Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Part 3 of 7 (9/25/15, DAY TWO): Travelogue for 'Deaners' film shoot!

This is Part 3 of 7. 

Here's part 1: Part 1 of 7 (9/23/15, ARRIVAL): Travelogue for 'Deaners' film shoot!
Here's part 2: Part 2 of 7 (9/24/15, DAY ONE): Travelogue for 'Deaners' film shoot!

Day Two of shooting 'Deaners' was on Friday, September 25th, 2015. Sam Webb (DP) and Russell Stewart (Sound) and I met in the morning at Fairmount Camp where I was staying. 

This was a super early call of 6:15am, as we needed to be at our first location at 7:00am. I'm not much of a cook (or a morning person, for that matter) but I whipped up some microwaveable frozen items that I got in the grocery store the night before. Heated up egg burritos, pancake/sausage on a stick and cinnamon rolls probably tasted much better than what I could create on my own. ;) 

With Cole Reeves in the Fairmount Historical Museum
We jammed over to the Fairmount Historical Museum to meet with and interview Cole Reeves, president of the board there, and to take a look around the gallery. He had opened the museum early (7am) for us to beat the crowds and lines. There's a good amount of James Dean relics (personal items from childhood into adult hood), props from the films, play programs, motorcycle, furniture of his, and more to take in. Cole talked about the festival and had some fun anecdotes on the stuff we were taking a look at. There was also a Garfield room as Fairmount birthed Jim Davis, as well. And another floor of more history on the town of Fairmount, dating back to Native American days. 

We then went back to the James Dean Gallery to film a little inside before anyone else got there. We were there right as it was opening at 9am, and were there alone with David Loehr for a little bit before the first patrons started to arrive. 

Getting the shot... 
After that, we had some time before our first interview of the day, so we decided to head off to the grave of James Dean. There was only a couple others there (Peter Gallo and his friend Janet) and we were able to catch some cool shots of the grave with rays of light off the top (the way the sun was rising at the time). 

Brand new James Dean birth site monument in Marion, IN
Off we went to the birth site, 10 miles down the road in neighboring town, Marion. The residential building had been leveled some years before which had been the location where James Dean was born. In it's place now, through the hard work of David Loehr, is a monument and park (to commemorate the birth site).  The dedication ceremony was to take place 5 days later (which we caught snippets of) but we caught a glimpse at the scene ahead of time, as it was already open to the public. 

Russell and Sam with Mark Kinnaman
Our first interview of the day was with longtime James Dean fan Mark Kinnaman. He had moved to Fairmount some years before (being a fan of James Dean), and has a remarkable collection. He's the vice president of the James Dean Remembered Fan Club and also is a car enthusiast, and helps run the James Dean Car Run (show) that happens each year during the festival. We were able to catch a glimpse of his collection, artwork on the outside of his home too, and super awesome 50's diner style kitchen complete with booth and jukebox! 

With Ted Bernal Guevara
After leaving Mark's, we stopped to say hello in front of the James Dean Gallery to Ted Bernal Guevara (author of 'Lips of a Mastadon'), and chatted with him on camera for a little bit about his book and all. Then we headed off to catch Main street shut down for booths, carnival rides and more for a little bit. 

We then got a call from Chad Hanna, president of the James Dean Remembered fan club, and were trying to figure out where to have a bite to eat together. We ended up at the Outpost in Fairmount again, but for their lunch menu items this time. 
Sam, Russell, James, Me, and Dean 

We then went back to Base Camp (Fairmount Camp) to set up the cabin to interview James and Dean. They came with manager Rob Jarrell, and their father. We had a great time interviewing them, learning about their connection to the festival and about their music. We have their song 'Forever 24' still stuck in our heads from the evening before... and we all decided that this is one of our favorite photos of the trip/shoot (on the right): 

Jerry and Shirley Payne
Rolling around Fairmount some more on foot, we met gregarious and outgoing Shirley Payne in a lawnchair with others, making jokes about being on camera. We took her up on her offer, and she roped in her husband Jerry to also chat on camera. Such sweet people. They invited us to a BBQ that would take place later on (after only meeting them just mere minutes before!), but we didn't have the time to be able to, in the end. Such is a hospitality of Fairmount folk that we had met. 

