A Year Ago Tonight - September 9th 2010

A year ago today…September 9 2010 a project that was ten years in the making hit a big screen at the Portage Theater in Chicago. “Route 66 - Ten Years Later” was an idea that was slightly ill planned, overly ambitious and basically a way to get out of town and do another road trip down a famous road with a friend who there was never a dull moment. My other motivation was to get my hands on some motion equipment and see if I could make a moving image look like my still frames. That seamless continuity between the two visuals, maintaining the same feeling, color pallet, and point of view with two wildly different ways of telling the story was a big part of the project for me.

What happened during the filming is something that comes out in the film. But what I will tell you is that I came back with a “what the fuck am I going to do with this?!” $12,000.00 and 5000 miles later I had driven across the us on a famous road, seen what addiction can do to someone you care about, driven for a straight 36hrs at mostly over 100mph to get home to see another dear friend. In the weeks that followed I started to sift and look and search for a direction to all the footage I had.

The next year and a half was a vertical learning curve of the editing software, story telling, self realization, weight gain (you become a hermit and spend 14hrs in front of a computer for a year) and mental struggle to find a path down this movies road.

There’s several events that made the film come together. 1. I said fuck it….really, I said fuck it, I don’t care if I look like an ass or Tim looks like a drunk. It’s what happened out there. It’s the story I have, It’s not what I went out to get, but it’s the hand I’m playing. 2. Webster Wine Bar rough cut screening. Feedback from friends who don’t sugar coat….gold standard. 3. Chris Bathgate graciously offered up his music catalog for the sound track….GAME CHANGER

What I learned…well, there’s a lot of technical bits that are in my head now. Camera moves, audio recording in the field or in studio, working with the editing software. All of that is the tech and I’m glad to have it. The story telling aspect was the one I’m happiest to have gotten. Telling a story in one frame @ 1/125 of a second is very different than 24 frames every second. Mixing sound, motion and imagery to convey a feeling and tell the story. It’s magical when it all happens.

The screening at the Portage was a wonderful surprise. A little over 250 came out to see the film. I think I knew 60. The staff at Portage had done a wonderful job of making sure it looked good on the screen and that the film was properly promoted.

The two best things about that night were, the entire crowd clapping after an emotional interview with Angel Delgadillo, and the response Tim Steil got from everyone after the show, in the lobby. Tim had not seen any of the film prior to the screening. How he and I are pictured is as we were in that car, on that road, those days in June 2009. The crowd was asking for Tim’s autograph on the book and dvd’s, asking him about the trip, revering him as the star of a film. I think he got more accolades and positive energy that night than he had in the previous 10 years. I think Tim needed that as much as I needed to have the project come to a close. We were the last two to leave the theater, the marquee of the Portage had the name of my film up in lights, it was a beautiful September night and I said “I’ll never do this again with you”…which, is exactly what I’ve said 3 previous times.

This past year has been filled with wonderlust. I can’t wait to get out on the road, any road or plane and go someplace. So far so good.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jim:

    I was happy to be there that night at the Portage. Was a great turnout and screening.

    The Angel interview was, in fact, the highlight for me and I do remember the spontaneous applause.

    Kudos again on crossing the finish line.