Thursday, December 24, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
"The fist time I heard the word “Sonic” used to describe an overall feeling captured in music on film was at David Anderele’s home in Los Angeles, California.
While in production in LA, 2007 our executive producer Michael Baker had mentioned that he had just finished working on a film with a gentleman named Peter Afterman. Peter is a very successful music supervisor with a prestigious career spanning many three decades and Michael suggested that it might be worth meeting with him to discuss all things John Hughes music related.
Peter and I hit it off immediately (We’re both music lovers and weekend basketball players) and after I told him what we were trying to do, the first thing he said in a serious tone was – “You have to talk to David Anderele.”
Anderle enjoyed a diverse and successful career in the west coast music scene from the 60’s though the end of the nineties. To put it lightly, he had worked with the likes of Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, The Doors and Brian Wilson to name a small few. While presiding over the legendary 80’s label A&M Records David defined the definition of the star driven soundtrack with films like “The Breakfast Club” and “Pretty in Pink.” He had worked very closely with John Hughes and was even involved in producing “We are not Alone” by Karla DeVito on “The Breakfast Club” soundtrack.
David was a highly intelligent, kind and a giving man who was more than willing to talk to us about his creative process how he put those two soundtracks together. In a conversation we had about how he and Hughes came up with the “Sonic” for “The Breakfast Club” he said that he either found or produced music for each of the five characters in the Breakfast Club.
For instance, he said that they devised the music to be character specific. There was a Molly Ringwald theme, a Judd Nelson Theme an Emilio, Alley and Michael Hall theme. Music was used to showcase the feeling that each character was having and who they were inside. Music actually played another character in every one of John Hughes teen films, like when Cameron stares at the painting while The Smiths "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" or Judd Nelson Raises his fist to “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds.
Speaking of which…
Sometime in ealy 2007 my incredible producing partner Kari Holand somehow managed to get an interview with legendary Scottish front man Jim Kerr of the Simple Minds. Jim’s people liked Kari’s pitch so much that they released an article after the interview on Billboard Magazine titled - Simple Minds Hit At Centre of New Documentary.
Sadly, the interview took place in Scotland and our production budget only covered one flight, so I was not able to make it to enjoy backstage concert tickets and an one on one with Jim Kerr. Jim recounted how the song “DYFAM” is still considered his bastard son because it’s the only song he didn’t write but garnered the band the most exposure. It was Keith Forsey wrote “DYFAM”. I did hear though our director Matt Austin Sadowski that the blood sausage with chocolate was to die for. The article can be found here:
There is no doubt that John Hughes loved music. According to Anderle, he may have even loved music more than film. (Hughes’s son owns a record label in Chicago called Hefty Records.) This, evident in his self proclaimed love of The Beatles. As Ferris would say “I am the Walrus.”
Through out the documentary we also had a few standout interviews related to Music that SADLY had to be left on the cutting room floor.
Two bands in particular come to mind. First, a two piece rock band, husband/wife dynamic duo from Wheaton Illinois called Joy Focus. Both Rikk and Holly Currance have been constant supporters of our film from the get go and gave one of the most emotional interview’s in the doc about how John Hughes helped Rikk through the passing of his mother in the music and storytelling of “Sixteen Candles.” And, how he was inspired to write the song “Mr Hughes Come Home” in a world that needs John Hughes to come back more than ever.
It brought tears to all of our eyes, and this coming from a six foot four, two hundred pound, pierced rock star. Awesome. You'll see some moving and hilarious clips from that interview here later.
The other band whose interview that unfortunately didn’t make final cut was John Conley and Ross Levine of “The California Oranges. This rad weezer like outfit drove down the coast all the way from Sacremento to meet us at the Hyland Gardens Hotel in Hollywood, CA. John and Ross spoke candidly about how John Hughes showed that even the geek could get the girl by being in a band.
By the time our film found its way into June of 2008 two very important pieces came together that helped us finalize a soundtrack that the whole team was happy with.
The first was ubber creative film editor Frank “The Gucc” Guidaccio and the second was the Vapor Music Group – Their team consisting of David Hayman, Stacey Horricks and Lyndsay Bates.
“The Gucc” brought his ridiculous ear for music (Having played in several successful rock bands himself) and storytelling. He also had a great relationships with several of the bands that we liked from the Art’s and Craft’s Label. Frank’s first words after watching the film was “I’m going to put the rock and roll into this thing.” We liked him from the start.
I told Frank that I wanted to find music that would capture all the themes that we had been exploring to date as well as select music that would be character specific to “us” and our search for John Hughes.
I can’t speak highly enough of Frank as a person and a professional. Especially when we placed the music.