We then got more shots at the festival of food, booths, rides, and spent some time at the car run. There we ran into (and interviewed on camera) Gregory Swenson, author of Recipes for Rebels: In the Kitchen with James Dean (this website is SUPER cool, btw... great design). It's a good size book that not only has recipes from those that knew, worked with, or had a connection with James Dean, it goes into the story on each person's connection, and has great photos and artwork, as well. 

By this point, it was a VERY full day and we captured QUITE a lot! We wrapped for the day... 

ABSO Improv Comedy
Then, that night, Russell was to be in an improv show for the troupe that he's a member of at Ball State University (40 miles south of Fairmount in Muncie). ABSO Improv Comedy was so great! Sam and I got to see Russell emcee the show on this evening. It was pretty cool to see him in this light, and performing with the troupe. We were joined by Sam's girlfriend Rachel and a handful of their friends, as well. The troupe was consistently good, all the people were great, and we had a ton of laughs. If you plan to be in the area, like their page to find out about upcoming shows. First timer audience members go for free (?) and returners pay $1. Caliber fun stuff with this group... 

It was a good time, and I ended up heading back to Fairmount after this to catch some Zzzz's. I didn't need to get up that early, but just wanted to decompress and sleep as much as possible as we had a full day ahead.

To Be Continued... (Part 4 Below) 

I would love it if you could 'Like' my page (if you haven't already), which is free! For more updates and to follow along with the film page, please visit and 'Like':   Deaners-The Movie.   

Thanks! - David Garry 


Here's Part 4: Part 4 of 7 (9/26/15, DAY THREE): Travelogue for 'Deaners' film shoot!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Part 2 of 7 (9/24/15, DAY ONE): Travelogue for 'Deaners' film shoot!

This is Part 2 of 7.

Here's part 1: Part 1 of 7 (9/23/15, ARRIVAL): Travelogue for 'Deaners' film shoot!

Day One of shooting 'Deaners' began on Thursday, September 24th, 2015. Sam Webb (DP) and Russell Stewart (Sound) and I met in the morning at Fairmount Camp where I was staying, and got into my tiny rental car to head off to The Outpost down the road, a down-home diner in Fairmount. 

Sam and Russell
I talked to them both over the phone before getting to Fairmount, and was happy to finally meet them face to face, connect and bond on any number of topics over breakfast, and set a game plan for the shoot. Sam comes from Chicago with a background of working on a good number of film and doc projects, including winning a regional Emmy for one that's a documentary. Here's a channel of his work. Russell is in the telecommunications department at Ball State University (in Muncie, Indiana) and has worked on a good number of projects himself. 

After breakfast, we did a test shoot with me as the test subject, and got our process down with camera, lights, and sound. We then rolled a little around the perimeter of Fairmount and got some shots of corn fields, barns, and threshers. 

Phil Ziegler in front of barn at JD farmhouse 
Then, on to Phil Ziegler's to interview him! He told us some stories on camera, some fun anecdotes, and realizing that we're shooting for this to be a short film (15-20 minutes maximum) it's going to be tough to round all this good stuff down! He showed us his collection of James Dean memorabilia, and then we went over to the farm that James Dean grew up on.

Myself, Russell, Phil, and Sam in garage with JD motorcylce. 
We got shots of the horses, and Phil showed us the barn where JD would play basketball during highschool with his friends that came over (hoop intact) and hand/foot prints in the cement inside the barn (also from when he was young). We were able to go inside a garage that was built later on on the land, that housed vintage JD movie posters, and restored (or preserved) vehicles, such as the
motorcycle JD would ride around in in Fairmount (and also LA) the car that he drove during highschool, and the tractor that was used on the farm. 

It was pretty cool to be there and match up a shot of the farmhouse (where JD was standing in front of in the shot below) to present day. 

