I’ve done a few music videos, and when I say “done” I don’t mean it in any Hollywood sense of done. It’s just been me and my Beaulieu Super8, a few cartridges of color negative film, someone to push “play” on a boom box, and the artist. I made an “unauthorized” video for Jewel with just two cartridges (about 5 minutes of total running time), my son Weston operating the boom box, and Jewel. No hair and makeup or assistants or stylist or manager or publicist. It took about ten minutes, set-up to finish.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not boasting. I have a lot of respect for the people in film who have dedicated their lives to it, have paid all the dues, have learned their craft. I envy the great cinematographers, and sometimes secretly wish I’d made that my profession; just to be close to great acting, to look through the finder and see it happen, the best seat in the house.
In the spring of 2009 I got a call from John Mellencamp, asking me to make a film. He was going on tour, and recording a new album. John and I go back, and he knew I’d never made a feature-length documentary before, and I was honest when I said I’d love to do it but it will be a grand experiment. Was he sure he wanted to finance an unknown result? John has a history of giving people jobs they’ve never done before, I was no exception.
Well, my son Ian and I did it, we made a film--just the two of us--and it was a selection in the SXSW, Nashville, and Dallas festivals. Some people have said they like our film, but the truth will be told sometime in the future, it’s out of my hands. I’d be delighted if someone called it a cult film, it’s a rough piece of work, all Super8, but John’s music shines through, as it should.
In 2011 I took on another film project, this one about six-man high school football in rural Montana. It’s a story that has an ending no one would have predicted, and I’m still struggling with how to tell it. One day...