The second piece of the puzzle became official when we signed a contract with the Vapor Music Group in the summer of 2008. Dave, Stacey and had been with us un officially since 2006. The Vapor posse are were all fans of John Hughes’s films and understood the importance of finding the right “sonic” for our little film, at the right price. I can’t speak highly enough the Vapor team. They provided constant guidance, fabulous creative input and their passion for the film was strong enough to allow us to do a dream soundtrack on a very little budget.
As the blog continues, I’m going to include a few of my dyfam play lists that were considered for the film through countless hours of actual road tripping with my favorite allies, Matt, Kari and Lenny. Thanks for Staying the Course.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Christian is perhaps best known as one of the original cast members of VH1’s “Best Week Ever”, where he offered keen insight into the workings of popular culture and the ubiquity of celebrity genitalia. “Chappelle’s Show” fans will recognize him as ‘Chad’, the only white roommate in the infamous “Mad Real World” sketch. And pinko Communists know Christian from his regular appearances on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”.
He is also a huge John Hughes fan. Though some of what you will see WAS written as part of an early act, most of the interview was just a casual conversation.
I made him do it on stage, at a comedy club, without any audience. Poor guy. He was also left on the cutting room floor. He was funny and made some great comments about teen flicks and so we share it with you.
Look for his new comedy DVD coming out soon. It really is hilarious.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
The DYFAM team is EXTREMELY saddened to report that John Hughes died of a heart attack this morning while out for a walk. Our film will be dedicated to his memory. His films will speak for him forever.
Justin Henry. You probably don't remember his name,but you will definitely remember his face if you loved Sixteen Candles as much as I did. He played the little obnoxious brother. His character's name was Michael Baker, which coincidentally is the name of our docs Executive Producer. Also noteworthy is that Justin is amongst a small little clique in Hollywood of 'youngest Oscar nominees'. As just a wee lad, he was nominated for his role in Kramer vs Kramer.
I found that he looked EXACTLY the same. Just a little older, with a bigger vocabulary and a mortgage. He had a special relationship with John, and was quite well spoken and introspective in the interview.
Speaking with him was special and took on a huge importance in that for the first time, there was an air of mystery surrounding Hughes and his absence/disappearance. Justin knew something. Something he just wasn't prepared to say (he was the first of many that wouldn't "talk") .
In the clip below you'll see how I try to covertly (NOT) reask the question in hopes that in his answer I would get at least a clue of what he was hiding. But he didn't answer,physically stiffened up, and the interview concluded soon after. If anything, just watch the clip for that bit.
My apologies to Justin for crossing a line, but after all. I'm a former journalism student and documentarian, it's my "job" to try and go after truth...Okay, now I feel better.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
How many people didn't wish Slone Peterson (Ferris Bueller's gal) was their girlfriend?
The answer? Nobody. So, we sat down with the actress who played her. Mia Sara. Who I already had a crush on at an early age after seeing her in 'Legend'.
She gave good interview :) Mia was funny, very generous with her time, quite honest and vulnerable with us. And she still looks great!
One of the most interesting and suprising things she spoke about was Hughes' approach to setting a tone in pre-production, specifically with the kind of films he screened for his actors. Current teen film writer/directors should definitely take note.
I could go on about the other things SHE went on about, but you might as well see for yourself...
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
So, we had just gotten back to Toronto. We now had amassed 6 hours of tape. The doc was beginning to take shape. I’m famous for irritating people with my metaphors, but I’d like to call this the “moment of conception”. We had found our “egg” and we were in phase one of making our “baby” ; but our cell phones bills were high and our pockets were empty. We needed help. (and I continue to need “help” for my over/misuse of quotation marks).
The next interview we were excited for was with Linda Schyler. Many of you might say “Linda, who?”. Linda was the creator of the original Degrassi Junior High. As the story goes, Aaron Spelling was interested in buying it and revamping it to take place in a school in Los Angeles, but Linda wasn’t interested in glamorizing high school, instead wanting to accurately reflect a high schooler’s life. (can you see the tie in to Hughes?). Spelling ended up making his own series set in high school that never really took off , 90210…
Another tie into our doc, is that Kevin Smith (who gave us an awesome interview) is a gigantic fan of the original series and when it was brought back with a new class a few years ago (and a huge hit), they did a MOW with Kevin and he has since returned to direct a few episodes.
Unfortunately, Linda’s interview didn’t make the final cut, but she had amazing things to say about stories for teenagers, Kevin Smith and of course, John Hughes. And now, through this blog, you can watch it here . * You’ll see that I was still figuring out the aesthetic of how the key interviews were shot. It was after this shoot I realized that how I was shooting wasn’t working and I then changed my approach to have them framed a certain way and ON A TRIPOD. My bad. Lesson learned. Best film school ever.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
We hadn’t formed as a group for longer than a week, when we discovered a John Hughes Film Festival in Salisbury, Maryland. This would be the event that triggered our film to move from pre-production to full out production. We rented a camera (A Panasonic DVX100) from some friends (thank you Motel Pictures) and Fach, Kari and I hit the road. All we had discussed at this point was that we wanted the interviews to be filmed wherever we were able to grab them, and very “from the hip and raw” – meaning that we weren’t going to light it, or have a set list of questions – it was going to be a conversation that we’d have that we" just happened to have a camera around for."
