Life takes us on some funny twists and turns on our journey. Never in a million years did I imagine, that this state Idaho (shaped like a thumbs up) would play such a significant part in my life.
But it has and has brought me happiness….I have a home here…my son, Tom, born in California, lives here with my daughter-in -law Tami and their three beautiful children, my grand children. Good to be near them. I still move around a lot, mainly to London, my home town, where I grew up and California, where I spent much of my married life. Love both places and still have strong ties to both. However I have met and worked with many interesting and fine people here in Idaho, have made some good friends and enjoy life here. One friend Pat Hohnhorst, a professional photographer has been our on set photographer for many of the films.
Idaho is a beautiful state, with rivers, lakes and mountains, it has almost perfect light and I have found it a great place in which to film. There is no proper media industry, but it’s a perfect venue with its many assets. The light, good locations, people friendly to film makers , who help and co-operate, eager to join in the process. When we made
Cougar – we received great help from the restaurant, in which we filmed Chandlers and the adjoining Hotel 43. I turned the local Basque museum into a mid West 19th Century boarding House for The Tell-Tale Heart. We were loaned a lovely dog: Brodie, who performed beautifully like a pro, by a kind couple, for The Damned Thing
There is a lot of talent in Idaho, much of it unsung and under used. A strong film industry would thrive here, but at the moment, there is not the appetite for bringing one of the most lucrative industries in the world, to the State. I understand, it has its pros and cons. But I do not doubt that one day, Idaho will join the ranks of tax incentivised States. We do have JUMP, built and owned by a major Idaho corporation Simplot, which is a magnificent cultural centre, developed to encourage and help local creative talent. The original Mr Simplot built his career on growing potatoes, which grew into an impressive food empire…..the reason Idaho is known as the potato state!
I have made five short films here in Idaho, needless to say, the budgets have been very low, being largely self-funded, but I think that standards have been kept high, largely due to the care and effort put in by all. During the course of this, I have met and worked excellent people. Jesse Cordtz, who directed two of the Gothic horror shorts… talented, extremely experienced and professional and very easy to get along with…he is now AV Manager for JUMP.
I did an interview at JUMP, hasn’t been out yet.
We had a great time on location at Burgdorf Hot Springs, a village of old miners’ cabins….many mineral mines in the State. Mike Tetro produced Cougar…did a terrific job, co-ordinating with the City, organising the cast, crew, managing the logistics…Mike then went on to produce and direct About Andy, the latest short. He is lively, energetic, imaginative, again highly professional and understands the complexities of modern film making, which I am learning as fast as I can. He also understands the marketing and distribution requirements, we are all facing now. Easy for films with massive budgets, who can hire individual experts and crew with their own exclusive job. However it is a very different story in the world of low budget independent film making. The challenges are a new experience for me and I find it fascinating, the cameras, the editing software, the deliverables for marketing and selling. I do like the intimacy and multi tasking that goes on, if you have right group of people all working in a tight, friendly team, it works! It reminds me of some of my early days in film and TV, where although we had the support of large organisations like the BBC or ITV and strictures of the Unions, there was still a good feeling of a relatively small team pulling together, both sides of the camera.
I was waiting on set on About Andy one day, when one of the crew showed me a picture he had taken of me ,while we were working. He was working on camera and it was his “Black Magic” camera, with which we were shooting.. I was astonished – the photograph was beautiful and very much how I see myself. This was Cary Judd, a man of many talents – film maker, editor, musician, who lives and works in film in Boise with his wife, Sunnie who is equally talented with a camera. He did the music for About Andy. Here’s the picture:
I have already mentioned in another blog: Nyk Fry, English … talented renaissance man…director, sound, musician, editor. There is Lance Thompson, script editor, who started his career in Hollywood. He gave an interesting and very entertaining talk on Blake Edwards last week, which brought back memories of Peter Sellers….The Pink Panther and that whole wonderful time making those films in England. Peter was a pal, who hauled me off to a movie and dinner at Kensington Palace, one evening, with Princess Margaret and Lord Snowden, when his real date let him down. There is Austin Von Johnson (my co-star in (About Andy)who does the miracle of maintaining an acting career, doing stand-up and acting in films and commercials, locally. There is David (DA) Smith, actor longtime member of the Idaho Shakespeare Theatre, actor Dakotah Brown, who works and teaches at Idaho Shakespeare Theatre.
I could mention so many others that I have met, worked with and got to know in the business here in Boise….Will von Tagen, Greg Green, Lincoln Lewis, Mark Davis, Catrine McGregor, Marie Boller, John Wee…the list goes on and there are many more, not mentioned here, but all worthy. Some have now departed for pastures new and better opportunities. However they are all talented members of this challenging independent film making process.
One of my favourite indie films of 2017 was made for $100,000 and grossed close to $2,000,000 this was A Ghost Story
All things are possible.