I was born in Red Bluff in 1959; graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in 1982; and have lived primarily in San Francisco from 1982 until the present. In my early twenties, I began to toy with Super-8 cameras, but mostly I was involved with the guitar and musical composition. After three years of working (and feeling quite out of place) in the corporate environment of a large structural engineering firm in San Francisco, I moved to New York for 10 months in 1985, and began making films -- picking up bits and pieces of the film "education" that my friends were paying for at NYU. I was assistant director for a 30-minute film called An Ephemeral Gambado, shot near Wall Street, and spent a fair amount of time under a 1965 Cadillac covered with fake blood.
I returned to San Francisco in 1986, and have been working on short, mostly independent projects since then. I've learned a great deal from fellow members of the local film community, but mostly from the actual making of films.
It has always been difficult for me to describe my work in a meaningful way; as filmmaking for me is a medium to articulate the unspeakable. I have discovered in found-footage the means to examine subjects that might be elusive in conversation, such as childhood confusion and what it means to "grow up." Found-footage projects A Different Kind of Green (1989) and Thine Inward-Looking Eyes (1993), strive in this direction. Soon to be completed is a suite of four films (one of which is Thine Inward-Looking Eyes) entitled I Smell the Blood of an Englishman (1995). The source footage is primarily found camera outtakes from the 1970's some of which miraculously captures the horribly awkward moment when spoken words fail. The other three films in the suite are Learning to Slump, On Any Given Thursday, and The Sweetest Sandwich, which combines a tune by the band Soul Coughing with images that I think might be anointed The New Norman Rockwell. All three films were completed in 1995.
I am also very interested in the physical process of making films and the physical material of film as integral to what they ultimately convey. A recent film, Ahem (1994), is an exploration into the early cameraless filmmaking techniques of painting, scratching, and applying architectural press-type graphics directly to clear leader. The film is the first in a series that is to be a pen-pal type collaboration with Seattle-based artist Susan Dory. One of us works on a strip of clear leader, throws it in the mail and the other adds another layer of ideas on the same film. The second and third films in the series are underway with completion subject to the whims of the United States Postal Service.
Other projects over the years include Media Darling (1991), which looked at the media coverage of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake through the device of a cheap, twisted horror film. It was shot with two Super-8 cameras in sync, and optically printed to 16mm. Its screenings at the Sundance Film Festival provided me with a frightening glimpse of the independent scene outside of San Francisco. Duermete Nikita (1994) is a lullaby for my grandmother on her 101st birthday -- the Fourth of July 1993. I wanted to see if I could shot "real" footage, meaning stable, beautiful, color images (unlike Media Darling). The resulting montage shifts between reality and dream or possible memories. Somber Accommodations was a 15 minute labor of love and naive recklessness that required 5 years to finish. Overcoming our lack of experience, director Joe Bini and I, along with cinematographer Rob Jakubik, somehow managed to bring in some gorgeous black and white image from the Exploratorium's Wave Organ. The film also features an outstanding score by Mark Degliantoni. The above-mentioned group and I also formed the FAF-sponsored collaborative called The Chalk Circle, which finished a short musical video, Bottom Buck (1994).
Though I generally support my projects and myself by doing architectural engineering out of my home, last year I have worked as a sound editor on the feature film FUN, and was recently a guest speaker and workshop participant at the California Summer School for the Arts at Fresno State.
All the above films, with the exception of the video Bottom Buck, are or will be available through Canyon Cinema (415)626-2255. Feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in purchasing video copies.