Mysteries of Love Premieres at David Lynch Tribute Concert in Los Angeles

By on August 5, 2015

From seed idea to the big screen in no time

By Michael Sternfeld

   What can you learn from major entertainment productions that can jump-start your next entrepreneurial or business initiative?

   Anyone who has produced a major event knows that it’s like a high-speed chess version of a business start-up. Instead of a five-year business development process, imagine compressing your entire venture into an 8-12-week period. That’s often the compressed timeline we’re working under when we produce a live event.

   Producers move fast and shoot from the hip, and there’s just no margin for error.   You just can’t tell your audience that your marketing team has decided to delay product rollout! Yet all the major components of a business startup are found in a production, including initial concept development, design strategy, production implementation, marketing roll-out, and so on. Producers are often like Special Forces commandos training for the business arena!

   When I’m not consulting with execs on Core Essence Marketing, I occasionally take on creative projects, such as this juicy music video I recently produced for a David Lynch Foundation tribute concert to the music of David Lynch. After writing up the story describing my edgy process on this one, I later realized that this odyssey had illustrated the core principles for success in any creative or business endeavor. Check out how these 9 Core Essence principles apply to you and your own initiatives. I have cited them in the story and you’ll find a complete list of them at the end. Your life is a big production!


Photo: Andrew Humphries

Sometimes events are ordained. You know what it feels like when all of Providence converges to fulfill your wildest desires. Even wilder when the desires of a cast of twenty or so come together to create something great in a unified spirit. The events surrounding the making of the “Mysteries of Love” music video reflect that kind of remarkable, interwoven synchronicity.

“Let’s do a creative project together, Michael.” A simple seed idea proposed by LA-based Greek actress/singer Elena Charbila (KID MOXIE) to me at the beginning of this year started the snowball rolling. Little did we realize how quickly the creative forces would gather around that simple impulse.               [1. Right Place, Right Time]

Segue to the world of David Lynch. David Lynch’s 1986 classic Blue Velvet featured the iconic theme song, “Mysteries of Love.” Turns out that this was actually the first time that David Lynch and his longtime composer Angelo Badalamenti ever collaborated together, and their musical marriage has been lushly expressed in every David Lynch movie since. Fast-forward thirty years. Badalamenti decides to remake “Mysteries of Love” with a full orchestra and asks Kid Moxie to perform the vocals. Later Angelo allows Elena Charbila to feature this classic, richly tapestried song on her just-released album, 1888.

Now you have all the background that frames the significant cool around the genesis of this whole project. And what was the project? Elena and I envisioned the creation of a music video of this iconic song, “Mysteries of Love.” Adding even more significance to the timing, I remembered that Lynch was going to be staging a big concert in LA—a tribute to the Music of David Lynch. Wouldn’t it be amazing if our video premiered at this world-class event? It seemed like a one-in-a-million chance that one of the greatest film directors of our time would opt to include our video at this tribute to his lifetime of work. [3. Imagine Big & Be Outrageous] Adding to the challenge was the necessity of assembling a cast, crew and funding in such a short time, since we were now in early February. Let it snow… [4. Inviolable Commitment]

The ball started gathering speed when I reached out to the David Lynch Masters in Film (DLMA) to recruit the best faculty, staff, students and alumni of Lynch’s signature film program. Brilliant alumnus, Amine Kouider and head Sam Lieb signed on as co-directors, along with top Hollywood players including Joanna Plafsky and screenwriter, Evan Spiliotopolous (Hercules) as Executive Producers. We now had our core team. [8. Recruit Your Core Team] I felt like Yul Brynner in The Magnificent Seven, assembling the crack shots of Fairfield’s growing film family. Our goal was not to save a dusty Mexican town from banditos but to realize all the subtle intricacies inherent in “Mysteries of Love” in a five-minute short film that would capture Lynch and Badalamenti’s song and touch the hearts of all who saw it. Truly no mean feat.

[2. Know Your Core Values]   [9. Communicate the Parts & the Whole]

[Ed. Note: Fairfield,Iowa, a small town in the heartland of the US, is a hotbed of creative and entrepreneurial energy.]

There was something about this archetypal theme of love—love as the inevitable force of Nature that seeks out those who are meant to be together—that acted as a magical magnet to attract all the key people of our team. For example, Zach Peel-McGregor, an A-list cinematographer in Australia happened to be flying in to visit his fiancee the weekend of our shoot. He joined us on the set, coming straight off his 40-hour flight from down under, for an intense weekend shoot of 18-hour days. French actor Guillaume Campanacci, flew in as our male lead. Noted performance artists, S.B Woods and Cherie Sampson joined us as the Cocoon Woman and the Tree Woman. And so the ball kept on rolling. [5. Fully Engaged, Fully Alive]

All these forces converged in an intense three-day shoot over the first weekend in March, culminating in an almost all-nighter in our “secret garden” pine forest in freezing temperatures. [7. Re-assess, Re-evaluate, Change] Spirits were always high as our crack team worked together almost seamlessly. Then we had to compress about two months of editing into five days, with three editors working in cross-country locations. [6. Learn From Obstacles] Then there was our bated-breath submission to David and the producers of David’s LA concert, and as our growing luck would have it, one other video that was being considered for inclusion did not get finished in time. And finally, the big breath release as David approved this to be the only music video included in this epic concert headlined by Duran Duran and featuring performances by all of Lynch’s other favorite artists—Moby, Donovan, Chrysta Bell, Sky Ferreira, Karen O, Jim James of My Morning Jacket,and many others.

