I just finished exporting the VHS Massacre Documentary. It’s running a lean 71 minutes and I think that’s the length it should be. I’ll start submitting to film festivals next week. I just had a discussion with my co-director Ken Powell about the film. We shot most of it from 2012-2014. Within these two years we documented the final death of the last corporate video store franchise, Blockbuster Video and the final death of one the last surviving famous Indie video stores Kim’s Video in the East Village of New York. We toured the empty rows in Blockbuster and we toured the busy aisles of Kim’s. Within these two years we saw physical sales of movies drop nearly 20 percent. You can make the case that the video store era has been over for quite sometime but the last lions died just recently. In all of this we found new appreciate for the beauty of the physical format. It’s artwork, the power of browsing through a store to find new films, the importance of “title discovery” and how in the digital space it is challenging as my brother Bruce Seymour says.
The doc is not a sad and somber goodbye, it is the realization that just because something isn’t extremely profitable, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have worth. People will collect, film prints, VHS, DVD’s just as they do old toys or bicycles. There is already a small resurgence in VHS distributors that hit a stride in 2012 if you can believe that. Because of great people like Debbie Rochon, Dave Leute and many others Ken and I got to meet some of our childhood hero’s like Joe Bob Briggs and Lloyd Kaufman. Because of my beautiful and tenacious girlfriend I got to include Greg Sestero (The Room), Deborah Reed (Troll 2), James Nguyen (Birdemic) and other folks in this doc.
I began to edit this thing about a year in a half ago before we even finished shooting and it evolved over time. If it’s one thing I learned about cutting a feature length doc is that when you start it, you think you have a choice of what it becomes and then you start to see that it will become what IT needs to be. I first started professionally editing at CBS news in 1998 and in that time from then to now I directed 9 feature films and cut 6 of them. The older I get sometimes I think I become less sure of what’s important in editing. I know how to cut something down, to cut out bad moments and I know what good moments are when I see them in context. So often you end up cutting out what you love for the greater good of the story and the pace.
“There are these legendary docs that change your life” as Ken says like American Movie, King of Kong or Journey to Planet X. We didn’t make that doc but it is my wish that we still did something great because in a way it is the summary of why I strive to be an Indie Filmmaker. I’ll keep you updated on festival entrees and thanks for listening!