We had no idea what would be in store for us when we got to Maryland, other than that we would be on campus grounds as the festival was a school event. We had already pre-arranged an interview with a professor who taught film at the local University and our key contact was a student named Garfield. As we waited for the film festival to start (which was basically a screening of a few Hughes movies over a few days – with a pretty modest turn out at the University theatre) we spoke to a bunch of kids on campus.
More than a test shoot if anything, our first trip taught us a few things. One, when shooting handheld it was difficult for me to be the cameraman AND interviewer (so that torch was passed to Kari). Two, we would definitely need a mic other than the one built into the camera (just stupidity really). Three, that Kari needs a number of inconvenient pee breaks while on the road, that the actor named Jake didn’t work at that furniture store that we bombarded (and has vanished even more so than Hughes), that the hot dog at the 7-11 we stopped at had probably been there since the premiere of Breakfast Club, and that these films resonate quit deeply with kids who weren’t even born when they came out.
This was a total new revelation and completely steered the doc in a new direction.
Below is an assemble, appalling sound and all, from our first trip ; general opinions about the Hughes films and the state of teen film.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Elusive and reclusive director John Hughes, sitting in Wrigley's upper deck near the left-field foul pole. From NHL.com, the first interview with Hughes since the wrap party for "Curly Sue":
"I grew up in the Detroit area, so I'm sort of happy right now," Hughes said at the end of the second period with the Red Wings up 4-3. "Gordie Howe was my hero growing up. We listened to games on the radio." After "Ferris Bueller" - "I used the number 9," said Hughes -- Howe sent the director an autographed jersey. "That was a big thrill," said Hughes, who nonetheless was a Blackhawks season ticket holder for years.
"We're going to re-up now," Hughes said. "It's amazing what Rocky Wirtz and his organization has done for the team. There is just so much affection for the Hawks that was pent up. I think that's why there was anger about the Hawks [dry stretch]. The team is beloved."
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I knew I could whip up a documentary talking to the hordes of people that gush over what Hughes movies mean to them, but was faced with a pretty difficult challenge of how I'd get interviews with the stars of those films. Enter Kari Hollend.
When I walked into her office and pitched her the project she was visibly excited. But knowing that this would be a long undertaking, she hesitated, telling me that she would get back to me in a weeks time with an answer. I walked out of her office. She called me to tell me she was in before the next block.
Next came Lenny Panzer, a man who can recite every line of dialogue from every one of Hughes' films.
We had met earlier in the year to talk about writing our very own teen film. We knew that we wanted to make something as close to a Hughes film as possible and as far away from something like American Pie as we could...we got nowhere. This documentary, dissecting Hughes and his impact, would be the perfect thing for us to forge together on.
Lastly came my uber creative best buddy Michael Facciolo.
We had gone through a lot together (he crashed on my couch for a year) and we had promised each other that in the years to come we'd start our own production company together. We both would write. He would produce. I would direct. I already had some directing experience, but he was new to producing. I couldn't think of a better project to get his feet wet with and a better producer than Kari Hollend to work with. And besides, on a project where I would be on the road quite bit, why not have your best bud along for the ride. Little did I know the hyginx that would insue (you'll read about them...).
And lastly there's me :
I still regret wearing that pink shirt. John Hughes movies changed the way I looked at myself and the kind of films I wanted to make. I went into this project with a couple of short films, a very independent experimental feature film under my belt and experience shooting with the camera we would use. But zero experience making a doc. Oh, the lessons I would learn.
So that's the team. We'd all be working together , through thick and thin, over the next 3+ years.
It had been about a day and a half before the four of us met in Kari's tiny office. Kari got on the phone to try and schedule our first interview.
Within 30 minutes we had one with Ally Sheedy.
I was sitting watching television with her. We had just sat glued to our set watching "Sixteen Candles" for the umpteenth time. "Can you believe this is a 'teen movie' ?" I asked. "Can you think of a pop teen flick from the last 15 years that can even hold a candle to this and the rest of the Hughes cannon ? Speaking of Hughes...where the f*%k is he ?"
Her response ?
"You should make a documentary about it."
If I had only known that that discussion would lead to an epic 4 year production which would see three out of the four team members get married, buy houses and have babies.
There would be plenty of distractions along the way, but we would always try to 'stay the course'.