Our core team in Fairfield flew out for the premiere, joining our LA-based talent at the Theatre at The Ace Hotel in downtown LA for one of the most powerful evenings of music that we’ve ever seen. It felt great to see our seed impulse completely realized and played out on a giant screen in this ornate gilded theater. A hushed silence followed the premiere, then the audience responded with a powerful roll of applause. We had made it. The night climaxed with one of the most outrageous after-parties I’ve ever seen, culminating in dancing in the streets with LA’s talented homeless and eating tacos with Duran Duran. Truly a night to remember. But it was more than a fleeting experience, as an inner “something” had grown through our process. Through all the ups and downs, our agonies and ecstasies, love indeed had conquered all. More so, the subtler richness of the mysteries had made our journey into love ever the more beguiling. [2. Know Your Core Values]

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Epilogue–The 9 Core Principles

  1. Right Place, Right Time

When you’re in the right place at the right time, you know it; it has a certain flavor or feeling. Get to know that feeling really well, so when it comes up in the future, carpe diem (seize the day). Initiatives that have that beginning energy are destined for success.

  1. Know Your Core Values

Your core values are rooted in your core essence–what matters to you the most. Whom or what do you truly serve? When you know that field, you have an inner compass to guide you unfailingly. When every move you make is aligned with your core, you will create the greatest impact on your environment. Core essence is the foundation for impactful success.

  1. Imagine Big & Be Outrageous

“Just pick something great, and do it” was the advice given to me once by a wise sage. It sounded so simple, but always true. We’re always making up our goals and objectives, so why not choose some big, outrageous goal and just go for it? Big and small goals both engage the same manifestation sequence, so why not go for what you really want?

  1. Inviolable Commitment

As that famous quote goes, “When one makes a commitment, all manner of Providence come to one’s aid…”. Inviolable commitment leaves no possibility of anything but reaching your mark. Whenever I’ve taken on big projects (such as a seven-year project recording the world’s longest audio book, 75 hours in length), I make a no-holds-barred, inviolable commitment to complete the task at hand. With no way out, you have no chance but to move forward invincibly. No stories, no excuses. Just do it. A very empowering approach.

  1. Fully Engaged, Fully Alive

Start moving ahead in ways that make you feel fully alive.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ― Howard Thurman

Fully alive means fully engaged, and it’s one of the best markers for success in action. Joseph Campbell’s Follow Your Bliss is good, but it always reminded me of some perfume…a little too up-in-the-clouds. Feeling fully alive is a better marker since it requires being more grounded on Earth.

  1. Learn From Obstacles

   Negative feedback or obstacles along the way are just as valuable as positive results, because they give you a clear signal to adjust your course and your attitude. Any good entrepreneur will tell you that creative solutions come just as readily, if not more so, from obstacles and failures. Continuing your progressive track of action, which includes these self-adjusting hurdles, also makes you more flexible and resilient.

  1. Re-assess, Re-evaluate, Change

Sometimes when I have made an inviolable commitment, I can get too rigid in attempting to stay exactly on the track that I initially anticipated would help me reach my goal. Commitment is good, but rigidity is not, since the environment may prod you to change your course and strategy. Stay on-track until obstacles really stop you, then re-assess and re-evaluate a new direction, always pausing to double-check and align your new direction with your core values.

  1. Recruit Your Core Team

   Going on an expedition with a team sharing similar core values becomes a juggernaut for accomplishment. The value of carefully recruiting your core team cannot be over-estimated. This is especially true on the set of a professional production, where there’s no margin for error. A solid production team will work like a well-oiled machine, with great mutual support and camaraderie. These same kinds of core values can be adapted into an entrepreneurial or corporate environment. The key is for every member of the team to clearly know their role and how their responsibility fits into the larger whole.

  1. Communicate the Parts & the Whole

   The reason why members of production teams can work so well together is that everyone knows their part and has their eyes on the prize—the finished production. And the show much always go on! Communicating your big vision clearly and often, as well as making sure each player knows how he or she fits within the whole, creates extraordinary team coordination. So remember to capitalize on this kind of team drive, often seen only in professional sports or production teams, and you will experience a whole new level of team coherence and success.

     Mysteries of Love had an exclusive online premiere April 22 on  and is available there, or on YouTube: Angelo Badalamenti feat. Kid Moxie – “Mysteries Of Love” (official video)

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About Michael Sternfeld

Producer and Body-centered Therapist Michael Sternfeld is a body-centered therapist, who has combined his professional dance background with bodywork skills and an MA in Vedic Psychology, to create an integrated embodiment approach called, Body Presence. He is also a world class producer of epic events, featuring some of the biggest names in the entertainment world, especially during a recent five-year stint as producer for the David Lynch Foundation. Learn more about Michael Sternfeld at Body Presence