We went off to lunch at El Metate Mexican Grill on Main Street, Fairmount. Main Street is pretty much a block (maybe two) of businesses. Some businesses off a few side streets here and there, but realizing how small this town really is. But really nice for that. 

After a late lunch, we caught more of the town and met Chad
Hanna at the Memorial park in the town center that has a matching bust of James Dean, same as the one at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, by artist Kenneth Kendall. 

Off we went to interview Chad on the porch of the place he was staying at (bed and breakfast). He is the president of the James Dean Remembered Fan Club, and told us about the fan club, about Fairmount and his visits there, and being a fan himself. He was so awesome to take us on a tour of other JD sites in Fairmount, including the old, nearly torn down highschool that JD went to, the
water tower with painted images of JD and Garfield the cat (as Jim Davis the artist of Garfield is from Fairmount, as well) and Chad drove us to the perimeters of the town to get more shots of corn, barns, and threshers! We also caught Main Street starting to get shut down, and a preliminary car show right there on Main Street. 

Chad Hanna, Marcus Winslow Jr, Phil Ziegler, and myself
I also met Marcus Winslow, Jr. ('Markie') who was the young cousin of James Dean in the famous photo spread by Dennis Stock (for Life Magazine). He had grown up with JD, and after his parents died (aunt and uncle), he inherited the house and farm. He's a great ambassador to the town and memory... and is gracious and generous with fans that visit Fairmount. I'll admit I was a little nervous in meeting him. But he was friendly and laid back. 

James and Dean performing at the James Dean Gallery
We then went to the James Dean Gallery. The James Dean Gallery is a place that houses an extensive private exhibit and collection of archivist David Loehr. It also sells books and collectibles related to James Dean. We didn't have a chance to pop inside just yet, as there was to be a performance on the porch...We were introduced to James and Dean by their manager, Rob Jarrell, and found out that they would be performing. James and Dean are 16 year old twins who are musicians, as well. After a quick introduction to the
onlookers by David Loehr, they performed their song 'Forever 24', which is a nod to James Dean and the age that he had died. We were able to catch this on camera as well. Afterwards, James and Dean signed autographs inside the gallery. 

Day One of shooting was done at this point (around dusk)... Sam and Russell went off to Muncie, and I did some grocery store shopping for an early breakfast for the next day at the cabin, as we had a very early call... Trucks were unloading carnival rides at this point at night, and you start to also see booths start to get set up on Main Street. 

To Be Continued... (Part 3 below) 

I would love it if you could 'Like' my page (if you haven't already), which is free! For more updates and to follow along with the film page, please visit and 'Like':   Deaners-The Movie.   

Thanks! - David Garry 


Here's part 3: Part 3 of 7 (9/25/15, DAY TWO): Travelogue for 'Deaners' film shoot!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Part 1 of 7 (9/23/15, ARRIVAL): Travelogue for 'Deaners' film shoot!

For those that don't know, I had embarked on a journey to Fairmount, Indiana recently... to not only be there for the annual James Dean festival, but I also had the mission of shooting a short doc film on the fans of James Dean, and about this annual festival (40th anniversary of it on the 60th anniversary of the death). How my fascination with James Dean began, and how my 'Deaners' film came to be is documented HERE). 

Back in February, I began pre-production on this short form documentary. Over time, I had many e-mails, phone calls, and messages between crew members that I would hire in Indiana for the shoot, as well as James Dean fans and ambassadors to Fairmount (and the festival) that would serve as interviewees in the film. 

A big shout out goes out to Chad Hanna, who is president of the James Dean Remembered Fan Club. I got to know him online first, then over the phone, and struck up a friendship with him...He oriented me on the who's who in the Deaner world, and what happens at the festival, and more. 

I'm not gonna lie, I did have a little insecurity around doing the project. I had never been to Fairmount, Indiana, and to add to that I would be consistently asking strangers to do things for me, work with a crew I had never met, and more... but I reminded myself about fear and quotes that make the most sense about vanquishing it, and I forged ahead. If nothing else, I am a man of my word... and when I say I'm going to do something, I do it. Integrity is extremely important to me...I also never want to be someone who just talks about what they want to do...

