Related Works

[Haley] Table For One


Directed, Edited, Composed music

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"Table for One: Recipes and Stories of New Yorkers Living Alone” is a documentary project that delves into the often-overlooked lives of solo New Yorkers. The series uses food and the act of sharing meals as the entry point into intimate stories. Participants share recipes and the personal narratives behind them, providing a glimpse into the struggles, triumphs, and everyday realities of living alone in such a dynamic city.

Living in a major metropolis can be both exhilarating and isolating. "Table for One" addresses the sense of loneliness that many urban dwellers experience.  The project highlights the particular challenges of navigating NYC alone: forging meaningful connections, pursuing aspirations in a competitive environment, and finding joy and self-care within the often-cramped living spaces.

The series aims to foster empathy and connection. For those living alone in NYC, it serves as a reminder they're not alone in their experiences. For others, it humanizes the countless anonymous faces they encounter,  encouraging recognition of the rich array of lives being lived within the city's bustle. Additionally, "Table for One" challenges the romanticized portrayal of New York, offering a more nuanced, relatable look at the everyday struggles and triumphs most New Yorkers face.

[Haley Williams]

Haley told me that does her grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s on 93rd street. The plan of the day was to film her grocery shopping first, then the train ride to her apartment, then the interview, and then the cooking. We were going to find some other time to film the B-roll. But the plan shifted a little bit because we made a stop at the Riverbank State Park which is Haley’s favorite place in New York City. We spent about an hour there. She shared her memories and showed us around the park. Haley is a dancer indeed, but here I noticed how free she was using her bodily movements. She showed us cartwheels, and a back stand, then she suddenly started to run and jump to reach the moon painted on a wall.

Haley verbally walked us through the recipe while she was cooking. She went into more detail about the ingredients and the way she cooks while she was in the kitchen - about the knife set her mom gifted her but she doesn’t know what knife to use so she just randomly picks one; how she would cut the ingredients more precisely if the food was for somebody else, but because she is just cooking for herself, she doesn’t care how it is cut; and how her mom sends the Kielbasa sausage from home which sometimes she can’t find it in the city. I thought these were all very valuable information that shows who she is, so I found a way to interweave both separate audio files into one. 

[Music Composition]

Each episode includes three originally composed songs in it and they share the same opening song.

The descriptions and stories behind each song:

Opening - Inspired by Siski by Cooliger in their album Living the Simple Life. It has modern jazz/new age music stylistic qualities, which I tried to create in my music. The instrument includes a piano, upright bass, and drum kit - a jazz trio instrumentation. I made the music as a loop, repeating the same 8 measures over and over again so that I can fade out the music whenever each episode is done with the intro.

Haley and Haitian Spaghetti - This song is in Haley’s episode and appears when she talks about the food that she’ll make, grocery shops, and making the food. The music is written in a bossa nova style. Similar to the opening song, the instrumentation includes the jazz rhythm trio (piano, upright bass, and drum) and flute playing the melody.

Haley and NYC - This song appears in Haley’s episode when she talks about having new dreams in the city. The instrumentation includes piano, electrical bass, guitar, horn, and whistle. I used a mixture of MIDI and sample audio files.  I share a similar experience of feeling confused and left behind when so many talented people in the city seem to know what they are going after. Although she is not sure what her new dream is yet, I wanted to end the film with a more upbeat song because it is an exciting thing to have new dreams and possibilities.