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!

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