Binder and business cards. Boom. 
So over time, I had plane ticket booked, rental car reserved, and a
place to stay. I had hired on a DP (Director of Photography) and Sound Person (Recordist and Boom Operator). I had a schedule of who was being interviewed when (and for the most part, where), and what else to capture to make this short form doc come alive. I figured out potential places that we could have meal breaks (and when), what special events we needed to be in attendance for to capture, a list of other necessary establishing shots, and armed with a binder of info, a stack of interviewee waivers and all, I was ready to do this. 

My rental car at the cabin that I stayed in at Fairmount Camp
I flew out of Los Angeles on Wednesday, Sept. 23rd, in the morn, and arrived in Indianapolis, IN (3 hour time difference, as well) around 6pm. Got my rental car... when I said 'economy', I thought kinda standard 4-door car? I got one of thee tiniest cars... like a Scion IQ? Whatever that car is in the pic. So small. Still 4 doors, and we would make it work through the shoot. I drove over 70 miles to get to Fairmount... I'm glad that I got to see in daylight and dusk the landscape... corn fields, soy bean fields, farms, barns, wind farms, no traffic on these country roads (sometimes I'm the only car I can see around me). I stopped at a Subway, got a sandwich for dinner, and continued on to Fairmount, getting a little lost when it was finally dark. One road that I was supposed to take was closed, and the detour signs were unclear. I finally realized it was all like a grid, and for the most part, roads were numbers '700 south', etc. (olden days way of road naming in rural areas). I figured out my way... 

Inside of cabin at Fairmount Camp
Then, I got a little lost in the dark at Fairmount Camp, where I was to be staying, but Matt (the manager who lives on site) came on out and met me after I called him, and showed me the way to my cabin, which was like a 2-bedroom apartment with kitchen (fridge, stove, microwave, etc.). Fairmount Camp is (for the most part) a camp with a summer program and is a meeting place for other activities/groups, etc. They rent out (on occasion) cabins during town events like the James Dean festival... and have a place for camping, RV's and more. 

I had just enough time to put my stuff down as I had plans for that night... 

Marcus Winslow Jr. and JD  in front of farmhouse
I was going to Phil Zieglers! This excited me that the very first thing that I was to do in Fairmount was to go directly to the land that James Dean had grown up on. Phil is a retired optometrist that moved to Fairmount in the 80's after coming to the annual festival and becoming good friends with Marcus Winslow Jr. (James Dean's younger cousin who owns the home JD grew up in- They lived together like brothers when JD's mother died, and his father had sent him to live with his Aunt/Uncle, Marcus' parents). It was pretty amazing to drive up and see the home in the moonlight, and know that I had made it. Phil lived in a house on the same land just a little walking distance. 

At Phil's... love the bust. 
Around 9:30pm he was awake, and let me in... we chatted about my traveling, who I had in my crew, about Fairmount, about some famous folk that had visited before (like Martin Sheen) and about his black eye (he had a fall after giving a student filmmaker a tour of the home just the week before). I'll be figuring out how best to be able to let an audience know why he has a black eye in the film (he does tell the story on camera). We'll see... :) 

Phil shared with me about other books and films that were done with his participation, including one that he produced... and showed me a little bit of his James Dean collection, which was really cool. I didn't want to see too much on this night however, so that it would be relatively new to me the next day when he's being interviewed, and so he also won't feel like he's repeating himself on camera. 

I bid him adieu and went back to my cabin at Fairmount Camp to catch some sleep before Day 1 of shooting! 

To Be Continued... (part 2 below) 

I would love it if you could 'Like' my page (if you haven't already), which is free! For more updates and to follow along with the film page, please visit and 'Like':   Deaners-The Movie.   

Thanks! - David Garry 


Part 2 of 7 (9/24/15, DAY ONE): Travelogue for 'Deaners' film shoot!