“Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.” – Hunter S. Thompson
For some reason, I always applied Thompson’s quote to films and life equally, but it took on a new meaning when I started making movies in 2014. The filmmaking process itself is a ride – from pre-production, through filming, to hoping to all that you hold holy that you have the coverage you need in post.
I didn’t come to filmmaking the way that most do. I didn’t make Super 8 films with my friends when I was a kid, I didn’t go to film school when I was 18. In fact, I didn’t make my first film until I was 35.
When I graduated from college with a writing degree in 2000, I decided that I wanted to be an NFL General Manager. I read an article about Charley Casserly (who was GM for the Redskins and Texans), and how he was just a kid who stalked a Redskins executive in a parking lot for days on end while sleeping at the YMCA. He got an unpaid internship, and worked his way up.
I started in 1999, and over the next 10 years, I would work for three NFL teams, University of California – Berkeley and eventually the Arena Football League. In the AFL, I ran team’s video departments, and got my first taste of video editing. It’s storytelling in a way – telling the story of the opposing team. We won the championship in San Jose in 2007, then I moved to Arizona as Director of Player Personnel & Public Relations shortly after. Under my watch, we had the most extensive video scouting programs in the league.
Is this boring? I keep looking at these words and sentences pilling up, and wonder if this is boring. It probably is. I’ll get to the point.
I worked with the Washington Kastles of World TeamTennis when the franchise won five straight championships (that made six total for me in two sports). Among other things, I started creating all the team’s video content – television commercials, jumbotron spots, and so on. Two projects I helped produce were nominated for Emmys, with one win in 2013.
Over the years, I wrote a few screenplays. For fun, sure, but of course I was always hoping to sell one. I go to the movies at least once a week, and it seemed that all of my favorite filmmakers wrote and directed their own stuff. Looking at the barriers in getting a spec screenplay produced by an uncredited writer, I realized that the best way to get my stuff made was to make some of it myself. I could write, shoot and edit – and years of event experience in sports gave me the organizational skills to produce. I just needed to put it all together.
Patriots and Tyrants was my first short film, which we shot in three days in May 2014. I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did, of course, but I’m forever grateful to everyone who worked on the film that weekend – none of whom received any compensation. The March 2015 weekend that it premiered at the Maryland International Film Festival was also the same weekend that we wrapped on Served Cold, the sequel of sorts. Every single cast member returned, and the vast majority of the crew.
I wanted to do more, so that’s why I founded Take the Ride Films. Over the next year, we’re going to release a variety of web shorts, and start fundraising for our first feature film. Building a production company from the ground up won’t be easy. It’ll have good days, bad days, and everything in between.
It should be one hell of a ride.
Thanks for reading.
Founder/Owner – Take the Ride Films
November 12, 2015
PS…check out the website at taketheridefilms.com