Digging through the past….

So it’s been awhile since my last entry, and I wanted to be more consistent. I’ve been deep diving into old material such as audio tapes, and 8mm film. I am fortunate that my dad was a consistent recorder of my mom and his life. I even still have the old 8mm camera he used. It is a wind up camera that still works. It’s funny as much as he did 8mm film I did Super 8 film. I was fortunate to have an uncle who repaired and who worked with cameras, so I’ve worked in Super 8, Single 8 and 16mm. I’ve also gone through a number of 1/4 inch audio tapes that my father would communicate with his sister in Germany. That has been a bit daunting too. First it’s all in German and it takes a bit for me to translate, and if that wasn’t difficult enough I have to contend with listening to the tapes sped up because my father recorded at a low I.P.S (inches per second). He did so so he could put more info on each tape, but I don’t have any recorders that go below 3 3/4 i.p.s. The recorder my father used recorded at 1 7/8 i.p.s, so I can hear the dialogue but it’s sped up. So you can see why between my language problem I also have a tech problem. Yet I manage. I have not found any of my father’s tapes that he sent his sister. I did take every tape I could get when I was in Germany after my father’s death, but so far it’s been elusive. I have some tapes to go through but may be resigned that I may not have any, which has him talking which is bumming me out. I was looking so forward to hearing him. again. But hope springs eternally. The tapes I do have are nothing I really want. I have learned one thing and that his sister was insistent on getting all of us to Germany to the point she would belabor the point. How that must have grated on my father and it reveals why he was so angry or upset. After his sister died things did change, and we became a lot closer, but that was something I did not know, so I have learned something about my dad and feel a bit sorry & guilty for not knowing that. It explains a lot & how it was a factor in my relationship between my dad & I.

My dads old 8mm camera

Getting the money up to transfer the films has been more of a concern right now. There is a whole lot of films that I’ve never seen. Some labeled from the 50’s when my mom & dad were courting. I’ve also begun trying to get my uncle & aunt to talk about those days before I was born. I need to do that sooner than later, and I may drag my oldest son to interview me about growing up & my memories of dad. So it may not be necessary to include the audio tapes. Of course this all costs & as usually life goes on. Bills need to be paid, and it’s hard when you are trying to help our oldest through college. It reminds me of the movie “Mr. Hollands Opus” starring Richard Dreyfuss directed by Stephen Herek. There he is trying to “compose one memorable piece of music to leave his mark on the world”, yet life gets in the way while the years go by. It’s a really good movie and one that hits home. No matter when I see it on I get sucked into the movie & it delivers consistently. We all try to achieve above ourselves, and it’s hard to achieve that when life marches on. The end of the movie is triumphed in a different way because his success is measured by the students he’s touched by showing them his love of music, which becomes their love of music.

Hopefully I’ll get the film transferred soon. Meanwhile my desire to do a short piece of fiction grinds on me as well. The most fun anyone can have is collaborating with fellow artists like actors & seeing what can be accomplished. It’s one thing I walked away with when I made “Deadly Obsessions“. The actors made it better then I could have. The one factor I just wish I had more time to run scenes with the actors. Who knows what better scenes we could have come up with. So there’s that. So trying to write new material is another thing I’m doing. I’ve already knocked down one particular film I’d like to do. Too ambitious for now, but something that may happen later. Meanwhile the wheels still spin and I’m just fighting myself on getting something done with the goal of everything I do is a teaching moment for myself. The more you do the better you get. Don Dohler was a hero of mine & though his films were a bit amateurish I still consider him a wonderful and inspiring filmmaker. He did it for the love of film. He never though about seeking fortune. He was fortunate to get his films distributed because he had product in a time where video cassette was a major distribution point. That and late night TV programs were always hungry for product and he was the guy who had product. Nowadays that’s not the point. There is a lot of content out there, but very little with quality. Dohler’s films had quality and were quaint as well as entertaining.

So the beat goes on. I’m trying to do more than talk. I’ve been involved in many projects throughout my career where we’ve talked to death about a project and nothing comes of it. Sometimes you just have to push on & create. I’ve learned you’ll never have enough money to make that film you want. At this point in my life I’ll be more realistic. You have certain resources and you work with what you have. Also just enjoy the now. I have deep passion for cinema and will continue to do what I do. Hopefully more of us will do more guerrilla filmmaking and maybe we’ll get to be that farm girl from Iowa Francis Ford Coppola talked about awhile ago. A new wave perhaps where old stereotypes go to die and perhaps be reborn. The thing is anything is possible and you just have to continue pushing forward. Maybe when I’m long dead these films will surface and I’ll be considered a genius or just another filmmaking fool. The thing I’ve learned so far in my life is just be true to yourself and do the things that you love. My father did that and he loved being an electrician. He loved fixing things, and in some way I love doing that as well. In a way this film is a walk into the past where I can come to terms with my dad & our relationship. Kind of like therapy. I like old tech and it has a place in the future. Anyway thanks for reading and I appreciate the time. I promise I’ll try and be a bit more current & will post a bit sooner then later. Adios amigos!