminal court cases. These services involved voice print analysis and electro-acoustical analysis often in federal, state and local prisons for crucial evidence and in court testimony. For certain cases he worked with FBI and DOJ agents.
Using voice print analysis Jeff helped a sheriff and his detectives identify an individual in a notorious motorcycle gang who was threatening the life of a sheriff's deputy.
In another interesting twist of fate in the early 1980's, Jeff was consulted by a law firm to do acoustical and visual timing analysis on certain media footage obtained during the JFK Assassination. The initial testing criteria, procedures and analysis to be used in the data and reports was discussed by Jeff and the attorneys, but the funding was quickly pulled and the project was never brought to completion. The process was to use mathematical sound velocity equations of timing of the sounds emitted from the gun shots and compare that to the timing of the visual impacts of the bullets. The completion of this data may have been able to prove that there was more than one weapon used and that shots were fired from different locations than the alleged single point position of the "lone gunman theory" regarding Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald was reportedly the single gunman on the 6th floor of the Texas book depository as officially declared by the Warren Commission Reports.
Jeff taught classes on audio engineering, including physics, acoustics, psycho-acoustics and electronics held at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jeff taught classes in continuing education for teachers and various corporate personnel in the areas of audio-visual, video, film and musical production.
Jeff also taught many classes on advanced acoustical materials testing, architectural design and applications of acoustical materials in sound recording studio design, theatrical performance hall designs, musical concert hall designs and theatrical film sound stage studio designs at the famous Riverbank Acoustics Laboratory in Geneva, Illinois. This is a historically unique laboratory built by Colonel George Fabyan and extensively used by certain United States government intelligence agencies for coding and cryptology and also the US Military for various secret projects during WWI. The laboratories were also secretly used in WWII and afterwards for various purposes, including the testing of noise reduction designs in marine ships, submarine engines and many other military and commercial vehicles and devices. Riverbank Laboratories was designed by the renowned Harvard physics professor and acoustician Wallace Clement Sabine who developed the Sabine Equation utilized in architectural, theatrical and acoustical designs and NIST standards in the testing of building materials.
One of Jeff's most memorable encounters was filming and recording Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Jeff recalls, "I was not told who the famous guest was going to be. When we had finished setting up and rigging all the equipment in a large mansion on Lake Michigan, the police detectives showed up with the bomb sweeping squad. Then I knew it was someone pretty important. Soon I found myself giving a hug to Mother Teresa. She was extremely kind, and she rarely spoke in comparison to all the other speakers in the meeting. Today, I have on my office wall a document copied from what she wrote on her wall in India, which is now referred to as Hand-Written on the Wall of Mother Teresa ."
"I am voting that George Carlin and Mother Teresa (two people I've met with some common sense) should get together on the other side and help straighten things out for us all down here in this crazy world!"
Jeff has been involved with many exciting technical and electronics projects, such as working with ESA Power Systems, a Swedish company, in the technical testing, recording and analysis of AC and DC power line distribution systems. Jeff did technical consulting and performed courtroom audio recordings for legal transcription of the PATCO Air Traffic Controller Strikes during President Ronald Reagan's battle with the PATCO. Jeff also performed work with The Federal Merit Systems Protection Board during that ordeal. He also conducted acoustical testing analysis and designed remedies for acoustical problems for such companies as Abbot Laboratories and the University of Madison Wisconsin Performing Arts Center, as well as many others listed below.
Jeff has done design and consulting in recording studios in Puerto Rico and Florida for recording artists such as Alberto Carrion, , and Edgardo a very talented music artist in Latin America Diaz, the producer and creator of the musical group Menudo, featuring Ricky Martin when he was a teenager.
In addition to producing, Jeff also performed on many musical albums, commercials, videos and radio recordings for various religious organizations. He plays guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and midi digital instrumentation.paragraph here.